At St James Academy, Principal Ian Moore likes to know the names and personalities of all the young people in the academy, and St James is small enough to do that.
The performance of each learner is recorded and actively monitored on a week-by-week basis. Staff know almost immediately which learners might need more support and which ones can be pushed on to a higher level of achievement. This is regularly reviewed and discussed by the Senior Leadership Team; in this way, every child is helped to be the best that they can be.
This approach has transformed learner performance, but many other aspects of what learners experience are equally positive. Staff are passionate about rewarding learners who make an extra effort, show kindness, display great teamwork or achieve beyond expectations.
Learners are challenged to extend their interests through a wide programme of extra-curricular activities, sports teams, trips and visits.
The careers programme helps learners to focus on their futures and motivates them to work hard and develop their self confidence.
Every learner is encouraged to become a student leader, contribute to charity and awareness initiatives, participate in debating and reciting competitions and join in with science projects and business presentations.
Visitors to St James often remark on the politeness they encounter in the corridors and classrooms. Senior Leaders are constantly walking around the academy, talking to learners about their lessons, their other activities and whatever is on their minds.
Learners have plenty of opportunities to let off steam and pursue their interests, as the academy has large playing fields and excellent facilities for sport and drama.
In the words of the Principal, St James Academy makes a real difference to young people and is a great place to be.