The whole staff team at The Rowans AP Academy won the Gold Plato for “Outstanding School Team of the Year” in October 2017. This award was after accepting a Silver Teaching Award in June to recognise ‘exceptional contribution to the teaching profession’. The team are exceptional and inspirational and won the award for their tireless commitment to the pupils and their families.

In February 2015 the outcome of the Ofsted inspection was outstanding in all areas, a huge shift from Inadequate. The whole staff team were responsible for this shift in quality of provision. The deputy head and middle leadership team ensured rapid change and improvement and the constant hard work and commitment from the teachers, teaching assistants and the administrative staff was incredible. Children in mainstream schools are often punished and reprimanded due to their poor behaviour and attitudes to learning and whilst the staff at The Rowans remind pupils of expectations and boundaries they work hard to teach children what is right and wrong and how to manage their own behaviour.

Every year at Christmas and at the end of the summer term The Rowans has a celebration day, where all pupils, parents, carers and friends are invited to share and celebrate they achievements. These days have been extremely well attended and continue to be ground breaking for many of these families and pupils and for many recognising achievements for the first time in their lives. The staff do not discriminate against pupils, instead they commit to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to grow and change and improve their chances of a great future.

Winning the award hasn’t had a huge impact on the careers of the Rowans’ staff, what is has done is give them the huge boost and recognition that they deserve. The reality of working in a provision like The Rowans is that it is very difficult and challenging and at times can feel like an uphill struggle. The children have extensive needs and although we experience huge successes and achievements, the daily struggle can sometimes be overwhelming.

It was lovely for the staff to see themselves on TV and a shame that it wasn’t possible to do a VT for all of the winners. Since winning the award we have had a lot of recognition and congratulations from local people and it gave our pupils and their families a chance to be publically proud of their school.

This year so far we have seen a whole school careers fair attended by all of the pupils in the school, many enrichment opportunities including a sit down Christmas meal in the hall for over 100 people, cooked and served by the staff and pupils, a whole school visit to the pantomime. One member of staff has developed a school magazine which is sent to all schools and areas of the local authority. The teaching and learning that happens every day at The Rowans is innovative, it has to be to meet the needs of the young people and to inspire them to learn.

The most amazing achievement of the team is the way in which they ensure academic progress and achievement. Many of these children have the reputation of being ‘unteachable’. They arrive at the Rowans with low self-esteem and often broken relationships amongst family members. We receive feedback from parents often about how The Rowans has transformed their family life, the life of bad phone calls home, arguments and negativity is replaced by a working together ethos, support and more often than not a positive change to relationships within the whole family.

The Year 11 Rowans Pupils achieved the following this year.

Rowans’ pupils outperformed the national average for Alternative Provision (AP) across all regions, with 93% of Year 11’s achieving five or more GCSEs or equivalent, compared to the latest available national average for AP schools of 12.3%. At least one GCSE or equivalent was achieved by 100% of pupils, compared to the latest national average for AP of 57.7 . A huge 29% of pupils achieved 5 or more GCSEs 9-4 (A*-C) including English and Maths. This is in comparison to the national AP average of 1.1%.

The Staff Team, The Rowans AP Academy
Winners, Outstanding School Team of the Year, 2017.