Chelsea Academy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Chelsea Academy's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Chelsea Academy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Principal Matthew Williams
Chelsea Academy’s award-
winning building
Chelsea Academy was founded in 2009 by the Royal
Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London
Diocesan Board for Schools and is one of the few
academies that is co-sponsored by a local authority and the
Church of England. The Academy was built to meet the need
for a secondary school in the south of RBKC. The Academy is
currently graded outstanding and last year celebrated its best
set of exam results at GCSE and A level, putting the Academy in
the top ten per cent nationwide for progress. Principal Matthew
Williams discusses the school’s upwards trajectory since he
joined in 2014, and its science specialism, which ensures
students leave Chelsea Academy well-prepared to enter higher
education at some of the country’s best universities.
Built on the border of RBKC, Hammersmith and Fulham and across the river
from Battersea, Chelsea Academy is in a diverse area of London with a truly
comprehensive intake. Our staff are committed to ensuring that all our students,
no matter their background, get the best possible education. This commitment to
academic excellence and improvement drives us every day. We aspire to be one
of the best schools in London and work tirelessly to achieve this. As a Church of
England school, our ethos is to ensure that all students are welcomed, celebrated,
challenged and supported, an ethos deriving from five Christian values; those of
joy, perseverance, servant leadership, charity and forgiveness. These embody how
we work with students and what we expect of them, but it also ensures that our
school is warm, welcoming and has a very happy and studious atmosphere.
»Principal: Matthew Williams
»Established in 2009
»Based in the Royal Borough
of Kensington and Chelsea,
»Type of school: Sponsor-led
Academy for years 7 to 13
»No. of students: 1,100
»No. of staff: 115
»We are the recipient of the
World Class School Quality
Mark, NACE Challenge
Award, Investors in Careers
Gold and Investors in People
»This year, Chelsea Academy
celebrates its tenth year since
Chelsea Academy
Highlighting best practice
Inspiring our students and staff
Chelsea Academy has consistently
received “outstanding” Ofsted grades
and equivalent rankings from the
Statutory Inspection of Anglican and
Methodist Schools – with the academy
often acknowledged as leading the
way in educational best practice. We
are continually at capacity with 1,100
students and over 800 applications
annually for year 7 places and another
700 for year 12. We could realistically
fill our student places once over again.
We do not select pupils, however; we
welcome those of every ability and
encourage them to make great strides
of progress here.
Ours is an accepting community, where
we give our students a top-quality
education, but it is more than good
exam results – we want our students
to be happy and achieve the best for
themselves. This must be facilitated
by skilled staff. As with schools across
the country, attracting top teachers
is always difficult. We must be
innovative regarding staff recruitment,
development and retention. We have
invested in personalised professional
development for staff, meaning that
when a new member joins us they
are offered training pathways both
during and outside of the school
day. This could be through working
with our accredited lead practitioner
team to develop classroom practice
or through the national professional
qualification framework in middle or
We place an emphasis on balance
by reducing staff workload, and
a strong focus on staff wellbeing.
We have reviewed our practices to
ensure that marking, planning and
preparation time is used appropriately,
and we have an ongoing focus on
wellbeing – including our “Wellbeing
Wednesdays” initiative, a half-termly
period where staff are offered a range
of wellbeing activities. It is evident that
these strategies are paying off with
100 per cent of staff proud and happy
to work at the academy and retention
of staff increasing substantially.
Best opportunities
Our committed staff body ensure that
our students are prepared for the
challenges the world will throw at them
and that they are resilient enough to
excel in a competitive job market. We
do this by placing heavy emphasis on
independent careers guidance – we
are proud holders of the Quality in
Careers Career Mark, and by ensuring
that, each student is prepared for the
best university for their ability and
aspirations. The Access Project matches
our students with professionals who
tutor them in a subject and provide
access to workshops and seminars
High-quality professional
development means
staff turnover is low
Lessons are engaging
and exciting
Academy has
Ofsted grades
to give them the required skills
Science – our specialism
We are very proud of our specialism
– science – and have incorporated it
into day-to-day areas of the academy,
with our six houses taking the names
of acclaimed scientists such as Einstein
and Curie. We target science because
it applies to every aspect of a student’s
life; it uses numeracy and literacy, and
is important for the development of
in-school skills. With the importance
of science for our country’s future, it
is important that we focus on such a
key area. As part of our specialism, we
maintain close links with Imperial and
Kings Colleges to ensure that the next
generation of science teachers have
high quality teacher training; we also
host workshops for OCR and have a
dedicated Twitter account in this area.
We are growing our reputation as the
place to study A-level science with
most of our sixth form, consisting of
200 students, studying at least one of
these subjects. A majority of students
will go on to study STEM subjects at
university. Students now come from
across London to study physics with
us due to our excellent provision in
that area. We are also fortunate to
have top-quality scientific equipment,
meaning we can facilitate scientific
experiments that many secondary
schools cannot offer.
Like many schools, we face challenges
in terms of decreased funding
from central government paired
with the unprecedented amount
of unfunded changes that must be
implemented. From national insurance
increases to the apprenticeship levy,
from unfunded employer pension
contributions to an increase in running
costs, there is not enough money
in the education system. We made
around a million pounds of budget
cuts last year and are still forecasting a
deficit budget in three years’ time. The
financial situation in schools is dire,
even for one in the wealthiest London
borough. Coupled with the lack of
good teachers entering the system
and the difficulty of retaining decent
staff, my headteacher colleagues and I
worry for the future.
The future
If the funding and teacher recruitment
and retention issues can be addressed,
then the future becomes much
brighter. I love my job and am
privileged to lead Chelsea Academy.
Our young people and my fantastic
group of staff make every day an
exciting one. We will continue to
build upon our successes, ensuring
that our students continue to get
some of the best exam results in the
country and leave us as good citizens.
It is important that our students
feel confident in a changing world
and have the skills to be a success
wherever they end up working.
Whether they pursue a higher
education or enter the workforce,
we will have provided them with
the best skills they need in life after
I love my job
and am
privileged to
lead Chelsea
A majority of students
will go on to study STEM
subjects at university

This article was sponsored by Chelsea Academy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development