The Jubilee Academy

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 The Jubilee Academy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Headteacher Dr Michael Jarrett
Media lesson in our Design
The Jubilee Academy’s headteacher, Dr Michael Jarrett, has
taken on the task of improving outcomes for pupils who
have become disengaged. The academy is an alternative
free school which has a strong and prevailing ethos of getting
people back on track, principally by delivering high-quality
education to students in a safe, structured and stimulating
environment. Objective metrics reveal that this endeavour has
been a success, with many children making the equivalent of
up to two years’ more progress than predicted. Data plays an
integral role in measuring success and meeting targets, and
their motto of “Aspire and Achieve” motivates the children to
succeed. Michael tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about the
school’s upward journey.
We are an alternative free school whose goal is to help get children who have fallen
off trajectory back on track – such as students who have disengaged to a very large
extent or have perilously low attendance. Our job is both simple and hard: ensure
these children are not left behind. This means accelerating their progress through
constructive and practical steps. Part of this effort requires removing barriers to
learning – something we have demonstrably excelled at.
Driving standards through enhanced pedagogy
The children who attend our school are from a wide variety of backgrounds,
and each one is an individual with their own set of needs. We must therefore
»Headteacher: Dr Michael Jarrett
»Founded in 2013
»Located in Harrow
»Type of school: Alternative
»No. of pupils: 115
»100 per cent of their 16-year-
olds go on to higher education
or work placements
The Jubilee Academy
Highlighting best practice
closely cater our approaches for each
child, especially those with complex
educational needs, and we often do
this through the use of data. Ofsted,
for example, reported on our sensible
use of data to drive improvements in
attainment and outcomes. Another
way in which we remove barriers
to learning is through a range of
agencies – some of which we work in
partnership with – who can provide
closer, more tailored support.
The curriculum itself is particularly
broad and is therefore suitable for
a similarly broad range of people.
The overarching focus, however, is
on raising standards and holding
children accountable. This empowers
them not just in their school life but
in life more generally. More than this,
though, it gives them the best-possible
education and the best chances in life
– something that has been denied to
them before they enter our school.
Internal attendance upon their arrival
can also be a significant issue, so we
had to put in place the right support
and procedures, which eventually
resulted in attendance hovering
roughly in line with the national
average. The results of these efforts
are plain to see: our attainment levels
are outstanding. Our pupils are also
above the national average in terms
of their Progress 8 score and their
rate of EBacc completion, as well as in
maths and English. When compared
with similar forms of provision in the
country, we exceed them.
Teaching, not surprisingly, has been a
crucial component in our success. This
is largely because we’ve taken special
care to make sure all teaching staff
share our school culture and vision. We
also check to see if they are sufficiently
well versed in pedagogy and in their
subject content area. The ambitious
targets we have set ourselves have to
be met, and they can only be met with
the help of outstanding teachers.
The importance of an
aspirational culture
One of the keys to success is an ethos
that permeates all aspects of school
culture. For us, this is embodied in the
motto “Aspire and Achieve”. This is
especially important in a school such
as ours, as a lot of our pupils come
into the school demotivated and with
low aspirations. Indeed, it is our first
and primary task to raise expectations
for these children and to inspire them.
We want them to know that an entire
world of opportunities awaits them.
Achievement assembly
The curriculum
itself is
broad and is
suitable for a
similarly broad
range of
We promote this in every way we can:
through assemblies, through class,
through the curriculum, and so forth.
Among our teaching staff are learning
champions, who play an active role
in promoting this system of values –
something made easier by the fact
that our classes contain a maximum of
Moving forward with
We’re a spirited and confident school
now, but there were initial challenges
we needed to confront. One was
recruitment, as we knew that our
vision could only be realised with the
right kind of teachers. Another difficult
challenge – one that we regularly had
to contend with – was image. As an
alternative provision, not everyone was
convinced at first that we could deliver.
It was our job to prove this view
wrong. This was achieved primarily by
letting the results speak for themselves.
It was an uphill battle at first, but now
the number of people who doubt our
approach is much smaller. This goes to
show that face-value judgements are
not always accurate.
Because of our success, we are
receiving a lot of interest from many
corners, and funding opportunities are
steadily increasing. This is why we now
have a new state-of-the-art facility
and generous per-pupil funding.
And we don’t plan on stopping
there: development and expansion
continue, and we’re currently engaged
in an outreach effort where we visit
mainstream schools who might have
children who could benefit from
provision of the kind that we offer.
We’ve already seen considerable
success in this area.
The extent to which we’ve got our
pupils back on track and the improved
reputation we’re now enjoying give us
every reason to be optimistic for the
future – the future, that is, of both the
school and the children.
It is our first and
primary task to
raise expectations
for these children
and to inspire
GCSE English Language
exam preparation

This article was sponsored by The Jubilee Academy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.