All LAT academies espouse the small-school model of education. This takes a human-scale approach which ensures that the quality of care, guidance and support for every child is as effective as possible.

Primaries, by their nature, are smaller organisations where every child is known as an individual. However, in larger secondary academies, this crucial sense of being known and understood can be lost amongst a more numerous cohort of pupils. The small-school approach ensures that this is never the case.

A small group of students from The Hundred of Hoo Academy are shown posing for the camera together.

In our secondaries, every child belongs to a “college” of between 50-100 pupils per year group depending on the size of the academy as a whole. At key stage 3, pupils spend a greater proportion of their time within their own college community, other than when accessing specialist curriculum areas where pupils learn in bespoke classroom environments. The options-based curriculum at key stage 4 and 5 means that pupils tend to branch out across the whole academy as they mature.

This approach has several advantages. It ensures that younger secondary-age pupils belong to smaller units where they become known as individuals within a strong family-like environment. This is more akin to what they have been used to at primary level. However, at the same time they enjoy access to the full range of resources and facilities available in dynamic secondary environments such as science laboratories, art and design workshops and sports halls.

Teachers and some support staff also belong to each college and provide pastoral care through tutor groups which are sometimes organised by year group and at other times vertically structured depending on the individual academy context. Each college enjoys its own facilities and designated set of classrooms which are located adjacent to one another.

Each college is led by a Head of College who is also a Vice Principal across the whole academy with strategic responsibilities. The Head of College leads the team of college staff and takes responsibility for the welfare and achievement of all pupils within the college. They in turn report directly to the Principal.

Each college has a dedicated team of administration and pastoral staff who act as the first port of call for parents and pupils. They ensure that issues and concerns are dealt with quickly so that pupils’ needs are met and their focus can be turned to their studies as much as possible.

Pupils are given leadership responsibilities within their college. Older pupils are encouraged to play the part of older siblings, providing excellent role models for younger pupils as they progress through their education. College communities also compete positively with one another in a range of extra-curricular events across the whole academy.