Shelby's Story

Shelby is one of the first to admit she wasn’t always a model student

When she came to The Oxford Academy in year 7, her attendance was only around 70% and she was guarded with the staff. Unfortunately, Shelby had been bullied slightly at primary school, so her attitude in year 7 was to ignore her teachers, mess about in class and try to get away with missing as much school as possible.

But then, in year 8, something changed. The Oxford Academy introduced a new, no tolerance behavioural policy with a strong emphasis on pastoral care to help those students that needed it. Rather than push Shelby away, it had the opposite effect.


I wanted to sort myself out, for personal reasons and because the behaviour system makes you think. I used to be the class clown, but now I work hard.

And so, gradually, Shelby started to build relationships with her teachers and apply herself in lessons. A move that paid off when Shelby needed help. Once again, Shelby found herself in a situation where someone tried to push her around, and she was afraid that the bullying would start all over again. So Shelby went to see her learning mentor, Julie, and her tutor. Between them, they immediately stamped out the problem. For good.

I get on with so many teachers now, compared to what I used to. The teachers are really supportive and stand up for the students. They sort out bullying straight away and the behaviour system is so much better.

Shelby is doing well in her GCSEs, but what she really loves is English and drama

Her interests in these subjects pushed her to enter the school public speaking competition. After practising her speech day and night, she made it the final where she had to give her prepared speech in front of the whole school – and she won.

For my public speaking, I worked really hard. I don’t normally win things, I didn’t used to want to go out and try my best. The school has helped me open up; I think the school is really good. Especially now.

Shelby’s not sure what she’ll end up doing, but she’s sure that she wants to study English and drama at sixth form. She’s keen to stay on at school and learn while she can … which is why her attendance in now up above 90%.

It’s about realising where your strengths and weaknesses are. Next year I’ll stay after school to work on my science and maths. But there’s no pressure to go to uni…it’s your choice. It’s not pushed on you, but you get a lot of encouragement.

They want you to have the best chance in life…but they’re not pushy. It’s about knowing your potential.

One of Oxfordshire’s best performing schools

The Oxford Academy is ranked first in Oxfordshire for progress, and 14th for progress in the whole country for GCSE results*. It’s ranked ‘good’ by Ofsted, with outstanding grades for leadership and management.

100% of all sixth form students gain employment or a university place.

*Based on 2016/2017 results.

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Call us: 01865 774311 or visit us: Sandy Lane, West Littlemore, Oxford OX4 6JZ