Principal's blog - 27 November 2017

27th November 2017

Miss BrothwellAs our year 11 students undertake their mock exams this week, I want to emphasise how important it is that students feel able to access us for support at this time of high pressure.

I know from speaking with the students that they have never worked harder. The knowledge-based curriculum is challenging them, as we had said that it would. The direct-instruction teaching model is ensuring that maximum learning takes place in the classroom, and that knowledge is transferred to long-term memory ready for students to use this when they need it. We are stretching our students by providing larger amounts of information to be learned than ever before, at a faster pace and with higher challenge – it is vital that we ensure appropriate support is in place.

That was one of the reasons why our recent residential to Hagg Farm was so important. It was important for students to share an experience that enabled them to shake off any anxiety about being ‘too cool' to study, or that trying and failing is scary and should be avoided at all costs. Every student on that trip shared a common goal and it was explicit – we are going to work really hard and do our absolute best.

Staff share this common goal and I am very proud of our staff team who are going above and beyond to support our year 11 at this critical time. They have been running interventions after the academy day, giving up their weekends to study with our students, and re-writing the curriculum to ensure that it is appropriately challenging.

In January 2018 students will receive their mock exam results in the main hall, opening an envelope to discover their grades, and simulating what they will experience in August when they receive their GCSE results. We really hope that this is a trigger moment for some students to encourage them to work harder, but mainly I hope that it is an acknowledgment for the vast majority who are working their socks off and deserve good results. In the lead up to exams, we have increased the number of days the counsellor is at the academy – that time will be prioritised for year 11 students who may need this support.

I am pleased with the breadth of experiences year 11 are enjoying at the moment. Just last week a group of students went to see Blood Brothers at Nottingham Theatre Royal, the Hagg Farm trip was a huge success and in March 2018 we have a theatre company performing Romeo and Juliet at the academy. I am also delighted to announce that due to popular demand from year 11 students, we will be inviting them to our Christmas disco! Therefore this will be a rewards event for all year groups.

Our termly rewards evening with certificates and prizes is soon to arrive, (check MyEd for key dates) and we are looking forward to seeing proud parents, guardians and families of those nominated students.

Finally, this weekend I have thoroughly enjoyed spending my time with such a fantastic bunch of students; studying, walking in the snow, and abseiling from a bridge over an 80ft drop to a river below! Truly a memorable experience! Please check out our Facebook page for more pictures.

Thank you as ever for your support.

Miss Brothwell