Academy News 16th January

Last week nine of our girls played in the English Chess Federation National Northern Finals on Saturday in Manchester. We had two teams of three pupils in the under 11s section and a team of three in the under 19s section where they were playing against much older and experienced opponents.  Our A team (Jasmine Jones, Tilly Snape and Lilly Brown) came second, winning ten of their 15 games and our B team (Ella Gayes, Jodie Meakin and Amalie Sinclair) were commended for their achievement.  We have now qualified for the national finals in April.

Our team for the under 19s (Isabelle Rose and Holly Sinclair, Louisa Swarbrook) did particularly well to come fourth, as they were competing against much older children from a range of private schools.

Within the mainstream curriculum we had a visit from the Army to support the science department with a project for Year 8. It is important for children to learn science, but it is equally important for them to be able to think about how to apply their scientific knowledge in real world scenarios. Our army visitors spoke to the children about some of the scientific issues and problems which they have encountered working in difficult terrain.

This week the Academy the Academy received a letter notifying us that we have been categorised as a ‘coasting school.’ As a middle school the definition doesn’t quite fit us, because our progress across the 4 years of the school has always been graded by OFSTED as good. However we are now looking hard at how to improve things still further in Year 6. We spoke to the children about ‘coasting school’ status in our Friday assembly and notified parents with a letter which is on the letters page on our website. Whilst we are absolutely focused upon improving Maths and English in Year 6 we are equally focused upon not doing it in a way which damages the breadth of the curriculum.

One of the issues which we have been seeking to resolve recently is ‘coats.’ At the moment pupils do not always find it easy to get their coats from lockers for break and lunchtime. We are looking into ways to manage coats more effectively, so that children have them with them and can use them with less inconvenience at break and lunchtime. We have met and talked to groups of staff and students during the week and identified the key problems and solutions which will enable us to move forward. We now need to fit some pegs and make some physical changes in practical classrooms (such as Science, DT, Art), then we will be able to bring in a new procedure to manage things in a more effective way.