Posted on: 28/05/2021 Principal's Blog - Week 32 Covid has been a global tragedy, the likes of which I hope we never experience again, but history shows us that we can draw lessons and character from adversity. Our young people have truly developed a growth mindset throughout the last year. They have risen to the challenge, embraced or even directed change, they have developed news skills and have demonstrated a fortitude and resilience that many of us never had to at their tender age. They have been brilliant and now they can harness these experiences as well as new skills to Bounce Back Better - all the while supported and cared for by us all at Hope Academy and indeed in our wider community.
As you are aware our year 9 bubble were asked to self-isolate as a result of positive cases linked to the Indian variant (variant of concern). I would like to take this opportunity to thank our parent community for your support and congratulate the year 9 cohort on their commitment to their learning and positive engagement during remote lessons. I would like to extend my gratitude to the wider parent community for your support with students continuing to wear face coverings in school whilst there have been concerns about the local rate of infection. During the half term break I will consult with the local Public Health Team regarding levels of infection in St Helens to determine whether we would like students to continue to wear face covering in classrooms as well as communal spaces on their return to school. I will write to confirm our decision at the end of the holiday period. In the meantime, I would ask that all students continue to self-test using LFD tests twice per week during half term and that any positive results are reported to school by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org This email address will be monitored whilst the academy is closed. Continuing to self-test is vitally important as around one in three people with Covid-19 have no symptoms and spread the virus without knowing, including those who have been vaccinated.
Arrangements for next half term
As Year 11 and 13 students are not required to attend daily next half term (please click here for Blended Learning Timetable), our capacity to refocus on the younger year groups has increased considerably we have decided to make a few changes to bubble arrangements. We also have more space in the building which will allow us to relax some of the stringent coronavirus restrictions.
Students have been informed this morning of their new tutor bases and entrance doors. This will allow us to use the full capacity of the building. All year groups will now be taught within subject faculty areas and, as such, will move around the building to access specialised teaching rooms. I was delighted this week to see year 7 students excitedly being led on tours around the building. This was to support students in their transition to moving safely between areas.
We will continue to adhere to the control measures which have supported the academy community in keeping safe. Year groups will continue to start and end the school day at staggered times as well as moving between lessons and having lunch at staggered times. We are lengthening lunch from 30 minutes to 40 minutes as a result of year 11 moving to a blended learning timetable. As such the following school finish times will be in place from Monday 7th June;
Year 7 and 8 – 3.10pm
Year 9 and 10 – 3.20pm
All of the above changes can be made without impacting on the integrity of year group bubbles whilst enabling lessons to be taught in specialist subject areas. The Academy’s guidance document will be updated and uploaded to the website w/c 7th June.
Year 11 and 13 Students
I want to say a very big well done to our current Year 11 and 13 students who have worked tirelessly to show their very best face through the process of Teacher Assessed Grades and Summer Assessments. It's a time like none before and they have responded with a maturity and focus that betrays their years. Colleagues and parents have also been fantastic in their approach.
We are confident that the GCSE grades awarded to this year group will reflect the hard work they have done and the way they have applied themselves has been inspirational. We have said this to you before but they are a credit to their families and to their community.
We look forward to seeing them all again for their celebrations in June, and again when results are issued in August.
âAlthough this may feel like the end, it is only the beginning. All the staff, students and Governors at Hope Academy would like to wish year 11 and 13 students every success in the future and we hope you stay in contact. âRemember, believe in yourself because we believe in you! â
âTake care, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all soon.â
Year 10 Students
During Inspire in recent weeks, Mr Clark, Assistant Principal, has spoken to our year 10 cohort about the year ahead and the changes ahead. From next week they will be the leaders in the academy and will really step up to the plate as it heralds the start of their ‘Exam Year’. We are looking forward to welcoming applications for prefects, the executive team and of course Head Boy and Head Girl when we return after half term.
In my inbox this week I received an email from the Department for Education confirming that public exams will take place next summer with a clear message that they will be ‘as close to normal’ as possible. Although, of course, it is completely impossible to make predictions about next year, it is right that the Government are currently giving consideration to how students in year 10 can be supported to achieve the qualifications which they deserve, despite the disruption of the pandemic. The important message for the time being is that students should continue to work as hard as possible on the planned content and assessments, and teachers will continue to deliver all programmes of study as originally scheduled. Mr Clark went through all the ways we will support, care for and accelerate their learning over the next 359 days (yes we’ve counted!) to prepare them for their GCSE exams in May 2022. I urge you now, year 10 parents, to get into the mindset of the ‘exam year’ with our year 10 students. It's time for revision timetables on the fridge, to find (if you can) a quiet space for their study, to start thinking about revision books and of course to work with us to make the year ahead one of progress and focus. The year 10s will commence their two-week Mock Assessments on 21st June until 2nd July.
As, eventually, the weather begins to improve, please encourage your child to walk or cycle to school to prevent traffic congestion. I would like to reiterate again our focus on Road Safety - it presents as a clear and present danger to our wonderful young peoples’ health. Please remind your children to wear cycle helmets, to be mindful of others when they are on either public or personal transport and to be very careful when crossing roads. Lockdown has meant that we all have crossed roads less and encountered fewer cars. Let's remember the basics of ‘stop, look and listen’. Keeping our young people safe is all of our job.
Word of the Week – 7th June
Reading Challenge – 7th June
St Helens Youth Service haft-term Activities
Please see below the activity timetable for the Whit half term holidays. These activities are aimed at children who are eligible for benefits related free school meals and run from Tuesday 1st June to Friday 4th June.
If you would like your child to take part in any of the sessions you must pre-book by following the instructions below:
To reserve a place on any of the Children’s Centre activities, please call Central Link Children’s Centre on 01744 673444, Parr Children’s Centre on 01744 671788 or alternatively message us via our Facebook page: - www.facebook.com/STHCCentres
To reserve a place on any of the Youth Service activities, please email email@example.com or call 07710848252.
It has been a marathon half term and I am sure students will appreciate the opportunity for a well-earned rest. They deserve congratulations for the resilience, enthusiasm and good humour they have shown this half term.
For now, take care, stay safe and enjoy the sunny weather.
Over these summer months, may our trust in you be strengthened and renewed, as we take time to recharge from our normal rhythms.
Please provide renewal and refreshment for those weary from a busy half term. May this summer be a time of renewed creativity and of increased connection with you and with others. May our families and communities flourish and grow, and be light and hope to those around us. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and loving hearts to engage with those who need an encouraging word or a listening ear.
As we prepare and look forward to the new half term, may our minds be fixed on you and your work in us and through us. We ask that learning and activities be filled with your joy and your presence, that you would give us insight and wisdom as we write, as we teach, and as we mentor others.
May our lives reflect the grace, hope and peace found when we trust in you.
Posted on: 21/05/2021 Principal's Blog - Week 31 As we move towards the last week of this half-term, I would like to remind you to keep following government advice with regards to social distancing – this will ensure that we keep our community safe and our children in school. Please remember to report your child’s LFT results to the NHS and the Academy via the google form HERE. Further information can be found on our website. Click HERE.
This week we have had 3 positive COVID-19 cases confirmed within school, one in year 9 and two in year 8 (2 students are siblings). We are engaging with Public Health to help break the chains of transmission of the virus and as such a number of children across both year groups who were identified as close contacts have been asked to self-isolate.
Year 11 Terminal Assessments
Our Year 11 students have once again been fantastic during their terminal assessments this week – keep up the good work, your efforts will be rewarded! Miss Brown and Miss Houghton are available each morning from 8.00am to support revision and have numerous breakfast items and juice available.
The assessment timetable can be found HERE.
Parking around Academy site
We have received a number of complaints from local residents/parents and sports centre users about parking around the Academy site during drop-off and pick-up times. The issues are concerning inconsiderate and dangerous parking on Ashton Road, zebra crossings and the pavements on-site and surrounding the sports centre.
I will be contacting the local authority to discuss support from parking enforcement representatives. It is imperative that parents and family members park safely and do not infringe any parking laws whilst waiting to collect their children from school. I’m asking that you keep the safety of your children and our student community at the forefront of your minds when choosing a place to park-up and wait for your children to leave school. It is also important that you remember to respect local residents and do not block driveways or pavements.
Thank you in advance for your support with this serious matter.
Enrichment Clubs and Societies Timetable – Summer 2021
The summer term enrichment timetable can be found on our website HERE. I have also included a copy below. If your child is attending a club after school please make sure that they are able to get home safely.
Word of the Week
TEN TONNE CHALLENGE
As part of the Ten Tonne Challenge, we are participating in a textile recycling scheme and we’re looking for your support. We are holding a textile collection at school on 23rd June. We are asking all families to collect together any unwanted clothes, which can be brought to the chapel. Bag2School is a scheme that collects unwanted textiles from the UK, diverting the clothes from landfill and feeding into the circular economy. Bag2School take the clothes to places in Europe and Africa where they sell them on at a price that is affordable for the local people. Bag2School reward the schools by paying up to £500 per tonne of clothing collected. Any money raised by our participation in this scheme will go towards our Environmental projects.
The textiles that are accepted are as follows:
Clothes (including school uniform)
Duvet covers, sheets and pillow cases
The donations need to be in a wearable condition– i.e. not covered in mud or paint. Donations can be put in any type of bag, like a plastic bin bag, but please tie the bag.
If you have any questions please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The weather has been unpredictable for May so far, but there still have been days where the sun has shone and the birds were singing! We have been looking at the positives of nature on our Mental Health this week, and here are three tips to bring nature into your everyday life:
Find Nature Wherever You Are. Nature is all around us. It might be a garden, a local park, a nearby beach or open countryside. Look out for the unexpected – an urban fox, changes in the weather, or birdsong outside your window. Try to notice nature wherever you are, in whatever way is meaningful for you.
Connect With Nature Using All Of Your Senses. Taking some quiet time to reflect in natural surroundings using all your senses can be a real boost to your mental health. Whether you’re relaxing in the garden or on your way to school, try listening out for birdsong, look for bees and butterflies, or notice the movement of the clouds. All of these good things in nature can help you to find a sense of calm and joy.
Protect Nature. Taking care of something can be a really great way to feel good. And what better thing to take care of than nature? Nature is truly amazing – do what you can to look after nature - in your actions and choices. This can be as simple as recycling, to walking instead of using a car or bus. Taking care of nature can help you feel that you're doing your part, and that can make you feel more positive all round.
You created our bodies and minds and you love us.
We pray for those people throughout the world who struggle with their mental health.
Help us all to play a part in encouraging one another to talk honestly about our mental health.
Help us all to act as trusted individuals who can respect and show empathy and kindness to others.
Help us to make the most of our natural environment, and feel peaceful in nature.
Posted on: 7/05/2021 Principal's Blog - Week 29 I hope you have enjoyed the bank holiday weekend albeit with unusual weather conditions.
Year 11 Terminal Assessments
Year 11 will be sitting subject terminal assessments from Monday 10th May until Friday 28th May. Due to the cancellation of the 2021 GCSE examination series schools, will be submitting Centre Assessed Grades for each students GCSE and vocational subjects - this will be the final opportunity for students to complete outstanding pieces of work which truly reflects their subject knowledge.
It is extremely important that students arrive promptly each day so that they are relaxed and fully prepared before their morning assessments which start at 9.30am.
I’m sure you will join our Hope community in wishing all year 11 students ‘Good Luck’ during the coming weeks. The assessment timetable can be found HERE.
Changes to year 8 and 10 break and lunch arrangements
The main hall will be used for year 11 final assessments for the remainder of this half-term therefore we have had to make changes to the lunch and break arrangements for students in year 8 and 10 who would normally be based in the hall.
Students will use their designated outdoor areas unless it is wet weather when they will be able to use the sports hall. Please make sure that your child brings a warm coat as it can still be chilly outside when the sun is not shining. There will be a reduced menu selection until the end of this half term to support these temporary arrangements. I would like to thank students in advance for their co-operation.
Careers in the curriculum day: Wednesday 5th May
We had a whole school careers day on Wednesday where all lessons have a careers link. Students did some fantastic work across the Academy. Here are a couple of examples!
This week’s Career of the Week is:
SSAT (The schools, students and teachers network) – Mr Robinson
SSAT produce a termly journal which celebrates and shares the outstanding practice, strategies and innovations in member schools, for the benefit of all the schools in the SSAT network. Hope Academy are a member school and Mr Robinson, Head of PE and Head of KS3 has had his ’Think’ Piece’ which formed part of the Leadership Legacy Project which he started in November 2019, published in the spring/summer 2021 journal.
The think piece titled ‘Developing a whole-school approach to deliver pastoral and transition support virtually during lockdown’ details a number of strategies and programmes designed by Mr Robinson and implemented at the Academy.
Mr Robinson recently graduated from the SSAT Leadership Legacy programme which is designed to develop the next generation of leader. Following the success of the strategies at the Academy we are extremely proud that his project work has been published and shared with other schools and hope that they are as successful for them as they have been at Hope Academy.
Selected articles from the SSAT journal are available to read on their website. Click HERE to access.
Word of the Week
This week during our daily Inspire Time we have focussed on story telling. Some of the authors we have looked at have caused a rush of their books being requested at the Hope Library, like the Bear Grylls adventure books!
Story telling is such an important part of our humanity. There are many benefits to using stories to communicate. Stories hold our attention. The reason television became so popular is because it’s essentially a story-telling device, whether you’re watching comedy, drama, the news, or a talk show. Even adverts are stories! Stories stir our emotions. If you want to change lives, you must craft the message for impact, not for information. Stories help us remember ideas.
Jesus was the master storyteller. The Bible shows that storytelling was Jesus’ favourite technique when speaking to the crowd, as it helped the crowd to understand the message He was giving to them “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Matthew 13:34)
The Bible is essentially a book of God-inspired stories! That’s how God has chosen to communicate his Word to us. Jesus told stories using the street language of that day and talked of birds, flowers, lost coins, seeds, and other everyday objects that anyone could relate to make what he said easy to understand. Do you have a favourite story that Jesus told? Maybe now is a good time to re-read it, or listen to it! There is a new series called ‘The Chosen’ which is about the life of Christ, that digs deeper into the people who encountered Jesus sees Jesus through the eyes of those who met him. Perhaps watch an episode and feel what it was like for Jesus to tell a story to you.
Thank you for teaching me how to live through the many stories in the Bible.
Help me to live my life in such a way that it brings honour to you and is a blessing to others.