As we approach the end of the Summer term I wanted to take this opportunity to write to you to reflect on many of the highlights from the academic year, including the changes that have taken place and also I am keen to draw your attention to some of the expectations and changes to be aware of for the new term, starting on Wednesday 4th September 2019.
There have been so many positives that it would be impossible to mention them all, but key highlights from the summer term particularly include;
- The Dance Festival which saw students from our school and six primary schools performing routines to families and friends.
- The Summer Concert, which was a fantastic showcase for our student’s musical talents.
- The London trip where 41 students experienced a magnificent two days in London, visiting museums and taking part in theatre workshops.
- The success of our athletics teams who outshone many of the students from other schools in lots of different disciplines.
- The marvelous ‘Canteen Revamp’ project led by Mr Jones and a team of fantastically dedicated students.
- The fantastic work alongside the Home Instead Charity where our students performed songs to brighten up the day of local residents.
- The wonderful Summer Achievement Evening, which was the third evening of its kind this year and provided an opportunity for more students to be recognised for their tremendous effort and attainment in subjects across the school.
- The Gifted and Talented Sports Students afternoon which saw the school visited by some very successful people who have carved out very important careers in the world of sport, including; Des Lyttle ( formerly of Nottingham Forest, WBA, and Watford FC), Anna Pryce ( Wolverhampton FC ladies captain), Steve Green (Passmaster Coaching and former professional footballer).
- The Park Run event, which saw many of our parents and students competing in the Shrewsbury Park Run 5K course.
Looking forward I hope that you are able to join us at the Shrewsbury Flower Show on the 9th and 10th August, to see our Japanese Zen garden that will be created by Mr. Jones and several of our students in the week prior to the show. All of these events happened because of the tireless dedication of many staff. I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to the staff for helping to provide these experiences and the additional opportunities that have arisen through the creation of the Session 6 programme that has now become an embedded part of Shrewsbury Academy life.
Obviously, in recent weeks you will have read the published Ofsted report and the newspaper reports surrounding the visit in May.
As the Trust Board and I stated in our response at the time, we sadly have to agree with many of the statements in the report, but, we are very pleased that lots of the green shoots of recovery from the position that the school had been in, in particular from 2016 have also been highlighted. I am particularly humbled by some of the comments in the report, and I welcome the judgment as the end of one chapter in the school’s history and an opportunity for an exciting new beginning, especially alongside the news that we are going to be considerably strengthened by joining the Marches Academy Trust.
I would like to address some of the points in the report briefly;
- We have had some issues recently with ‘internal truancy’. This is being dealt with currently, with parents and students being addressed in a series of meetings targeted at the worst offenders.
- Exclusions have been higher this year than last year. This has been an intentional decision in order to ensure that boundaries and expectations have been clearer. The actual data clearly shows that the percentage of students who have been excluded is 5.6% which is too high, but also indications that there are many, many fantastic students at this school.
- We are fully staffed for September 2019 and continue to receive the wonderful support of both Kim Popratnjak MBE and Dara Carroll at senior level in the school.
- Attendance to school is disappointing this year and below the national requirement. We have re-organised the leadership of the school and reinforced the team by bringing in two days per week of EWO (Education Welfare Officer) support from September 4th. We will be pursuing all cases of non-attendance rigorously in the new term.
I urge you to support your child’s progress by ensuring that they have excellent attendance to school, working with the motto ‘If you don’t attend, you won’t achieve’.
Over the past year the school has had to work hard to clear the financial deficit and I am delighted to say that this has been done. In September the school will be in a much improved financial position.
Recently we have invested money to improve facilities including; providing students with outdoor table tennis tables and a marked basketball court for use in lessons and at lunch time, we have also re-turfed the main field so that the students will have a football pitch to be proud of, alongside this the hard court facilities are being re-lined ahead of the new academic year. Displays inside the building have been updated and all departments have been able to fully stock resources for the first time in many years. The clear intention behind this was to place the children as the priority of all financial investment.
Ahead of the new term, I would urge you to talk to your children about the ‘SMART WAY’ (see attached) which will be displayed in all the classrooms and act as a basic expectation of all students in school. Alongside this I wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of uniform standards. Please help us have the school we want by making sure your child is fully dressed for school, wearing shoes, a tie, and blazer specifically.
To be clear, on their return to school on the 4th September students will not be allowed to lessons if they are wearing trainers, are without ties, wearing nose piercings and have anything more than natural make up or extreme haircut/ colours.
On arrival the standard of uniform will be inspected and students not adhering to the policy will be isolated from lessons.
We will be able to offer students items to wear in most cases on a loan basis. (Please see the Uniform for guidance and information)
Rules on the use of mobile phones are as follows;
- Mobile phones are not allowed to be used inside the school and are to be switched off at all times. If they are used within the building they will be removed from the student to be collect after school.
- On the second occasion that a student has his/ her mobile phone removed, they will not be returned to the students. Parent(s)/Carer(s) will be required to collect these from school.
When students return to school in September there will be a new look restaurant and a change in the school day. We have been planning to implement a similar school structure of a rolling breakfast and lunch programme that is used by the Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust Schools. This will help considerably to improve student conduct during ‘free time’ and also when placed next to the changing school day (5 lessons, reduced to 4), there will be less movement around the school. Please remember that lesson one will start at 08:45am (with students expected to be onsite by 08:35am) and tutor period will be moved to the end of the school day. School finishes at 15:10pm from September.
The school term commences after the summer holiday on Wednesday 4th September 2019. We would like Year 7 and Year 11 students to arrive at school at 8.55 a.m. They will greeted by staff on the school yard. All other year groups should arrive at 9.15 a.m.
Early in September we will be inviting you again to be a part of the Parents Advisory Council for the Academic year 2019-2020. It was a real pleasure this year to meet with parents and to be able to share improvements and concerns as regards school life. Miss Lovatt (Deputy Headteacher) will be writing to all parents, including new parents to enquire as to whether they would be interested in being a part of this supportive group of parents.
As in most schools the end of terms sees us having to say goodbye to some of our colleagues, Mrs L Ashwell-Davies, Mr B Edwards, Miss C Donaldson, Mrs G Gleeson, Mrs K Blackwell, Ms C Crow, Mr Jennings and Mr P. Bagry.
I would like to express my thanks to all these members of staff and In addition I would like to say a huge thank you to Mr. Delafield who is leaving us after 11 years to join Abraham Darby Academy in Telford, he will be sorely missed as both a leader in the school and a very popular Mathematics teacher and to our brilliant caretaker Mr. Brian Edwards who is retiring this summer. In over twenty years working in schools, I have never met a more dedicated and accommodating caretaker.
We have some brilliant new teachers joining the school in September and I am sure that they will fit in well and that your children will work hard to extend them a warm welcome.
On a personal note, I am very much looking forward to spending some quality time with my three young children during the break and hopefully we will be blessed with some sunshine.
The summer holidays provide an excellent opportunity for families to bond, explore and grow together and they also allow important reflection time, so that we can look back on the year and have a chance to re-set ahead of the new term.
It is my sincere hope that all of our children and families have a safe and happy summer break and that students return in September ready to achieve their very best.
Mr J Arnold
Headteacher – Shrewsbury Academy