Attendance rewards & The Purple Zone
At the end of another fabulous week, I am pleased to report our progress to you in my weekly Principal’s Update. This is the end of Week 4 in our calendar, which means we are already 10% of the way through this academic year. For all of our students, this clearly shows how quickly time passes and demonstrates the importance of attending every day. For our Year 11 and 13 students, it means the journey towards their final examinations is well under-way. Once again this week, I have enjoyed talking to our students about their lessons and their learning. I have enjoyed meeting with parents to hear their concerns and using this information to shape our procedures and practices. There is a clear sense of purpose around the Academy; a clear sense that we are moving forward at pace.
As outlined over the last two weeks, attendance remains a critical focus at this stage in the year. Mr Cale (Assistant Principal) led a series of assemblies with each year group outlining the importance of attendance. In addition to the obvious link to examination performance and qualifications, Mr Cale shared some clear evidence that good school attendance considerably boosts future earning potential and even the sustainability of personal and social relationships!
We are placing significant resource into boosting our attendance, because it is so vital to our students’ success. That is why we are launching a high-profile Attendance Reward this term. First Direct have donated exclusive use of one of their VIP Suites at the First Direct Arena on Saturday 2nd December 2017, to see Harry Potter Live! First Direct have also offered unlimited soft drinks, along with VIP Access to their Black and White lounge. Two tickets are up for grabs from each Year Group (7-11) for students who have attendance of 98% or above between now and December. Any student who reaches this target will be entered into the draw, where two lucky students will be invited to this fabulous event. This will be launched with students in assemblies and Form Times during the next week.
I am excited to launch our newest initiative from our Strategy for Rapid Improvement; an initiative that is expected to nurture and extend the resilience of our students in their learning. Next week, we will be launching our Purple Zone initiative with students through assemblies. This is a period of time in a lesson, when all students are working independently through challenging, stimulating and/or thought-provoking situations. This period of “hard work” is designed to promote deep and profound learning, by ensuring students are challenged to complete work that is just outside of their comfort zone, because this is where learning takes place most effectively. We expect students to find this part of the lessons difficult, but each activity will be tailored so that the work each student is completing is closely matched to their individual needs. Over time, the length of time students are engaged in The Purple Zone will increase as the work becomes progressively more difficult. This is expected to significantly accelerate progress and with this, significantly increase confidence and resilience. Please talk to your son/daughter about the work they are completing in The Purple Zone; I am confident that our students will begin to achieve greatness!
Two weeks ago, I expressed my intention to share with you a Communication Strategy to support the development of effective communication between parents and Academy staff. I am pleased to report that this strategy is nearing completion and will be launched with parents through my update next week. I am expecting this strategy to significantly improve and formalise our lines of communication so that we can continue to develop positive working relationships with our parents.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents of two upcoming events: Firstly, on Wednesday evening, 4th October, Year 7 and 12 Parents will have an opportunity to meet your child’s Form Tutor to discuss how your child has settled-in to Leeds West Academy, or into their Sixth Form studies. If you have not yet booked your appointment, please do so through our online booking system.
I would also like to remind parents that Leeds West Academy will be closed for Staff Training on Friday 20th October. On this day, we will target more key initiatives to ensure your son/daughter is receiving the very best teaching.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
To download printer-friendly versions of Mr Wilcocks' letters, please visit Letters Home.