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Principal's Update: Summer Term

Exam preparations, high quality teaching and football success

Since returning from the Easter break, we have once again seen the vast majority of our students return with positive attitudes towards their learning.  Our Year 11 and 13 students are entering the final stages of preparation before their final examinations, some of which have already started.  We are delighted to have received excellent feedback from external verifiers, who visited our academy to examine the work completed by our students, in practical/vocational subjects.  Immediately prior to the Easter break, we invited parents to our second “Engage Evening”, where we invited an organisation called Positively MAD, to present to students and parents about the most effective revision techniques.  This was complemented by staff from Leeds West, who were on-hand to advise families on subject-specific resources to support students in their final preparations for the all-important examinations.

This week, students in Year 11 were provided with the amazing opportunity to watch “Shakespeare Live”; a live broadcast of a production of Macbeth from the National Theatre.  This was booked to provide our students with a dramatic experience, directly preparing them for their English Literature examinations next month.  At intervals throughout the performance, students were coached in dissecting the action from each scene, deepening their understanding of Shakespeare’s work.  On a similar theme, two groups of students have attended conferences at Harrogate Conference Centre, targeted specifically at achieving Grade 5 in English and Maths.  Students engaged extremely well, working with students from other schools across the region, on techniques to maximise their performance in their core GCSE Examinations.

Our regular quality assurance processes have continued throughout the last term.  Through our observations of learning, we have seen a significant improvement in the quality of teaching taking place across our Academy.  Our staff have engaged with bespoke training throughout the year, through our training days, but also through voluntary training sessions.  We are seeing that this commitment to professional standards is starting to impact strongly on the progress that our students are making.  We recognise that we still have work to do in some areas, but the improvements we are seeing are significant.

Throughout this year, several parents have raised concerns regarding the system we currently use to collect money for school lunches.  As a direct response to this, we are investing in a new, online system, that will allow parents to add funds to their child’s account securely through an online portal.  We are also expecting this to provide us with an efficient way of communicating with parents, as the system will also allow us to send important letters and notices through the online portal.  We will circulate more information as we draw closer to the end of the academic year.

Our drive to improve attendance has continued and I cannot stress enough the importance of good attendance.  I expect all parents and students will be aware of the fabulous rewards on offer for good attendance, with students entered into prize draws for consistently good attendance, and for those who have worked hard to significantly improve their attendance.  Prize draws will be held at the end of this half term during our second round of Celebration Assemblies.  Once again, parents will be invited to join us in celebrating the successes of students in each year group.

In sporting news, I am proud to report that last week, our Sixth Form Football Academy “The WRFA Vultures” were crowned the champions of Leeds Under 19 Schools Cup.  After a really successful cup run, the team beat Roundhay School 1-0 in a thrilling cup final at the John Charles Centre for Sport.  I would like to congratulate the squad and coaching staff for their commitment and dedication to training throughout the year which has resulted in this superb achievement.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to make parents aware of the following key dates:

  • Year 9 Parents Evening – Tuesday 12th June 2018
  • Year 7 Parents Evening – Thursday 21st June 2018
  • Celebration Assemblies w/c 21st May 2018
  • Monday 7th May 2018 - Bank Holiday
  • May Half Term – Friday 25th May to Monday 4th June 2018
  • End of Term – Wednesday 25th July 2018

Kind regards,

Mr Wilcocks