Important Information about The Academy

20th Oct 2017

Important Information about The Academy

Dear Parent / Carer

Important Changes from Monday 30 October

I am writing to inform you of a number ofimportant changes which will be implemented as of the first Monday back after half term. I hope that by communicating these in advance, we can ensure that both yourselves and your children are prepared and feel supported, allowing them to 'hit the ground running' upon our return.

Leadership Change:

Announcment from Miss Ramsden: "After two years of headship at The Blyth Academy I have learned a great deal in that time and now look to put this into practice by way of reflection and further development during a personal sabbatical. I have requested the opportunity, which the Trust has granted, to step down with immediate effect, coinciding with a series of changes being implemented at Trust level across the region. I am grateful to the new CEO for his support in this transition and depart on good terms wishing him and all staff and students at Blyth the very best for the future. I would also like to thank the governing body and wish them every success moving forwards".

As a result of this development, we have appointed a new Principal in order to ensure the continuity and focus the Academy requires at this important point in its development. Mr Andrew Murphy is an experienced school leader and will lead the academy full time as the new Principal. He is currently the Principal of a school ranked 11th of 162 schools in the North East of England for the progress made by students.

Mr Murphy will be supported by both myself as Executive Principal of the academy and by Mr Barry Found as our Associate Executive Principal. Both Mr Found and I have extensive leadership experience.In addition to the new leaders introduced above, I can also confirm that Mr Andrew Guest will also join the senior leadership team at the academy as a Vice Principal three days per week.

Structure of the Academy Day

As of Monday 30 October, we are making slight changes to the academy day in order to improve the flow and continuity of the day to the best effect for our students, the structure of the academy day will be as follows:

  • Period 1 8.50am - 9.50am
  • Period 2 9.50am - 10.50am
  • Break/Tutor 10.50am - 11.25am (split break and tutor with only half of the school on one or the other- this will be explained in greater detail to students in assemblies on the first day back)
  • Period 3 11.25am - 12.25pm
  • Period 4 12.25pm - 13.55pm

P4 will be broken down into three lunch sessions

Lunch 1 12.25pm - 12.55pm Y9 and Y11

Lunch 2 12.55pm - 13.25pm Y7

Lunch 3 13.25pm - 13.55pm Y8 and y10

  • Period 5 13.55pm - 15.05pm (inclusive of 10 minutes literacy at the beginning of this lesson)
  • No mobile phones or smart technology on the academy site.
  • No make-up or jewellery, no exceptions. Students can collect items of jewellery themselves at the end of the academy day, it will be stored in a secure place during the school day.
  • Uniform must be worn correctly. Students must have shirts tucked in and keep ties on at all times
  • Refusal to follow a reasonable request from a senior leader is not acceptable. Refusal to follow a reasonable request for a senior leader will result in a fixed-term exclusion.
  • Disruption, disrespect and defiance are unacceptable and such behaviour will be challenged. Too many students still expect to argue and debate matters with staff; this is not acceptable. I expect senior leaders to be assertive and decisive when challenging negative behaviour and make no apology for demanding high standards. Students demonstrating excellent conduct can expect praise, whereas those demonstrating poor conduct can expect to be held to account for this.

Hopefully this new system will ensure students have easier access to toilets and also to the service counter for snacks and drinks, resulting in less queuing. This easier access to food at break will hopefully mean students on the later lunch sitting do not go hungry during the day. To assist with this I intend to credit all pupil premium students' accounts with ?1 each break.

Behaviour for learning

As you will be aware, the Local Governing Body and Miss Ramsden introduced a new behaviour policy some weeks ago. The implementation of this policy has stalled somewhat and I am now determined to ensure that it is fully embedded into general academy practice as soon as possible. This pilot behaviour policy is still accessible via the academy website and also from reception upon request. In summary, the main elements applicable to students from years 7- 11 are as follows:

Teaching and Learning

The academy leadership team will very quickly introduce a commonality to the framework of lessons here at Blyth Academy and ensure that the quality that your child receives is at the best level possible. Over the next few weeks we will introduce challenge and aspire outcomes, hands up silent signal, collaborative learning (mixed ability groups of 4 per table and not rows or individual seating), a teacher toolkit for timing tasks in lessons and generating random names for questioning, a word of the week, spelling of the week and numeracy word of the week and also a bespoke spelling booklet and spelling challenge each week. I believe that only the best is good enough for your children. I would very much appreciate your support for these innovations. They are tried and tested in outstanding schools and will make a huge difference to the learning experience of our students.

Year 11 Consequences

Year 11 will begin the system of Consequences in lesson as of Tuesday 31 October. Reference to this system is made within the policy on the academy website. All other year groups remain unchanged and they will still follow the old behaviour policy in relation to general classroom behaviours, but this is now overridden by the pilot policy in terms of things like refusal to follow a reasonable request etc.

Interventions

We have re-timetabled the whole academy over half term to ensure that all students are now on the right curriculum pathway and can maximise attainment in the crucial subjects of maths and English and also access a broad and balanced curriculum as part of a suite of subjects which allows completion of the EBacc and/or high attainment 8 results at the end of year 11. I would like to thank students who have been very flexible as they have worked with senior leaders to suggest changes to their individual subjects and congratulate them on making good choices. We will continue to fund private tuition in maths and English within the academy and aim this predominantly at year 11 students to assist them in preparation for their key exams this summer. We continue to benefit from support from directors across a range of subjects and we are also pleased to still offer both after school progress clubs and breakfast clubs for key year 11 students. Can I please urge you to check your child's planner for information on whether they have been requested to attend any of the above and I urge you to stress the importance of being in these sessions to your child.

STEPs (Student Tracking of Effort and Progress)

As of next half term you will receive a copy of your child's progress reports every 6-7 weeks. This report will outline the forecast grade for the end of year 11 (or year 10 for subjects entering early) for every subject they study and the effort level for each subject too. At the end of each data entry cycle, staff will identify 6 students who could achieve more and systematically intervene to get them back on track. Selected non-teaching members of staff will also write a detailed report and present this to SLT after each cycle so that we are aware of the exact position of some of the most vulnerable students.

Pledges, Enrichment and Student Voice

These initiatives will be rolled out over the next few weeks and further information will be provided to students and Parents / Carers at the appropriate time.

Collaboration

We all need to work together to ensure much needed improvement is sustained quickly. It is crucial at this key time that the senior leadership team of this academy receive your support to make some hard choices but ones that, ultimately, they know will have the best impact on students. Parents and carers have a key role in avoiding a culture where poor behaviour and poor choices are condoned. Can I please urge you to support the academy in its focus on providing your child with a safe, secure, respectful learning environment resulting in outcomes which gives all of our students the life chances they deserve after their time at the academy ends.

Thank you for your time and support in reading this update. I appreciate there is a lot of information to be processed but hopefully this demonstrates the pace that I want us to work at after half term. I see a lot of potential when I walk around the academy and I hope that the next update will proudly inform you of much improved progress in students learning across all subjects.

Yours Faithfully

Mr M. Robson

Executive Principal