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Principal’s Messages 15th October

With the half term flying by, the penultimate week has proven to be another busy one with much to reflect on. The week began on a highly positive note with achievement breakfasts for students in Year 7 and 11 who routinely demonstrate exemplary habits of learning in terms of their classwork, behaviour and home learning.

On Wednesday, targeted Year 10 and 11 students received advice and guidance on successful study habits from our Learning Performance partners; Mr Owen reported that the students’ engagement was excellent and that they received some superb, practical advice to guide them through their GCSE studies. To support this, and linked to World Mental Health Day, Miss Leather led an ‘Exam-Fit, Stress-Less’ workshop with targeted Year 11 students. This is a pilot programme intended to mentally prepare students for the forthcoming mock exams, affording them an opportunity to explore strategies and tools to help them develop a more ‘exam fit’ mindset. Miss Leather reported that she received very positive feedback from the students who took part; the next workshop will be held on Wednesday 17 October.

On Wednesday we also welcomed the parents/carers of our new Year 7 students for a ‘settling-in’ evening which afforded them the opportunity to meet Mrs Postins, Head of Year, and tutors to review the first weeks of secondary education and reflect on recently awarded attitude to learning scores for classwork, behaviour and homework. We were delighted with the 86% turnout and the positive feedback received, summarised by one parent who wrote to their son’s tutor, “It was great to hear how our son has been doing…your enthusiasm for his future and the great things ahead really made us smile. Our son is really happy at Longsands and we certainly love seeing his confidence and personality grow from all he is experiencing.”

On Thursday we held a post-16 options event for Year 11 students and their parents/carers. This is the first time we have run an event of this size and it was a pleasure to welcome employers, training providers, colleges and universities into the Academy. The aim of the evening was to provide students with impartial and independent advice and guidance on all of the routes available to them at 16 and 18. It was lovely to see students engaging with employers in such a positive manner. We hope that the evening gave a flavour of the jobs and opportunities that are available to our students and helped to raise their aspirations about their future careers and educational pathways. On the evening, it was great to also great to meet  Colour Sergeant Waters who returned to the academy he attended. Matt was excited to have a look around the school, which he attended in the mid 1980’s. He recognised quite a few areas including the location of his locker, the E corridor where he was taught RE, the Ritchie Hall and he asked whether we still have an ice cream van come on site – alas we do not!

Finally, it is a regular privilege and pleasure when I embark on my thrice-weekly learning & behaviour walks around the academy, a duty shared among all senior colleagues. This week has been no different as I have witnessed happy and engaged children across all subject areas, enjoying and achieving in their learning. I have attached some images to illustrate these experiences which range from students up to their elbows in lungs to a quiet focus on English texts. Your children continue to impress and you should feel proud of them.

Martin Paine