20 Nov

With only four weeks left until we break up for Christmas, activities have really begun to have a festive feel at Hollinwood Academy. It is lovely to walk down the corridor and hear classes in the primary department practising their songs for our Nativity. Families should already have had letters – the date to put in your diaries is the morning of Tuesday 15th December. Pupils in Key Stage 1 will be involved in the Nativity montage, Years 3 and 4 will make up the choirs and pupils in Years 5 and 6 will fulfil the role of narrators. We’re also hoping for a musical contribution from some of Year 7 (see the pictures later on in this blog). The performance will take place in the New Bridge School Theatre at around 9:30am but you are welcome earlier as we appreciate that you will be dropping children off at school. Join us for hot drinks and mince pies at Hollinwood Academy from 9am and we will take you across to the theatre once we know that all the performers are dressed and in place! There is no charge for tickets but we do ask that you complete the reply slip so that we know who will be attending.

We ended last week with a fundraising dress-up (or dress-down for many of the older pupils) day for Children in Need. Here are a few photos from the day if you missed them on our Facebook page here


Last week also saw the first meeting of our School Council which I mentioned in my last blog. I am happy to report that many of the suggestions made at the meeting have already had an impact. Here are just a few of the examples:
– The Council said that they wanted more toys and equipment at break and lunchtimes.
 Our response was to allocate a budget of £200 to be managed by the Council themselves.
– The Council said that they wanted some snacks to be available for purchase at break times.
 Our response – Alison in the kitchens is going to draw up a proposed list of reasonably healthy snacks and let us know the costings, Becky will get a letter home for families and we hope to have this available after Christmas.
– The Council asked when the full sets of iPads would be ready.
 Our response – The IT team are working on installing the new apps and these should be in classes before Christmas.
– The Council asked when the library would be ready for use.
 Our response – Some new shelving will be ordered this week and the library should be fully functional before Christmas. The computers are already set up now and ready for use.
– The Council asked if we could have a fish tank in the reception area.
 I have batted this one back to them and asked them to put in a project plan complete with a proposal for size of tank, where it would go, plans for holiday times and costings …. We’ll see what they come up with!

This week I have focused on Mrs Millard’s Year 7 class. I was a little concerned that the older classes might feel camera shy and reluctant for me to feature them in my blog. I needn’t have worried – I have been inundated with photographs throughout the week, so much so that I’m going to keep the text to a minimum and let the pictures tell the story.

Science – I admit these pics were taken last Friday (as you can tell from the lack of uniform) – investigating magnetism, plus a very proud looking Sameh showing off his creative independent work investigating life cycles…


PE – the class have had a specialist teacher visiting the school introducing them to martial arts, including kick boxing…


Swimming – you can see the progression from my previous pictures of younger children using aids in the pool. Here all the pupils are swimming without aids and are making excellent progress…


Geography – the pupils are working on presentation of PowerPoints including research on different countries – language, food, maps, culture, etc…


Drama – in the New Bridge theatre. The group are very confident and expressive, Mrs Preston is thrilled with their enthusiasm and progress…


Maths – working hard, and smiling – always good to see in a maths lesson…


Spanish – learning the language starting with colours…


Music – Mr Bloska has introduced the class to the beauty of brass and although looking at the pictures you might imagine a cacophony of sound actually the effects were showing great musical promise…

Intervention – what’s that, you may well ask! Well, the session is planned as an opportunity to work on any specific areas where pupils need more time to develop skills or understanding across the curriculum. Mrs Millard’s class wanted something a bit more structured so after a class discussion decided they all wanted to run ‘their own lessons’. These will be –

Jack – Drama, Minecraft scenes
Thomas – Science, Magnetism
Sameh – History, Dinosaurs
Danny – Geography, famous landmarks
Nathan – ICT
Connor – Sports, throwing skills
Diego – Minecraft Education

All the boys have created their own lessons, resources and activities in their own time. They have really enjoyed each other’s lessons and have all been respectful and joined in. I think they also liked the fact that Mrs Millard and Mr Davies took part in the lessons too and the boys were able to tell them what to do and how to improve. The photos show a lesson delivered this week by Thomas…


Minecraft – well it isn’t a timetabled lesson, but as you can imagine, many of the class are motivated to bring it in whenever possible. It has proved to support development of social skills. They have enjoyed playing ‘Minecraft’ together during dinner times and ‘free choice’. They have created their own worlds and are working together to help make them better by; building, sharing resources, mining with friends and problem solving. They are doing this by working together as a team and communicating, through ‘chat’ and verbal cues, giving instructions, help and guidance. This has had a huge impact on their friendships as a class. They have found a common ground that they all share and this has brought them closer together as a form…


Finally I have included some pictures of the Year 7 pupils working as ‘buddies’ supporting younger pupils in the soft play area. They have received buddy training and are very clear that their role is to encourage the younger children to play and explore the areas, to interact positively and to set great examples of positive behaviour…


Next week I will be going into the Key Stage 3/4 class with my camera – I wonder if they will be as keen to pose for me?

Have a lovely weekend everyone. I’m keeping an eye on the weather forecast as it looks like a sprinkling of snow is possible and we’re planning to take our new caravan away …. just glad we’re not camping!


  • Click here to read about exciting new developments in Graham’s blog