17 May

Well, what a very surreal week at Hollinwood Academy. As I mentioned last week, we have had Key Stage 2 SATs, a GCSE, Super Learning Day and the Year 8 Disney residential.

I am immensely proud of the students this week. I have seen resilience, strength, determination and self-belief as they have battled with their worries, anxieties, nerves and fears to name a few. From residentials to SATs and then GCSE, our students have overcome many barriers and never cease to amaze me. Here are some of our Year 6 students having a relaxing day and celebrating the end of their SATs..

Our young Year 6 students showed true spirit during an emotionally challenging time for them and we are proud of the commitment they showed and wish them every success.

As you all know, Tuesday saw some of our Year 8 students head off to Disneyland, Paris. Miss Meadows has captured their journey and experiences for us all to enjoy…

This week our Year 8 pupils went on the Disneyland Paris residential in France. We set off at 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning with 10 excited Hollinwood Academy students and 7 members of staff. We were all ready for a truly magical Disney experience and it delivered!

The students were absolutely incredible this week and we are so proud of all their achievements. Ronnie was unsure and anxious of the rides at first, but on the second day he was hanging upside down with Mr Valentine off any rollercoaster and he loved it! He was incredibly kind to Tobias, they were having a brilliant time pushing the wheelchair around the parks and it was fantastic to see a new friendship developing between them. The Hollinwood pupils and staff made a big group for the park days, all 10 young people were respectful of each other’s ability and ensured everyone got to do what they wanted to do. They waited, listened and their behaviours were outstanding. Everyone had different things that they did or enjoyed. Tobias smiled the whole trip, he made lots of new friends and he was also ready to hang upside down from anything! His enthusiasm was great all day and we laughed so much!

Caitlin loved the fast rides too, she spent the second day with Mr Quinn going on the biggest rollercoasters they could find, I don’t think she stopped all day! Caitlin was very confident, she tried to encourage Miss Meadows to try Space Mountain which is a rollercoaster which goes upside down and shoots the rider up very quickly! They made a pinky promise that Miss Meadows would try it and Miss Wheeler and Miss Meadows went on together with great regret (never again).

This was Delta’s first time abroad and she loved it! She is quite a thrill seeker too! She loved the big rides, got some character autographs and loved lots of the new, interesting foods that she ate! She has made lots of happy memories in Disney that I know she will treasure forever. It was lovely to see her and Caitlin becoming closer, laughing and smiling together! Michael also loved his Disney experience! He went on lots of big rollercoasters, he made friends with lots of people, he made all the staff laugh and he kept everyone smiling! His favourite ride was NEMO. I think that is a superb choice!

Sam made me smile throughout the trip, he absolutely loved it! He became friends with everyone, he looked after everyone in the group, and genuinely cared about young people and staff members’ wellbeing. He ensured everyone got to pick rides and encouraged everyone onto rides! He also loved the big rides and was very kind to Ronnie when he was feeling anxious. It was great to see them running and playing together for the full two days! Solomon also showed how helpful and kind he is while in Disney. He was helping with Tobias’ wheelchair, asking people what they wanted to do and having a brilliant time! He is a massive thrill seeker and he even said some of the massive rides were too ‘boring’. We had to find even bigger ones for him to have a go on! He made us laugh all week, he smiled lots and thoroughly had a fantastic time!

We haven’t seen much of Leo during the park days this week. We are incredibly proud of the way Leo handled this trip. Leo is Miss Meadows’ inspiration, he will dangle from anything. He spent his week with Mr Quinn’s fast group. This was made up of students from Spring Brook and he quickly made friends. Whenever I saw Leo, he was beaming! I am so pleased for Leo, I don’t think he stopped for 2 days! I saw him running back to the bus on the first day of being at the parks and I thought wow, he’s still got energy to spare! His favourite ride was Space Mountain… again I think that is a super choice (never again… Miss Meadows!!!).

Alex and Ethan enjoyed the slower rides and some smaller rollercoasters like Thunder Mountain and the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride! They loved going into the gift shops, looking at the endless Disney merchandise, we watched a parade and we found the biggest LEGO shop we had ever seen! It was full of LEGO sets! We were in our element! They both met lots of new friends and we hope that these relationships last and continue when they get back to school.

I got an email from a parent while we were on the trip and it said, ‘I have just been looking at the pictures on Facebook. I feel very overwhelmed with emotions for what the staff have done for the young people by taking them away. The smiles on all their faces is priceless. It has put a smile on my face this week and I’m sure as staff you feel the same. Not only have the kids got smiles ear to ear, so have the staff. I hope you all feel proud of the jobs you do, you should do because I am very proud of you all!”.

I think it sums up the trip perfectly! The staff are immensely proud of our young people and are humbled to be developing memories and life skills for these students. We have worked with them for some time but nothing compares to the satisfaction of seeing how they develop over a Disney residential! The staff had smiles from ear to ear because of an amazing set of young people. A massive well done to Caitlin, Delta, Solomon, Alex, Ronnie, Leo, Sam, Ethan, Alex and Michael. We are all extremely tired but agree it has been a fantastic residential for all involved, young people and staff! Where do I sign up for next year? I can’t wait. The magic of Disney strikes again!

WOW!! What an experience for our students. You are a credit to our school and I am so proud of you all and the barriers some of you have overcome this week. I can’t wait to hear all about your time at Disney and see your pictures (there are lots more in our Disney Facebook album here).

On Thursday, the whole MAT took part in a Super Learning Day. The theme this term was ‘kindness in different religions’. Here are a few of the activities and learning that took place across the school.

Mrs Woodhead’s class created a ‘Bee Kind Hive’. They talked about what they could do to be kind and how it makes people feel. They then made honey flapjacks and shared them with their friends.

Mrs Dunsdon’s class have looked at different ways to be kind. They took part in different kindness activities including making a kind hands tree, working together to create some art, sharing their toys, looking after their new friend the caterpillar and making cakes for friends and families.

Mrs Lomax’s class created a ‘kindness tree’ outside their classroom. All the students and staff were invited to write a message on a kind leaf to make their Kindness Tree to share the different acts of kindness people have shown towards each other. This was truly beautiful and too good not to share. This is now based in the reception area at Hollinwood Academy..

Miss Parkinson’s class had a wonderful day filled with kindness. We started off the day sharing compliments to all our friends and then shared an assembly with Miss Shin’s class; we were all very kind and welcomed another class to share our assembly. We noticed that in every religion ‘kindness’ is a key message to all of their followers.

In the afternoon we shared our kindness with our friends and wrote the acts on love hearts and placed them on our kindness tree in class..

We were also lucky enough to have some special visitors in the form of tadpoles, as a class we have named these; Freddo, Taddy, Plod, Wiggle and Tadina! We are showing our kindness by looking after them and making sure they are healthy and happy..

Mr Corrigan’s class made a Kindness Tree too..

Miss Carpenter’s class looked at Judaism and decided to make some Jewish Hamantaschen pastries to give out to everyone. They also made some blueberry and cherry muffins. Hamantaschen are usually associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim. Haman was a villain in the Purim story so we decided to spread kindness instead and give all ours away, along with a kindness quote..

We gave each and everybody who received our goodies a compliment, which put a smile on their faces..

Mr Rawson’s class would like to share with you their learning..

This week’s morning focus has been Mental Health so every day we have looked at different aspects of mental health and spent time listening to relaxing music in preparation for the day ahead. This week in ICT the class have been using the SPHERO robots and carrying out challenges which the class really enjoyed..

In Science this term we have been looking at the Forces in Physics, so far we have looked at Friction and Gravity. This week we are looking at Air Resistance and the class have been experimenting with parachutes..

The focus in Maths has been Angles and in the lesson on Angles on a Straight Line the class were given 180 degree angles which had been cut up and they had to calculate the missing angle and match it up..

This term’s Super Learning Day was about kindness in religion and the class looked at different religions and how they show kindness to those less fortunate than themselves. The class played Kindness Bingo and then went around to other classes giving out sweets and chocolates to the other children as an act of kindness..

Mr Lawton’s class would like to share with you their learning too..

This term our topic has been ‘Over the Rainbow’. We have been reading a poem about colours and have enjoyed singing songs. The students have had the opportunity to explore colour through different ways.

Last week we went shopping to pick fruits and vegetables that were all different colours. We then had a tasting session with the fruits and vegetables that we bought and the students enjoyed eating some of them BUT didn’t like some of the others we chose. All the students tried each one – BIG ACHIEVEMENT. The students have also been collaging using their favourite fruits.

This week we went to the park and had a look at the different flowers that are in bloom. The students enjoyed the sun and looking at the different colours on the leaves and flowers..

We have also enjoyed some messy play. The students chose different colours of paint and added colours to cream and mixed them together, we had fun and the end result was Mr Lawton and the students having their faces painted!

During Super Learning Day we looked at how we support each other in AB4 regardless of our religion. First, we watched some clips on the interactive board and looked at how we celebrate our religions. We then held hands to show our support for each other.

We then began to create our own handprints and added a small symbolic person in the middle to show that we are always there to give a helping hand..

One of the students came to school this week with a Kufi cap and we had some pictures taken with the cap on. All the students enjoyed making the supportive hands.

Today we had a look at the Coral Reef through the VR goggles. The students found this strange but very enjoyable.

Mr Page would like to share with you the learning that is taking place in the Nurture Group..

This week in Nurture the students have been focusing on Inequalities in Maths. They have been focusing on expressing the relationships between two terms using appropriate symbols and format. They have also been looking at converting these expressions into a variety of different forms.

In English, they have been preparing for their Functional Skills Level 1 exam which they will look to sit next term. In our writing, we have been focusing on developing our ideas into detailed responses that utilise examples, explanations and anecdotes. In our reading, we have been focusing on what presentational skills writers use to organise their texts and what the impact of these are.

In PSHE we have been looking at ‘Aspirations and Goals’ and linking this to mental health. We explored how big goals can be divided into smaller steps to make the larger goal less overwhelming and more manageable. We learnt how action can lead to success and that just by completing one small step, it can improve our self-esteem and make us feel more positive. Then, with every small step completed, we can build momentum towards our bigger goals.

We also celebrated Super Learning Day (focused on the theme of ‘Kindness in World Religions’) by completing an independent research project into the six major world religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. The research project focused on the way that each religion promotes kindness and compassion towards others and we explored how these two values are fundamental to our happiness and well-being.

Miss Carpenter’s students this week the have been looking at where our food comes from and how it grows in their Food Technology lessons. They planted some herbs and radishes on Tuesday and when Miss Carpenter got to school on Friday morning, the radishes had sprouted already. The students are going to use the herbs in some of their dishes and perhaps make a lovely summer salad when the radishes are fully grown.

Year 7 look very pleased with their creations in Food Technology this week. Their task was to make a fruit flan using seasonal ingredients and professional presentation skills. I think you will agree, they definitely met their learning objectives! Well done Year 7.

Some of our Year 10 students have passed their food hygiene course and were presented with their certificates this week. Congratulations to these students and a BIG ‘Thank You’ to Miss Carpenter for supporting our students and helping them create such wonderful dishes.

On Friday 26th April, Mrs Nuttall and Miss Potts’ classes visited Manchester Metropolitan University as part of an enrichment day. The event was held to ensure that children with autism and other disabilities have a better understanding of life at University and how to get there if the children have the aspiration to go.

The day began with a talk in a large lecture theatre where the students were given the outline for the day and some health and safety and housekeeping information. We were in attendance at the event with twelve other schools so we were then split into two groups.

Our first activity of the morning was to come up with ideas about the benefits of going to university and how it can help a young person develop. Our boys came up with some fantastic ideas about how it develops independence and responsibility in terms of managing their own time, money and home. Lots of students live in halls at university so they are responsible for their own cooking, cleaning and washing etc. Our boys recognised that taking charge of these things would foster a sense of independence. The next task involved a quiz where the students had to come up with a list of university courses from A to Z. We did well but struggled with the letters N, W and X!

After our activities had finished, it was our group’s turn for lunch! Everybody was given a voucher to the value of £5.75 to spend in the University restaurant. There was a large selection of food on offer and the boys enjoyed picking their lunch from a large selection and paying as if they were students of the university!

Afterwards, we had a campus tour. University ambassadors took us around the campus and advised us of some facts and figures about the university. It was a large campus but the pupils definitely got a feel for what it would be like to move around day to day if they were to become a student. After our tour, we were taken to another seminar room where the pupils were given lots of information about finance. This involved details about university fees, student loans and grants and the threshold for paying these back. The pupils were pleasantly surprised that they can go to university without paying anything upfront!

All in all it was a great day and an eye-opening experience for the students. We definitely have a few students who are considering going to university after college!

Now to some of our amazing SEAL Superstars and our Stars of the Week:

  • Mrs Dunsdon’s class:
    SEAL Superstar: Jacob

  • Mr Corrigan’s class:
    Star of the Week: Tyler for some outstanding Literacy work this week

SEAL Superstar: Amario for engaging really well with his friends at play times

  • Mrs Woodhead’s class:
    Star of the Week: Henry for coping well with changes

SEAL Superstar: Madison for being a kind friend and sharing

  • Mrs Lomax’s class:
    Star of the Week: Byron for doing some excellent work especially in Maths with his money work and in English working on his African story setting

SEAL Superstar: Nimra for being a very good friend by helping one of her friends that was worried

  • Miss Parkinson’s class:
    Star of the Week: Zachary

SEAL Superstar: Charlie

  • Miss Collinge’s class:
    Star of the Week: Maia, Finlay, Aaron and Daley for their attitude to the SATs

SEAL Superstar: Daley for finding better ways to manage his feelings without hurting others

  • Mr Rawson’s class:
    Star of the Week: Olivia for being very creative in music!

Well done everyone! As you are aware, building work will commence next week for the new extension to ensure this is ready for September 2019. The extension will replace the existing MUGA and provide 8 new classrooms.

As of next week, portable cabin containers will be situated at the front of the MUGA and heavy machinery will be active throughout the build. The health and safety of our students is paramount. We have made alternative arrangements for students to travel safely from one building to the next during lesson time, however I am seeking your support before and after school. This is an extremely busy time and the traffic flow increases dramatically; please encourage your child not to gravitate towards the building site. Children must not wait near this area.

Next week is a very busy week for some of our Year 10 and Year 11 cohort students. They will be sitting their Maths GCSE, Paper 1 on Tuesday 21st May at 9am, their Science IGCSE, Paper 2 on Wednesday 22nd May at 1.30pm and their English Literature GCSE, Paper 2 on Thursday 23rd May at 9am. What a tough week but again I wish you all good luck and try your very best!!

On Friday 24th May, we finish for the May half term and school will re-open on Monday 3rd June. School will be open during this week for Holiday Club and students should now have received their timetables. I cannot believe we will only have one half term left until the end of the academic year! What a year it has been so far!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,


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