06 Dec

Well, what a week to officially start my Headship!! If this week is anything to go by, I think I am thoroughly going to enjoy my new role as Headteacher of Hollinwood Academy.

The festive cheer is certainly in full swing at Hollinwood Academy. There is glitter all over the floor, students singing Christmas songs and staff getting into their character roles for the staff pantomime – oh yes they are! Some of our Key Stage 3 and 4 students: Aaron, Josh, Cameron, Dekon, Maia, Ethan, Daley, Danny, Katie, Neive, Ciara, Karl and Ellie having been working super hard with Miss Rudge over the last few weeks on our MAT Christmas production. Every year, Hollinwood pupils join together with pupils from New Bridge School, Medtia and The Learning Centre. Every year, our Christmas production cast members decide on a theme and performance idea together as a group. This year, they have decided to create a piece based on ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’. They have made their own props during Art lessons with Miss Rudge and had such a giggle during rehearsals on Monday lunchtimes! I can’t wait to see this next week.

On Monday morning, New Bridge School – New Bridge, Medtia and The Learning Centre – had the Ofsted call and the inspectors visited all three sites on Tuesday and Wednesday. This resulted in Mr Quinn phoning myself Monday afternoon asking me to attend the Apple Accessibility conference on behalf of the New Bridge MAT in Milan, Italy from Wednesday to Friday. After a short turn over, I managed to change the name on the flight, sort child care out for my girls and I was off to Milan!!

Whilst in Milan, I met with John Hurst who is one of Apple’s Development Executives for Education. On Monday 25th November, the MAT welcomed John and 12 delegates from Apple’s Northern Europe team to visit Hollinwood Academy and the others schools within the MAT. It gave Apple and the school leaders the opportunity to share the amazing work and impact that the iPads have had within the school but to also have professional and collaborative discussions on how we can further support and enhance technology. John had nothing but positive praise regarding the school’s use of technology and the feedback that we have had is remarkable.

Since we started the 1:1 project, the students and staff have come a long way. Having the opportunity to attend the Milan Apple Accessibility conference just confirmed the opportunities that the iPads can bring to so many of our students’ lives and the impact this has on their learning is unbelievable. Out of Apple’s six core values, Education and Accessibility are two of these and I left the conference feeling enlightened, empowered and thrilled as we are definitely at the forefront of using technology in the classroom. I saw a wonderful demonstration of the use and accessibility the iPad has brought to a visually impaired Apple Distinguished Educator: Daniela Rubio.

Daniela uses the voice over, screen reader and a Braille touch screen keyboard to help her access her iPad as they have the power to be unique and accessible to everyone. Listening to a number of School Stories and reflecting on the students at Hollinwood Academy, the use of the iPads has given all of the students independence and I am seeing this in abundance as I walk around Hollinwood Academy as they are transferring their skills in the classroom environment. What the Milan Apple Accessibility conference did confirm to me is that we are right up there with the cutting edge of technology, providing a learning environment and school that is accessible, personalised, creative and bespoke to all of the students at Hollinwood Academy.

Whilst in Milan, John introduced me to Ben Calverley and Alison Davies who are from the Family Fund, a charity that provides grants for families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. Last year, they provided 89,423 grants or services worth over £36 million to families across the UK. They believe that all families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people should have the same opportunities as others. They aim to support this by providing grants for a wide range of essential items such as washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, clothing and computers/tablets. The most recent grants that Family Fund has been supporting families in is getting iPads for students to have at home and providing training for parents/carers. With this in mind, I have invited Ben and Alison to Hollinwood Academy to show them the use and benefit the iPads have had in school. We will also discuss some dates for potential iPad training for parents/carers and dates for families to come to school to speak to Ben and Alison to see if you are able to apply for the grants. I will keep you all posted on the dates when these have been confirmed.

Let’s take a closer look at the work some of the classes have been doing this week. Miss Simms’ class would like to share with you their learning…

In English we have been reading a story about a very greedy frog named Tiddalick! This is a story about a frog who drank all the water in the rivers and lakes and did not leave any for the other animals. Don’t worry – KS2MSS brought Tiddalick into the police station to find out why he was so greedy! We then had a go at writing our own story with a different character and we focused on using adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions in our writing. We are authors in the making!

In Maths we have been working on our multiplication. We have used cubes, number squares and songs to help us count in steps of 3, 4 and 8. We loved practising our turn taking and social skills by playing a multiplication board game.

“The Drop goes Plop” has been our Topic focus for this half term. We have loved exploring water and learning all about the water cycle. We even set up our own water cycle experiment in the classroom so we could see the water cycle in action! Inside our plastic bags we were able to watch the process of evaporation, condensation and precipitation.

In Science we have been exploring solids, liquids and gases. We did an amazing job at conducting lots of experiments to explore melting and cooling. It was also lots of fun exploring gases and watching our balloon blow up by itself! The best part of this topic was making our own chocolate to observe reversible and non-reversible changes.

In Art we have used lots of water-based materials to create different designs. To create our art work we used coloured ice and bubbles.

We have been learning how to keep safe by exploring fire safety. We are able to recognise things that are hot and cold as well as being able to identify scenarios which are safe and unsafe. It was lots of fun dressing up as firefighters for the morning!

This half term we were extremely lucky and got to visit Rochdale Odeon to watch the film “Johnny English Strikes Again.” The children represented Hollinwood Academy amazingly and did us all proud.

Finally, the class received a very special visitor this week! Snowball the special classroom elf arrived in class on Monday to watch over the children for Santa. He is making sure we are all making good choices but we are not sure he is doing the same! Snowball gets up to a bit of mischief when we are not in the classroom…

Miss Rudge is the glitter queen as the festive season approaches, she would like to share her week as the Creative Arts lead at school…

What an exciting time we are all having in Creative Arts this week! Rehearsals are well underway for the pupil Christmas performance and we have all been having the best, stickiest, glitter filled time creating the props for the show! This year’s performance is based on ‘Times are changing and marking the moments’. Our secondary pupils are hard at work on this show, with our primary pupils working very hard on their wonderful Nativity too! How wonderful!!

Our Communication group at Hollinwood have been working hard on a festive collaboration project. We are working on creating our own Christmas Hand Tree…How beautiful are our baubles! Lots to add on in the next few weeks, but we are getting there!

On Tuesday after school, Miss Rudge led an Art workshop for all teaching staff. Every year, Art teachers across the Oldham borough join together in a number of Art networking meetings. These meetings are such a great chance for Art teachers from all of the local secondary schools to share great practice in Creative Arts. During these meetings, we take turns to lead workshops in the form of a creative workshop. Most recently, we were treated to an inspiring workshop on creating visual journals to aid cross-curricular learning through the use of creativity. The ever so talented Ms Hughes from Newman RC College led the workshop, and we were all able to create wonderful journals to take back to our own schools. Miss Rudge took back these new skills to our own staff and we all gave it a go. We are now planning to use these journals in a range of ways including; literature summary booklets, artist research journals, social story booklets and timetables revision.

Miss Parkinson’s class would like to share with you their lovely learning too…

This week, Miss Parkinson’s class visited Heaton Park with Mr Heap for our outdoor education lesson. The children really enjoyed walking around the park and looking at all the different, beautiful lanterns from the Lightopia festival. There were lots of lanterns to see from a range of animals to a giant Christmas present (which I think may have been the children’s favourite!). We also had lots of fun spotting wildlife and really enjoyed watching a squirrel climb a tree and balance on the branches, we also had a laugh at one squirrel being really cheeky and sitting on top of bins!

In Maths, we used an app on our iPads called ‘Dragonbox numbers’. This app teaches children all the ins and outs of numbers in a fun way! The children use characters called ‘Nooms’ and are able to play 4 different activities that embed place value knowledge.

In English, we continued our learning around the story ‘The Stickman’. Our class love this story and all the children like to join in when we read the book. They have all made their own Stickman storyboard by placing pictures in the correct order and retelling the story.

We have also started our countdown to Christmas and have had lots of fun making some Christmas decorations! 🙂

Miss Fletcher’s class have been very busy this week…

This week has been a great week for Miss Fletcher’s class. The students have settled in really well to their new class/school and have been working hard in all subjects.

In English, we have been looking at the Michael Morpurgo story ‘Coming Home’ and writing diary entries from the perspective of the Robin during his treacherous journey.

In Maths, we have been looking at different multiplication techniques to multiply 3-digit numbers. We have also been practising our times tables every day and have enjoyed playing numerous multiplication games.

In Art, we have been studying Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an artist and architect who focused on modern art. We have been recreating our own versions of his ‘lollypop trees’ using a variety of techniques and tools.

In Living Skills, we have been recreating fire safety videos on how to reduce the risk of fire in our homes. We have learnt who to call in an emergency and safe evacuation procedures in the event of a fire.

In Music, we have learnt how to play ‘Jingle Bells’ on the glockenspiels and we sound amazing even though this was our first time playing it!

In Topic, we have been learning about the water cycle and this week we have started to look in depth at rivers and the important part they play in this cycle. We have learnt about how rivers start and identified some of the main rivers that run through the UK.

This week, Joshua won ‘star of the week’ for his constant positive attitude to learning and hard work. Olivia won ‘hard worker of the week’ for her amazing work in English and Mariam was given a praise postcard for fantastic independent work in Topic, where she was able to research the locations of various rivers in the UK.

Mr Francos’ class are getting ready for Christmas…

Christmas cheer has arrived in our form! We spent some form time decorating our Christmas tree and getting our room ready for Christmas. The students worked well as a team and enjoyed doing something different. Everyone who comes into our form room has been complimenting us on our tree and decorations! Also, to get in the mood we had a colouring competition that was won by Lucas. It was great to see the students sat together, chatting and relaxing.

In Spanish, we have been practising our speaking skills and this week the students did very well asking each other about their fruit preferences!

In Art, we have been making props for the Christmas show and in English, we have been studying the book ‘The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas’. The students have been using their imaginations to put themselves in the place of a character to write a letter to the Grandmother in the book.

In Food Technology, we prepared and made a vegetable/meat curry..

We are all looking forward to the run up to Christmas, including the Hollinwood Academy Christmas Markets, Christmas jumper day and other Christmas treats that are in store.

Now to our amazing SUPER STARs and SEALs..

Miss Shin’s class:
Star of the week – Ethan for riding his bike with a helmet!

Miss Parkinson’s class:
Star is Gerard for being brave having his hair cut
WOW moment for Zack because he coped really well when swimming had to be cancelled

Miss Simms’ class:
Star of the week – Amario for being able to talk about what he enjoyed during his day

SEAL superstar – Thomas for having such a positive week and learning how to keep calm

The whole class got a special WOW moment award from Miss Williams for making good choices and having a positive week

Miss McDonald’s class:
Seal star this week – Liam for finding new ways to control his anger and trying new strategies to help calm himself down
Wow moment – Alfie for making good choices and wearing his ear defenders during Nativity practice so he could stay and join in throughout the entire practice (he struggled to sit in the room at the start of the week).
Dojo winner – Daniel for getting the most dojo points this week in our class!

Mrs Lomax’s class:
Star of the week – Charlie for accepting help from adults when finding things difficult

SEAL Superstar – Amelia for keeping calm when finding something difficult

‘Wow!’ moment – Lucas for being kind and helpful to others

Mr Corrigan’s class:
Star of the week – Lucas for an outstanding piece of independent writing in Literacy this week

SEAL Superstar – Marley for being a great example to others this week with outstanding listening, kindness and work ethic

LEXIA Superstar – Marco

Miss Tootill’s class:
Star of the week- Thomas for being brave while having his bloods taken and not complaining

SEAL Superstar – Ibraaheem for finding new ways to calm down

Dojo winner – Thomas for getting the most dojo points this week in our class!

Well done everyone!

On Thursday, we were pleased to welcome CEREBRA into school to run a Sleep Workshop for our parents. CEREBRA are a charity that work closely with families to find out where help is most needed and then work with their university partners to fund the relevant research. Their research work across neurodevelopmental conditions gives them a unique perspective within the charity research sector. Cerebra’s objectives are to:

  • Use only current, relevant, balanced and trustworthy sources of information and ensure they are clearly referenced
  • Inform parents and carers about different conditions and the issues surrounding these so that they have a better understanding
  • Empower parents and carers to make their own decisions and resolve problems and issues

To find out more visit their website www.cerebra.org.uk  The visit on Thursday was a free sleep workshop for parents and carers, the main focus of the workshop was:

  • To build on families’ knowledge and understanding of sleep and what impacts/improves it
  • To increase parents/carers skills when addressing issues of settling, night waking, early rising and sleeping alone
  • To improve parents/carers confidence to apply information gained to their own situation

The workshop ran from 10am to 2pm and included a lunch. The session was well attended and school have received some very positive feedback and requests for similar events in the future. Keep watching this space and I will keep you informed. Here are some of the comments from the workshop.

  • “brilliant training, so useful and so good to meet other parents”
  • “it can be lonely struggling with ASD this really helped”
  • “it has been useful being among other parents who are in a similar position”
  • “I learnt a lot to help my child”
  • “school nurses put it on at Hollinwood Academy and it was very useful”
  • “great to share ideas and be informed of different things to try. Good opportunity to meet other parents”
  • “would really like more workshops (e.g. aggression in ASD)”

Thank you to all who attended.

We have a very busy two weeks ahead of us as we approach the festive season. Our Year 11 cohort, Mrs Nuttall’s class, will be sitting their mock exams for a range of the subjects. I wish you all good luck (not that you will need it) and I can’t wait to hear the results.

There are a number of key events over the next two weeks:

  • Wednesday 11th December – Key Stage 3 and 4 Christmas Show 11am and 6pm
  • Thursday 12th December – Key Stage 3 and 4 Christmas Show 11am and 6pm
  • Monday 16th December – Primary Nativity at New Bridge theatre 9:45am
  • Tuesday 17th December – Primary Nativity at New Bridge theatre 9:45am
  • Wednesday 18th December – Christmas Jumper Day, Christmas Dinner and Christmas Markets
  • Thursday 19th December – Super Learning Day
  • Thursday 19th December – Hollinwood Academy staff Panto ‘Ella’!
  • Friday 20th December – finish for Christmas holidays
  • Monday 6th January 2020 – School reopens for the Spring term

On Monday 9th December, 10 students have been selected to attend the Winter Wonderland at Media City with Mr Heap – I have asked him to feed back next week as I am sure the students will have an amazing and magical experience.

On Wednesday, Mr Gold was successfully appointed as a permanent member of staff to strengthen our Science curriculum alongside Miss Daniels, when she returns. Congratulations Mr Gold.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Laura

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