24 Apr

What a week, thank you to all our families, students and staff.

I would like to share with you that Miss Gordon and myself received a lovely e-mail on Monday afternoon this week. It was from Kirsty Hewett, the Relationship Manager at SSAT (The Schools, Students and Teachers Network) and she was informing us that Hollinwood Academy has been awarded an SSAT SEND Exceptional Outcomes Award in recognition of its innovative practice and the impact it has on SEND learners..

We are obviously extremely proud of this achievement and it was lovely to read some of the Facebook comments from families. I do have to draw your attention to a lovely comment written by Bethany who left Hollinwood Academy in Summer 2019 as she was in our Year 11 cohort and who is now accessing further education. She stated:

‘Amazing school and all of the staff there are amazing too. I’m so lucky to have been able to attend such a brilliant school, it was the best thing that ever happened to me! While I was there I gained confidence which I never had before, and I was able to finally figure out what I wanted to do at college after years of not knowing (thanks to one teacher in particular and her amazing business & enterprise lessons!)
I miss Hollinwood academy so much and I’ll be forever grateful to all of the staff who helped me, supported me and most importantly believed in me 

This award is so well deserved 

It is always a privilege to work and support our amazing students but to receive this message from a past student just highlights the reasons why Hollinwood Academy has received this recognition. Thank you to all the staff, students and families that make this possible.

This week, Showbie has been ‘buzzing’ again and there has been lots of wonderful work that we would like to Showcase. Mrs Needham has picked out some of the fabulous work and highlights that we have seen on Showbie this week..

This week has seen our return to remote learning after the Easter break. I hope everyone had a chance to have some fun and relaxation, even in such unusual circumstances. We have had some lovely reports on how our new way of learning is having a positive impact.

The current lockdown hasn’t been easy for anyone; having to stay home, occupy and home-educate your children is no simple task. Some children have really struggled to cope with the change in routine and the different structure involved with home learning. However, for some it has been an experience that has meant relationships have changed and blossomed into a new and beautiful understanding of each other.

This is most definitely the case for Katie and her mum Janet. Ms Lerigo explains below..

“Katie loves structure, loves being at school and seeing her friends and her teachers. She relies on this routine to stay calm and happy, like a lot of our students at Hollinwood. Katie really struggled in the first few weeks of lockdown and couldn’t fully understand the reasons why she couldn’t be at school, constantly asking for “the academy” and finding it really hard to cope with the situation. This meant that Mum and Katie had to work hard to make good of these trying circumstances.

I have been in regular contact with Katie’s Mum and the transition from Mum to Teacher-Mum has been amazing to witness. Katie’s Mum in an email said……


“I can’t believe I am saying this because in the beginning it was hard, but it is slowly becoming a pleasure”.

Mum goes on to say,

“Katie has been fortunate to have two rocks, her brother and sister who have been part of the journey and been involved in learning tasks. The main credit goes to Katie for proving her mum wrong, that at the right pace and given task, she’s really smart!! She’s digged deep to adapt into a new routine even though everyday she asks to come back to school!! It’s becoming less stressful, and a positive, Katie is in a good place and just needs to know there is light at the end of rainbow!!”

The situation we are in at the moment is one we will hopefully never have to contend with again, however this success story is testimony to how resilient we can all be despite stressful circumstances. I am so proud of Katie and I am thrilled to see her thriving and enjoying her Mum’s company, as well as her excellent teaching. Some things just make the job worthwhile, and happy children and happy parents are top of the list for being one very happy class teacher.

There is a rainbow Katie and the pot of gold at the end of it will be when you return back to Hollinwood Academy.

Stay safe everyone!

Staff have also contacted me to share good news. Here’s a note from the static group teachers, Ms Meadows & Ms Fletcher :

“We are so proud of all the hard work that the young people in the static groups have been doing. We have been getting creative with some Spanish greetings and apps like Toontastic! Alfie has worked very hard on his pronunciation, Mr Francos would be proud!

We are becoming fantastic bakers and chefs during this lockdown; we have made some how-to videos for you all to enjoy! Katie made some delicious looking bread, if you need a cheesecake recipe, look no further than Christie’s video! William and Jenson made some delicious, balanced meals this week, with a meal review! We have also done lots of Living Skills at home, like changing beds and general tidying up! What superstars!

We have also spent lots of time focusing on Art colouring activities/ mindfulness, there has been some fine motor practice going on with Origami too! Daanish and Olivia have been entertaining us with their doodle artwork, these are bright and colourful! We are so proud of all your amazing hard work and how you are using your resilience skills to remain safe, happy and calm during this lock down! All the staff at Hollinwood are missing being at school with you all, keep up the good work with your online learning! Fantastic effort!”

Miss Grimsley reports that Lenni has done some fantastic work this week exploring different colours. He was able to match colours when doing his fine motor activity and listen to the name of the colours too. Things got a bit messy when he made rainbow spaghetti and rice then put it on his trampoline! He had a great time jumping up and down and watching the rice bounce everywhere. Fantastic work Lenni !

Ms Woodhead’s star of the week is Caelan. Caelan is not alone in struggling to adapt to this new way of learning, but this week he has really impressed with his home learning. Well done Caelan and keep it up!

It has been suggested to us all that lockdown can be an opportunity to learn new skills. Oscar, in Ms Shin’s class, has certainly taken this on board, learning the alphabet in sign language. He has been practising representing numbers in different ways, including baking and making rainbows. What an inspiration!

We finished last term with some beautiful arts and crafts and our students pick up where they left off with even more stunning creations..

Freya made this lovely kite. Perfect for the windy weather we had earlier this week!

Oscar making his mark!

William has been practising some tricky origami..

There has been lots of learning in Maths this week. Here are a few words from Ms Parkinson & Ms Potts..

Our ‘Daily Hi’ is ever popular. Here’s Ivy transformed into a mermaid..

Freya & Ivy deliver a splashing Daily Hi from their paddling pools..

And finally, Lana shares the Barbie house she is making with us..

There has been plenty of learning in English too. Caelan has been practising his spellings..

Oscar has been learning his alphabet using sign language..

Oscar has been reading a story with Ms Shin..

Lana has been using a word app..

Daanish has written a lovely comic story..

Our students’ baking and culinary skills continue to impress us!

As you know, the students are using ICT to access other subjects while they learn remotely. Here’s Jacob using his ICT skills to make a fabulous superhero video..

Caelan using purple mash..

Working from home gives our students hands on experience with essential living skills. Here’s Christie, Connor, Jenson, Solomon, William helping around the house..

We may all be limited to our own homes, but this isn’t stopping Alfie thinking of places further afield! Here he is practising his Spanish. Bravo Alfie!

Thankfully, the weather is still on our side and our students are taking full advantage. Here’s Jacob enjoying the outdoors..

Pupils continue to spread the message of hope through creating beautiful rainbows..

We have seen lots of learning in Science..

Lenni and Leo have been engaging in sensory play..

Thursday was St. George’s Day and this was celebrated by our students. Some brilliant artwork by Thomas and Zachary..

I’d like to end this, our first blog of the summer term, by thanking everyone for their continued support and, of course, our wonderful students for their brilliant work.

Amazing work – thank you and keep up the hard work next week.

Next week, families who are entitled to free school meals will receive another e-voucher via ParentPay. Natalie Ames will send families who are entitled to Free School Meals an e-mail on Wednesday that includes your e-voucher for the next four weeks. If you have not received this by Wednesday afternoon can you let the team know when they contact you next week and we will look into this. The Government are advising that the busiest times to register your code and claim your voucher online are between 8am and 4pm Monday to Thursday but we are finding that the website can be very busy between 8am and 9pm each day. We recommend registering codes in the evening or over the weekend. Once you have registered your code and have applied for your voucher, it can take up to 7 days for your voucher to be emailed and if vouchers are lost, we are unable to issue a new code. Aldi has now been added to the scheme and can be chosen as the supermarket to spend your voucher in. Unfortunately, school have no control over the online portal. There is huge demand for the service with over £11million worth of vouchers being claimed over the past two weeks. Please be patient and if you do have any problems or you are struggling to access this please let us know and we can support you.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Take care, stay safe and stay inside.


Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can find all our previous blog entries here