15 May

Well what a week! I started my week off Sunday evening listening to the announcements made to the nation about the Covid-19 lockdown exit strategy which included the planned phased return to school for students from the 1st June should the government consider it is safe to do so. Additional guidance was then published with specific guidance for schools. On this note, I would like to draw your attention to the following update from Graham:

As you will be aware, this week the government has announced the aspiration for more children, in mainstream schools, to return to school sites.  Mainstream schools will be expected to support more children, in years R, YR1 and YR6 from the 1st June.  The guidance for all our schools is different and outlined below.

In relation to Special Schools, the government state:

‘Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools will work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups.’

Special Schools are not expected to work to the same timelines as mainstream schools.  Many of our children have additional and specific needs that need to be particularly considered.   I can assure you that eventual safe re-opening of our schools continues to be our aim – but we need your support to co-produce these next steps.

We have spent the past few weeks working on a comprehensive strategy that relates to our ‘New Schooling’ offer, how this might look and how this will impact children, families and staff. We are hoping that by next Wednesday, we will be in a position to contact all of our families to consult upon this strategy and to get your collective views on how we move forward as a community. It has never been more important to work together to ensure that we get this right for our children.

We will however ensure that our children and young people continue to access our outstanding and personalised virtual learning offer. The Trust is working tirelessly to ensure that any decisions made for the future are the safe and right decisions for our staff, children and young people. Ultimately, our overarching priority continues to be that:

“We will maintain and secure the health and safety of every single child, young person and member of staff.”

We currently continue to have a very small number of young people attending schools that are children of key workers and these arrangements will continue. We are well aware that many other families are experiencing particular challenges. The last thing we want to do is place families under more pressure.  We’ve got to keep you, our children and staff safe.

Take care,

Graham

I can only echo what Graham has stated, that the health and safety of every single child, young person and member of staff is integral. It is my personal view that the planned re-opening of schools from the Government is premature and unrealistic.  This presents a significant risk to students, staff and families. Any decisions or actions taken by the school will be done so with a priority focus; the health and safety of all our students, staff and families.  As the Head of Hollinwood Academy, I want nothing more than the corridors filled with students and staff but it has to be right and safe. As a Mother myself, I have the difficult decision whether or not to send my girls back to school at this moment despite the current plans to re-open schools before the Summer break. Yes, I want my girls to be back at school. Yes, they miss their teachers and friends. Yes, I want them to be educated. However, ultimately I want my girls to be safe! This is no reflection on their school as it is an Outstanding provision within Oldham that has amazing staff but I am not sure I want my girls to return to school with the current risks. As it stands currently, Oldham remains an area with a significantly high infection rate and this may create some difficulties when we start to ease our lockdown restrictions. The Manchester Evening News reported recently that Oldham was in the top 15 hotspots for the rate of infection in the country. I appreciate that this is a personal view and that everyone’s circumstances are different but I felt it important to share with you my thoughts, for what they are worth, at this stage.

For the past 8 weeks, the students from Hollinwood Academy have not attended their normal educational setting but over these weeks the staff have worked tirelessly to make sure the students’ education has not been put at a disadvantage and they have gone above and beyond to support families providing essential support and individualised interventions daily. The learning platform Showbie has enabled the students to carry on with their education with minimal disruptions as possible. Again, I can only speak from personal opinion here when I compare the package my own daughters have received from their school. Also, as I read through and watch the media of families who have only received paper based worksheets, that they need to print out, the struggles of working through the worksheets with their child in an attempt to engage them in learning. I can honestly say the package set out for the students at Hollinwood Academy is first class, innovating and inspiring as you have witnessed over the past 8 weeks with the fabulous work we share on the weekly blog and this is only a snapshot of the work we receive. The students have been able to communicate with their friends daily via the Daily Hi and chat function which has enabled them to still talk and engage with each other. Our Showbie package is just another way of educating, communicating and encouraging our students. I love to view the students’ work on Showbie, so let’s see what has been happening this week…

This week we have allowed pupils to catch up on their learning. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff that have reassured them, developed their confidence and encouraged them to stick with it. Pupils continue to amaze us with a commitment to their learning. We truly have an amazing team at Hollinwood Academy.

This week is national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, if you would like to thank your teacher or a member of staff at Hollinwood Academy please send a short video or a picture in to the Daily Hi via Showbie on Wednesday 20th May. On this day let’s flood Showbie with thanks.

In Maths this week pupils have been catching up on their learning on Mathletics. Pupils continue to achieve certificates by earning over 1000 points in a week. Well done! If you would like to know your child’s login details for Mathletics please let a member of staff know via Showbie.

It’s been all about measurements this week in Maths, from looking at perimeter in secondary, to making the longest caterpillar in EYFS, measuring liquids in key stage 2 and in key stage 1..

Xander has been preparing his garden for artificial grass; he used his Maths skills to help measure it out!

I love seeing photos of pupils enjoying using their mental maths skills through the use of games, keep these coming in!

Ms Rudge was blown over by Ethan’s pop art piece that he created through adobe illustrator on his iPad..

Ms Collinson is continually impressed by Lenni’s home learning. Ms Collinson reports that Lenni has been very busy and has done some wonderful work this week. Lenni has had lots of fun being creative making a huge snake (as seen in earlier in the blog) and some lovely jellyfish. Lenni has also been reading the story ‘The very hungry caterpillar’ and has made a caterpillar which he then fed some spinach. Well done Lenni, keep up the amazing work and send it in for us to see.

Corey has finally finished this amazing T-Rex, it is totally roarsome!

If you would like to make one like Corey you can find the instructions here: https://twitter.com/DarrellWakelam/status/1261296207697186816/photo/1

Leo has been very creative this week and has made a beautiful flower and a 3D self portrait..

The culinary skills of our pupils are looking more adventurous each week. From homemade pies, to delicious desserts, our pupils can really make it all! Absolutely wonderful!

Ms Sanderson has had some outstanding Humanities learning produced over the last week. Pupils had to complete 7 tasks on a country of their choosing and create a dish from that country. Mai made a Russian Sharlotka, Oliver made a McDonalds take-away from the USA and Ethan produced a fact file on Japan.

Staff have been encouraging pupils to become more independent and helpful around the home whether its making and planning meals or helping with the housework. Keep up the great work!

Pupils continue to look after their fitness and mind by working out with Joe Wickes or doing yoga..

Pupils have been enjoying the great outdoors this week from building dens and tents to exploring the countryside..

The rainbows continue to shine bright at Hollinwood Academy..

The deadline for the MAT ‘We Can Make It’ competition was Friday and we have had some great entries. Good luck everyone and thank you to those who have entered. Mr Bright will be announcing who the lucky winners are.

In the midst of our current situation, Miss Gordon and myself have very much been looking to the future and planning for September 2020 as this week, we have interviewed, virtually and safely from our homes, for two teaching posts to join our ever-growing team. The field has been extremely strong so far and we will be finishing these interviews off Monday and Tuesday next week and hopefully we will have appointed two successful candidates and I can share this good news with everyone next week.

Take care, stay safe and stay inside.

Mrs Millard

You can find all our previous blog entries here