29 Jan

On Monday I received two fabulous e-mails that make me extremely proud to be the Head at Hollinwood Academy.

The first was Monday morning and it gives me great pleasure to inform families that our extremely talented Miss Rudge has not only been nominated for the National ‘Drama inspiration Award’ but has now been shortlisted for this amazing award along with 5 other teachers across the UK.

Miss Rudge was nominated by a member of staff at Hollinwood Academy and following the judging she was shortlisted in the category Drama Inspiration Award. This is a tremendous achievement and I was informed that she was up against an extremely tough competition but she has made the final 6! The awards will be premiered live at 6.00pm on the 24th March 2021 at https://www.musicdramaedawards.com/ and Facebook Live.
I know all the staff, students, families, Governors and Trustees will all be behind Miss Rudge and you are our winner!

The second was on Monday afternoon as I received a lovely e-mail from a parent…

Just a quick email to let you know that I’m an Area Manager for the Body Shop at Home and I’ve been doing a little fundraising within the community and with my customers and I’ve got a little donation of hand creams and hand sanitisers for the staff at Hollinwood Academy.

On a personal note, I also wanted to say how amazing you all are and especially in such uncertain times. You’ve done everything possible to keep school open and functioning for our precious children and work so hard.

As you can imagine, it was lovely to receive this e-mail and I have to agree that the staff have been amazing throughout this global pandemic. They have risen to every challenge we have been faced with and done so with professionalism, dedication and commitment, I am extremely proud of the staff and students at Hollinwood Academy.

From my fabulous staff to our fabulous students, let’s see some of the highlights from them this week:

Mrs Potts is extremely proud of her form…

I just wanted to say how proud I am of all the hard work the students in my form have put into their mock exams this last 3 weeks. Just the food practical to go next Tuesday and Wednesday and I’m sure they will smash that as well. I look forward to the wonderful smells drifting down the corridor.

Just because the exams have finished that doesn’t mean the work stops, please keep up with your learning whether that is at home or in school as it will all count towards your final grade. We all want you all to get the grade you deserve in summer.

I could not agree more with Mrs Potts, we are extremely proud of all our KS4 students and how they have approached their mocks. Well done and I can’t wait to see what culinary delights they cook up over the next two weeks.

Miss Simms class…

In our topic lessons we have been using Google Earth to find out where we live. Last week we used Apple Clips to put together a video showing where we live on Planet Earth. Well done to Leo for also completing this project at home. Miss Simms and Miss Prescott were incredibly impressed with our creations!

In our Science lessons we have been looking at dissolving. We investigated if sugar could dissolve in different liquids. 

We also had a go at using lemon juice to create an invisible message!

On Friday it was the Big Garden Birdwatch! We spent the week designing our own bird feeder, researching and drawing birds. On Friday, we created our bird feeders and went on a bird hunt with our binoculars!

Leo has also created an amazing fruit kebab video!

Mr Rawson’s class…

This week the class took part in the RSPB Big School Birdwatch, we watched the Bird Feeder at the back of class and then walked around the school grounds to see what birds we could spot.

Once the bird count was tallied up, the results were sent off to the RSPB and the boys received a Certificate each.

Miss Parkinson’s class…

In English this week we have been reading the story Elmer in the Snow. We have used ‘talk4writing’ to add actions to our story to help the children remember key events. The children have even rewritten parts of the story as a group! The children have written sentences about what happened in the story and we have seen some amazing writing! As a fun activity, we have made our own Elmer/elephant playdoh and created our very own elephants!

In topic this week we have been learning about the different seasons and the weather that is associated with them. The children have listened to a story and used different materials to explore the weather. We used flour for snow and Winter, scented flowers for Spring, sprays of water for Autumn and a torch and heater for Summer. The children all loved this!

Mr Hartley, Mr Stewart, Miss Meadows and Miss Fletcher’s classes…

All the learners in our classes have made a brilliant effort with their learning this week. We are all proud of our students and would like to share some examples of our excellent achievements with you.

In Miss Meadows’ class we have all been busy doing our chair yoga poses..

..focusing on use of lines and pattern in Art..

..and making some tasty Banana and Strawberry Milkshakes during our morning living skills activity..

We have participated in an exciting Science experiment this week; we were creating a fair test and reliable results and also using a table for the first time.

We worked on our fine motor control by making Origami pigs, we showed excellent resilience skills as these were quite tricky!

We also have some upcoming Chefs! Riley and Alex have been cooking as part of their home learning and it made me very hungry when I received the pictures! It is brilliant to see the commitment to home and school learning.

We have also been enjoying lots of sensory play.

In Mr Hartley’s class we have had lots of fun developing our creative skills this week. We have made bird feeders..

..and made clay plant pots. We aim to use these plant pots outside in our plant boxes. Next week, we are going to paint these and use our Horticulture skills to replant into them. We have also been focusing on practising our functional Maths and English skills and making how to guides in ICT. Well done everyone.

In Mr Stewart’s class we have also been making bird feeders which we took on our walk during Outdoor Ed; we gained a lot of knowledge about different types of birds and what is safe for them to eat.

Connor has completed a fantastic PE video of himself doing a Joe Wicks workout, good work! Everyone has worked really hard this week and tried their best.

It was Miss Fletcher’s birthday this week, so we worked together to create her some birthday cards and we had a little birthday celebration for her! We also completed some beautiful Artwork; their skills have developed fantastically since being at Hollinwood and we are so proud of these beautiful Art pieces. They have also been video calling their peers at home and writing some beautiful letters in English this week. These were posted to their friends at home and they loved this activity. The handwriting was superb and the friendship and love they put into their letters was very kind.

Well done everyone. What a fantastic week!

Mrs Halkyard’s class…

This week we have made some bird feeders as part of the Big Birdwatch! We have been keeping our eyes out for different birds and enjoyed a walk around school to listen and watch for them.

We have also been practicing our basketball dribbling skills in PE..

..and there is a picture of the boys in school doing our sensory circuit..

In Science we made string telephones. From home there is a picture of George making a string telephone..

..and Josh made a Lego birdfeeder!

Miss Marston’s class…

We have had a very fun week learning about hot and cold weather and how to get dressed for winter. As a class we played a fun game where the children went and found a winter a hat, gloves, scarf and wellies and got to put them on their class teacher..

Then they got their own winter hats, wellies and coats on just in time for break! We have had lots of fun playing outside in the snow and we brought some inside to see how it all melts and how cold it feels.

During Maths we have been exploring big and small and the children had to sort the shapes into sizes, we struggled at first but now we are getting the hang of it!

Miss Carpenter’s food technology lessons…

I am so pleased to keep seeing our students cooking at home. It is unfortunate that we have not been able to cook at school but it really helps to build skills if you practise at home.

This week, I put a lemon and courgette cake recipe on for Year 7.

I was waiting to hear “vegetables in a cake?!” comments but I can assure you, they are delicious. Those of you brave enough to try it, will love them too. The examples this week have turned out fantastic. I think we have a star baker among our Year 7s!!

Year 8 have been focusing on their international food topic. Usually we would create mood boards and collages by cutting and sticking various images, but we have had to adapt. We are so very lucky at Hollinwood Academy to have an abundance of wonderful technology and our students working at home have begun to create an online mood board. I cannot wait to see the finished results.

Next week, our first group of Year 11s will begin their food practical assessments. These practicals link to their chosen Non-Exam Assessment briefs which they have been working on over the last few months. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to publish the photos of what they make just yet, but I can now show you what some of our previous year groups made. I think you will agree, they are absolutely amazing!! One of these students went onto study catering at college but I can definitely see 5 star quality in all of them.

Miss McDonald’s class…

We have had a lovely week and completed lots of bird themed activities in preparation for The Big Birdwatch this weekend! Here are some pictures of the children making bird feeders and then patiently waiting to see if any birds come to enjoy it…

Mr Gold’s form…

This week we have started the 30-day challenge which includes lots of different exercises and we complete every morning in form time. We enjoy doing these as a form as we like our team bonding sessions and this keeps us fit and healthy. We are also challenging ourselves to drink 2 litres of water a day we have made this a competition for some fun during lockdown whilst at school.

Next week is Children’s Mental Health week and this year’s theme being ‘Express Yourself’. You can find some useful resources here: https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/schools-and-youth-groups/ At Hollinwood Academy, we pride ourselves on supporting our students’ mental health and wellbeing. On Thursday it is ‘Time to Talk Day’ and this year’s focus is the power of small. During Thursday afternoon our students will talk about mental health and wellbeing and explore the small things that can make a difference. I can certainly relate to the small things making a difference during these difficult times.

Now to our amazing SUPER STARs and SEALs

  • Miss Parkinson’s STAR of the week is Oscar for trying really hard during out literacy lessons and for joining in with our Talk4writing actions.
  • Miss Parkinson’s SEAL Superstar is Shane for helping his friends when they have hurt themselves.
  • Mr Corrigan’s STAR this week is Ollie for a super first week back and settling back into his routine really well.

  • Mr Corrigan’s SEAL Superstar is Caitlin for using her words to ask for help in lessons.

  • Miss McDonald’s STAR of the week is Connor for putting in fantastic effort when completing home learning activities this week, well done!

  • Miss McDonald’s SEAL of the week is Gerard for wonderful choices, keeping calm and helping in class. Well done!
  • Miss McDonald’s DOJO winner is Fatima. Well done!

  • Miss Simms’ STAR of the week is Andie for being the loveliest girl to teachers and making us smile lots!

Now to our ‘Commitment to Learning Stars’:

This week, schools received a little bit of welcome clarity with the Prime Minister suggesting that it might be possible to widen the opening of some schools from the 8th March.

I appreciate, however, that for many of you this will simply be a few more weeks of grief and stress as you struggle to manage your own workload alongside supporting the remote learning of your children. Now is the time to stop and take stock. Whatever time you are able to give up to support your children will have been beneficial. You will have made a difference. Home educating your own children in many circumstances is frankly often a total nightmare. I remember trying to home educate my two girls during the first lockdown when they were in Year 4 and Reception. It was hard and very, very challenging! My husband is also a key worker and he continued to attend work, full time (often asked to extend his shift as staff were absent due to COVID) while I was working remotely from home running a school from my kitchen. We had to adapt and do work at the weekends, evenings or when my husband was off work. I have been in your position and it is tough but thank you for your continued support here.

We are all understandably anxious about our students’ learning and their mental health but, for the most part, our students returned in September ready to learn. They were the same students who left us at the end of March. Sometimes, it is us adults who contribute to our children’s feelings of unease. We are all fed up and sometimes express our frustration in earshot of our own children. The news, national media and social media also highlight the difficulties we are facing. What this does is increase their feelings of anxiety. The more our students hear that they will be the “lost generation” or that we have a mental health crisis, the lower their self-esteem becomes and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps in the future, we will look back on this generation of students and comment that these were the fortunate ones. These students were the ones who:

  • spent more time at home with their parents. Or
  • made things creatively with mum or dad and developed amazing hand-eye co-ordination. Or
  • were lucky enough to spend lots of time with their grandparents and to listen to their wise words. Or
  • learnt to cook during lockdown. Or
  • developed an interest in that hobby. Or
  • developed their ability to work independently and to manage their own learning. Or
  • produced amazing work and learning despite not being in their classroom or with their teacher.

Sometimes it is important to simply reframe the situation and to try to view it in a different way. Against a backdrop of uncertainties and challenges, each day that passes moves us closer to the end. Each week ensures that more people have been vaccinated and each month edges us slowly towards the warmer weather and the lighter days.

Some things haven’t changed irrespective of the situation. Our students are still our future. They will be the ones who shape our communities and society in the years to come. Their future achievements will still bring tears to our eyes as parents, friends and even as former teachers. Their future story is yet to be written; they have yet to shape it with their achievements. Let’s regularly remind ourselves of the power of their potential.

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.

Mrs Millard

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