26 Feb

On Monday we had our staff INSET day that was extremely successful and ‘virtual’ for all. If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything it is that we can be flexible, creative and adaptable with the use of technology and we will be taking this forward and embracing what we have learnt. For our virtual INSET day, staff were divided into two focus groups.

Group one accessed the ‘Wellbeing for Education Return’ training with Natalie Williams. Natalie is a Mental Health in Education professional who works closely with Hollinwood Academy to ensure appropriate and relevant training is provided to all staff with a view to develop knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing and how to effectively support our children and young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties. The training centred around ‘Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing in our School: A Graduated Response’. Our whole School approach to this is constantly evolving as we reflect on our own practices in order to best support the emotional, mental health and wellbeing needs of all our children and young people.

We have a dedicated pastoral team at Hollinwood Academy who work alongside our teaching staff and other external services to provide further support when needed. We have a number of fully trained mental health first aiders as well as a designated mental health and wellbeing staff team.

The graduated response centres around each individual child. It enables us as educators to assess individual needs, plan to support in the best possible way and then review and respond constantly. We discussed the best forms of support including universal support, selected support and targeted support. The session allowed staff to gain tips on how to aid recovery of wellbeing and strengthening of resilience; something that is more important than ever during these times. Staff came away enthused and are actively seeking further training and advice to ensure we are providing our children and young people with the most effective support programs and interventions.

Group two accessed a curriculum planning session with Victoria Rigby. Victoria is an Education Improvement Professional for STEM Learning. Our curriculum leads worked collaboratively to review and evaluate our current curriculum offer. The intended outcome of this development session is to ensure all leads across school are aware of what is being taught in all curriculum areas and to identify where they can support each other in terms of content, subject knowledge and pedagogy. Our next steps are: to focus on progression over time, to explore appropriate assessment, accreditations and qualifications, to promote career opportunities and discuss destinations and to ensure we have all the essential resources and staffing numbers to effectively meet the needs of all our learners from EYFS to KS5 and ensure we provide outstanding learning opportunities allowing them to flourish and reach their full potential.

It really was a productive day and group one has a follow up session with Natalie next Tuesday and group two had a follow up session with Victoria this week. Staff working parties have been working hard this week following actions from their training sessions.

Last year, we were successful in gaining some funding towards mindfulness sessions with ‘Relax Kids Oldham’ who we have worked with previously and they do a fabulous job! It could not have come at a better time, but we have been successful in securing more funding this year with a total of 30 hours. These sessions will be carried out virtually with our upper Key Stage 2 and Year 7 students who will receive 15 weeks of 1-hour sessions every Friday from 5th March with a focus on ‘Relax Kids – Mindfulness’ and we can’t wait to share their sessions and progress with you. Thank you Relax Kids!

This week we have welcomed Miss McCandless to Hollinwood Academy. I wrote to our secondary families at the beginning of February as she will be taking over Miss Nuttall’s maternity cover and delivering English to our secondary students and taking Miss Nuttall’s Year 7 form. Miss Nuttall has spent this week handing over to Miss McCandless as we wanted to make sure there was a robust handover to ensure a smooth transition. Miss McCandless has really enjoyed her first week with us and she is looking forward to the rest of the academic year ahead.

Here are some of the highlights from our students this week:

Mr Hartley has been really impressed with how the secondary students have embraced their Careers lessons…

This month is LGBT+ History month and to celebrate this the secondary students have looked at the history of LGBT+, Section 28 and the other eight groups protected from discrimination, under the Equality Act 2010.
They have learnt how rights in the workplace have changed and what they should do if they suffer discrimination of any kind in the future.
The students have created some fantastic posters and PowerPoints to showcase their understanding of this.

Miss Fletcher’s class…

This week, the school learners enjoyed being back together after our week off. On Tuesday, we participated in a class sensory diet session. We completed rigorous exercises, followed by organising and calming activities such as balancing and exercise ball rolling.

Our theme for this term is the ancient Egyptians; we have been creating freezeframes from the story of Osiris, learning about the timeline of ancient Egypt and creating our own designs of Egyptian art and architecture. Olivia and Christie have started to draw some wonderful pyramid designs, utilising their learning of 3D and 2D shape from their maths lessons this week.

We have started a two-week topic on poetry in English. We will be creating a poem based on how we would run a school and have been practicing descriptive writing around our personal positive and negative aspects of school. Sam produced a fantastic fact file on Elizabeth I at home.

Miss Fletcher, Miss Bickerton and Miss Khatun have thoroughly enjoyed the first week back of term and are very proud of the resilience that our learners continue to show. We are all looking forward to having our home learners back with us very soon.

Miss Simms’ class…

In our Science lessons we started our new topic “Earth and Space”. This week, we explored all the different planets and taught Miss Simms lots of new facts about them!

In English we have been reading the book “The Highway Rat”. We had to create a WANTED poster and take part in a police interview to try and catch the cheeky rat!

We were finding ways to relax in our SEAL lessons this week. We found things in our home or at school that we can use to help us relax. We then had a go at using different ingredients to make our own sensory bottle!

We loved seeing the picture of Leo receiving his head teacher’s award! Very well deserved.

Miss Meadows’ class…

I am very proud of how my class have managed coming back to school, they have been so positive and have shown outstanding behaviour. This week we started our new sensory diet programme in the mornings, we are all really enjoying this, it relaxes us and allows for a calm atmosphere.

We have had fun completing a writing/ sensory activity with Miss O’Brien and Miss Gold this week. We had to watch some clips from the different rooms of Willy Wonka, we then made 3D cubes as cake boxes and enjoyed some mindfulness time in colouring them in. All of us were laughing and having a great time!

We have also been working hard on sensory experiences and today we worked on food preparation skills, hygiene and tasting new foods.

We were all highly engaged with our learning this week and have been getting lots of marbles! I need to buy more for our marble jar now, it won’t be long until we earn enough for our special treat!

We also have welcomed our new, cute class member this week, his purpose is to eat up all our worries! I think you’ll agree, he’s adorable!

We are finishing the week an extremely happy class team today, thanks to the hard work of our superstars! Well done everyone, I can’t wait for sensory circuit on Monday.

Miss Prescott’s class…

This week we decided to go for our very own sensory walk! We took our whiteboards and whiteboard pens, on one side we drew pictures of things we could see, and on the other side we drew pictures of the things we could hear. We noticed that most things were on both sides. We could see and hear birds, children playing and cars. The children really enjoyed the sensory walk, taking breaks in-between to talk about our senses and what we could see, feel, smell and hear.

In English we have been working on the book ‘The Highway Rat’. After reading the story and using adjectives to describe the rat we finally created a ‘Wanted’ poster, so if you happen to see him around give us a call!

We have been learning new sketching techniques in Art which will help us create a self-portrait masterpiece by the end of term.

Miss Marston’s class…

This week has been great! It was lovely to welcome the children back to the classroom after half term and get back to some sort of normality.

This week we have been trialling a new way of setting out Maths resources and it was a big hit with the children. We have been exploring numbers 1-5 and 1-10 this week and we had lots of activities out. The children loved this carousel and they engaged with all the different activities.

Our new topic is based around fur, skin and scales and this week we have been looking at woodlands and all the animals that live there. We explored at what the animals looked like and felt like, it was a lot of fun.

We are very excited about comparing farm animals and underwater animals next week!

Mr Stewart’s class…

This week, we have started the half term with some excellent work. We started our History unit on the Ancient Egyptians, looking at where and when the civilisation was around. We have also created some Egyptian inspired pieces in art, studying the pyramids and recreating our own designs.

In outdoor education we created rain gauges which we have left on the school grounds and will check on weekly. After all, spring brings more sun, but inevitably more rain too.

We have also done some sensory circuits in intervention which everyone got stuck into.

Miss Sanderson’s form…

Last term in our form, not many students were present in school however this did not stop their determination to learn. We have also welcomed Miss Harrington into our form- she has settled in well and is excited for the full return of our students.

During English students have moved onto ‘Macbeth’ and have enjoyed annotating the difference between Shakespearean English and modern-day text. Below is a fantastic example of how students have started to analyse Act 1.

Maths has been trickier than usual with students getting to grips with Trigonometry and Pythagoras theorem. Most students now feel more confident in these topics and are able to answer questions confidently.

Moving onto this term, students have been enjoying using some of the music equipment. As you can see they have thoroughly enjoyed this!

During Geography, students have been looking at the effects of flooding in their local area. Here is an example of the PowerPoints students created.

This term students will be engaging in a range of celebrations such as Red Nose Day, International Women’s Day and Justice Week. Justice Week will enable students to gain an insight into how laws are changing in relation to the global pandemic.

Finally, just a shout out to Sam for his birthday this week. Happy birthday Sam! Have a brilliant day celebrating 😊 Miss Sanderson, Miss Rashid and Mrs Harrington.

Mr Hartley’s class…

This week we have studied Science as part of their topic lesson. The students completed a scientific investigation and took part in an experiment by mixing together a soluble solid in water and making the solution supersaturated.

They then added this to a clean eggshell and waited a couple of days to see the results. Some amazing and colourful crystals have formed within the egg shells and next week we will look at how this happened and how this can sometimes happen to form crystals within rocks.

We have continued with our employment skills and last half term the students completed some customer service phone calls in preparation for their work experience. This week we have looked at how to log phone calls correctly and the queries that they might handle whilst working for our reception team next week.

They have also enjoyed learning about their rights in the workplace and the impact of Section 28 on the LGBT+ community.

On Friday, Mr Hilldrup came into the classroom to talk about his 30 years in the police force. He discussed his training, the law, incidents that he has attended, uniform and equipment and his time as a police dog handler. The students had lots of questions and really learnt a lot from the visit. They had so many questions that we will have to save them up for his next visit to our class. Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to the students.

Now to our amazing SUPER STARs and SEALs

  • Miss Parkinson’s STAR of the week is George for settling back into school and having a fantastic week. Well done George.

  • Miss Parkinson’s SEAL Superstar is Oscar for doing some fantastic relaxing during our relaxation story lesson. Well done Oscar.

  • Mr Corrigan’s STAR this week is Mia for making outstanding progress with her waiting this week.

  • Mr Corrigan’s SEAL Superstar is Caitlin for outstanding communication this week.

  • Miss Prescott’s STAR of the week is Sofia for fantastic Maths work.
  • Miss Prescott’s SEAL of the week is Gerard for finding ways to relax.
  • Miss Prescott’s WOW moments go to Zack and Lucas.

  • Miss Simms’ STAR of the week is Ivy for asking for help and talking to the teacher when in the playground.
  • Miss Tootill’s STARs of the week are Nathan and Thomas P for having a fantastic first week back.

  • Miss Tootill’s SEAL of the week is Jack Harrison for finding ways to help him relax.

  • Miss Tootill’s DOJO winner is Thomas GH.

  • Miss Collinge’s STAR of the week is Shayan for using a full sentence independently during breakfast to say ‘I want juice.’

  • Miss Collinge’s SEAL Superstar is Lenni – for ‘looking after’ Dan, being caring and making sure she was comfortable.

  • Mrs Lomax’s STAR of the week is Amelia for being resilient in PE.
  • Mrs Woodhead’s STAR of the week is Jacob for trying really hard this week.

  • Mrs Woodhead’s SEAL of the week Superstar is Alex for joining in with a family board games.

Now to our ‘Commitment to Learning Stars’:

I must say a big Thank You to Oldham Athletic Football Club as they have donated a number of books to Hollinwood Academy primary children for World Book Day. I know our children will love reading these.

Next week, myself and Miss Gordon have our termly internal management boards (Monday) and invitational meeting (Thursday) and we thoroughly enjoy these. Our internal management boards are spent scrutinising, reflecting, evaluating and formulating next steps with our team at Hollinwood Academy. It gives us the opportunity to really reflect on where we are as a school and what our next steps are. From our internal management boards, we then move on to our invitational meeting with the central team and trustees and we spend the day discussing our findings and outcomes from the internal management boards, along with my Head’s report and the compulsory compliance documents for this term. Both of these processes feed into our full Governing body meeting that is scheduled for Tuesday 16th March. A busy week next week on top of making sure that we are ready for the full return of all our children and young people on Monday 8th March. I am really looking forward to this return and seeing the full school community back at Hollinwood Academy.

To our secondary families, I am sat at 9.52pm finalising my blog Friday 26th February and I am still awaiting the guidance for SEND provisions regarding the lateral flow tests so unfortunately our position still remains the same until we get the guidance (hopefully over the weekend). As soon as we have the SEND provision guidance we can (if necessary) adjust our current proposals and share these with you.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and stay safe.

Mrs Millard

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