01 Apr

Not only have we survived another term but another national lockdown. As of Monday 4th January 2021, we went into lockdown 3 and half the school population remained at home accessing our online learning platform. On Monday 8th March we welcomed the whole school back and it was wonderful to see the children and young people back onsite, happy and engaging. Last week, the country reflected on one year since we went into the first lockdown on the 23rd March, 2020. Who would have thought that this time last year we would still be living in these strange, challenging times? As a school we have tried hard to embrace the challenges as they have come and I do believe that amongst all of the uncertainty, worry and frustrations of the past year, we have learnt a lot and adapted to new and different ways of thinking and working, some of which we will keep, even when we come out of these times.

As always, I would like to offer a huge thank you to parents for all your support through these difficult and uncertain times. My thanks to all of our children and young people for their resilience during lockdown and the way in which they have embraced the return to school – they have been amazing! I am also incredibly proud of the way our staff have battled on, putting their own worries and concerns aside to ensure they come to school each day to provide care and support for our children whether they were in school or at home. Thank you!

We have certainly had a busy week and it was lovely to walk around the school seeing our classrooms and outside areas full of learning, engagement and laughter. The end of term allows me to present my Head Teacher’s Award for this half term and we have had some well-deserved nominations and smiles all round. Well done and keep up the hard work…

The children and young people at Hollinwood Academy all left for the Easter holidays with a chocolate egg. These have been kindly donated by Gemma Blackhurst, the founder of Breaking the Waves Foundation, and they were gratefully received by everyone. Breaking the Waves Foundation is a local charity in Failsworth who aim to prevent financial hardship for families. They provide food and clothing parcels for families in need whether working or unemployed. Gemma contacted school and spoke to Miss Williams and Miss Ismail and after listening to what we do for our students and young people at Hollinwood Academy and how amazing they are, Gemma wanted to do something special for our wonderful school community. Thank you Gemma and Breaking the Waves Foundation.

This week we have celebrated Autism Awareness Week at Hollinwood Academy. Both primary and secondary have taken part in this event and have had a great time doing so.

On Wednesday afternoon, the students created tie-dye t-shirts, made key rings and lanyards that were available for sale on Thursday. There are still some t-shirts available to buy on the website, so act fast. On Thursday, the students in secondary took part in a quiz by ‘The Governess’, Anne Hegarty, working in teams to find the quickest answers. After this, they celebrated by colouring parts of a jigsaw and putting them together, to create an image of famous people with autism. The people that they looked at were ‘The Governess’ herself, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Chris Packham and Greta Thunberg. These posters will go on display next half term. Our primary students also took part in creating these posters and made some stunning sensory bottles.

We would like to say thank you to the student council for coming up with some fantastic ideas and everyone in school for helping to raise money over the last couple of days. At school, we are especially grateful to work with such wonderful students. The last count we have raised a massive £222 but we still have some fabulous tie-dye t-shirts to sell. Thank you to everyone who has supported this event; our school council, Miss Gold, Mr Hartley, Miss Halkyard and Miss Rudge.

The Key Stage 1 children really enjoyed their Easter bonnet parade…

Let’s see what some of our classes have been doing this week starting with Mrs Halkyard’s class…

We have had a great week in class.

In Maths this week we have been doing some Easter themed problems. The boys worked in pairs to find the eggs around our classroom and answer the questions. They showed some great team work and worked together well.

They have also played some Easter themed games showing lovely turn taking.

Myself and Miss Knott introduced the boys to a new way of looking at energy levels to enable them to regulate themselves throughout the day. They each chose different animals or vehicles to represent different energy levels. After Easter we will look further into this and test out different ways of ‘Powering up’ or ‘Powering down’ depending on where their energy levels are.

For Autism awareness the boys decorated keyrings, made tie dye t-shirts, sensory bottles and decorated their own jigsaw puzzles showing that we are all different but fit together as a class. We also held a bake sale which went down a treat.

For Easter we did some craft using glue, salt and paint- they don’t quite look like the ones on Pintrest but we had fun making them! Mr Heap took the boys on an egg hunt around the school grounds.

There are pictures from our English groups this week which show the children doing a mixture of reading with their partners, reading out questions to the class, reading and following instructions to colour pictures and matching rhyming sounds. The boys have settled well in their new groups and have enjoyed being with different people which has been lovely to see.

Finally, there are pictures from our team building exercises. We have been working hard on talking assertively but politely, listening to other people and sharing ideas. They boys have worked as a team to create train tracks and different items using the cubes which they are all excellent at!

Mr Stewart’s class…

We have been engaging in lots of different ways of learning in the past couple of weeks. In particular, we have engaged in two events with the company TeenTech.

The first event was called ‘The City of Tomorrow’. In two groups, the class had to create, design and make a building that would overcome challenges we face today, and in the future.

The photos and videos show what a great job both teams did, showing real innovation in their ideas, and in their delivery.

Their designs were as follows:

    Team One’s project is called ‘Helix’. It has an underground car park as that would be the only place that you would be able to cope with any flooding, and then there is an aerodynamic design with miniature wind turbines. They have also used ETFE and green spaces to achieve their sustainability pledge. Plants are encouraged to grow on the outside of the building to reduce air pollution and make it appealing to local people as well. Manchester city centre only has one green space, and the team has addressed this through a small parklet outside their building.
  • DASH-K:
    Dash-K’s project is called ‘The Cube’ and it uses ETFE throughout like the Eden project. They have encouraged oxygen to reach residents with a green terrace roof, and a wind turbine to ensure they can power their homes with as minimal impact as possible. In addition, there is a rainwater harvesting system which flows from the roof through the building, along with rooftop solar panels. The roof garden will be for growing food by and for the local homeless, who will use that food to feed as many local homeless people as possible. Dash-K have also addressed the lack of green spaces in Manchester city centre with their project and aim to combat this.

Teen Tech were really impressed with both designs, and one of the judging architects even said they would like to help bring their design to fruition.

The second event was a Space Day, which some pupils contributed too, despite being in self-isolation. A special well done to Ellie, William and Jenson for their ideas.

The class have also been growing beans to see how they germinate and develop over time.

Mr Stewart, Miss Darlington, and Mrs Bottery have been really impressed by the resilience and determination that the class have shown in working from home this week, and would like to wish everyone a happy and enjoyable Easter.

Now to our amazing SUPER STARs and SEALs

  • Miss Shin’s STAR this week is Ohud for participating in new activities.

  • Mr Corrigan’s STAR this week is Caitlin for a fabulous week with lots of changes.

  • Mr Corrigan’s SEAL Superstar is Brooke for bouncing back really well from her mistakes.

  • Mrs Halkyard’s STAR of the week is George for super independent work in Maths.
  • Mrs Halkyard’s SEAL of the week is Lucas for listening and working well with others.
  • Mrs Halkyard’s DOJO winner is George. Well done!
  • Miss Prescott’s STAR of the week is Corey for super effort in Maths.
  • Miss Prescott’s SEAL of the week is Daniel for trying super hard to listen.
  • Miss Prescott’s DOJO winner is Fatima. Well done!

  • Miss Simms’ STARs of the week are the whole class for coping well during a term full of changes. Leo is also Miss Simms’ STAR of the week for being a superstar while learning from home.

  • Miss Tootill’s STAR of the week is Byron for settling back into school and being happy.

  • Miss Tootill’s SEAL of the week is Thomas for knowing the difference between want and need

  • Miss Tootill’s DOJO winner is Sophia. Well done!

Some weeks ago, we shared what our internal work experience group have been doing this term. Due to the current restrictions, it has been very difficult to organise external work experience but this did not deter us from doing what we can to support our students in getting valuable skills for the work place.

They have been an amazing support in school and have acted professionally and maturely throughout their placement. This is the first time that we have had in-house work experience and their hard work and dedication to the role have made it a fantastic success.

Please see the superb feedback that the students have had from staff.

Congratulations to our work experience students. Well done on displaying a professional attitude in the workplace, essential for your future job choice. We would like to acknowledge your hard work and are impressed with the skills you’ve gained. Amongst other things, you have developed on your phone etiquette, shown that you are able to work hard as a team, gained an understanding of customer service, successfully used ICT at work, prioritised your workload and participated in general administration tasks. Amazing and well done!

We finish for the Easter holidays today and we return to school on Monday 19th April 2021. I know the staff, children and young people are very much looking forward to the Easter break and looking forward to the small ease of restrictions and the hope this may bring.

Have a lovely break, take care and stay safe.

Mrs Millard

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