11 Mar

This week has been an extremely busy one for staff at Hollinwood Academy. As the majority of staff were new starters in September, they have been supported by the probationary process which has been introduced across the New Bridge Group. This has involved a lot of hard work from the staff who have been asked to produce portfolios evidencing their professional development and standards in the classroom. As we are now approaching the end of the probationary period, I have held meetings with staff this week to go through portfolios and evaluate competency against the standards required as part of their job descriptions. That makes it sound like quite a harsh, critical process but I have to say that because of the hard work, commitment and outstanding performances from the staff, the process has felt extremely positive and affirming. I have taken great pleasure in reading through the portfolios which have included some lovely photographic evidence and lots of reflection from staff on progress made by pupils over the last six months. I would like to thank these staff for all their dedication and enthusiasm.

More good news from staff – I wrote to families recently as Mrs Dunsdon has been absent following brain surgery. She recently received her results from the hospital and we are all delighted that the operation was a complete success. We hope to welcome Mrs Dunsdon back soon. In the meantime, again, I would like to thank Mrs Choudhury and Miss Darlington for their outstanding support, maintaining consistency and security for the children, as well as Miss Knott and Miss Grimsley for covering Mrs Dunsdon and ensuring that the children continue to make progress in all areas.

We are continuing to expand and have welcomed some more pupils to the school. Luke has joined us in Mrs Lomax’ class, Finlay has joined Mr Corrigan’s class, and Caitlin has joined Mrs Halkyard’s class. On Monday we will welcome Ewan to Mrs Millard’s class. Farrukh has been visiting Mrs Dunsdon’s class and will be starting after Easter.

I am delighted to include some lovely photographs of Ciara from Mrs Halkyard’s class which should encourage all of our new starters (and their parents/carers). Ciara only joined us recently and has settled in beautifully into her new class. The one lesson she was a little anxious about was swimming but as you can see from these pictures, she has gained confidence and came out smiling. Well done Ciara! It already feels like she has been with us for months not weeks, and it is lovely to see her helping to make Caitlin feel welcome and confidently making new friends..


This week it is the turn of Mr Holland’s class to be the focus for my blog and I have been attempting to gather some photographs. I have to say that once pupils get into Year 9 and beyond I do find it more of a challenge to include pictures. I am met with resistance from camera-shy teenagers when I enter classrooms with a camera and I obviously have to respect pupils’ wishes if they would rather not have their picture taken. This week, as I have been so busy in meetings, I left my camera with Mrs Potts and Mr Holland and they did manage to get a few shots of some of the pupils. You can see them here..

  • developing skills in PE playing tag rugby with the Year 7s as well as a group from New Bridge


  • learning how to play the ukulele in music with Mr Bloska (he’s going to have to be on his toes next week when Ewan starts as I hear that he’s an expert!)


  • using microscopes in science


  • cooking macaroni cheese in food technology


Back in primary, this week’s ‘Star of the Week’ awards have gone to:

Mrs Dunsdon’s class – Essah, for amazing effort and achievement with his speaking, especially during the afternoon song..

Essah star

Mrs Lomax’ class – Luke for settling into his new class well and learning class rules. Luke also won the PE trophy today.

Luke star Luke PE award
Mr Corrigan’s class – Finlay for working hard and following class rules.

Finlay star
Miss Parkinson’s class – Ellie for working independently in Maths..

Ellie star
Mrs Halkyard’s class – Ryan P for going out of his way to help other people..

Ryan P star


And my ‘Head Teacher’s Awards’ go to:

Luke and Finlay. I decided to give the awards to two of our new pupils as it must have been quite a challenge to settle into new classes where nearly everyone else has known each other since September. Both Luke and Finlay have settled extremely well. They have learnt the routines and expectations and they have happily made some new friends. Well done, boys!

Luke headteacher award Finlay headteacher award


Next week is Autism Awareness Week so many classes will be getting involved. There are lots of resources available on the National Autistic Society website here.

Have a lovely weekend everyone,


  • You can keep up with news from the New Bridge Group in Graham’s blog here