It was a pleasure to welcome more prospective families to Hollinwood Academy this week at our Open Evening on Wednesday. The event felt even more positive and vibrant with the additional support of some of our existing parents as well as school governors who were on hand to answer any queries from new parents applying for places at the school. It was most rewarding to hear some of our parents reassuring others that the decision to move their children to Hollinwood Academy has proved to be such a positive and successful step. The event was also supported by the POINT Team (click here to visit their website http://pointoldham.co.uk/) and I know that many of our families, current and future, have found their input to be absolutely invaluable and very much appreciated. If any families are reading this and feel anxious about aspects related to assessment and support, information about processes related to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), existence of support groups and activities, or just access to networks of people who have experiences to share, I would definitely recommend getting touch with POINT – they are a great bunch of people.
We have also had an update this week from the Local Authority in relation to admissions. Our numbers are set to increase over the next 12 months. Initially we had anticipated doubling in numbers from 50 to 100 with an intake in September 2016. We have now had discussions with the Local Authority in relation to staggering this intake, with a number of pupils joining us in January, a further small cohort in April and a further group in September. This will help us to enable new pupils to make a smooth transition, minimise the disruption to existing pupils and plan staff recruitment appropriately to support the groups as we expand. The details of this process haven’t yet been agreed and we will endeavour to keep you up to date. As a start of the process it was lovely to meet our first new pupil since September, a delightful young man who joined us on Wednesday into Mrs Millard’s Year 7 class.
This week I have dipped into some of the lessons with Mr Holland’s class in Key Stage 3 and 4. I did anticipate that I might not get as many photographs and I was right – here is a very artistic one of a student hoping to evade the camera but getting caught in the reflection of the oven door!
The class is following a life skills approach towards food technology, beginning with some easy-cook meals and looking at developing greater independence in the kitchen. They have spent a couple of weeks creating pizzas, adding their own selected toppings.
And here they are in music, hiding behind their computers. The group have been working on recording Blues rhythms using the program Garageband…
In PE they attempted to hide behind their boxing gloves…
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The class have worked, along with the Year 7s, at developing skills in kick boxing which has been a great opportunity for them with a specialist visiting teacher leading the sessions.
In science the older students are working towards their GCSEs and can be seen here creating electrical circuits and connecting them to an ammeter to measure the current…
I am very impressed by the progress and standards being achieved by the pupils in our older group and know that over the next year or two we will be celebrating some high level academic results. I am pleased that our meetings with the Local Authority suggest that we will be welcoming some new pupils into Key Stages 3 and 4 and this should give us capacity to enhance the curriculum even more as we will be able to recruit further specialist staff to join the team.
Next week sees us move into December which brings lots of excitement but can also be unsettling for a lot of our children. We will be supporting them by managing to gradually bring in festive activities whilst also keeping routines and expectations familiar and consistent for pupils.
Have a lovely weekend,
Click here to catch up with the exciting news in Graham’s blog