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Weekly Blog

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Last week I promised you some photographs from the Reception class trip to the zoo. The class are following the topic of winter and have been learning about different animals and the climates they live in. They have been particularly interested in polar bears so Mrs Dunsdon arranged a visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park which is one of the most successful zoos in the country at supporting polar bears and working on research and conservation. They have created a habitat for the bears which means that they are happy and well looked after, as well as being able to be seen close up and improving education about the animals, their welfare, and the impact of climate change. You can find out more about the zoo by clicking here.

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I have to apologise to the children in Reception as I had promised them a lovely large cuddly toy polar bear which had been sitting unloved in the bottom of one of my cupboards for years. It had been one of my son’s special toys when he was little and I thought it had been forgotten. It was in my car ready to bring to school when I picked my son up from university – yes, you’ve guessed it, ‘Poly’ is now returned to his original owner and enjoying university life in Durham!

This week in my blog I would like to include another ‘Hollinwood Academy first’ – Mrs Tootill sent me this pic on Wednesday, our first tooth lost in a PE lesson!


Lucas looks thrilled – I hope the tooth fairy came up trumps!

I would also like to share some photographs of pupils using the soft play area in school. Here you can see how the space can be used creatively to motivate pupils and make learning fun. Firstly, Mrs Halkyard’s class here are searching for pictures of animals. The pictures have been hidden around the soft play area and are used as a ‘hook’ to stimulate creative writing. The pupils have to work together to explore the area, find the pictures and then they progress onto the next task – in this case using descriptive language inspired by the animals they have found. The pupils note down ideas on whiteboards before returning to class to develop a more extended piece of writing..

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Miss Parkinson’s class have also been busy working in the soft play area this week, linked to their literacy objective of finding rhymes. Again, they had to search the area for leaves and then grow their ‘beanstalk’ linking the rhyming words..

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I know I am always referring to the creativity of the staff here and their innovative approaches to learning, but I am always impressed with how our teachers and support assistants ‘think outside the box’ in order to engage pupils in their learning. I loved watching Miss Parkinson’s class explore the difficult concept of appreciating that solids, liquids and gases are made up of particles which are more or less densely packed, using themselves as models to physically represent how close the particles come to each other and how free they are to move. The pupils enjoyed squeezing themselves into a small area marked out in the playground to represent solids, gave themselves a little more ‘wriggle room’ in a larger area to represent liquids, and raced freely around to represent gases. Learning is fun and active at Hollinwood Academy!

science 1 science 2 science 3


Again from Miss Parkinson’s class, the challenge of reading analogue clocks and working out differences in times using clock hands was made more visual and active by marking a huge clock face out on the classroom floor and allowing the pupils to physically move the hands. They worked in pairs which also involved discussion and negotiation – important social skills – to work through the problems set..

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I’ve also included some photographs of Miss Parkinson’s class in the cooking room. Here you can see them making healthy fruit skewers..

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This week’s ‘Star of the Week’ awards have gone to:

Mrs Dunsdon’s class – Ethan for good phonics work and trying hard with his number formation
Mrs Lomax’ class – Summer for trying hard in all her learning, especially PE
Mr Corrigan’s class – Jenna for being kind and sensible all week and working hard in every lesson
Miss Parkinson’s class – Kia for joining in and interacting with all aspects of class this week
Mrs Halkyard’s class – Ryan S for extending his learning (he chose to pursue harder and harder maths problems beyond the original task set)

And my ‘Head Teacher’s Awards’ go to:

Jenna and Kia. Well done, girls!

Jenna Head teacher award Kia Headteacher award

Next Tuesday is officially ‘Safer Internet day’ in school. Pupils will follow their usual timetable but there will be an emphasis in classes on thinking about keeping safe whilst using the internet. The school website has some links to video clips and activities which you may like to follow up at home by clicking here.

Although I will be around for the first half of next week, I’m not in school next Thursday or Friday so this will be my last blog until after half-term. Just a reminder that Monday 22nd February is a staff training day so pupils aren’t back in school after the break until Tuesday 23rd February.

Also, advance notice that we will be holding a Coffee Morning on Wednesday 2nd March from 10:00am – 11:30am. This as an opportunity for parents and carers to visit the school and spend some time with their child and their friends in class, meet with the staff as well as other parents, carers and families to share experiences and have a natter. Letters are going out this evening so please let us know if you are able to attend.

Finally, I will leave you with an interesting photograph of Mr Corrigan’s class. Can you recognise who is who from the silhouettes?


Have a lovely weekend,



  • You can read Graham’s blog here


Hollinwood Academy
Roman Road

School Hours

Mon – Fri:
08:45 – 15:00

Breakfast Club runs Mon – Fri:
08:00 – 08:45

After School Clubs run Mon – Thurs:
15:00 – 16:45

Compulsory TIme Open: 31.25 hours

Weekends: Closed

Phone & Email

0161 883 2404