This week has thankfully returned to normal after the unexpected closure last week, and pupils have certainly made up for time lost with extra hard work and commitment – no slackening off in the run up to the end of the year for us!
I have some delightful photographs this week from Mr Corrigan’s class which really illustrate how engaged our pupils are in their learning. This group have made tremendous progress and the key has been around developing a stimulating curriculum and delivery which is fun, relevant and responsive to need.
The class have been following a topic around where they live and where they are in the world. They have used ‘Google Earth’ to look at where England is on the map, zooming in to find Hollinwood Academy and using the online satellite map to look around the site. They have also explored the local area using ‘Street View’, finding their own houses and trying to see if they can recognise each others’. They used ‘Talking Tubes’ to phone each other from ‘home’..
and discussed what they have inside their houses, drawing up their own architectural plans. They then set to work outside to build their own house. The pictures are wonderful and the outcome brilliant but the best bit is seeing the children working together, co-operating, sharing, laughing and enjoying being part of the Hollinwood Academy team..
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In Science they have been learning about plants and their life cycles. They’ve planted their own sunflower seeds and have been keeping a ‘Sunflower Diary’..
Yesterday they all worked very hard, using what they have learned so far to help them label their plants..
They also used rulers to measure how tall their plants have grown so far..
In drama Mrs Preston took the class over to the theatre at New Bridge to have a sneaky peek behind the curtains to see the Shrek set ready for the performance next week. Our primary pupils, along with the Year 7s are lucky enough to have been invited to watch the show next Thursday morning and we are all very excited about it. The pupils loved identifying the characters who are going to appear in the show, especially the huge dragon costume (Lewis wasn’t scared)..
..Donkey and the Gingerbread Man..
Alivia was very keen to participate, eyeing up the props – she looks the part with the axe and Finlay looks genuinely worried (it’s ok Finlay’s mum, it was made of cardboard!)
I’m not sure how Mariam ended up in the stocks but I can assure you that she made it back to school..
In fact, on the way back we had our own bit of drama when Mr Fieldhouse decided to extend his science experiment over the fence and the pupils got a little wet – fortunately it was a sunny day!
This week’s ‘Star of the Week’ awards have gone to:
Mrs Dunsdon’s class – Brodey, for fantastic work in literacy and reading..
Mrs Lomax’ class – James, for good speaking and using his voice..
..and also the whole class for achieving their swimming certificates – gold, silver or bronze awards..
Mrs Halkyard’s class – Raihan for excellent communication, super swimming – he swam a length on his own, and for great ideas for his story in English..
And my ‘Head Teacher’s Awards’ go to:
Brodey – for his super work in literacy and his great progress with reading..
..the publication of Oldham’s draft Autism Strategy and an opportunity to give your feedback on it here..
..and an article in the Oldham Chronicle (you may remember the photos we posted at the time which are still available here)..
Speaking of football, I also neglected to congratulate one of our girls, Sasha, last week for participating in the girls’ football tournament at Manchester City with the New Bridge team – you can read about it in the New Bridge blog here and view the full album on Facebook here. We now have a few more girls who are keen to play next time.
Tuesday saw our ‘Transitions Evening’ for families and pupils to talk about group and staff arrangements for September. We were able to introduce our new staff and inform families and pupils around class groups for September. Full timetables will be going out shortly. It was a very successful meeting and many families felt reassured around transition planning. We are aware that change can be anxiety-creating for the majority of our pupils and we are keen to alleviate this as far as possible. Staff are spending regular time getting to know their new groups and we are holding weekly transition sessions, particularly for new pupils.
Yesterday we were visited by an educational psychologist from the Local Authority who had come to complete an assessment for one of our pupils. I’m commenting on this visit because I had reason to feel extremely proud of both our pupils and staff in school. The psychologist was completing observations in school and part of this crossed over break time. I watched her observing us and reflected on how it looked – I saw children playing together, chatting, joking, relaxing with staff, telling jokes, having fun and smiling. Many of these children came to us with significant anxieties, some had been out of school and some felt really quite isolated even if they were in school. I know when reports come out that we will be celebrating academic achievements but the social and communication achievements which are harder to measure and record are absolutely overwhelming. This doesn’t happen by accident and is credit to our extremely hard-working and enthusiastic staff team.
I hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend. Mine starts with a long drive to Durham and back tonight to pick up one of the three older offspring who will be returning to us for the summer – the house is going to feel busy for the next couple of months but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Click here for this week’s exciting news from Graham