Hollinwood Academy

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HWA Blog - 24.11.2023


What a busy week we have had at Hollinwood Academy and I don’t know where this week has gone.  

For this week’s blog, Mrs Needham wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the progress we have made with Talk for Writing during Autumn Term 2, as well as highlight some exceptional examples of writing that our students have produced. 

As you are aware, Talk for Writing was introduced in September to our primary classes, aiming to develop our students’ language and writing skills through storytelling and imitation. We are pleased to inform you that the initiative has been received positively by both teachers and students, creating a vibrant and engaging learning environment. 

During Autumn Term 2, we have explored a range of wonderful texts across different year groups. Here is a breakdown of the texts that each year group has focused on: 

Year 1 and 2: Three Little Pigs 

Year 3: Stone Age Boy by Satoshi Kitamura  

Year 4: The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Phillip Pullman 

Year 5: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle  

Year 6: Red (a Greater Depth story of Red Riding Hood)  

The enthusiasm and dedication shown by our students has been truly remarkable. We have witnessed significant improvements in their writing skills, as they have embraced the structure and creativity Talk for Writing offers. The engagement and progress of our students are a testament to their hard work and resilience. 

Now, we would like to share with you some examples of exceptional writing that our students have produced during this term. These pieces not only demonstrate the application of Talk for Writing techniques but also showcase the breadth of talent within our school community. 

We hope that these examples will inspire and encourage you to continue supporting your child’s writing journey at home. By providing opportunities for them to share their ideas, discuss their favourite books, and write in various genres, you can help nurture their confidence and skills. 

On Wednesday morning, I had a meeting with Clare John, CEO, and we discussed at length the strengths and areas of development for Hollinwood Academy this year. Part of this discussion included looking at our school improvement plan for this year which was approved by the Governor’s in September and also our Estates Plan. Hollinwood Academy’s estate document provides a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of our school’s footprint, curriculum, sustainability, demand for growth, the conditioning of the building and risk management.  

Since opening Hollinwood Academy in 2015, we started with 50 students to now having 295 students on roll today. We are the choice of school for many families, not just from Oldham, but from Rochdale, Manchester, Tameside, Bury, Calderdale and more recently Stockport. The estate document will support all key stakeholders in making decisions and support change as the demands for places at Hollinwood Academy remain very high as we receive around 12-20 admission consultations a week for placements. Last week, we had two students join Hollinwood Academy, Harry in Year 2 and Thomas in Year 4 and the feedback that I have had from staff and families is amazing and they have settled in so well to their new school. Hollinwood Academy is an outstanding school and this is recognised by many but the thanks goes to the amazing children, young people and staff who work incredibly hard every day.

With this in mind, let’s see what some of the classes have been doing starting with Miss Oakley’s class… 

“This week has been an extremely busy one! 

During our theme of time to party we have been exploring the festival of Diwali. We have been exploring Rangoli patterns, making patterns with shapes and other sensory related items such as rice. Celebrating the festival we looked at henna patterns, we even had our own henna pattern on our hands with chocolate! We have made delicious sparklers using breadsticks, chocolate and sprinkles, to understand that the celebrations involve fireworks. We have also been busy making lots of crafts relating to the beautiful lanterns and diva lamps. Using attention autism durian these lessons has really helped our learner’s engagement and attention to explore. 

This year in our class we have a huge focus on requesting and we are trying to implement this in all areas of our learning. We now have lessons such as Sherborne and sensory experience where the children are using both TD snapcore and symbols to communicate and request. In Sherborne the children are requesting what movements they would like to make such as jumping, rocking or pulling (pulling is a class favourite as they lie on a blanket and get pulled around the classroom, so much fun!). In sensory experience the children get to request an item from the magic box and also requesting items from the containers when it’s time for the tray tasks. 

So proud of you all, let the practicing for the Christmas show commence!”


Now to Mrs Jones’ form… 

“11 RJS have been busy this week with their mock GCSE’s. They have sat their English literature, Maths, Science and I media exams. Their attitudes and efforts have been outstanding. 

This half term in maths pupils have been learning about fractions, decimals and percentages. In English they have used their anthology to look at some poems. In Science they have been looking at the Periodic table, Elements, mixtures and compounds. During employability we have made some visits in the community and have been looking at our money management skills. EHCP lessons they have been looking at different strategies to cope with stress during the exams and different techniques to do some relaxation. In Geography they have been studying earthquakes in Japan and the impact to a country after a natural disaster. The class have really enjoyed researching volcano hazards e.g. ash falls from the sky, causes landslides, lava, hot soot and molten rock.”


Now to Mr Challinor’s music lessons… 

“There has been some great music making this term at HWA at both primary and secondary in class and with the extra-curricular clubs.  

Primary students have been learning and how play Glockenspiels, using YuStudio to create Hip Hop tracks and making rain soundscapes with percussion instruments. 

Year 7 students have been learning how to use notation to play pieces of music and exploring music for planets using Garageband. 

Year 8 have created their own dance tracks and are now exploring culture from further afield with a Reggae music project.  

Year 9 have been exploring Video Game music and Film Music, creating their own soundtracks to video games and exploring the music of the James Bond movies. 

The Choir are preparing for Young Voices in February, learning all the lyrics and dance moves ready for the concert at the AO Arena. We had a great time there last year (although Mr Challinor thinks some students are mostly looking forward to the pre-concert visit to Krispy Kreme donuts more than anything!). 

The music club is as popular as ever with students learning the drums, keyboard, bass, ukulele and guitar at lunch time – there are some fantastic performers developing here at HWA! 

Finally, the rock band are practicing ready for their end of year gig, learning songs by the Clash and Arctic Monkeys – turning it up to 11 at every chance they get!” 


On Thursday morning students at Hollinwood Academy took part in a finance super learning day, EYFS and KS1 classes categorised needs and wants such as food or a toy. KS2 looked at where money is stored and how do people pay. KS3 and 4 looked at keeping money safe and looking into how much money people earn. 



Now to our amazing SUPER STARs and HWA Caring STARs… 

Mrs Lerigo’s STAR of the week is Jack for amazing work in phonics and blending some common cvc words beautifully.  

Mrs Lerigo’s HWA Inspiring STAR is Albi for demonstrating kindness to a friend in class by giving them a hug and showing concern. This then inspired others to also be kind.


Miss Bramley’s STARs of the week are Zachary for making a massive improvements with his writing and Lyla for being an inspiring member of the class with her enthusiasm for trying new things.  

Miss Pietraszewska’s STAR of the week is Freddie for following class routine and engaging in learning. Well done! 

Miss Pietraszewska’s HWA Inspiring STAR is Harrison for a great job on engaging during Talk4Writing sessions and retelling the story with full sentences and details. 

Mrs Quinn’s STAR of the week is William for always being so happy in class, he always chooses the ‘happy’ visual in class too on a daily basis when asked how he is feeling. 

Mr Corrigan’s STAR of the week is Simisola for coping really well with change this week. 

Mr Corrigan’s HWA Inspiring star is Mysha for great listening in Music today. 

Mr Corrigan’s WOW moments go to Simisola and Maya. Well done! 


Miss Boothroyd and Miss McDonald’s STAR of the week is Cole for using my words to express how I feel much more this week. 

Miss Boothroyd and Miss McDonald’s HWA Inspiring STAR is Shane for helping my friends with their maths work. 

Miss Boothroyd and Miss McDonald’s WOW moments go to Jack. Well done! 

Mrs Davies’ STAR of the week is Arissa for amazing engagement in activities.  

Miss Matthew’s STAR of the week is Corey for putting in great effort in with his reading this week! 

Miss Matthew’s HWA Inspiring STAR is Gerard for his consistent engagement in class and fantastic attitude to learning. 

Miss Tootill’s STAR of the week is Zack for having a positive week and making the right choices. 

Miss Tootill’s HWA Inspiring STAR is Billy for inspiring others to be kind. 


Well done to our secondary Hollinwood Academy STARs this week: 


This afternoon, Miss Natalia’s class made a very special birthday card for Mr Ottaway. The birthday card featured the outdoor education bus and all the children. Have a lovely birthday Mr Ottaway.


Next week, we will be on the countdown to Christmas and we have a number of exciting events taking place in December that I know our students will love taking part in and I am sure that staff will too. 


Have a lovely weekend. 

Mrs Millard