From the Principal’s Desk #1

25th January 2019

May I first start by wishing you all a belated Happy New Year!

Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog post on our academy website. I am intending to make this a regular feature so that I can share updates with parents, carers and stakeholders in a timelier and efficient manner.

Since September 2018 the academy has been on a journey of improvement towards becoming strong in all areas: pupil outcomes, teaching and learning, personal development and welfare, and leadership. We are in the midway of that journey for this year.

During the Autumn Term, we focused on behaviour and attendance. In some areas, children’s behaviour was not good enough. We adopted a consistent approach using a simple and clear system that children found easy to adopt and understand – you may know it as the Traffic Lights.

As a result of our consistence approach, we were able to effect a significant reduction in behaviour issues across the Autumn Term. Fewer children disrupted learning, were unkind to others and failed to follow instructions than ever before.

We also introduced the Golden Book, Marbles and Attendance Rewards to reward excellent learning, behaviour and attendance. As a result, typically 90 children are individually acknowledged and congratulated by their peers in a weekly, whole-academy assembly for their efforts.

Whole classes are rewarded with additional play time for having the best attendance and efforts each week. The weekly Marble Assembly is a scene of great excitement as classes compete against each other to see who has gained the most Marbles (similar to old house points) and wins extra break.

Our attendance is on an upwards trend. From meagre 80% range figures at the start of the term, we now are delighted to be at least in line with national average each week. Our prompt start to the day has been successful due to the shared commitment that our parents have with us to ensure that no learning time is lost due to absence and punctuality issues.

Children are now able to talk fluently about “The 5 Rules to Personal Success”. The five rules are:

#1 Be nice to each other
#2 Dream BIG
#3 It can be done
#4 Hard work works
#5 Give something back

They are intended to give children an easy narrative to talk about how to do better. Our conversation is that “We challenge each other to be ever better versions of ourselves.”

To drive our attendance performance even higher, we have recently introduced OATCoin – like BitCoin only better! When children attend the academy for an entire week, we reward them with one OATCoin which they can either choose to spend or save. The OATCoin shop is open every Monday lunchtime. Depending on the number of OATCoins a child has, different items are on sale for children to purchase.

This simple reward system serves also to teach children financial management skills and the weekly Friday afternoon assembly explores financial and life knowledge and skills that children will need to become functional adults.

Now in the Spring Term, we are looking forensically at learning and teaching. We have invested heavily in Year 6 to help those children prepare for a successful SATS season. Whilst exams do not provide a whole picture of a child, they do give children their first taste of exams that are going to be part of their educational life as they get older. Our children want to do well this summer and I know that you will support our efforts to make their successes as big as they can be.

I trust this short post on our website has given you somewhat of a flavour of the changes that we are making. I will endeavour to use this medium to keep you updated as regularly as is practically possible.

Please remember that you can also reach out to me on Twitter at @principal_ewoa 

Category: Academy news