Principal’s Blog, The traits of a super teacher, Friday 22nd March 2019

I came across an interesting article by John Dabell, entitled “The traits of a super teacher”. In it he essentially suggests that there is no such thing as a super teacher, but that all teachers should recognise their own talents and bravely enjoy progressing into better versions of themselves.

His traits included:

  • Organised and are always thinking ahead.
  • Prioritisers and do the important stuff first.
  • Accountable and take ownership of mistakes and short-comings.
  • Explainers and can clearly articulate their thoughts, ideas and explanations.
  • Patient and understand that learning is full of mistakes and something can’t be rushed or happen by “magic”.
  • Optimistic and believes that all students can learn and get better.
  • A listener and really tuned into what people are saying.
  • Creative and is able to produce memorable and exciting learning moments.
  • Versatile, flexible and always editing their feelings and responses.
  • Assertive and say “no” if they have to, not least in order to protect their wellbeing.
  • Networkers who surround themselves with successful people and role models.
  • Self-monitors who invest heavily in their own personal and professional development.
  • Risk-takers who spearhead new ways of working and battle classroom complacency
  • Believers who nurture themselves by being confident practitioners.

He talks about the importance of balance, confidence and accepting our own humanity as teachers. I agree with him whole heartedly about the importance of school leaders and governors in creating a climate for teachers to become amazing versions of themselves. Avoiding becoming some grey version of normal or impossible version of perfect, instead focusing on evolving into an amazing version of themselves.

I read the article on the same day as receiving two emails from parents praising staff and another letter from a student doing the same. I know how much these small acts of recognition had meant to the staff involved. It made me think about the power of parents and students in creating the culture for teachers to be amazing as well as the teachers creating it for the students a great example of a virtuous spiral. A reminder of the importance of community, a reminder of how lucky we are to be part of the Hazeley and 5 Dimensions communities.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, The Importance of Great Careers Advice, Friday 15th March 2019

This week’s blog is brought to you by our Assistant Principal for Pathways, Mrs Mayles. It focuses on the importance of careers advice, highlighting some of the ways in which the staff at Hazeley connect with others to make this come to life for our students.

Mr Nelson

Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of interviewing our Year 11 students, as well as Year 11 students from across the city who wish to be part of our sixth form next year. It has been fascinating to hear the different range of careers that students wish to go into, Forensic Psychologists, Doctors, Pilots, Teachers, Computer Programmers, the list is endless. No matter what the career, it is fantastic to hear the aspirations the students have and the research they have carried out, so they know the best route for them in the future.

This week some of our Year 10 and Year 11 students have visited the National Apprenticeship Show at Arena MK. There is an ever increasing number of apprenticeships across all different sectors, from entry level through to Degree level, some amazing opportunities for our students not only to continue building their qualifications but also earn and potentially secure a job at the end. Many of our Year 13s have been busy applying and going through rounds of interviews for apprenticeships- Mercedes Benz being a popular choice by many and competing against each other for that placement.

At the same time many of our Year 13 students are finalising their university choices, with most universities having to make their offers by the end of March, our students then have to finalise their first and second choice. A big decision for any student to make.

It is so important that our students are inspired and have aspirations, to support our younger students to think deeper about this, our Year 12 students have been visiting our lower form groups to share their aspirations and chosen pathway. In English our Year 7-10 students will be using their literacy skills to write letters about their chosen careers and the pathway they will take to get there.

We are collectively working to ensure they have the right information and guidance about how to achieve their dreams. Understanding where they are heading is a great motivator for students to achieve their bests and be the best they can be. Talking and engaging with young people about their aspirations is critical in supporting them to achieve this.

Years 9-13 now all have access to Unifrog, our online careers platform, students can use this to search different careers, which includes up to date labour market information. They can build their own personal profile of their key competencies and activities, as well as create CVs and search apprenticeships and universities. Students can access this both in and out of school so parents will be able to work with students on their account. We have also created a parent login, parents can sign up www.unifrog.org/code using the form code HazeleyParent. Year 7 will join the Unifrog platform later in the summer term.

Over the year students will also have been looking at careers within specific subject areas, taken part in form time activities, Worktree career breakout sessions, as well as many subjects inviting employers into the class room. Late this year we also hope that many of our year 7 students will take up the opportunity to take part in ‘Take your child to work day’

This term we have also welcomed our 5 Dimensions trust Career Advisor, Mrs A Harris, who is working across Hazeley and SBE to support students with their career choices and pathways for the future.

Our aim is to provide our students with multiple opportunities to find out about different careers prospects. If you feel you can support any delivery of careers or would be willing to speak to some of our students about careers, please let us know.

Thank you,

Mrs Mayles – Assistant Principal

Principal’s Blog, 8th March 2019, World Book Day

This weeks blog is written by our Learning Leader for Literacy and KS3 English, Mr Lane.

Having taught English for a number of years now, I wish I had a pound for every time a parent said, ‘My son always loved reading when he was in primary school, but now he’s just glued to his Xbox and I haven’t seen him read since he wore shorts to school’ or, ‘My daughter always loved reading when she was little, but now it’s all Instagram this, YouTube that or Snapchat the other’.

We hear you and we agree.

That’s why at Hazeley we are really pushing out the boat against this and doing our best to swim against the tide of digital distractions, algorithmic amusements and internet interruptions. As such, we celebrated World Book Day on Thursday 7th of March in a big way this year and bridged that gulf between students’ wonderful and memorable celebrations in primary school and the usually tokenistic experiences of the day in secondary School.

World Book Day is not something that should end once our students pass through secondary school gates. And how have you been able to get them to relive some of the fun of childhood? How else? We dressed up. Cognisant that some of our adolescents might be self-conscious, the staff at Hazeley have proved anything other. We had a huge range of literary characters: including both George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men; most of Hogwarts; two Dolores Umbrages; Lady Macbeth; Gangsta Granny and many more. But let’s not forget Professor Dumbledore, with an accent from the North East! Students were really buzzing when spotting literary characters and some didn’t even recognise Mr Nelson…

Sofia Vecina-Tercero in Year 7 remarked that it ‘was like being in a movie or a book and it was fun guessing who was who’ and Eiden Toscano-Buzenet observed that ‘all the lessons were different to usual as they were related to books, which was a really good idea, and even the teachers were reading in silence in period 5’.

Hazeley celebrated a wonderful, productive and thrilling day in which students’ appetites were whetted as they sampled from a wide range of tasty texts on the menu at our library ‘restaurant’; had the opportunity to purchase at our book sale; had their teachers read out and discuss their favourite books; had reading flashmobs regaling them with snippets of literature; and engaged in book quizzes during form time.

But what was arguably most beneficial and productive of all was the DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) hour. It was truly a calm, soothing and peaceful atmosphere in which over 1500 young people and adults read in silence. Undeniably a dream for most teachers!

So, this year, World Book Day was big. Next year it’ll be even bigger!

But we didn’t just keep it to the day itself. Oh, no, all week, tutor groups have been involved in reading activities: quizzes, podcasts and online reading and writing masterclasses.

You see, at Hazeley, we want to continue to cultivate a culture of reading, through our fortnightly Accelerated Reader lessons, the first ten minutes of reading in English lessons and thrice yearly DEAR sessions. For us, even though that day sparked off a lot of enthusiasm, celebrating reading is not just about celebrating it once a year.

I really do think the more we do this, the far fewer comments we’ll be hearing about Playstations before prose, Nintendos before novels. Slowly but surely, we really might just get there. I may never get those pounds… but that’s okay.

Principal’s Blog, Secondary School Placement day, Friday 1st March 2019

Today’s blog has been written by Assistant Principal, Mr Whitney.

Today is the day when across the country Parents and children have woken up and found out which secondary school they will be going to in September.  There is no doubt that a range of emotions and thoughts will have been experienced today as this next stage in the transition process is reached.

There may be relief, excitement, disappointment depending on what school has been assigned, joy that friends are going to the same school or sadness that they’re not, planning routes to school and who to get there with, thinking about what times things will need to happen in the morning in September, opportunities to make new friends, new teachers and new subjects to meet and experience.

Where concerns are experienced, these are often down to perceptions of a school that may be based on Oftsed ratings or league table results. These snapshot measures can never truly reflect the care and dedication that teachers and other staff go into school with each day; no matter the school, they will want to do the best that they can for your child.

It is also worth noting that having worked in other local authorities over my career, the secondary schools in Milton Keynes are really good at working together and sharing best practice for the benefit of all students in the area.  This is true whether in a Multi academy trust like ourselves and Shenley Brook End or from the regular meetings that happen between all schools in a range of contexts.

So please, if you are one of those who is currently disappointed, don’t let it turn into worry.  Be reassured that the school will want to do the best for your child.  Know that they will do everything they can to make the transition process as smooth and successful as possible.

If your child has been assigned at place with us here at the Hazeley Academy, a letter should be with you very soon with some initial information and what to do next.  You can also keep an eye on the admissions area of our website where copies of all the correspondence and information will be kept.

Mr Whitney

Principal’s Blog, Friday 8th February 2019, Snow – Challenges, opportunities and good old simple fun!

The risk of snow normally evokes in head teachers the prospect of being dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

Keep the school open and be criticised for putting students and staff in danger as they try to get safely into school and then navigate the site. Close and be criticised for forcing students to miss their education and creating child care problems for parents. Make the decision too early and the weather might change, make it too late and you prevent people from arranging their own plans.

Even if the weather in Milton Keynes is reasonable, you need to be aware of massive local variations as our 150+ staff come from a radius of around 40 miles, of course the weather in Luton can be very different from Kettering.

One of the worst situations is when you have the school full and the prospect of snow suddenly increases and you need to consider everyone getting home and closing the school before 3.15pm can create extra stress for some of our students getting picked up. Of course we reduce the risks by having safe systems of work and communicating with other local schools.

The snowfall last Thursday evening was a difficult one for Hazeley. Northampton had hardly any snow, Milton Keynes had a reasonable layer, enough to make getting out of some of the estates tricky, while South Buckinghamshire had a number of roads blocked and schools closed, making things difficult for many of our staff, we had the added challenge of having our site supervisor absent.

However, one of the best things about adversity is how it can bring the best out in people, by 7am we had a group of staff volunteers clearing the car park and paths, we were then joined by some enthusiastic students. Many staff volunteered to do extra duties at break and lunchtime to allow students to either have fun playing with snow balls on the back playground or enjoy some fresh air in the other outside spaces without the risk of being caught in the crossfire. The absolute joy on the faces of some of the students really was something to behold, staff put their other activities on hold and in doing so created opportunities to chat with each other and the students. It ended up being a pretty special day.

A good lesson on how often in life, opportunists often come along dressed up as challenges.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, Friday 1st February 2019,Growing through Giving

We are very fortunate to have so many students, staff, parents and members of our wider community who are willing to give up their time to support other members of the community. From student mentors and mental health ambassadors to our Governors, people are willing to give generously of their time.

If you ask them why, they often give an initial response of “I enjoy it”, when you explore more deeply they frequently fit into one or more of the following categories:

  • Self Confidence – Doing something worthwhile that is valued by others builds self esteem
  • New Skills – Doing something new helps you to develop new skills and interests, which is both useful and fun
  • New Friends – Working with people provides opportunities to create friendships
  • Being active – Many volunteering roles involve being physically, socially or mentally active, all of these are great for both physical and mental health and happiness.
  • Building your CV – Employers often look positively on those that volunteer and it strengthens CV’s
  • Making a difference– Knowing that you are helping others can be a great reward in itself

The vision for Hazeley and the 5 Dimensions Trust is to allow our students and local community to benefit even further from volunteering, making it a central part of what we do, through this we hope to create a vibrant community of exceptional people. Increasing participation in the arts and sports, helping people through difficult times, improving the environment and helping others learn. What could be more worthwhile?

Finally, have you volunteered lately? How did it make you feel? Are you interested in volunteering more? If so please drop my PA Miss Cooke an email ecooke@thehazeleyacademy.com

Mr Nelson

Principal’s blog, Friday 18th January 2019, Social Media – Part 3

This week’s blog is brought to you Mr Whitney (Assistant Principal) and is the 3rd instalment on the important and topical areas of social media.

Social Media – Part 3

Firstly, Happy New Year!

With the fact that a number of students may well have got new electronic devices over the break, I thought it would be timely to blog once again about social media and young people.  Even more so with the recent release of guidance about screen time for young people.

Many thought that the research was not strong enough in its conclusions or advice.  Yet if we think about the nature of the review it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Rather than being a fresh study, it instead collated together all of the existing research about screen time and its impact on young people’s health and well-being.  With the proliferation of social media taking place in such a relatively short time, there is currently very little research out there about the specific impact of it; existing research tends to be about the more generic screens such as television and computers.  The one guidance offered about limiting exposure before bedtime echoes that which I have mentioned in a previous blog.

Although as yet there is no evidence of a causal link, I find the following graph, taken from the BBC’s website to be very much worth contemplating.

Science, quite rightly and importantly, makes conclusions based on evidence; you will see the evidence of how your child responds to social media as they use it.  There is no need to wait for a scientific review to take the right steps for you and your family when it comes to social media.  If you can take these steps before your child signs up to anything it will make it easier to respond to the rapidly developing and changing world of social media.

You may also find the following website useful www.net-aware.org.uk. It gives indicators for the most popular games and applications in terms of their risks of sexual content, violence and hatred, bullying, suicide and self-harm as well as drink, drugs and crime.  This will be really useful for those informed conversations with your child; these risk factors have been based on people who are already using them.

I will end by wishing you have a great 2019 and repeating my suggestions from my last blog:

  • Have rules about technology and social media that everyone in the household follows
  • No mobile phones at dinner (Frankie and Benny’s are apparently giving free children’s meals if you hand them in at the beginning of the evening)
  • No social media within an hour of bedtime-tiredness impairs judgement and when posting online without the ability to read people’s reactions this can cause major issues
  • Make social media social.  Have a room where it is accessed together at the same time, but more importantly discussed between you
  • Monitor the apps that are downloaded and the age restrictions that apply; they are there for a reason
  • Follow the NSPCC’s guidance of working as a TEAM:
    • Talk about staying safe online
    • Explore together
    • Agree rules about what is OK
    • Manage the settings and controls

Principal’s Blog, Tuesday 8th January 2019, Your children are not your children

Before you get too worried by the title of this week’s blog I will tell you that it comes from a piece of work by Kahil Gibran, the Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist. I came across it on the same day that I had been helping/encouraging my own son’s with their holiday homework. It was a timely reminder of the balance that we must strike between directing/supporting and pushing/empowering. It’s sometimes all too easy to be tempted to push too hard, and  by doing so, ending up moving more slowly.

It also strongly resonates with our core purpose at Hazeley of seeking to develop Character, Confidence and Creativity in our young people and each other so that together we can gain fulfilment by playing a positive role in our community.  This cannot be achieved by simply pushing/controlling our students with a rigid set of rules and expectations. Instead we need to create a place where they can grow, develop, find their own inspiration and path. Of course, as the analogy with the bow in the poem suggests this also involves creating stability and security from which they can launch.

I hope that you enjoy reflecting on the poem as much as I did.

Mr Nelson

Khalil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.

Principal’s Blog, Friday 14th December 2018, In Pursuit of Excellence

At Hazeley we work hard to ensure that we invest in linking with other people and organisations. One such organisations is PiXL (Partners in Excellence), many of the strategies we use to help ensure that all of our students make good academic progress originated from this partnership. This weeks blog is unashamedly adapted (as are most good ideas) from Sir John Rowling who is one of the founders of PiXL, I hope that you enjoy it as much as me and I also hope that you agree that despite Sir John never visiting us, it feels very Hazeley. 

“There are plenty of ideas on what creates excellence but I was struck by one I read recently posted by an Indian Professor, K. Srinam.

Excellence can be obtained if you:
Care more than others think is wise;
Risk more than others think is safe;
Dream more than others think is practical;
Expect more than others think is possible.

Caring seems to me to be the heart of what as parents /educators. Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying first that ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ Benjamin Franklin, regarded still as a Founding Father of the United States, put it another way, ‘Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge.’  Sometimes others think the level and intensity of our caring unwise, for sure, because it costs and might be taken advantage of. It takes courage to care and, equally, ‘from caring comes courage,’ attributed to Lao Tsu.

These days we are deterred from taking risks. We have risk assessments, and nothing wrong with that, yet safety first and risk aversion are not likely to create inspiration or success. Mark Zuckerberg put it this way, ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy test that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.’ Calculate risk certainly but taking initiative and action, where others may not, may well bring success that others may never see.

As for dreaming, T E Lawrence commented, ‘All people dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous people for they may then enact their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.’ Many of the great landmark events of history started life as dreams. Martin Luther King’s for one, ‘I have a dream…’ Dream on! But let us be bold enough to enact the dream. Execution, we call it: make it happen.

‘When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece,’ said John Ruskin. When I look at many of the parents/ leaders I know pursuing their calling in homes/ schools across the land I see deep care, call it love if you want, and enormous skill. They are producing masterpieces not all yet discovered! 

Sir John Rowling

 

Principal’s Blog, 4th December 2018, Social media and technology part 2

This week’s Blog is brought to you by Mr Whitney and is the follow up to social media and technology part 1, unsurprisingly it is named, social media and technology part 2.

Social media and technology part 2

You may remember I wrote recently about how we were looking into this area as an academy.  It seemed eerily prescient that after writing that there seemed to be flurry of stories around children, mobile phones and social media.  From people suggesting an implementation of a ban across all state schools, the endorsement of a pledge for parents and students to reduce phone use at home by a leading independent school to the removal of Tumblr from the app store for content issues.

Thank you to all of those parents of students in year 7 and 8 who responded to the recent online questionnaire on this topic. The number of completed surveys was over 200 and has given the academy useful feedback on where we should plan to go next.

It was very reassuring to see that over 90% of families had rules about use of technology and social media, with only 60% of students accessing social media networks.  The majority of age restrictions for social media apps is 13, but well done to the 19% of respondents who correctly stated that the age restriction for WhatsApp is 16.  However it was a concern that almost a third of replies said that a change in behaviour was seen after accessing social media, the most common were being confrontational, angry or defiant.

In terms of moving forward, there was a very clear direction from all those who replied to look closely at our curriculum and how we convey the spectrum of impacts that social media can have to our students.  Alongside this there was a wish for useful information and regular sharing about trends on social media on our website.  I will be looking at these areas over the next few weeks and will be updating you again in the New Year.  Below you will find a few suggestions that come from my research in this area over the last few months; I hope they are of some use.

  • Have rules about technology and social media that everyone in the household follows
  • No mobile phones at dinner (Frankie and Benny’s are apparently giving free children’s meals if you hand them in at the beginning of the evening)
  • No social media within an hour of bedtime-tiredness impairs judgement and when posting online without the ability to read people’s reactions this can cause major issues
  • Make social media social.  Have a room where it is accessed together at the same time, but more importantly discussed between you
  • Monitor the apps that are downloaded and the age restrictions that apply; they are there for a reason
  • Follow the NSPCC’s guidance of working as a TEAM:
    • Talk about staying safe online
    • Explore together
    • Agree rules about what is ok
    • Manage the settings and controls

Like so many things in modern day life, social media if used wisely can have many benefits, if used foolishly it can create many problems.

Mr Whitney

Principal’s Blog, Friday 30th November 2018, Making Hazeley a Truly Happy school

There was an interesting article in the Times Education Supplement last week written by William Stewart & John Roberts, the title was eye catching.

‘Stressed and undervalued’ – but (most) teachers still love the job.

It described the dominant message from a recent YouGov pol as being  “that the vast majority of teachers feel unloved and overworked – 84 per cent do not think their profession is valued by society, and nearly as many – 83 per cent – say they are “stressed”, with nearly a third (32 per cent) “very stressed”.  

And the situation appears to be getting worse. Nearly half (46 per cent) of teachers say their morale has declined in the past year; with more than a third (38 per cent) saying they have “low morale”.

The full article can be accessed on https://www.tes.com/news/stressed-and-undervalued-most-teachers-still-love-job

I am thankful to say that the situation at Hazeley is very different, our staff surveys and discussions paint a contrasting picture. Leaders, governors, unions and staff have worked hard to reduce workload and create a culture of high expectations and support, a place where staff believe the differences between us make us stronger, where staff are encouraged to take calculated risks and that we understand that honest mistakes occur. It was a key point of praise in our recent OFSTED report and will remain a focus in our Academy and Trust improvement planning.

This makes a tremendous difference for the staff, but it also importantly has a dramatic impact on the students, being taught by a happy teacher is a very different experience to learning from someone who rarely finds a smile never mind a warm word. Happiness is contagious, Mr West high fiving the Y7’s as they go into lead lesson or Mr Healy warmly bellowing hello to students on the gate sets students up for the day, both of these things are very Hazeley.

Parents also have a dramatic impact to the climate in schools. We are blessed at Hazeley that the overwhelming majority of parents work really hard with staff. Providing feedback in a constructive way and showing a united front when times are difficult, these things make a wonderful difference.

Finally, if you want to play your part in making Hazeley a Truly Happy School then why not spend 5 minutes asking your child to list their favourite/best teachers/staff, make sure you push them to ask why they are on their list, then spend 5 minutes emailing the staff thanking them for their work. Genuine, heartfelt praise is a very powerful thing, especially at the end of a long winter’s day, from a caring parent. Small kindnesses of this nature go a long way.

Thank you for playing your part in making Hazeley a Truly Happy school

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, Friday 23rd November 2018, To be the best you need to constantly improve

One of the best things about Hazeley is that we don’t stand still. To become the best and to remain the best you have to fully commit to constant improvements. Although we are confident that our current curriculum is very good we want to make sure that we develop it further to meet the needs of the dynamic world in which our students will live and work.

Our Curriculum Deputy, Mrs Baldwin, is leading these developments and as you would expect she is working closely with her counterpart at Shenley Brook End School, Mr Nash. The definition of curriculum that they are working to is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and skills to be gained at each stage. (Intent) for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and skills pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).

We want students to learn about themselves, about the world, and their position within society; how they can contribute as citizens of the world as they grow into young adults and beyond. Being able to actively engage with others and situations as they grow is key to success. The academy’s core values illustrate this well:
“We develop Character, Confidence and Creativity in our young people and each other so that we can gain fulfilment by playing a positive role in our community”
Character – We have respect, integrity, loyalty, high expectations and resilience. We believe the differences amongst us make us even stronger.
Confidence – We trust ourselves and each other, we relish taking calculated risks, we understand honest mistakes occur and learn from them together.
Creativity –We enjoy working together designing, creating and reflecting upon solutions, including how to improve each other, and ourselves and making our academy a truly inspiring place.

Linked closely to this is the need to have knowledge laid out in the curriculum, the need to demonstrate an acquisition of knowledge and skills within specific subject areas. Our curriculum model shows the importance we place on the core subjects and the range of other subjects on offer across the key stages. This illustrates our commitment to offering breadth of knowledge according to students’ own interests at KS4 and KS5.

Mrs Baldwin and Mr Nash will be wresting with a whole host of other questions including;
• What type of learners do we want?
• How does it support students gaining fulfilment by playing a positive role in their community/ social cohesion?
• How does it link to our locality? (Employment/ history/ demographic/ geography……)
• How is it adapted to meet the needs of the cohort (especially boys and more able students)
• How is it influenced by local employment opportunities?
• How does it develop calculated risk taking and reflection?
• How does it develop high expectations and resilience?
• How does it support mental health? PSHE?
• What are the barriers restricting the access of some students to the curriculum/ learning? How do you support them overcoming this?
• How will we design and review the curriculum to ensure sequential layering of knowledge and skill acquisition?

The first new courses from this curriculum review will commence in September 2019, it will not be until 2024 that it will have its full impact. If you have any thoughts or views on our curriculum review then don’t hesitate to contact Mrs Baldwin LBaldwin@thehazeleyacademy.com

An exciting time to be part of the Hazeley community

Mr Nelson

 

Principal’s Blog, 16th November 2018, Social Media

For this weeks blog, I will hand you over to Assistant Principal, Mr Whitney.

We live in an ever interconnected age where the effects of social media, both positive and negative, are still being discovered and understood.  The positive impact of the #metoo campaign cannot be underestimated; it is difficult to see it having gathered the same momentum and having the needed impact that it did without social media.  They are a far quicker way for sharing ideas and finding out new things than we have ever had before.

At the same time a 2017 study https://childmind.org/article/is-social-media-use-causing-depression/ showed that teenagers who were the biggest users of social media platforms had up to a 66% higher rate of reported depression than those who spent the least time using them.  The suicide rate amongst American boys has increased by 20% and for girls by 75% since smart phones have become commonplace.

Gaming can be just as addictive as social media, just look at the success of Fortnite; able to make over a billion dollars in a year, despite being free to download and play. Worryingly a recent NSPCC survey found 20% of children who played the game had been approached by strangers to do something inappropriate. Game companies can now even attend seminars where they are given advice on how to make their games addictive and change the way people think.

As an Academy we are often dealing with incidents that happen outside of school time involving social media exchanges and misinterpretation of information, but fear of missing out can mean that it is difficult for people to put it to one side.  With the occurrence of these issues greatly increasing after 7.30pm, we are looking to develop an integrated approach with parents, students and other stakeholders to reduce these incidents.  This has begun with a survey to parents of students in Years 7 and 8.

In the meantime, you might find the following a useful source of information and advice about social media https://www.familyeducation.com/fun/mobile-apps/safety-beyond-facebook-12-social-media-apps-every-parent-should-know-about

The knee jerk reaction would be to ban everything, but then the good goes away with the bad.  We use applications to support our students’ learning and revision and we would not want them shut away from all that this interconnectedness has to offer.  Instead we need to look to teach our children how to use apps and games appropriately.  To recognise their behaviours and to know how to deal with them, to still show the empathy and understanding that they would if they were face to face with someone, to be wary of echo chambers that gradually lead them further into the darkness.

Prince William gave a speech on Thursday to technology companies about some of these issues and challenged them to give us ways to “fight back”.  But no matter what tools they may provide, the greatest opportunity to shape and control the future of social media is by providing the support and challenge to the future users, our students; your children.

Mr S Whitney

Assistant Principal

Key Stage 3, Transition and Standards

Principal’s Blog, 9th November 2018, OFSTED Report

You may recall that at the end of last half term, we had the pleasure of a visit from OFSTED.

I am thrilled to present their report, I hope that reading it leaves you with a sense of pride, reassurance and excitement, it should do; after all it is your child’s school that the inspectors are describing and it is their behaviour and outcomes that most greatly influence the inspectors. OFSTED Report

The delightful parental quote that is included sums it up, “The ethos of the school combines high expectations with a friendly and caring approach- what more could a parent ask for?” This is supported beautifully by a student quote, “The best thing about the school is the respect that teachers have for us and we have for our teachers”.

Rarely in OFSTED reports will you find so many wonderful phrases:

“Stimulating and challenging ethos”

“Morale is high at your inclusive school”

“Pupils are kind and respectful to each other and their teachers”

“Pupils personal development and well-being, including their mental health, have a high priority and are well provided for by the school”

“Pupils welfare is a high priority for staff, who are well trained and knowledgeable about the risk factors faced by young people”

“Behaviour of the great majority of pupils in lessons and around the school is exemplary”

“Safeguarding is a strength of the school.”

“Meticulous systems”

“The reputation of the sixth form in the community is rightly strong”

“Governors provide strong challenge and support”

“Pupils make rapid progress and achieve well”

There is clear praise for how we effectively balance the drive for excellence with the well-being of pupils and staff, as does our ambitious plans to improve further, through our partnership work. It is clear that, like me, the inspectors see Hazeley as a very good school that is on an excellent trajectory to become something very special and, most importantly, the students, staff, parents and partners involved are destined to enjoy the journey.

Exciting times!

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, 26th October 2018, OFSTED Update and a Thank you

A number of parents have called in the last few days either to wish us good luck for OFSTED or enquire about the outcomes. Although the senior team and governors received some interim feedback from the inspectors on the day we are not allowed to share this until the official letter comes out. This allows the report to be checked and helps ensure that the system is as valid and reliable as possible. We expect the letter to be with us in the next few school days, but I suppose no one can tell me off for saying what I did at the welcome to the year ahead meetings, and what I have made public on our own website; “Hazeley is a very good school that is getting better all of the time.” We will find out soon if the inspectors feel the same.

I certainly can share with you the outcomes of your parental surveys, which can be accessed here Hazeley Parental Survey As you may recall the situation was slightly confused by the fact that OFSTED came in during the week that we had already asked you to fill in our own surveys so some of you filled on both, the summary therefore is an amalgamation of the two, which unsurprisingly are very similar anyway. Ofsted Parental Survey

Impressively over 90% of parents strongly agreed/ agreed (or for a minority did not show a view) on the following comments:

  • My child is Happy at Hazeley
  • My child feels safe
  • My child makes good progress
  • My child is well looked after
  • My child is taught well
  • My child receives appropriate homework for their age
  • This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved
  • This school deals effectively with bullying
  • This school is well led or managed
  • I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress
  • I would recommend this school to another parent.

Those of you who have engaged with our parent’s voice group will know that we will be particularly pleased with the views on homework and reports which have been a focus for the past few years.

You will see from the deeper Hazeley survey that parents feel that we are right to maintain a focus on:

  • Deepening their child’s personal learning skills
  • Extending our extracurricular and volunteering offer
  • And of course being relentless preventing and responding to complaints and bullying

As always we will remain true to our vision and commitment to the 3Cs (Character, Confidence and Creativity) and not be tempted to squeeze extra points in the school performance tables or win the favour of OFSTED with gimmicks, but equally we will use these mechanisms along with your own valuable feedback to help guide us on our way.

We will of course, continue to make best use of our partnership with Shenley Brook End as part of the Five Dimensions Trust to keep improving, on that note it is reassuring to see how the parental surveys of both schools are almost equally positive. Of course, I would argue Hazeley’s are better and I would expect Mr Holmwood to do the same for Shenley, but a bit of healthy competition, helps drive things along!

Finally thank you for your support, it makes a tremendous difference to that Hazeley community.

Ensuring that our best gets better every year.

Exciting times…

Mr Nelson