My predecessor Mr Bennison set up the tradition at Hazeley of a weekly blog from the Principal. The idea was that it would allow parents and other interested stakeholders, the opportunity to regularly dip into what was going on at the academy. The hit counter suggests that it has been popular.
We are planning to update it this year by also sending it out via schoolcomms. To help prevent overload for you as parents we are reducing its frequency to once per fortnight and will be aiming to keep it to just one side of A4.
We are hoping to cover a wide range of topics from revision and school trips, to bullying and mobile phones. The most important thing is that you find it useful, we know that the more informed and supportive parents are in relation to their child’s education, the happier and more successful their child will be and this is something we are committed to.
“Is that you or your chimp talking?”
In his popular book the Chimp Paradox the successful psychologist Dr Steve Peters describes a simplified model of the human mind in which we have multiple brains. One of them is our rational human brain, it is focused on facts, truth and logic, it is rational and located in the frontal lobe.
Another brain is dominated by instincts and drives, it is highly emotional and prone to overreacting, he refers to this as your inner chimp. He explains how these brains have evolved, the chimp brain came first, it is fast, strong and centred on survival, it was ideal early in our existence. Our human brain is designed to help us thrive; it is perfect at supporting us in making good long-term decisions and seeing beyond the fog of emotion.
According to Dr Peters one of our challenges as humans is managing our chimp brain. Have you ever had moments when you start to react irrationally to a situation? Maybe someone cuts you up while driving or a friend says something that you find upsetting, or possibly your son/daughter infuriates you up in a way only they can? Does your chimp take over? Do you respond in a way that on reflection is not how you might want to? The book gives all sorts of ways in which you can “manage” your chimp, one of the most important is acknowledging that it exists and realising that you do not need to respond to your feelings.
I can’t think of an area of life that evokes stronger emotions than parenthood. It is natural to instinctively want to jump to your child’s defence when you see that they are upset, or you feel that they have been wronged in some way. Our chimp brains can quickly take over, demanding that we act immediately, forcefully and fully fuelled by emotion. This would be the perfect way to respond if the threat was a wild animal approaching our child, but it is rarely the best way with modern problems. This is where we need to “manage our chimp” and ensure that it is our human brain that takes control of our actions.
Have you ever felt yourself or witnessed someone else going through this challenge? Things rarely turn out well until the chimp is under control. Of course, the added challenge is that we all have chimps, if we are not careful, we end up in situations where the chimps are shouting at other chimps and all logic and reason are lost.
Although we might not go about it in as systematic way as outlined in the Chimp Paradox, one of our roles as parents and educators is to help the young people in our charge to identify and manage their chimps and as always the best and probably hardest way is to try and model it ourselves.
Today has been a very happy day at Hazeley, there has been a great buzz as the Year 11 students opened up their results. We are thrilled with the grades that they have achieved, but even more proud of the way in which they earned them: working with the staff to develop themselves into rounded young people full of character, confidence and creativity. Very Hazeley!
These attributes, combined with their excellent examination outcomes will help them to not only access the next stage of their education, but to become amazing versions of themselves, taking on and enjoying important roles in our local community and beyond.
Of course we have the odd student who has hit a bump in the road, as always, staff will work closely with them and their families to help pick them up, dust them off and make the most of the situation they find themselves in, this is also part of the Hazeley way. If you have a particular student query that you do not feel has been resolved then please do not hesitate to contact Miss Whiteman on email@example.com
Our initial analysis suggests that our headline measure of Progress 8 is yet again very positive. Importantly, there continues to be a consistency across subjects and subgroups of students, underlining how students of all ability levels and backgrounds do well at Hazeley compared to “normal” schools.
As you know the results top off a year in which we received a glowing OFSTED report, have provided a richer curriculum full of deep experiences and vibrant events such as drop down days, school productions, sport activities and trips stretching across Europe and beyond. We have had another year in which staff have gone above and beyond to support students at all levels academically and pastorally.
Our partnership with Shenley Brook End as part of the 5 Dimensions Trust has been important in helping us maintain the consistency of outcomes at a time in which many schools are facing turbulence, this security is an important factor in helping us grow such wonderful young people.
We are arguably in our best position in terms of the quality of our teaching, pastoral support, staffing, leadership and support teams. However, the best part is that there is a real sense that the best is yet to come!
Enjoy the rest of the summer break, we are looking forward to your sons and daughters joining us again in September after our 80s themed training days – I am sure we will be sharing some interesting tweets!
A level results day is always special, the students who receive them today are a credit to themselves, their families and Hazeley in more ways than just their excellent grades. They have helped create a legacy of a 6th form that adds to our community helping make it a very special place that forges well rounded “5 dimensional students”, as is the vision of our Trust with Shenley Brook End School.
I am sure that the Garret household will be celebrating tonight as 6’ 5” twins Alex and Joe both achieved 3 A* and are going to Warwick University to respectively study Physics and Mechanical Engineering.
Ronnie Hale did not just achieve an A* for his art work, but scored 100%, he is off to Birmingham to study Political Science.
Callum Taylor will be the first person from Hazeley to study Veterinary Medicine which he will do at the Royal College of Veterinary Medicine.
Some other stand out success include:
- Ewan Waggott achieving 2 A* and 2As also going to Warwick to study maths
- Eva Gilet A*A*B Engineering
- Geith Abdul Majid A*AA will be studying Engineering at Durham
- Becky Matcham AAB Dental Hygiene at Birmingham
- Paris Hale (who some may recall as the lead in our school production) who is off to study Drama at the prestigious Italia Conti
- Jordan Hemani AAB
- Annabel Waters Distinction, Distinction B going to Hull to study Nursing
- Carys Rickaby A*AB is studying Law at York
- Holly Allen achieved Distinction* Distinction A will be studying Psychology at Northampton
We have some students who have used their grades to secure highly competitive apprenticeships including James Aylett at VW.
Although it is tempting, and easy to simply see the grades, especially the As and A*s it is important to recognise that some students achieved their grades while facing great personal challenges, it is that Character, Confidence and Creativity that will help take these young people on in their lives and set them apart from other students in a very positive way.
Some subjects that have performed particularly well in terms of progress included Business Studies, Psychology, Btec IT, Government and Politics, Theatre Studies, Philosophy and Ethics and Art. As is becoming the norm at Hazeley there was a plethora of top grades in the STEM (science/ technology/ engineering and maths) subjects for example Physics where 50% of the students gained A*-B grades.
Any onlookers questioning the difficulty of the exam papers might want to challenge themselves to complete one of the papers in exam conditions and see if they still feel the same way, I suspect they won’t. Our young people are sitting some of the most rigorous exams and due to a blend of their hard work, the support of their families and Hazeley they have done very well and I am sure that they will continue to do so.
The year started with reflections on a great set of summer exam results, and was quickly followed by a hugely positive OFSTED. We used it to raise our expectations further and we frequently recall the quotes from it.
“Principled and determined pursuit of high standards in all areas of school life”
“A stimulating and challenging ethos”
“Pupils make rapid progress and achieve well”
“Pupils are proud of your school”
“Behaviour of the great majority of pupils in lessons and around the school is exemplary”
“Effective balance of the drive for excellence with the wellbeing of staff and students”
“Pupils personal development and well-being, including their mental health, have a high priority and are well provided for by the school”
“Safeguarding is a strength of the school”
“Governors provide strong challenge and support”
“The reputation of the sixth form in the community is rightly strong”
Our partnership with Shenley as part of the 5 Dimensions Trust has grown from strength to strength as we endeavour together to “create a vibrant community of exceptional people” allowing both schools to learn from and support each other. I cannot think of an area of school life that has not benefited from this in one way or another.
The year has been filled with a vast array of successful events from HazeleyFest to visits to CERN, with the staff running them and the students taking part, to keep raising the bar. The commitment to continuous improvement is part of the DNA of Hazeley. The willingness of staff to make this happen humbles me on a daily basis.
Our staff, students, OFSTED, parents and visitors frequently tell us we are a happy and successful school, this is important to us. We are far from complacent. Our improvement plan next year will focus on lifting the bar on the quality of teaching and learning through Magenta, Metacognition and Oracy. In parallel to this we will improve the ethos and culture through our commitment to encouraging our young people to grow through taking part, volunteering and knowing themselves and each other.
We don’t know what this summer’s results will bring, but we know that the overwhelming majority of our students can be reassured that they have done their best and that is all that we can ask. I know that the same applies to the staff and parents. We cannot alter them now as the examiners are ticking away at the papers, but we can choose how we react to them and we will respond in a Hazeley way, a positive way, a way that understands that we are committed to becoming amazing versions of ourselves, not normal (that is boring) or perfect (that is impossible) AMAZING.
Enjoy your summer knowing that the best is yet to come!
Hello, I am Miss Whiteman, the senior deputy principal at Hazeley and I will be taking over the Principal’s blog this week. Over the last week I was delighted to welcome the new staff for 2019-2020 into the Academy as part of their induction. Please find a little bit about them below.
Mr A Chandler
Mr Chandler will be joining the Science team to teach Biology. He will also be a Year 7 tutor
Mr A Nassor
Mr Nassor is part of our Maths team and will be a Year 8 support tutor.
Miss C Bley
Miss Bley will be within our Languages team and she will be teaching French and Spanish. She will be part of the Year 8 tutor team.
She said ” My start at Hazeley was fantastic and the staff was so welcoming and supportive. I am looking forward to working with this amazing team from September as I am sure that they will support me to become an outstanding teacher. ”
Mr E Imbeah
Mr Imbeah has been at Hazeley this year as part of his training and he will now be joining us as a Computer Science Teacher. He will also be a Year 7 support tutor.
He said ” I am very happy to be part of Hazeley, but attending the induction session has given me a deeper understanding of what Hazeley stands for. The passion for genuine care of students’ well being and achievements was evidently expressed by every member of staff. I would be a proud parent if my children attended Hazeley, I can’t wait for September to see the care and love that is around the school. As a new teacher, the support I have received so far is overwhelming.”
Miss J Evans
Miss Evans started her career at Hazeley a few years ago and we are delighted that she is returning to us to teach History and Geography next year. She will be a Year 7 Tutor.
Ms K Francis
Ms Francis is an experienced teacher who will be teaching Social Science. She will also be working in the 6th form tutor team.
Ms Francis said “I am super excited about starting work as a sociology and psychology teacher at The Hazeley Academy. My experience so far has shown me that the school recognises the individual needs of both staff and students, has a great attitude towards diversity and, importantly, wants everyone to work together to achieve a well-balanced experience of education. I have never seen such a happy bunch of teachers! What a vibrant student cohort! I can’t wait to be part of the Hazeley team.”
Miss K Chamberlain
Miss Chamberlain is a familiar face to Hazeley as she has just completed her training with us, we are delighted that she will now join us as a newly qualified teacher within Science, and as a Year 7 tutor.
She said “I am really excited to be joining the Hazeley Science Department officially – after training there I was very happy to get a job. The induction days have made me feel valued and well prepared, all ready for September.”
Miss K Dallas
Miss Dallas is joining the leadership team as our new SENcO, she also teaches Business.
Miss Dallas said “Since transitioning to The Hazeley Academy, I have seen every aspect of the schools’ vision and ethos at work; Character, Confidence and Creativity.
From the first day at interview, I had an hour to take in the staff room environment. I spoke to staff who dealt with hospitality, who offered me tea. Teaching assistants who told me they were previous students and now back to support the students. I observed different teachers coming in to the staff room to use the facilities and two staff members speaking I think Cantonese that helped me with internet access. It was then I realise the diverse, unique differences make the school community stronger and a place I am happy to be part of.
The new staff induction, left me feeling empowered, welcome and part of the school and vision. In my years of working, I have never gone away with so much information and understanding of systems, been excited and felt confident to use them; especially the stamp in planners. I was shocked that day on a tour of the school at how quiet the corridors were. All the students were in their lesson, no truanting. I was amazed.
I am looking forward to the creation of additional areas for SEND students within the school and creating new interventions to develop these and all students within the school.
The one thing I am most looking forward to is starting at The Hazeley Academy in September.
I would like to thank everyone from Mr Nelson, Ms Whiteman, Ms Hearty, Ms Lord, the SEND team, Business and Economics team, the Student council and the whole of The Hazeley Academy for making me and others so welcome and part of Hazeley.”
Mr K Reeder
Mr Reeder is joining our vibrant Music department and will be working in the Year 10 tutor team.
Mr Reeder said ” I’m really looking forward to being part of Hazeley Academy. In particular, I am looking forward to developing creativity through Music which is a key part of the life of the Academy.”
Mrs L Lazenby
Mrs Lazenby is a very experienced teacher who has worked within Milton Keynes for a number of years. She will be taking the learning leader role within Design Technology for us in September and will take on a Year 8 tutor group.
She said “What a fantastic welcome I received by all staff and students on the 3rd July, thank you. The school provides so many exciting opportunities for the students and there is a clear sense of community. I am most looking forward to being able to transfer my passion of Design and Technology into lessons and in turn hopefully inspiring some future Engineers. I enjoy the opportunities that the subject lends, especially the diversity and creativity and I look forward to creating some fantastic work with the students next year.”
Mrs N Cuthbert
Mrs Cuthbert is joining us as the learning leader for Economics and Enterprise and she will be a 6th form tutor.
Mrs Cuthbert said “What an amazing introduction to the Hazeley family! I have never had an induction quite as professional as the new starter induction day at Hazeley. Every critical piece of information was covered, and we were even supplied with chocolate and tea bags! I am looking forward to working with all of the Economic and Business students at Hazeley, and running the Student Investor Challenge and Young Enterprise.”
Mr P Nwaolise
Mr Nwaolise is joining us as the second new recruit to our Mathematics team and will be a Year 7 tutor.
He said ” So far I am impressed with the caring nature of staff at Hazeley, l am also looking forward to working with the Maths team, they seem like a hard working department, and a department that supports each other. Most of all I am impressed with the SLT at Hazeley with the way they have planned and prepared for the transition day and the new staff induction day. I am looking forward to working at The Hazeley Academy and be part of the journey to become an outstanding school.
Miss R Jelley
Miss Jelley is another familiar face to Hazeley as she was with us at the start of the year. She was previously in role to cover a maternity leave and then moved to Shenley Brook End School. We are delighted that she is returning to join us permanently within PE and Health and Social Care.
Miss Jelley said “I started at Hazeley from September till February, I was then asked to work with our trust at Shenley Brook End School for the rest of the academic year. I have now been offered a unique opportunity to undertake my PE teacher training through Hazeley.
During my first weeks of starting I was fully supported by the PE department whilst having lesson dips by senior leadership to ensure I was settling in well. Alongside this I quickly built a brilliant rapport with many of the students at Hazeley which is the most important thing.”
Mr S McGinn
Mr McGinn is joining our outstanding English department and will be a support tutor within Year 7.
He said “I’ve found the induction to be fantastic, thank you for all your hard work getting us up to speed.
I’ve found that the department has been incredibly welcoming and friendly – they are all passionate and inspiring teachers. I’m really looking forward to working alongside them all.
The school cares about their staff and support them to be the best they can be, and this is wonderful to know moving forward. I feel confident that I will be supported in being the very best for the students.
The student body are also fantastic to see working hard, motivated and engaged in learning across the school. I can’t wait to get started and work alongside the wonderful staff and students at the school. I am looking forward to starting in September.”
This week’s blog is brought to you by Mr Whitney, it focuses on one of the biggest events of a young person’s education the transition to secondary school.
Change can be a difficult thing; what might happen as a result, the worry if it will it be good or bad, will things go according to plan, what else might it affect and where do you put all the coins when the shop says that they’ve run out of notes and pound coins.
One big change that happens for almost everyone is the move to secondary school and this week we had our transition days for all the students who will be joining us in Year 7 in September. We see these days as an essential part of sharing with the students what life at The Hazeley Academy is all about; an initial experience of our emphasis on Character, Confidence and Creativity and how we work together as a community.
Students came together from over 30 different Key Stage 2 settings to take part in a range of lessons and activities. On day one they took part in relationship building activities in their tutor groups, had a Character lesson to understand the importance that we place on this at Hazeley and English and mathematics lessons. All students and tutors received the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio to read over the summer which encapsulates one of our values of “the differences between us make us stronger” and will form part of their English lessons in September as well as providing another common experience for them.
In the evening parents were invited in to meet the tutors as well, to ask those questions about uniform, food and anything else that was on their mind as well as the opportunity to see a presentation from the Progress and Pastoral Leaders for the year group of Mr Edwards and Mr West. This year was the first year that we have had two transition days and the first benefit of doing so was seeing all the students who were walking in clutching their new books with so many pages read already!
This was the day they experienced a science lesson and it definitely brought a glow to their faces, which was not only because they were getting to use Bunsen burners and get their safe use certificates! Students also experienced some Magenta activities, which is an approach we use here at Hazeley to ensure that they are talking, thinking and doing in their learning so that they achieve as deep an understanding as possible.
Year 11 students always start to reminisce about their transition experiences as the exam season approaches and I am confident that when the time comes for this group of students to do the same they will have so many positive moments to reflect on and memories to share. From a personal viewpoint, the moment when a number of the Year 6s came down to sign the chorus to We Are The World whilst the rest of the year group sang along with the cast from our upcoming performance of Back to the 80s will stay with me forever. The sense of enthusiasm and togetherness was palpable and gave foundations to our hopes for their futures.
This weeks blog is brought to you by the Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Mayles.
On Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June, we held our Sixth Form induction, a time to meet our potential new Year 12 students for next year. The students had the opportunity to experience the subjects they will be studying for Key Stage 5, which included making strawberry jam sandwiches with restricted vision in Health and Social Care, deciding how our country should be run in Government and Politics and deciding the link between beer and nappies (data mining) in Computer Science. The students all now have a good understanding of the expectations the sixth form has, as well as the work and effort it entails to be successful.
The new students also got an opportunity to meet our current Year 12’s, who demonstrated their excellent leadership and team work skills in delivering study skills sessions for the students, as well as organising the inflatable activities we had on Thursday. It was lovely to see new friendships forming between the two year groups as well as with the many students who have joined us from the different schools across the city.
From the success of the last two days, we are all looking forward to working with these fantastic young people when they join us for Sixth Form.
Many of you will recall our fabulous R2L team deservedly receiving the award for Secondary School Team of the Year at the 2018 Milton Keynes Education Awards, believe me they still remind me of it, all be it in a very tongue in cheek way.
Hazeley staff earned even more success this year. Firstly the expertise of our hard working SEND team was recognised as they won an award for their impact supporting vulnerable students to gain great grades. This is lovely recognition of our dedication to students from all backgrounds.
The commitment of our staff, students and parents to the DofE Programme was also recognised as Hazeley received a highly commended award for its programme which is arguably the best in the city and thanks to the energy and efforts of so many people this is expanding and improving all of the time.
Rosemary Kaye, a very special member of staff from our partner school Shenley Brook End, also received a lifetime achievement award for the sustained excellent contribution to staff development across the city. She received a standing ovation from the Hazeley staff.
The biggest cheer of the evening went to Paulina, who is one of our amazing lunchtime supervisors, a true smile machine, who as well as being the most glamorous person at the event received the award for doing the most to promote happiness in education across the city.
We are very grateful to Milton Keynes Council, the sponsors and organisers for making the awards happen.
We plan to hold an extended break to honour our winners, although this may be a little time as we are waiting for the sun to return.
This is the second in a series of blogs in which the views of a cross section of the student population are shared. The young people involved are a representative mix of students in terms of year group, gender, academic levels and ethnic back ground. They choose topic areas, crafted the questions and agreed the summary responses.
They provide an interesting insight into the views of our students and the responses of the academy to support these young people.
The second topic is one that seems to hit the media headlines on a weekly basis – Gangs.
This is what our students thought.
Why do people join gangs? The students suggested that the young people don’t have anything else to do, they think it looks cool. Sometimes they are running away from problems at home or their parents are not able to control them. Drugs, smoking, money and alcohol also seem to have a link.
Have you experienced any problems from gangs? – Some students had seen graffiti and groups of young people hanging out by the shops or in secluded places. None of the students had experienced any problems caused by gangs, but all of them worry by what they hear in the media about gangs in Milton Keynes. Social media can also make it feel worse.
How does this compare to what you see in the media? – All of the students agreed that it seems a bigger problem when you see it in the media than it feels through their own experiences. They thought that it makes exciting news stories and people would want to be told about things like this.
How should society deal with gangs? – Having police on the streets was a popular answer, students told us that this made them feel safe. Giving young people more things to do and parents being stricter, were other common response.
How could Hazeley deal with it more effectively? – There was real clarity form the students who suggested that we work with the police to see who is in gangs or who is at risk of joining and make sure that they are steered away from it. They also thought that trying to understand why children join gangs was important.
Finally, they thought that it was important to show the local community that most students from Hazeley are great and not involved in things like gangs.
We are going to share the thoughts of our students with the local community police team and use them to inform our own strategy to help reduce the problem associated with gangs in Milton Keynes.
If you have any concerns relating to gang involvement by students at the Hazeley Academy then please do not hesitate to contact the Deputy Principal, Mr Healy firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the first in a series of blogs in which the views of a cross section of the student population are shared. The young people involved are a representative mix of students in terms of year group, gender, academic levels and ethnic back ground. They choose topic areas, crafted the questions and agreed the summary responses.
They provide an interesting insight into the views of our students and the responses of the academy to support these young people.
The first topic is one close to the heart of every young person, parent and teacher, bullying.
This is what our students thought.
What causes bullying? – Bullies cause bullying, they normally pick you out if you are different. They often do this because they are jealous or they have been bullied. Sometimes they do it because they think it will make them look good or fit in. Often it is because of the way they have been treated in the past.
How does bullying make you feel? – Different people feel different things at different times. Angry, isolated, self-conscious, upset, vulnerable, confused and even enraged are all common.
How common is bullying at Hazeley? – It happens less than in other schools, but it does happen, it is normally dealt with well, it tends to be relatively small groups of students that do it. It gets less common as you get older. It is important that it remains a priority for teachers to spot and deal with.
How could Hazeley deal with it more effectively? – Students need to understand what restorative meetings are and how they work. Bullies who don’t learn from these need to know that they will be punished. Staff need to make sure that they always close the loop and have the time to sit down with students and deal with these things properly.
As a result of the feedback from the students we will introduce a series of lessons on restorative practice, looking at how it works and why it works. This will be linked in with Anti Bullying Week.
Finally don’t forget to pass on the message that the first step to stopping bullying is informing a member of staff, this can be done through Tell, Text, Email….
Tell any member of staff – they will pass the message on to the correct person
Text us on 07923 866007
Email us on – AB@thehazeleyacademy.com
There are all sorts of ways to measure what a good lesson looks like, but the most valid and reliable one for me is the dad test, it’s a simple one, would I want my own child to be in this lesson? If it is a yes then it is a good lesson, if at a later point I am talking about the lesson with my children it was a great one.
I am fortunate enough to be in and out of lessons every day at Hazeley, the consistency in which lessons pass the “dad test” is extremely reassuring. Possibly the most consistent area is English, (although due to the competitive nature of our subject leaders I suspect many others would want to argue their case!)
Reading and creative writing seem to be favourites with our students; the opportunity to explore different lives and places from the safety of their own classroom, sharing them with others appears to enrich the experience further.
The teachers come up with all sorts of creative ways to heighten student interest and enjoyment, one of them is entering competitions. Through this a number of Hazeley students recently earned the privilege of having their work published in the young writer publication “Poetry Escape” edited by Jess Giaffreda.
One of my favourites is The Moon and Sea by Marta in Y7
The Moon and Sea
Whilst moon decks herself in Neptunes’ glass,
And ponders her image in the sea,
Her cloudy locks smoothed on her face,
That she may be as bright as beauty be,
It is my wont to sit upon the shore,
And see with what grace she glides,
Her two concurrent paths of azure,
One in the heavens, one in the tides.
Y7 students whose work was also published included:
A lovely example of a great lesson leading to a very special experience those students remember for the rest of their lives. It certainly passes the dad test.
On Tuesday I left my office carrying my jacket instead of wearing it, our expectation at Hazeley is that students always wear their blazer in the corridor from the start of school until 3.15pm. It was 3.15pm so I thought little of it. Before I got to the end of the corridor, a lovely Y8 student, in the politest possible way asked me, “Mr Nelson, where is you jacket? You should be wearing it as you are in the corridor”, I explained to her that it was the end of school and therefore the rules are relaxed, she smiled and went on her way. As I entered the stairs an equally, polite Y10 boy asked me “Where are you Mr Nelson?”, “I am walking up the stairs” I replied in a curious tone, “You should have your jacket on” was their mildly mischievous response.
This small episode, made me smile; partly because our students are so full of character and confidence that they feel that they can, in the right way challenge the Principal as he walks down the corridor, but much more importantly it reminded me of the importance of being a role model.
I cannot recall who said, “Being a role model is not one form of leadership, it is the only form of leadership”. It also reminded me that we have to do our best not just to model what we expect of our students, but also to try to show them the next level. In this example, I thought that it was good enough to model my expectations of the students, when what they needed was for me to show that I have even higher expectations of myself.
Teachers and parents share the privileges and pressures of being role models. We have to do this whilst also understanding that we are neither perfect nor “normal” (whatever that is), but this should not prevent us from always aiming to be the very best versions of ourselves for our young people to learn from, and importantly be willing to learn from them when they give us the opportunity.
Over the Easter break I journeyed back to Northumberland, the location of my first school residential trip, it was lovely to revisit the places that I had seen almost 40 years before, it was surprising to see how little things had changed, however I was looking at ancient castles and beaches! Even more surprising was my realisation of how that single week away had influenced my future, through it I gained an interest in geography, geology and history. I went on to study in these areas at A-Level and they heavily influenced by future career. I suspect if many of us spare the time we will be able to unpick how school trips and visits influenced our lives.
The primary school that my sons attended have been very brave for many years, they arrange overseas exchange visits for children as young as nine years old. My wife and I experienced a strange balance of enthusiasm and apprehension about letting our boys go. To get on a plane with a group of other pupils and a few teachers, then land in a foreign country and go and live with another family for a week seemed a real challenge and opportunity. But we weighed up the risks, we understood that nothing is risk free, but had faith that the school would take all reasonable steps to make it safe and enjoyable and placed our trust in them. I can say without doubt that they had the best week of their school life so far, they came back with pockets full of stories, bags of confidence and a pile of unused clean socks! The visits have led to us, as a family, visiting the families in Spain and Germany and in turn hosting them in our own homes. Both of my sons now have real interests in German. Truly life changing.
This might you ask, so what trips do children do at Hazeley? The list at the end of this blog outlines the trips over a twelve month period. It was only when I saw them in one place that I realised how many opportunities our young people can access over their time with us.
There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into organising these trips, from doing research, completing risk assessments, organising letters, planning the learning, supervising the children and dealing with the odd hick up. We are very lucky at Hazeley at how willing our staff are to do this, it’s not in their job description, they don’t get paid any extra money, they do it because they believe it is the right thing to do for the children in their charge.
Remember the academy will always go above and beyond to support families who have a genuine need for financial support, we even have one parent who always pays for one extra place whenever she pays for a place for her own child. I hope that you are able to do all that you can to support your child in taking advantage of these opportunities and in supporting the staff that lead and organise these trips. Small things like returning reply slips on time, paying voluntary contributions whenever you can and a simple thank you email to a member of staff who might have given up a week with their family to take your child away can make all of the difference.
|Interviews for Engineering Education Scheme||National Maritime Museum|
|Caldecotte Xperience 4||KS4 (Geography) East London Fieldwork|
|Malaga 2018||Student Pixl for MFL|
|New York||Young Leaders Training|
|Globe Theatre – Orthello||Curious Incident Theatre Trip|
|MK Big Debate||Caldecotte Xperience 6|
|Engineering Education Scheme launch event||HealthTec Aylesbury College|
|Oxford Art & Science Outreach||Tomorrow’s Engineers Robotics Challenge|
|University of Loughborough||Caldecotte|
|Warwick Castle||MK Rotary – Swimathon 2019 – inter-school competition|
|Caldecotte Xperience 5||Apprenticeship Show|
|Senior Team Maths challenge||Duke of Edinburgh Bronze DofE Day Hike (12th)|
|Churchill War Rooms and Parliament||A-Level swimming assessment|
|Young Enterprise||Oxford University Bioengineering day|
|Future Chef||MK Rotary – Technology Challenge|
|Girls Active – Youth Sport Trust.||MK Futures 2050|
|SMC visits for Engneering Education Scheme||D of E Westbury Arts Centre|
|Sociology Conference||D of E volunteer community activity|
|Network Rail STEM Day Visit||Duke of Edinburgh Bronze DofE Day Hike (26th)|
|A Level Economics Strong Foundations Workshops||Duke of Edinburgh Bronze DofE Day Hike (29th)|
|Public speaking competition||Maths Strive for 5|
|Safe Drive Stay Alive||Year 12 Cambridge Trip|
|MFL Masterclass||English strive for 5|
|MK College Taster Day||Junior Team Maths Challenge|
|Engineering Education Scheme – Cambridge workshop||Economics Masterclass|
|MK Trade Fair||Law Revision Conference Trip|
|Duke of Edinburgh bronze practice expedition 2019||Holland Sports Tour|
|French trip to the Europa Centre for Y10 students of French||EES build workshop at SMC Pneumatics|
|Duke of Edinburgh bronze practice expedition 2019||Engineering Education Scheme Celebration and Assessment Day|
|Bushcraft 2019 Year 8||KS4 (Geography) Amersham Field Centre|
|Year 12 UCAS Fair||CERN Hadron Collider Trip|
|National History Museum Oxford & Pitt Rivers||Year 10 Oxford University|
|National Space Centre Year 7 G&T Trip||Hazeley Wood|
|MFL trip to Priory Rise in partnership with SBE||YE County Finals|
|Tate Modern Museum||Stowe House Art trip|
|British Culture & History for EAL students||French trip to the Europa Centre for Y10 students of French|
|Year 9 Loughborough Trip|
One of the best things about teaching is reflecting on how individual students grow in character, confidence and creativity while they are in your care. As they leave you feel a strange mix of pride and sadness, knowing you will miss them, while also being warmed in the knowledge that you have done all you can to prepare them for their next steps.
The Y11 and 13 classes of 2019 have had a slightly different Hazeley experience to previous years. We have focused much more on helping develop their skills and attitudes, focusing less directly on exam outcomes. Staff have also worked hard to support student’s mental well-being by increasing our emphasis on developing healthier lifestyles and positive approaches to problems solving.
As we approach the Easter break I am confident that students are more independent and resilient, they have greater clarity on their next steps and importantly they appear happier, although I think few would refer to the run up to exams as joyous!
Of course we won’t know until late summer how their actions translate into exam outcomes, but we have every reason to be hopeful. We are certain that they are turning into young adults full of character, confidence and creativity, well equipped to not just succeed, but to also enjoy the next steps of their journey taking on a positive role in their community.
That is what Hazeley is about.
Work Experience is an integral part of The Hazeley Academy. Every year 240 of our Year 10 students venture out into the world of employment. Some find a placement in the line of work they wish to pursue after education; others select randomly and often find a passion for a career they did not expect. Either way, key skills and attributes are explored and developed, through this opportunity.
Every year we look forward to the feedback we receive from employers who kindly offered a placement to our students, a few of the examples from last year are below.
“Very happy with Ellie’s performance in our Year 5 class. Very professional and great communication. Asked questions and sought clarification. Was able to take a small group for maths and challenged them accordingly. Welcome back any time!”
“The most polite, mature and kind young man we have ever had for work experience. We have offered him a part time position whilst he continues his studies, as soon as he is 16. He is a true example of a bright, intelligent young man. He will go very far”
“Rebecca was a great addition to our team, she was eager to help and understand more about our work. She showed initiative and completed tasks to a high standard. She already has lots of skills and qualities, which employers look for. Thank you for all your help.”
“An excellent student. Paul used his initiative on every occasion. He worked well both in Year 4 and 6 classrooms and in sports camp on Friday. Paul engaged brilliantly with staff and pupils. He completed displays and mounted work to a very high standard. He took the role very seriously and really rose to the challenge. A pleasure having such a competent young man in school.”
“He was a real asset to the department. Please send more students like him!”
The work experience process can feel lengthy, and sometimes frustrating as students start their journey whilst still in Year 9, but students agree that once they have successfully been placed with an employer and their placement begins, the positives of the week’s experience and the view of life as an employee really do outweigh the possible trickier aspects they may have experienced. A great way to develop Character, Confidence and Creativity.