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

 

Principal’s Blog 12th October, Mobile Phones and Headphones

I remember a few years ago, walking down the corridor at Hazeley and passing, plugged in silent students focused on the virtual world of their phones as opposed their real surroundings. The lack of social interaction saddened and worried me. At the same time we also experienced an escalation in phone bullying, in response to this we brought in our mobile phone guidelines which include:

  • Students may use their phone when they are in the canteen or outside during an appropriate social time such as break or lunch. In addition the 6th form may use their phone in the hub. 
  • Whilst sitting down in one of these spaces, students may listen to music using headphones, and send or receive texts and phone calls insofar as their parents/carers had communicated to their child the extent of use within the Academy.  For reasons of permission and privacy, students are not permitted to take photographs or film video. 
  • Mobile phones must be switched off and kept out of sight during classroom lessons.  Exceptions may be permitted only in exceptional circumstances if the parent/carer specifically requests it, a note in planner will be issued by their Progress Leader/R2L for a specific length of time.  Such requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis and should be directed to the student’s Head of Year and the students given a mobile phone pass.  Parents/carers are reminded that in cases of emergency, the Academy office remains a vital and appropriate point of contact and can ensure students can be reached quickly and assisted in any appropriate way. 
  • The Academy recognises the importance of emerging technologies present in modern mobile phones in lessons, teachers may wish to utilise these functions to aid teaching and learning and students may have the opportunity to use their mobile phones in the classroom. On these occasions students may use their mobile phones in the classroom only when express permission has been given by the teacher and where there is an explicit and communicated learning objective/learning activity. 
  • Should it be appropriate to play music in lessons, the teacher will play the music via the computer speakers to the whole class. Students may be give express permission to listen privately to music while working independently, however, teachers will challenge any student abuses this privilege. 
  • Students must ensure that neither headphones nor phones (or other mobile devices) are visible (hanging out of Academy uniform) when moving around the Academy. 
  • Whilst students who become ill during the day may wish to use their mobile phones to contact parents during break or lunch, they should use the established procedure via on-call, Matron and Student Services to seek permission to be collected from school if too ill to remain at the Academy on a particular day. Only Matron can give permission for a sick child to be collected from the Academy. 
  • Students must not use their mobile phones to bully and threaten other students; it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. In some cases it can constitute criminal behaviour and it will be dealt with very seriously by the Academy. 
  • Except where negligence can be proven in a court of law, the Academy accepts no responsibility for replacing lost, stolen or damaged mobile phones. 
  • If the student fails to comply to expectations then the academy will confiscate the phone and may ban the student from bringing a phone onto the premises. 
  • When a student is involved in an investigation lead by the R2L learning mentors, the student will be asked to hand their phone into the learning mentor for the duration of their time in R2L whilst the investigation is carried out.  The phone will be returned to the student upon the completion of the investigation.  The phone will be stored in a lockable locker in the R2L learning mentors’ office.

 

The response has been positive, we have a healthy chatter and interaction amongst students as they move around the academy, to add to this we have fewer problems instigated by social media and phones seem to take a generally less central role in students’ lives. This seems to balance by students still accessing their phones with the specific permission of staff to help in their lessons e.g. recording key dates in their diaries, or being reassured by having their phones on their journeys to and from school.

These however are only my current perceptions; I would be very interested to hear your views on this matter. Is Hazeley too soft on mobiles, too harsh, or do we have the balance about right? We would love to hear your views by sending us an email to parentvoice@thehazeleyacademy.com

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog 5th October, Big decisions and openness

Choosing a secondary school is a really big decision, one of the biggest that we make with our children. It was lovely this week to see how many parents are taking this seriously, when at open evening we shared our school with over a thousand visitors. Our staff and students love showing their school off to visitors and the feedback is consistently excellent, describing the school as having, high expectations, a friendly atmosphere, professional, caring, great facilities and importantly happy students and staff.

Surprisingly for many “Choose Hazeley” is not the message that we try to get across at our open evening, instead it is, “choose a school that matches your values”. The Hazeley values are below and parents are encouraged to explore the values of the school in as much depth as possible by talking with other parents and students, looking at OFSTED reports, exploring the website, and almost certainly the most effective way visiting the school on a normal day.

Core Purpose (Our reason for existence)

Character Confidence Creativity – Animus Fiducia Glossarium

 “At The Hazeley Academy we 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”

Core Values: Our fixed, guiding principles by which we make all decisions

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 ourselves and each other in so doing making our Academy a truly inspiring place.

One of the characteristics that makes Hazeley special is our openness, we are a community of over 1,700 people, (over 1,000 of them are teenagers), we will not show you perfection, we know that honest mistakes occur, but we are confident that what we do day in, day out is very special. That is why we offer tours with myself or one of our Vice Principals, tours in which the parents/ students choose where to go and what to see, tours in which guests do not speak with carefully selected students, but randomly selected ones. If you are thinking of choosing Hazeley, or if you are an existing parent who wants to see what the school is really like then simply contact our reception team to book your tour.

You will then have the opportunity to see our values coming to life

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog 28th September 2018, The Power of Volunteering

The Power of Volunteering

Hazeley’s core purpose is all about “gaining fulfilment by playing a positive role in our community”.

It’s not surprising then that we are awash with volunteers. Right from the top, we are led by volunteers, all of our teachers and many of our support staff offer their time to run clubs, deliver extra lessons and take trips. Our sixth formers and older students run a vast array of mentoring and coaching sessions, senior students can be found in their break and lunchtimes doing duties alongside teachers. Pupils of all ages help each other, they lead teams; help around the academy as guides; serve as mental health ambassadors; run the school council; contribute to interviews; act as runners and mentors. It’s one of the many things that makes Hazeley special.

The impact on others is plain to see, but what’s in it for the volunteers themselves?

According to helpguide.org there are four main benefits.

  • Volunteering connects you to others
    • Make new friends and contacts
    • Improves your social relationship skills
  • Volunteering is good for your mind and body
    • Helps reduce stress
    • Improves self confidence
    • Increases our levels of activity
  • Volunteering can advance your career
    • Develop new skills
    • Develop new experiences
  • Volunteering brings fun and fulfilment to your life
    • You can explore your passions

I know that running the Year 7 basketball club on a Monday night ticks most of these boxes for me; it is certainly a time of the week when I get to know students in a different setting and share plenty of laughs and smiles.

Volunteering really is a win, win and it’s why it’s at the heart of Hazeley

If you would like to volunteer to support Hazeley in any way from reading with students to helping run events, then please do not hesitate to drop me a line through my PA ecooke@thehazeleyacademy.com

If you want to find out more about the benefits of volunteering then click on the link below

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm

Happy volunteering!

Mr Nelson

 

 

 

Principal’s Blog 21st September 2018, Who controls the weather?

26 years ago, while training, a quote by Ginott’s 1972 book “Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers.” was shared with me:

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” 

This message has resonated with me ever since, not only as a teacher, but as a leader and a parent.  Recently I took the time to explore a few more of his quotes and I thought that I would use this week’s blog to share them.

“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” 

“Like a trained surgeon who is careful where he cuts, parents, too, need to become skilled in the use of words. Because words are like knives. They can inflict, if not physical, many painful emotional wounds.” 

“What do we say to a guest who forgets her umbrella? Do we run after her and say “What is the matter with you? Every time you come to visit you forget something. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Why can’t you be like your sister? When she comes to visit, she knows how to behave. You’re forty-four years old! Will you never learn? I’m not a slave to pick up after you! I bet you’d forget your head if it weren’t attached to your shoulders.” That’s not what we say to a guest. We say “Here’s your umbrella, Alice,” without adding “scatterbrain.”
Parents need to learn to respond to their children as they do to guests.” 

“Communication with children should be based on respect and on skill; it requires (a) that messages preserve the child’s as well as the parent’s self-respect; and (b) that statements of understanding precede statements of advice or instruction. Eric,” 

“Unfortunately, when parents are confronted with children’s misbehavior, they are unaware that usually disturbing feelings fuel that behavior. Feelings must be dealt with before behavior can be improved.” 

The power we have to control the emotions and behaviour of the young people in our charge is both a great responsibility and liberating. It’s a science and an art, if we expect perfection we will sink under its load, if we expect anything less than our very best then we are letting ourselves and others down.

It requires us as adults to work together, a team effort in designing, creating and reflecting upon approaches like this which link to our core aim of gaining fulfillment by playing a positive role in our community.

We might not control the weather, but we are a decisive element and that makes our role very worthwhile.

Mr Nelson