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 email@example.com
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to find out more about the benefits of volunteering then click on the link below
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.
Feedback and Communications
In our core values we talk about, “high expectations……………….. working together designing, creating and reflecting upon solutions………………… understanding that honest mistakes occur”
These values help to create a culture where people go looking for feedback on ways to improve.
I spent an hour yesterday speaking with a cross section of students about how their term has started, here are some of their comments:
“The Y12s have settled in really well they are already mixing with us” Cameron and Kienan Y13
“I’m surrounded by people with good work ethics, it really helps” Jasmine Y13
“My new teachers are great, we have got straight into the learning” Luke Y10
“The teachers have made it easy for us to have a successful start” Riley Y10
“Making new friends” Andrea Y8
“Mr Laurie and Mr Bonnett are great” Erin Y10
“Mr McCann is really good” Tre Y10
“It’s good to have Mrs Tiller back from maternity, she has loads of enthusiasm” Oliver Y10
“Meeting new people” Dillan Y7
“The teachers are kind” Daniel Y7
And my favourite two:
“The 8-1 win in the County Cup Football match” Fletcher Y8
“Not getting lost…. Yet!” Helena Y7
The power of sharing your positive views about Hazeley cannot be underestimated, it lifts people’s days and reminds them how important and appreciated their work is, it makes the school better for everyone. Importantly it encourages people to do more of what’s right
Equally sharing your concerns or ideas for improvement are also warmly welcomed, please help us to keep improving by constructively sharing your views and ideas with staff at the academy. The best way is to send an email to the member of staff involved, explaining the nature of your concern and what you are seeking as a resolution. There are more details on how to do this in our communications policy which can be accessed here.
Thank you again for helping make Hazeley a great place to learn.
It has been lovely to hear what people have been up to over the summer; time with family and friends, reading books, enjoying hobbies, exploring, trying new things. The summer was equally enjoyable for Hazeley, more great exam results, refurbishments, new table tennis tables (bats and balls can be purchased for £2 from finance), finalising the official paperwork to form the 5 Dimensions Trust and preparations for the year ahead. I am always appreciative of how lucky we are to have a team of staff who keep the momentum going over the students break, they make a big difference.
The students have also used their break wisely. A large group of Y12 students joined us to embark on a peer mentoring training course and Y13 senior students came back to the academy early to support Y12’s with their start to the year. This idea of gaining fulfilment and growing by helping others is at the heart of what being part of the Hazeley community is.
Summer homework is an important part of Hazeley life, especially in Y11, Y12 and Y13. Without it learning tends to be lost and pressure is focussed too heavily on term time. I have been pleased to see that the overwhelming majority of students have risen to the challenge and will benefit greatly. Those who have not quite stepped up will be supported with some additional after school sessions and guidance on how to develop more effective study habits. It is very possible to have a great break, but avoid the summer learning dip, it just takes a little drive and organisation. The support of parents is an important factor for success and is appreciated.
The term has started very well, our work with Shenley Brook End as part of the 5 Dimensions Trust helped inspire an innovative and effective staff training day, which was wonderfully delivered by Mrs Jobling and Miss Whiteman. It involved staff sharing and shaping a range of teaching and support strategies to help make learning at Hazeley even more engaging and support still more effective. It was made all the more memorable as it also involved a magician and the staff dressing up in a Harry Potter theme. It was a training day that staff will never forget and students will benefit greatly from.
Of course the most important people on the first day of the academy year are Y7’s. The slightly nervous expressions at the start of the day were transformed into smiles as they made new friends, enjoyed new lessons and engaged with new experiences. A big part of this has been the way in which older students have reassured them though their own smiles and enthusiasm.
A great start to what promises to be a wonderful year
Few people will ever say: “it’s a great time to sit your end of KS4 exams” but to sit them in the year when whole scale change is taking place across the country; with teachers unpicking what they need to teach in the new specifications, trying to work out what a level 7, 8 or 9 might look like; parents finding themselves in an equally difficult position, desperately wanting to support their child but sometimes finding themselves painfully out of date and frustrated. This year has not been easy for 16-year-olds across the country.
Despite this our Y11 students will today be celebrating some simply amazing results. If our initial analysis is correct (and our data team usually are) then these are our best results ever, placing us amongst the top 10-15% of schools across the country, in terms of the most important measure which is progress.
Almost 10% of students met the enviable standard of achieving 8 or more A’s-7s or equivalents.
Of course there will be a few students who will be disappointed with their results, but staff will be available over the next few days to support them, they need to come into school or email email@example.com to book an appointment.
Our partnership with Shenley has had a positive impact. The Brownlee Brothers analogy best sums it up for me: we both want to win, but not at the detriment of the other, in so doing we push each other on and both improve. Friendly, collaborative, caring and competition is magical and will benefit us all. If we are lucky, then Shenley will top the city at KS5 and we will top it at KS4, with a narrow gap between us; but it’s too early to be sure of this. We can be confident that regardless of medal positions we have both done very well- but you have to forgive me for my competitive edge, I cannot pretend it will ever change and a consistent Hazeley – Shenley Gold and Silver is what we will aim for.
It’s a great time to be part of the Hazeley community, excellent A and GCSE level results, oversubscribed, enthusiastic staff, clarity of vision, shared values and the confident that the best is yet to come.
Thank you for supporting the school, it makes a big difference and is very much appreciated.
Students have achieved an excellent pass rate with an exceptionally high number of students gaining top grades, especially in Psychology, Mathematics, Philosophy, Politics, Art and the Sciences.
Initial analysis suggests that results are amongst the top 10%-25% in the country in terms of progress, with high ability students performing particularly well compared to similar students in other schools.
Notable high flyers include:
Ewan Bowler A*AA – Durham- History
Abeda Dhanji A*AA – UCL- Law
Georgina Fewell A*AA – Manchester – Psychology
Dijay Morar A*A*A – TBC
Joanne Mutwarasibo A*AA – Manchester Biomedical Science
Kai Waggott A*AA- Warwick – Physics
Hatim Sachak A*ABB- TBC
Hugh Slaney AABB – Nottingham Maths
Nushmia Hopper AAB – Birmingham – Politics
Shreya Kapur AAB – Warwick – Global Sustainable Development
Daniel Richardson AAB- Sheffield – Business Management
Maiya Stanley- Chandler is going to use her grades in Business, English and Psychology to embark on a high-quality and competitive apprenticeship with Santander.
We are equally proud of a large number of students who faced some exceptional personal challenges during their studies and with their determination and the support from the Hazeley community have achieved the grades that will allow them to access the next stage of their journey. The sense of community is what makes the Hazeley Sixth Form so special.
It is great to see these wonderful young people interacting with their brilliant teachers and receiving such outstanding results as a reward for all their hard work.
Possibly the most exciting aspect of these results is that we know that through our partnership work with Shenley Brook End School in the 5 Dimensions Trust and own academy improvement plan we are destined to improve these further in the years ahead.
Well done to all students, staff, parents and governors; results like these come from a consistent team effort.
Principal’s Blog 13th July 2018, A Great Year for Hazeley and an Exciting Start for the 5 Dimensions Trust!July 13th, 2018
On Monday 2nd July we welcomed 240 amazing Year 6 students who will be joining us in September. They came from over 30 different primary schools to take part in our Transition Day.
The students were able to take part in an array of exciting activities throughout the day which included creating key rings in Design Technology and using Bunsen burners in Science. The day ended with a musical master class from our very talented year 9 students.
It was fabulous to see how quickly the students got to know each other and made new friends. Their new form tutors and all the teachers involved said what a pleasure it was to take them for the range of subjects experienced.
At the end of the day we asked the students to fill in their Hazeley Highlight of the day and below is a snapshot of the great feedback we had:
“My favourite thing at Hazeley has been being creative and making new friends. I am so excited to attend Hazeley in September.”
“I enjoyed being able to meet new people and the Science lesson because we got to use a Bunsen Burner with Mrs Kennedy”.
“My favourite thing today has been Art because I love painting and seeing all of the different colours and relaxing doing it!”
Following this exciting and fun packed day we then hosted our Transition Evening. Form tutors and staff members welcomed the parents and carers of our new intake and discussed the exciting opportunities that Hazeley offers and how we are looking forward to helping all our new students to be the best they can be. The feedback on the evening was overwhelmingly positive from all involved.
I would like to personally thank all of the staff and current Hazeley students involved in such a successful day and I look forward to the start of a great new academic year in September 2018.
Progress Leader for Year 7 – 2018
This week we welcomed almost 250 prospective Year 12 students to experience life as a Hazeley 6th former (80 more than this time last year).
Our philosophy is very much focussed on giving students open and honest advice so that they can make the right choice for them. We want to fill our wonderful 6th form with students who really want to be part of it and who want to grow through engagement and contribution. With this in mind most of our sessions are either “typical” lessons or sessions run by our current students.
The feedback was simply excellent; phrases such as high expectations, supportive, friendly, welcoming, great teachers, caring, were used in abundance.
The best moment for me was listening to our Y12’s talking about their Hazeley values and then making them come to life in the way in which they supported and interacted with the prospective students.
Friday evening will see many of the students get together again at the prom and then say a temporary farewell until they come back for results day on the 23rd August.
A nervous summer, but hopefully one that leads to success and a very exciting key stage 5.
Principal’s Blog 25th June 2018, Hazeley Academy’s Pastoral Team Win Milton Keynes Secondary School Team of the Year!June 25th, 2018
Well done to our Return2Learn (R2L) team who last week received the prestigious award of Milton Keynes Secondary School Team of the Year. The awards ceremony was kindly organised by Milton Keynes Council and involved schools from across the city.
Our dedicated R2L team help our students grow into amazing versions of themselves by:
- setting high expectations
- showing students that the differences between them make them stronger
- unpicking situations with students so they can learn from mistakes
- showing students how they can enjoy contributing to the community
The team go above and beyond on a daily basis, always putting the needs of our young people first, they are very worthy winners.
Our partner school, Shenley Brook End also enjoyed a successful evening, winning awards for closing the gap with disadvantaged pupils and students with special educational needs.
Principal’s Blog, 15th June 2018 – Thank you for helping to make the Hazeley Academy a great place to work!June 15th, 2018
Three years ago the staff and governors at Hazeley set themselves a challenge:
“At Hazeley the students would not only enjoy a great rounded education leading to impressive examination results, but that it would also be the very best place for staff to work and that this will be done through collaboration”
These are obviously interconnected – staff who work collaboratively tend to be happier and students who are taught by happy staff (focussed on developing young people as rounded individuals) generally achieve higher examination outcomes. This is a great example of a virtuous circle.
Last month almost 120 of our staff completed a detailed and anonymous externally organised staff survey. The results were truly outstanding; in every area staff reported very positively. The outcomes look even more impressive when compared to other schools nationally. The analyst from Kirkland and Rowell described the results as “amongst the best if not the very best he had ever seen”.
Some highlights included:
- Overall sense of common purpose
- School discipline
- Staff morale
- Developing moral values
Even our areas of relative weakness were 10% or more above the “average” for schools in England and placed firmly in the “Good” category. Reassuringly all of these are already priorities in our improvement plan.
Parents and carers play a large role in creating this great ethos. Positively engaging with the school, being open and solution focussed with your concerns, sharing some moments of praise all make a big difference to the staff.
Ensuring your child arrives on time, with homework complete, in a smart uniform with high expectations of themselves does not just give your child an advantage, it contributes to our overall ethos.
We will share the detailed responses at the Parent Voice session on 5th July – please look out for your school comms invitation.
Thank you for your role in making Hazeley a very special community to be part of. Our community will continue to grow and develop through our focus on collaboration; it truly is an exciting time to be part of Hazeley!
The Quest for the Magic Bullet – Part 3 – Asking Questions
Teachers who really make a difference (and parents/carers) are very skilful in asking questions that stimulate and empower the young people they interact with.
At the other end of the spectrum are teachers and parents/carers that believe children learn by being told what to do. Telling has its place, it’s quick and efficient, but it also has many weaknesses. If you consistently tell a young person what to do they will have a tendency to be become overly reliant on you. Teaching and parenting is in many ways about making yourself redundant as the youngsters develop into independent adults, who can care for themselves and others in their community.
A parent who tells their child each morning to get themselves dressed, brush their teeth, eat their breakfast and pack their bags will succeed in keeping themselves busy for a very long time and potentially condemn their own child to a lifetime of waiting for instructions. Conversely the parent who asks successively more subtle prompting, coaching questions such as, “what do you need to do tomorrow morning to get ready for school?” or “What do you need to do to ensure that your homework is really good this week?” can expect their child to be more reflective and independent. Of course this comes at a price, on occasions the young person will not come up with the right answer (or if they do may not act upon it) and this is where the teacher/ parent needs to make a choice, step in and hope they listen and learn or let them learn from their own mistakes.
The high stakes education system unfortunately pushed lots of schools to a place where children could not be seen to fail. Hazeley fell into this trap for a while, teachers going above and beyond to tell students exactly what to do to pass their exams, if they did not do it teachers put on additional sessions, called home and put on yet more session. The students passed their exams; Hazeley was towards the top of the school league tables, but at what price?
Many of our students left without fully learning some important lessons about self reliance. In the past few years we have encouraged our students to be more reflective, take more responsibility for their own learning, our exam results have remained strong and the young people leaving us have more than their fair share of Character, Confidence and Creativity.
- Instead of telling your child what do to try asking them questions which will help them find the answers for themselves.
- Ask the questions early enough so that they have time to reflect before they need to act.
- Don’t be scared to let them fail, this is where the best learning often happens. Encourage them to aim to do really well as opposed to avoiding failing. Help them aim high.
- Reward them with positive feedback (a smile/ praise /your attention) for asking intelligent questions, being reflective, proactive and independent.
- Try to create opportunities for these questions and reflections to take place. The dinner table can be an ideal starting point, turning off the internet at home often magically creates more family time.
- Be a brave parent, don’t push your child to be normal or perfect, (one of them is boring the other impossible) help them to grow into amazing versions of themselves.
Again sorry, no magic bullet, but hopefully some simple, useful guidance on helping your child to be successful at school and beyond.
The quest for the magic bullet – Part 2 – The power of routines
Students who make great progress at Hazeley can almost always describe how they have worked to create positive routines and good habits.
I hope the blog this week encourages a few parents/carers to reflect on the following with their children over half term.
- Which routines/habits do you need to pat yourself on the back for already doing?
- Are there any that you might develop?
- Have we missed any off the list? (a mystery prize for the best one emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 4th June )
- Going to bed at a similar time each evening (preferably before 10pm)
- Enjoying reading a book for pleasure for 20-30mins before sleeping
- Turning off social media or computers for one hour prior to bed
- Enjoying regular involvement in clubs and activities after and outside of school
- 30mins or more of physical activity each day (from brisk walking to rugby)
- Booking in regular times to speak with friends and family face to face
- Eating at regular times each day (ideally with other people away from any distracting technology)
- Having defined slots each week where homework/ extra revision are built into the week (on average about 7 hours per week)
- Completing homework as soon as it is given; not the night before the deadline
- Packing your school bag and sorting your uniform the evening before
- Setting off to school/ events early so that if you have a delay you have enough time to avoid being late
- Using Sunday morning to double check that you are planned for the week ahead (this involves checking Go4Schools and in your planner)
- Reflecting when things go wrong and how to learn from this
Routines are no magic bullet, but they are a great way to help reduce stress and also enjoy greater success at school.