From Stage to TV and radio
In the blog last week we celebrated the West End success of Jack Nuttal;, this week we highlight two other events one from TV and the other from radio.
A Sky News bulletin reporting on an independent netball tournament taking place last weekend involved some of Hazeley’s own local netball stars who were interviewed in relation to their response to the dramatic way in which the England netball team seized gold at the Commonwealth Games. It gives a great sense of how the local community using sport and our facilities come together. The report can be viewed here.
Hazeley staff and Year 7 students also featured on BBC Radio 5 Live this week discussing the research into word gaps. Much of the research shows the importance of reading, something very high on the agenda at Hazeley.
The interview can be accessed here. (scroll to 1 hour 23 mins)
Mr T Nelson
West End Success
Hazeley student Jack Nuttall has been performing in the multi award winning play The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre. The play is directed by Sam Mendes and written by Jez Butterworth. He is the only male actor who will complete the full West End run before the play transfers to Broadway.
The play has won many illustrious awards, the most prestigious of which was last Sunday’s Olivier Award for Best New Play and Best Director.
Jack has loved learning, working and acting alongside some of his heroes from the world of film and TV, such as:
- Paddy Considine
- Tom Glynn-Carney from “Dunkirk”
- Genevieve O’Reilly from “Star Wars”
- Saorise-Monica Jackson from “Derry Girls”
- Sam Mendes – the director of James Bond films “Skyfall” and “Spectre”
I am certain this is just the start of a fabulous career for Jack and we will all enjoy following and supporting his progress.
Principal’s Blog – Homework, happiness, quality of teaching, optimism and home support – 23rd March 2018March 23rd, 2018
Homework, happiness, quality of teaching, optimism and home support
You may have seen the recent news headlines following a survey commissioned by the Varkey Foundation. This compared the attitudes and priorities of 27,830 parents in 29 different countries.
It reported some interesting findings which were well summarised by the BBC:
- Only 11% of UK parents spent an hour per day helping their children with homework; far behind 62% in India.
- 87% of UK parents valued the quality of their children’s teachers, one of the highest in the world.
- When deciding on the type of school they wanted for their children, UK parents prioritised a sense of “ethos” and high academic results.
- Compared with other countries, parents in the UK were also likely to put a high emphasis on “happiness” for children in school.
We are proud at Hazeley to have a clear definition about what we stand for which supports what parents can expect from us.
If you want a school which encourages students to contribute and participate in their community, develop Character, Confidence and Creativity and supporting children to achieve excellent examination outcomes, then Hazeley is for you.
Of course this does mean that as a parent you will need to find the balance to support your child with homework. Over 900 Hazeley parents logged into G4Schools last week which shows that we are blessed to have such a supportive parent body.
I asked one of our highest achieving students from the previous Year 11 cohort about how his parents helped him and his words are wise and the advice powerful.
“My parents were always there to help me when I needed them, especially close to the exams when I wanted them to test me.
I know that they wanted to help develop my independence, after all it was my homework not theirs.
One thing that did stand out was that they were always genuinely interested and asked me questions about it which helped me think deeper. For example if the homework was about the causes of the first world war, they would follow it up with questions like, which one was the most important and why?”
This student not only achieved outstanding grades but also has an insatiable curiosity and positivity, a credit to his parents and Hazeley.
I wish all our students a wonderful Easter break and look forward to welcoming back all year groups on Monday 9th April 2018.
A reminder of term dates can be found HERE.
National Apprenticeship Week
Watching the news over the weekend it was a surprise to hear them reporting that the numbers going into apprenticeships has fallen over the last year. When the government have bought in the apprenticeship levy and there are so many more apprenticeships available, a rise in numbers of people taking on apprenticeships would seem more likely. However what did come to mind when watching the news report on this was that they gave a very stereotypical view on what an apprenticeship would look like, a manual role for those with low academic achievement. However this is no longer the case, apprenticeships can be accessed at intermediate level (equivalent to GCSEs) advanced (equivalent to A levels) and Higher (School leavers Programme/Degree) in all sectors of employment.
It is important that we are all aware of the benefits of taking on an apprenticeship, you continue to develop your skills and qualifications, you earn whilst you learn, more often than not your employer will employ you once you are fully qualified, for Degree Apprenticeships often the cost of the degree is paid for you.
During the week of 5th-9th March (National Apprenticeship week) the aim being to bring together employers and apprentices from across England to celebrate the success of apprenticeships whilst encouraging even more people to choose an apprenticeship as a pathway to a great career.
In Milton Keynes this actually came to life this week, as the National Apprenticeship Show was being hosted at Stadium MK on Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th March. We took a group of year 10 students who have expressed an interest in visiting a fair, having the opportunity to talk to different employment sectors about the apprenticeships they have to offer.
On Wednesday 14th March we also hosted one of our Careers Breakfasts, which this time had an apprenticeship focus, students from Year 9 and 10, as well as being joined by students from Shenley Brook End School, met with more employers who offer apprenticeships within Milton Keynes. In addition they had the opportunity to speak to young people who currently apprentices so they could hear first-hand the benefits of this career path. Students looked at apprenticeships in Hairdressing, Hospitality and Catering, Child care, Engineering, Business Administration, HR, and the NHS.
Students in Year 10-13 all have access to a platform called Unifrog, they all have been shown how to use the apprenticeship tool to search for apprenticeships. This is very student friendly and is updated every 24 hours with live apprenticeships. It will provide them information about the role they would be taking on, including wage, length of contract, job description and how to apply. This platform will be made available to year 9 after Easter. It is a great way to know what apprenticeships are out there.
We hope to see more of our young people choosing an apprenticeship for their future pathway.
Assistant Principal – KS5 and Pathways
As you will be aware Shenley Brook End School and The Hazeley Academy have been working together for some time in a joint approach to supporting our students.
Curriculum teams have met regularly to discuss teaching approaches so that both schools have been able to learn from each other in order to sustain and improve the opportunities for student progress. This partnership goes beyond the classroom; we have jointly worked together with regard to the provision of careers information with the involvement of local employers, in sport (we have started an inter-academy Varsity competition) and the leadership teams have developed strategies to further embed the positive start to this collaboration.
Our students have already felt the benefits of work together; last year’s Year 11 and Year 13 students in both schools achieved very high progress measures, placing us amongst the top schools nationally.
Governors at both academies have now decided to formalise the partnership and we have jointly established a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), this has been agreed in principle by the Regional Schools Commissioner and Headteachers Board. This means that we are now very close to officially becoming one organisation; the 5 Dimensions Trust. The overall Trust name comes from the underpinning five aims (or dimensions) that both schools believe in and the reasons why we have joined together:
- To provide our students with a truly holistic education
- To ensure that students receive rigorous academic challenge
- To create a positive and high-performing environment for all staff
- To embed a supportive partnership with parents, carers and families
- To develop a meaningful relationship with our wider community
The two schools will still retain their individual identities and cultures, each with their own catchment areas and admissions procedures. By working together we will support each other to improve the life chances of our students whilst still celebrating our individuality.
If you would like to find out more about the trust and our joint future then please join us at either school at the following time:
|The Hazeley Academy
L Zone (Library)
|Monday 19th March||6.00pm||Email: email@example.com to confirm attendance|
|Shenley Brook End School
|Monday 19th March||7.30pm||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
to confirm attendance
The Importance of School Uniform
One of the great things about the British education system is choice. Many of us are privileged to be able to choose to send our child to a school with a strict or relaxed approach to uniform; one which fits our own values as a parent. Hazeley is proud of its high expectations in a broad range of areas from academic achievement to being kind to others.
At Hazeley we have a strong belief in the benefits of school uniform which include:
- Uniform creates a sense of belonging, pride and community.
- It shows that you want to meet the high expectations of your community.
- Dressing the same reduces bullying and social pressure on students to choose and purchase expensive designer clothes.
- A smart uniform helps students learn how to dress formally.
I am pleased to see the standards of uniform steadily improve over the past few years with trainers and black jeans now a distant memory. Students wear their uniform with increasing levels of pride.
Our students speak positively about wearing their Hazeley uniform.
“Having a uniform means you don’t need to worry about wearing the wrong thing”Y11
“Wearing school uniform prepares you for the outside world” Y11
“It shows that you are part of something” Y9
“It feels special when you first put on your blazer; you feel really grown up”Y9
We will continue to improve clarity and consistency as we move forward. This is an endless but worthwhile task and, for example we are considering making the phrase “just above the knee” a little more specific and looking at sourcing a standard skirt for students. We will ensure that you are updated of any changes.
Staff will continue to praise students who are meeting expectations and challenge those who are not.
Unlike many other schools we endeavour to avoid excluding students for uniform related issues, however our behaviour policy clearly states that students may be isolated if they are not in the correct uniform and this is not an area we will negotiate and these expectations are unlikely to change in the near future. We appreciate there are many retailers offering a range of styles, lengths and fabrics when buying uniform. Sadly these do not always meet our uniform expectations and we ask parents to refer to our guidelines prior to purchasing LINK.
Thank you again to all the students, parents and carers who supported so warmly our latest push on these expectations.
Parent Voice Feedback
Mrs G Williamson & Mr S Whitney
“Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas.”
– Jim Trinka and Les Wallace
Feedback is the bedrock for continuous improvement at Hazeley. We consider feedback from our students, parents and carers a valuable gift to support our drive to enhance the experiences and opportunities of our young people. On Thursday 25th January 2018 our dedicated parent voice group met to explore homework and ways to support parents to engage with their child’s learning.
The main areas of discussion included:
|Area Discussed||Academy Response|
|Volume and Regularity of Homework||There has been academy-wide communication to all teachers with advice and expectations.
Parents are requested to contact subject teachers with specific concerns.
A Senior Leader, Mr S Whitney, is taking a strategic lead on improving consistency.
|Use of Go4Schools||Academy is investigating the price of the Go4Schools app.
Academy is reviewing other online platforms that allow parents to give consent for trips and visits.
|Opportunities for Academic Support||An information leaflet has been created to be handed out on Parents Evening.
Tutors give further information to display in tutor rooms.
Parents are requested to contact subject teachers for specific advice about progress.
|Support with Careers and Pathways Education||All students will have access to an online careers platform called Unifrog whereby students find the best apprenticeship or university for them. Each child will have a session focused on exploring their careers pathways using Unifrog.
Information for parents regarding careers will be published on our website.
|Support with Wellbeing Education||Dates, lesson content and resources of the wellbeing lessons will be published to parents.
A Senior Leader, Mrs L McKenzie, is taking the lead on liaising with groups and charities that support the wellbeing of our children.
The next Parent Voice session will be focusing on the development of reports, Go4Schools and the website. It will take place on Thursday 1st March from 6.30pm – 7.30pm. All parents are warmly welcomed to attend. If you are interested in attending please email: email@example.com
What is the biggest decision you have ever made?
What is the best decision you have ever made?
Making good decisions is one of the most important skills in life. Sometimes just knowing that you have a decision to make and not simply drifting along with the crowd can be a challenge in itself.
I still recall advice from a Head of 6th Form about her 6 steps to decision making and it still rings true today
- Identify the decision to be made and the outcome you want from it?
- Gather all of the information you can on the options available. Keep linking them back to your values and long term goals?
- List the pros and cons.
- Ask for advice from people who you respect and value the judgement of
- Make your decision
Options at Post 16
As well as Year 11 being busy preparing for their PPEs and completing controlled assessments they are also considering pathways at post 16. Over 80% attended our Sixth Form Open Evening, alongside well over 200 external applicants.
For parents/carers who also attended the Options at Post 16 Evening in May, you will be familiar with the three options students have at the end of Year 11.
1) Full time education– this could be Sixth Form or College
3) Employment training or Part time Education plus being employed/self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week
This is a big decision and it is incredibly important that students have all the information in order to make informed decisions. Some of the actions the students should be taking in order to help with this process are:
- Visiting sixth form and college open evenings, making sure they know what different organisations offer and to get a feel for the places.
- If they are joining our sixth form; speaking to subject staff about whether the subject suits them and finding out more about the course.
- Researching where they might head at Post 18 to ensure the options they choose support this.
- Researching Apprenticeships. These are available through colleges, for example Milton Keynes College offers a range of apprenticeships. Or through different employers, which can be found through searching individual websites or looking at the Governments data base, using the following web link https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch
- Making applications to a range of destinations, to ensure they have a first choice and at least one back up option which has a lower entry requirement than their first choice.
- Ensure they are aware of deadlines for applications and are meeting these.
The Year 11s are currently working with their tutors on researching these options and making the necessary applications and will help prepare them for interviews. We have had numerous students spend either a day in sixth form or attend specific subject lessons to have a better understanding of the subjects they are potentially choosing. All our students will also have a pathways interview to support them further with their choice and any support required for making their different applications. Our aim is to ensure all our students find the right course and place for them and their future career pathway.
If students would like any assistance or further support with this, they should speak with their tutor, who will to book an appointment with myself for further support with this.
Director of Post 16
This week at Hazeley has been enriched by our Italian visitors (we tried not to mention the World Cup), Children in Need events and a focus across the subjects on the national anti-bullying campaign.
These activities all help develop the Hazeley Values and nationally they are often referred to as the Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) elements.
The SMSC blog celebrates many of these events and can be discovered on this LINK or via our website.
Parents/carers often receive notifications regarding attendance and punctuality through termly Progress Review reports, letters and communications from the Personalisation team. Information can also be accessed via Go4Schools. The Pastoral team continue to celebrate 100% attendance and recently contacted close to 700 parents/carers via a congratulatory school comms home.
Attendance does make a difference at Hazeley. On average our Year 11 students with 100% attendance achieved almost a grade higher in every subject than students with less than 100% attendance. Their rate of progress was significantly higher than other students at the academy (including those with 96%+ attendance) and therefore we encourage students, wherever possible, to be in every day.
There are still occasions where students are taken on term time holidays. These holidays are often taken during the lead up to, or directly following, a half term break and will have an impact on learning and progress. For example – on the last day before half term (20th October 2017) Hazeley experienced a 4% reduction in attendance compared to our usual attendance levels.
Hazeley’ s attendance figures are excellent; however we still drive to improve in this area. ‘Persistent Average’ figures last year were significantly below the national average of 13.1% and we thank our parents and carers for ensuring their son or daughter attends the academy regularly.
Involvement of Parents/Carers also matters
Attending Parents Evenings and events such as the Welcome to the Year Ahead is an important way to ensure a strong relationship between the home and the academy.
The recent Year 11 Parents Evening was attended by over 86% of parents/carers. During the evening parents/carers were given the opportunity to meet with class teachers to discuss student progress in lessons, any areas for improvement and information was shared about preparing for exams and key areas for revision.
Please refer to the academy calendar for other key dates: LINK
Mr S Healy
Thank you to parents/carers who took the time to complete our parent surveys.
It is reassuring that over 90% agreed or strongly agreed with the key statements of:
- “My child is happy at the Hazeley Academy”
- “My child feels safe at The Hazeley Academy”
- “My child is well looked after at The Hazeley Academy”
- “The Hazeley Academy makes sure its students are well behaved”
- “The Hazeley Academy is well led and managed”
- “I receive valuable information from The Hazeley Academy about my child’s progress”
It is reassuring to also see that parents/carers are seeing improvements in homework, quality of teaching and instances of bullying, all of which now mirror the responses seen in many other outstanding schools. Our aim is to improve these further.
Our existing academy improvement plan and partnership work with Shenley Brook End School will help ensure that the positive responses in relation to levels of academic challenge and progress are improved further over the next year, with the aim that they also exceed the 90% mark.
We will continue to develop and improve the wellbeing programme to have a greater impact on student’s healthy living choices. Additional training and support will be given to form tutors, support staff, leaders and managers to help improve the way staff respond to concerns raised by parents/carers.
A great way to work with us and share your opinions and ideas is to join one of our Parent Voice sessions:
|Parent Partners||Thursday 25th January
|Next steps homework
Supporting parents and their child when they fall off track
How to help parents help each other
|Communication||Thursday 1st March
|Next steps with Go4Schools
Next steps reports
Next steps with the website
|Curriculum||Thursday 5th July
|Next steps careers advice and guidance
Next steps wellbeing programme
Next steps developing more clubs and links with the community
Mr T Nelson
Hazeley’s partnership with Shenley Brook End School is going from strength to strength. My comparison with the Brownlee brothers seems to be a good one, as we sit neck and neck with each other at the top of the Milton Keynes league tables. I am certain that the support and competition between us both will lead to further improvements in both schools, which is the really important outcome.
The first half of this term has been enriched with trips, visits and events. Magicians have helped students find out about the importance of creativity in the work place. The Malaga trip has developed the confidence of our linguists and Loughborough has helped reinforce the importance of character for our 6th Formers. There really is no such thing as a “normal” week at Hazeley.
The partnership we enjoy with parents has also grown this term, many of you supported the Welcome to the Year Ahead evenings and commented very positively on the increased role of the form tutor. We enjoyed positive and constructive feedback from both the parent surveys and the Parent Voice session. This feedback will be explored further in future parent voice sessions which will focus on homework, communication and the extended curriculum. More details will follow in the new term.
A day never goes by without us being grateful to all parents/carers who support the academy; from ensuring that their children set off to school on time and correctly equipped, to those that share their personal time to help as a Governor or with their own child’s learning. It is very much appreciated.
Key Reminders for the Term Ahead
All students’ return on Tuesday 31st October and the term ends on Wednesday 20th December.
The academy calendar can be accessed HERE
If you have not accessed go4schools this term then you are missing out on a wealth of information relating to your child’s progress and behaviour. Please email the data team on: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
We are very grateful to our supportive parents/carers who are proud of our high expectations in relation to uniform. A reminder of the expectations can be accessed Here
There will be a particular focus on ensuring that skirts are an appropriate length and that trousers are not of the “skinny” variety. Students who do not comply can expect detentions and isolations.
Those visitors who have joined me to look around Hazeley during the academy day will know that behaviour is very good. A key reason for this is the support that parents give in relation to expectations and sanctions. In all but the most extreme circumstances students issued with a detention are expected to complete them the next day.
If at all possible please encourage your child to walk/cycle to school. If you do need to drive them to school we strongly suggest that you drop them off at a safe place, a distance from the academy, and avoid the local roundabout as this causes congestion.
If you drop your child off in the academy car park then please let them exit your car near the main entrance drop-off zone; this prevents them from needing to cross the busy road. The car park is much quieter 15minutes before the opening of the academy.
In the term ahead we will be having a further push on punctuality. Your support with this is absolutely critical. Students who are late for school are placed at a real disadvantage often missing out on key messages and preparation time.
After School Clubs
Students have been encouraged to take the opportunity to attend as many after school clubs as they can, but also reminded that they should not be on the academy grounds outside of the school day unless they are at an organised club.
Enjoy the half term break.
Initial results and changes to GCSEs
This week academic results from last academic year are released to schools.
The headline summary for Hazeley’s results is:
“They are significantly better than other schools nationally; even more impressive is that this strong performance is spread across all of the main subject areas and ability bands of students”
For those of you who would like find our more detail in what the results mean, please read on.
The link to the national results can be found HERE. It is worth noting that the results on this website are what is called unvalidated and do not take into account the changes in grades for some of our students following marking reviews or the results that the Department for Education had missed for some of our students.
The figures below are those we expect to see once the validated figures are released in January.
The way that schools are judged by Ofsted and the information that parents receive has changed.
- Progress 8-this compares the attainment 8 scores for our students with students who had the same Key Stage 2 performance and again averages it out across the whole cohort. A positive score means that Hazeley students do better than their peers nationally. In 2015 our score was +0.17. Last year amid all the changes it was -0.01 or in line with the national average. This year we expect the value to be +0.22; this may be even higher following corrections to exam marking. Our student’s scores show that the average amount of value we achieve for our students is significantly above what other students achieve nationally from the same starting points.
- Basics-This is the proportion of students achieving a pass in both an English qualification and Mathematics; important in enabling students to make the most of future opportunities. This year almost 70% of our students achieved this at the standard pass.
- Attainment 8-this is the average number of points that a Hazeley student achieves across 8 subjects following certain rules. English and Mathematics points are doubled, their best 3 subjects from the sciences, modern foreign languages, history and geography and computer sciences are chosen next. For the remaining 3 subjects, any qualification can count, including the ones above that haven’t already been used. The total points are then divided by 10. This year our students achieved an average of 4.8, well above the new standard pass of a 4 (old grade C) and rounding to the “good” pass of a 5
- English Baccalaureate-this is for students who achieve a C or better in English, mathematics, science, a modern foreign language and either history or geography. We are very proud that at Hazeley we have a history of having around a third of our students achieve this; above the national average of around a quarter for this challenging measure. This year, on the comparable measure to 2016, we increased by 3% to 33%
Changes to GCSE
This year saw the first of the new GCSEs taking place in English Language and Literature and in Mathematics. These new GCSEs were graded in numbers rather than letters, with 9 being the highest grade they can achieve and 1 the lowest. We were very proud in the achievements of our students that led to a higher percentage of Hazeley students gaining a 9 than nationally.
The majority of other subjects have now started their new GCSEs. Our staff will continue to carefully consider all the new specifications that exam boards are offering to find the ones that will be best for our students and are a closest match to our values.
This is a period of great change, however our staff and students have the Character to be resilient in the face of it and to use the different measures and GCSEs to gain even stronger futures for our students; they have the Confidence to trust and support each other to understand the implications and changes; the Creativity to find the best possible solutions to the challenges posed by the changes and to continue to make their time at Hazeley an inspirational learning journey for all.
Mr T Nelson
It was a privilege to welcome over a thousand visitors to our open evening on Tuesday. The feedback was excellent.
As a parent of a Y6 child myself I know what a big decision the choice of secondary school is.
Those of you who attended the evening will know that my advice was based on choosing a school whose values are aligned with yours as a parent. I strongly advised any parents, who were still unsure; to visit the school again and look at the things they that they felt were most important while the school was in action. These opportunities can be booked via my PA Mrs Gough and are unique to Hazeley in that, they are not staged in anyway; you choose exactly where you want to go and what you want to see.
When I got home from open evening my wife shared with me an article from the BBC which outlined eight things to look for at an open evening, it is certainly worth a read, the key points were:
- Quiz those hand-picked pupils who show you around
- Ask to go to the toilet
- Bring your child to the open evening/day
- Listen to the head teacher’s speech
- And then ask tough questions
- Take a good look at the teachers
- Visit the school again
- Write the deadline date on your calendar
The full article can be accessed using the below link:
Mr T Nelson
In the week in which our Progress Leaders, Form Tutors and Parents were meeting with each other at the Welcome to the Year Ahead events, Hazeley received confirmation that our recent Year 11 results were outstanding.
It is through our close values driven partnership with parents, students, staff and other schools that our students gain such excellent outcomes. This reinforces that we are doing the right things in the right ways.
It is great to know that students overall make significantly more progress at Hazeley than in other schools. This statement comes from the fact that schools are now reviewed on an indicator called Progress 8. This gives an indication of how much progress each child makes compared to national expectations. 0 is the national average.
Hazeley achieved almost 0.25. This result shows that students at Hazeley made on average a quarter of a grade more progress in each subject than the national average.
This result has the potential of placing Hazeley in the top 10 to 25 % of similar schools nationally.
Most importantly this result is spread across all groups of subjects including English, Mathematics, Ebacc (science, humanities and languages) and Open (confidence, creativity and ethics).
Hazeley has much more consistency than most other schools across a range of subjects. This is a very good indicator of excellence; some less successful schools will rely on a strong performance in just a few subjects to pull up the headline results, hiding inadequacies in other areas.
Even more pleasing is that this performance is across almost all groups of students. This links closely to Hazeley values.
Please be assured that the staff and governors at the academy will be aiming to improve these outstanding outcomes still further in the years ahead.
It is a great time to be part of the Hazeley community.
Mr T Nelson