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Principal's Blog - Friday 24th January

posted 24 Jan 2014, 02:49 by Karen Bricknell   [ updated 24 Jan 2014, 02:50 ]

As I am writing this, I am thinking about Kiri-Jade, it is her funeral this afternoon and I truly hope that her family and friends are able to celebrate her life in the way in which they have planned. May she rest in peace.

Within the academy itself, it has been a very busy week as we continue to drive forward our improvements. At some point soon Ofsted will return in order to review our progress and, when their report is published, approximately 3 weeks after the visit, I will publish the report.

It was great to meet with the parent forum again this week. Quite rightly they were keen to hear about changes that are taking place to accelerate improvement across the academy and to make our best better. I was able to share with them the extensive work that is being done, including:

  • A real focus on improving behaviour in the classroom by focusing our resources on the groups we can see need most support. Student voice is telling us that behaviour is improving so this is encouraging.

  • Recent work sampling showed a pleasing increase in the frequency and quality of marking across the academy.

  • Scrutinising of lesson planning by every teacher in the Academy showed some good practice and has enabled us to identify areas of good practice and areas for further development.

  • Our attendance is 2% higher than this time last year and it was great to see both Year 7 attendance at over 98% on Tuesday and Year 8 attendance over 98% on Monday.  We have now closed the gap with schools nationally and this is a major triumph. Many thanks to staff, students and parents but we have to maintain this relentless effort and this remains of paramount importance.

Some members of the Parent Forum are keen to set up a PTA to run fundraising events. We are keen to get more parents on board, so if you would like to join the PTA please call us and let us know. I really want to encourage this work because it will take the whole of our community to make Sandown Bay Academy the great school that it can become.

This week we were thrilled to welcome inspirational role model, Hannah Beharry in to our Academy to meet with groups of students as part of Sky’s ‘Live for Sport’ initiative. Nine times British boxing champion and twice European medal winner; the students were in awe of her achievements. She spoke to them about her difficult journey and the importance of working hard, never giving up and having determination to succeed. Students left the session keen to impress Hannah by making their best better so that she is proud when she returns on 17th March.

Sandown Bay really is an exciting place with lots to do, not least the inter house dodge ball on Wednesday; it is great to see so many students making the most of the wealth of extra-curricular activities. It is all to do with taking part and extending ourselves to make our best better. This was particularly well reflected by the three students who dropped in to see me, asking for support in fundraising for their planned activity in Japan next summer.  There will be more about this in future months because this is the spirit that I want to see in our academy; young people with the confidence to take on the best, to put themselves forward, to pursue the greatest challenges and opportunities, convinced that they will succeed.  In life, if you think you can, you will.

Eric Jackson