As the end of term approaches, it is always an opportunity to look back upon the progress that the Academy has made during that time. For those of you who follow the Academy pages on social media, I’m sure you will agree that there is always a lot going on, with posts of many wide and varied events and achievements being uploaded almost daily. It has been fantastic to see so many parents and carers joining us for the reward events we held for every year group to celebrate so many fantastic student achievements.
It is really hard to pick out the highlights of this as there are so many. At the younger end of the age-range we have had the largest ever Year 7 intake make a brilliant start to secondary school. Year 7 discos, trips and events have all been well attended and supported, and we are delighted with the progress they have made this term. A highlight for Year 7 so far this year was ‘Derwentwater Day’ in October, where our Year 7 students descended upon the shores of Derwentwater, completing a range of team building and problem solving activities in their new tutor groups. Year 7 students have also contributed well to our wider school community, with over 75% of students having attended extra-curricular clubs so far this year; ranging from sports, arts, music, computing and the Workington Academy Radio station. Even before the students start with us they have had a taste of academy life with 350 Year 6 students joining us for the “Under the Sea” day hosted by our amazing English department. Year 6 students from our feeder primary schools have also been attending weekly enrichment sessions in Maths and English.
Years 8 and 9 have had a positive term and are making steady progress in Key Stage 3. It has been really pleasing to see the amount of reward points and praise that the students have received this term and it has also been very nice to celebrate this success in our reward ‘coffee mornings’ and assemblies. The students have also enjoyed the bowling and golf social evening where they had the opportunity to compete against their form members and their tutors. The students were a pleasure to be with and their behaviour was exemplary. This was also commented on by the centre and members of the public.
A high number of students in Year 7, 8 and 9 have represented Workington Academy in a range of sporting events and competitions this term, including: netball, football, rugby, badminton and cross-country.
A special mention must go to our Year 7 netball team, who have remained undefeated throughout all of their matches in the Allerdale and Copeland Schools League this season, achieving victories against all local schools within the area.
Our Key Stage 4 students have also had an incredibly busy term. Year 10 have approached their GCSE work with dedication and enthusiasm; new specifications and courses are well under-way with many students completing end-of-term tests that measure their success thus far. Several different groups of Year 10 students have also been involved in mentoring schemes with the ‘Hello Futures’ organisation and other external careers guidance providers, to raise aspirations and explore future career opportunities. We look forward to seeing our Year 10 students applying some of the guidance that they have received when they tackle their work experience placements at the end of the summer term.
Year 11 have just completed a very intensive period of trial exams and study sessions. They have conducted themselves extremely well in the exams, displaying excellent resilience. The results of the trial exams will be given to students on Tuesday 8 January and students will meet with their individual mentors to discuss their results. In November, Year 11 were involved in the first Cumbria Education Trust revision conference at Carlisle racecourse. This event gave our students the opportunity to work alongside their peers from the other CET schools, learn directly from chief examiners about exam technique and develop their revision skills.
As you know, excellent attendance, a positive attitude in lessons and a well-planned programme of independent study are the key ingredients to academic success. To further support our Year 11 students, an updated timetable of additional revision sessions will be published in the new year and we appreciate your support in ensuring that Year 11 students attend as many of these sessions as possible.
We held a very successful Open Evening for current Year 11 students, welcoming families from both Workington Academy students as well as other local schools, providing information on the courses we aim to offer for September 2019. Applications are now open with a closing date of Friday 9 February.
Sixth form students have been equally busy this term. They have visited a university and apprenticeship fair at St James Park, Newcastle and visited the University of Leeds, helping students to consider their post 18 options. Students thoroughly enjoyed exploring the university during their tour, with the opportunity to visit the lecture theatres, student union, library and some student accommodation. Year 13 students have since been busy submitting their applications to university. We are keeping our fingers crossed for all our applicants and hope that they all receive the offers that they are hoping for.
A number of Year 12 students are involved in the Brilliant Club which has matched up students studying science based courses with a PhD student. The students visited Lancaster University and they have been completing additional seminars with him weekly looking at the topic; ‘Nuclear Energy: Solution to Future Energy Needs?’ Year 12 students have also been very productive during this second half-term embarking upon an enterprise project to raise money for a variety of charities. Students are making Christmas related items and selling these in school. Information on products and prices is available via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The Academy is currently working with the education charity ‘Future First’ to build a thriving alumni community. Amongst our former students is a whole host of talented role models who we want to connect with in order to celebrate their success and inspire our current students. Alumni can be brought back to offer careers and education advice, mentor students, provide work experience placements and much more besides. Please help us reach out to our former students using your own networks. From doctors to dancers, pilots to plumbers, we need alumni from a range of careers to open our students’ eyes to what is possible. If you are a former student or know of any who would like to stay in touch and give back to their old school, ask them to sign up at https://networks.futurefirst.org.uk/signup/workingtonacademy
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The Academy day finishes at 3.00pm on Friday, 21 December and the Spring Term begins on Monday, 7 January 2019 at 8:40am.
Mr D Bird