We have reached the end of the academic year and of the most unusual of school terms. It feels like a very long time since we had the hustle and bustle of the school community that we are all familiar with. I would like to thank you for your continued support of Workington Academy throughout this difficult time and would like to take this opportunity to look back on some of the successes and achievements of all our students during recent months.
Throughout the Summer Term our Year 7 students have continued to build upon the impressive start made to their secondary school career, albeit in unusual circumstances. All of our teachers have been incredibly impressed by the outstanding effort that Year 7 students have shown in relation to their home-schooling. They have displayed great resilience, creativity and determination to produce an array of fantastic pieces of work that we cannot wait to display on return to the academy and completed both physical and academic challenges across a whole range of subjects. These students have also continued to lead the way in Accelerated Reader throughout the closure period, with students achieving excellent word counts and continuing to quiz on the books they have read.
We have also been overwhelmed by the caring and thoughtful acts that our Year 7 students have shown through being kind and helpful to others throughout this difficult period, continuing to display our ‘3 R’s’ in all that they have done. We are incredibly proud of all of the window displays, banners, rainbows, cards, posters, art work, acts of kindness and support that have been carried out on countless occasions throughout this term.
Year 8 have been focusing on the theme of ‘pride’ and in particular, “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”. We have had some superb responses to this from many of our students. It is clear to see that during this time we are all focusing on how even the smallest of gestures can have a huge impact our own wellbeing and that of others. The images have been collated and made into a collage for reflection and recognition of the hard work and resilience shown by our students. We are delighted that students have been raising money for charity, learning to fix cars, collecting litter, painting and gardening. Many of the teachers of Year 8 have commented on the high quality of academic work submitted by our students through Firefly. They have been most impressed with the engagement in creative projects and the attention to detail and time taken in producing these.
Year 9 have now reached the end of their Key Stage 3 journey. This has been marked by the allocation of new-time tables to all of our Year 9 students and the completion of GCSE bridging work over the past four weeks. Some Year 9 students have also taken part in taster lessons and meetings with their new teachers to talk through the work and address any questions they may have about their new subjects. This has given our Year 9 students a head-start in their GCSE studies, which will commence in September.
In the final three weeks of term we set our Year 7 and 8 students the challenge of ‘Investigating West Cumbria – Past, Present and Future’, with students completing a range of subject tasks; researching, fact finding and producing creative responses linked to the fantastic area in which we live. It is clear to see that great time and effort that has gone into the completion of this project by many of our students, through the fantastic pieces of work that have been created, which we plan to display in the academy when we return. The project culminated in a Project Finale Quiz, with students using the knowledge gained from completion of the subject tasks to answer the questions.
On Friday 3rd July, in a change to our usual Sports Day programme, our KS3 students took part in our ‘Virtual Sports Day’, with a series of ‘household’ sports events throughout the day and submission of scores from each event to accumulate points for their individual and Form Group totals. The overall winners were 7MHO, 8JBR and 9LCM. Well done to all students who took part in this event and made it a huge success.
Students in Year 10 have, on the whole, worked incredibly hard during the lockdown period. It has been very encouraging to see the high levels of effort and resilience being applied to their online learning. The Year Group Team have been inundated with praise and examples of outstanding work which we have celebrated on our social media platforms. The responsibility shown by these students will be a great advantage to them and assist in their transition into Year 11. The engagement of students who have returned to school for face to face sessions in the last few weeks has also been exemplary. To further support Year 10 in their transition to Year 11 you will find bridging work on Firefly for students to complete over the summer period. This will allow students to be introduced to new topics of work and also reinforce the learning of work completed in Year 10.
Year 11 have now come to the end of their time at the Academy and it does bring a sense of sadness that they did not experience the full end of year celebrations. However, it was really nice to have so many Year 11 students involved in the final leavers’ assembly providing pictures that allowed us to celebrate their time in school. We will continue to look at opportunities for a leavers’ prom in the autumn term. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming many Year 11 students back into the sixth form in the autumn term and wish every one of them the very best of luck for the future.
We have also welcomed a large proportion of our Year 12 students back in to school. This has been advantageous for students in ensuring they are on track for their A level/BTEC studies. Students have also been able to participate in online Teams lessons where they have not been able to return to school. It has been pleasing to see a large number of students beginning to consider their next step and starting to write their personal statement. Due to school closure we are extending the deadline for applications for student leadership roles which can be submitted to email@example.com in preparation for the interview process in September.
As with Year 11, when circumstances allow, we will ensure that the Year 13 students have their Leavers’ Ball, which we will combine with a formal presentation evening. Again, we wish them all the very best of luck as they move on to the next stage of their journey.
The new West Coast Sixth Form welcomed many of its students to the first virtual induction programme last week. Students used Microsoft Teams to meet virtually with their classmates and new teaching staff. The engagement in these sessions was very high and we are extremely proud of the work our new students have been producing.
We have also been impressed by the engagement and entries into our end of term CET events and competitions, which has seen a huge number of our students and families take part in the CET Mile, CET Big Quiz and the CET Window Design Competition – ‘The Future is Bright’. Congratulations to Levi and Grace Earl, who were the Workington Academy CET Big Quiz Champions and Cory Ferguson in Year 7 who was the overall Workington Academy and Cumbria Education Trust ‘Future is Bright’ competition winner. There were also some very creative CET miles completed by our students and staff; in kayaks, on paddle boards, bikes, walking backwards and dancing – well done to all involved!
Finally, as you will have no doubt seen – our community ‘Workington Academy Does Amarillo’ video that involved countless numbers of our Workington Academy staff, students and local key workers proved to be an internet sensation when it was released in May. Following the success of our video, we have been running our Amarillo – Part 2 Challenge in recent weeks, in which we have challenged students and staff to help us to collectively travel the distance between Workington Academy and Amarillo through walking, cycling and running. The support shown for our challenge has been exceptional and we are pleased to announce that not only did we manage to travel to Amarillo, but we returned home again too, travelling a huge 9186 miles in 36 days and raising £634 in donations and sponsorship to go towards local Workington Community and Key Worker charities. Thank you to everyone who has supported our challenge and helped to make this a huge success for our Workington community.
As you will be aware, the most recent Department for Education guidance is that all students will return to school in September. This guidance sets out the public health advice schools must follow to minimise the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. It also includes the process that should be followed if anyone develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while at school. Planning for the full re-opening of Workington Academy, within Cumbria Education Trust, will be within the stipulated parameters, with the aim of all students returning to full-time education in the new academic year. We will send you detailed information as to all procedures the week before term begins, to ensure you have the most up to date information. In the meantime, please see below for details of the staggered start to the new term.
Mr D Bird