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It was a brilliant week at the Academy last week. Some of our Year 8 students who are working with a mentoring organisation called Football Beyond Borders visited St George’s Park to meet the England squad before they flew out to Qatar for the World Cup. The boys (and Mr Morton) were starstruck! England’s match vs Iran will be on the TV screens in the Refectory during lunch (as will some of the World Cup group games featuring other nations) and students are welcome to sit and watch in the warm as they have lunch; we have lessons as normal as learning continues.

It was Anti-Bullying Week 2022 nationally and we marked that across the Academy with Odd Socks Day, an opportunity to remind students about the Sharp System – which is used to log a worry or concern – and how Respect is a CORE value and what that means in terms of how we treat each other, both in person and online.

I’m looking forward to our Student Parliament meeting again this Tuesday at The JointWorks.  There are two CORE-wide competitions students can enter this term: the CORE Mathletes Challenge which opens next Monday with a weekly challenge which I will send to all parents and students and also the Echo Eternal Reflect competition which asks students to reflect on the testimony of Holocaust survivor, Zigi Shipper, and create their own reflection. This can be poetry/prose, digital (film, animation, photography), visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, craft) or music. Zigi’s story can be found here and previous ‘Echoes’ can also be found here to inspire students further. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Friday 6th January 2023. Each finalist in their media category will win at £100 Amazon voucher.

It was wonderful see students from Year 10 going to the Sondheim Theatre to watch Les Miserables last week.

I’ve been really pleased to see the FREE music lessons starting in conjunction with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Around 60 students are involved in piano, drums, guitar, vocals and music technology/production.

We have booked St Paul’s Church for our Christmas Show on Tuesday 13th December. It promises to be a brilliant showcase of talent in the arts from JQA gems in a wonderful venue. Tickets are limited and I invite parents and our community to apply for tickets, which will be allocated on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, by completing the online form here.

The festive season is nearly upon us and we are offering every student a traditional Christmas dinner on Wednesday 14th December and Thursday 15th December in the Refectory. Students will finish at 12.25 on Friday 16th December after a week of ‘Reward Assemblies’. Our traditional Christmas Jumper Day will be on Friday 9th December and I will share more details about that shortly.

Speaking of food, it was great to see an award-winning chef join us on Wednesday of last week to share some samples of plant-based dishes. ‘No chicken teriyaki’ and the ‘Pulled Peruvian quorn’ were favourites and I am working with Mellors to explore more environmentally-conscious alternatives on our menus as well as investing money into the Kitchen so that there can be equity of offer in both the Refectory and Hatch. I will update you when this work is completed. It’s important to me that every child has a hot meal and also that there are a good range of choices available.

We welcomed CORE Education Trust Group CEO, Adrian Packer, to the Academy on Thursday. He had a warm welcome from students, as always, and we toured around all lessons, seeing high standards and quality learning.

I need to inform all parents that I have issued a permanent exclusion for a student in Year 10 who failed his Step 5 report and was sent back to us from a managed move his family had requested.

As it is ‘Respect Week’ across the Academy, it is good to have a regular reminder of our expectations. The vast majority of students meet our Code of Conduct every day, picking up merits and recognition. However, we have a minority of students who are on report to manage their regular misconduct. There are only 5 steps of report. If your child is on report, they are jeopardising their place at our Academy. I will remind parents we are the only OFSTED ‘Good’ school in the local area under the new inspection framework.

I will also take this opportunity to remind parents about the law about detentions: “By virtue of Section 92 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, there is a legal right for teachers to detain students after the end of an academy or college session or on most weekends, without parental consent.” If you want your child to leave at the usual time everyday, make sure they meet the simple and clear Code of Conduct. Here are some ‘golden rules’:

Ready – make sure they have full uniform and are on time for school and all lessons, walking into lessons in silence, ready to shine.

Respectful – make sure they listen and are polite and kind to all, treating others and our site with respect. Teachers will insist on silence when they are explaining, entering rooms, or working independently so everyone can concentrate.

Safe – make sure they are in the right place at social times, not using their phone on site and respecting others’ personal space. It is also important to make sure they are acting sensibly in the community and not putting themselves or others at risk.

The law on detentions is clear. Please do not come to Reception demanding your child doesn’t do a detention, citing excuses such as ‘it’s getting dark’ or that it might inconvenience you. We will not relent. If you don’t want your child to have a detention, make sure they behave themselves (like the vast majority of students) and follow our clear and simple ‘golden rules’ (above).

Our administrative staff will not be abused, whether in person or on the phone, recorded or threatened. Sadly a small minority of parents have done this in recent weeks; I won’t hesitate to ban parents from the site and work with the police where our Parent Code of Conduct is not adhered to. Our teachers don’t come to school seeking to sanction children – they come to school to deliver the lessons they’ve spent hours at home planning. They come to school to teach and children come to school to learn.

To the small minority of parents whose children are in detention almost every night because they disrupt learning for the huge majority of students,  I have said before and I say again: other local schools are available. I will always act to protect the huge majority of students who come to school every day and shine – I will not have their learning time stolen by children whose behaviour doesn’t meet our standards.

Please use the team around your child to support them to succeed. Email is the best way to contact our staff. Your child’s tutor, Head of Year, non-teaching Year Group Co-ordinator can all be found here.

Have a brilliant week!