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It has been brilliant to welcome students back to JQA after the Christmas break. Students have returned with enthusiasm and have welcomed our new staff warmly. We issued all students with new timetables too as we had a slight switch around to enable consistent Maths teaching in Year 11 after Mr Soud’s departure as well as PE lessons being re-scheduled so it didn’t cause a clash with the astroturf and raised deck at social times, giving more students the chance to take advantage of our new facilities. We had a lot of painting done around the site across the holidays too to make the corridors fresher  – we are always trying to improve the provision for our brilliant students!

We are excited to be rewarding students weekly for 100% attendance with our ‘Reward Raffle’. Those with 100% will receive a text each Friday and every student who achieves 100% attendance each week receives a ‘golden ticket’ which goes into our prize draw at the end of half term. Shortly, the Student Parliament will decide what prizes should be part of this ‘Reward Raffle’. I cannot stress enough the importance of attendance: some students did not return on the Wednesday last week and others still haven’t returned due to not yet returning from unauthorised holiday. We work closely with Birmingham City Council and will always issue a fine for unauthorised holiday in term time. We recently issued fines over nearly £2000 to one family on Birmingham City Council’s behalf as their child’s attendance was not improving towards our standards.

Some of our Year 11 students start ‘real’ exams for the first time this week as we see the first public exams being taken in Health and Social Care and Sport. Our teachers have prepared revision classes to support them and I encourage all parents to make sure their child is here. Attendance for public exams is mandatory – there are no 2nd chances. All information about exams can be found on our Year 11 page on our website.

I’d like to thank all parents/carers who came along to our Year 10 Parents’ Evening last Thursday. It was a great chance to talk to your child’s teachers and see how they have settled in at the start of their Key Stage 4 courses. On Thursday 19th January, Year 9 parents are invited to our Virtual Guided Curriculum Choices Evening which is led by Miss Seleshe and Miss Chudasama. It’s an event via MS Teams so parents can listen together with their child to the options available to them in terms of qualifications in Key Stage 4. The link to join the event is here. Students will also be issued with a booklet explaining all about the ‘options’ process with key dates and deadlines.

24 carat gold character

CORE Extra resumes on Tuesday and students will again leave site at 4.10. There is a plethora of opportunities for students in CORE Extra this term and I’m looking forward to seeing students in the sessions. I was privileged to award some students our gold badges last week for achieving the expected ’24 carat gold standard’ with their character. Tutors grade all students each term and those with full marks in our 4 values are awarded our prestigious gold badge. Nearly a third of the students are ‘polished’ and wear their gold badge with pride. Our work to develop students’ character has earned us a ‘kitemark’ accreditation as a School of Character and we ill have a plaque in reception shortly to mark this award.

We want our students to go on to shine in society and having the character to be team players, take on challenges, be respectful and give 100% are those important leadership traits. We are encouraging many students to apply for the CORE Leaders of Tomorrow programme, which is being supported by the international organisation, Goldman Sachs. Applications close on 3rd February. More information about this wonderful opportunity is here. Thank you to parents who have also expressed an interest in the Birchfield Harriers opportunity. I am meeting again with this elite athletics organisations shortly so I will be back in touch with you about the sessions.

We have some great opportunities for students this week with Year 10 visiting the Tate Modern in Liverpool and also some sessions with Sandwell College coming in to talk to Year 11 about courses and BMW delivering a virtual session about apprenticeships with the German giant on Tuesday.

There are some great opportunities for parents via JQA at the moment. Our partners Elevate, who regularly support our Year 11 children with their revision and exam techniques are offering a series of webinars to parents and their children in the run u[p to exams. You can sign up for these here.

Our Careers Advisor, Karen Barlow, has also shared information about opportunities to study ‘adult education courses’ at BMet. They are enrolling now for courses aimed at adults, starting between January and March 2023 and have a variety of different courses available across their colleges – James Watt College, Erdington Skills Centre, Matthew Boulton College and Sutton Coldfield College which could help people upskill, retrain and future proof their career. For further information visit or call us 0121 446 4545.

I must remind parents about our clear uniform policy. Unfortunately, we have had some students return with dyed blue and red hair which contravenes this policy. Should your child be changing hair colour or having acrylic nails or false lashes, for example, for the holidays, they must be removed and hair returned to natural colour before returning to school.

I wrote to all parents last week about homework and you can find a summary of that information on our dedicated homework page on the website, including a video on how best to support your child. Some parents have already been in touch to request support with a device or dongle to access the internet – we are reviewing these and will get back to those eligible for these shortly.

It is going to be a wet week so please make sure your child’s shoes are dried each evening (particularly Tuesday and Thursday this week) and they have a coat for the adverse weather.

As always, you can call the Academy on 0121 729 7220, leaving a message if lines are busy and we will get back to you. Our lines are very busy in the daytime so I encourage parents to use the voicemail facility by pressing option 2. If you would like urgent support, you can always reach Mr Bibb (our Designated Safeguarding Lead) on option 4.

You can always contact me directly this week at: [email protected]