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I’d like to thank all parents for their support last week during the first of the ‘teacher strikes’. We had a brilliant day with Year 11 who continued their learning in their core subjects ahead of the March mock exams (a timetable for these assessments has been emailed to all parents on Friday) and 100% attendance for the IT exam too. Years 7-10 continued learning online. We were also pleased to provide 300 lunches for students, who were entitled to free school meals, to have on the day of the strike and will continue to do so before the other forthcoming ‘strike days’ on 1st March and 15th and 16th March. I will write to you again next week to communicate provisional plans for the regional strike on Wednesday 1st March.

It is Safer Internet Day and Children’s Mental Health Week this week and I’ve written to parents of Year 7 students to remind them of their responsibilities regarding their child’s mobile phone – but this is good advice for all families. Mrs Bains will be leading assemblies all week about online safety and this will be followed up with Personal Development activities on the theme of ‘being kind’. The parent organisation, Brummie Mummies, asked me to take part in a podcast with tips for parents on how to make sure their children aren’t misusing social media and you can listen to this here. We have also put some guides about the major social media platforms on our website for parents here.

We are pleased to announce that we will shortly be having a counsellor on site to support students for one day a week and I will share more information with parents shortly about this. I’d also like to remind parents about the work of MIND who have support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As always, JQA can offer and signpost to support and you can get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] Our Coffee Mornings are also available to all parents and run from 9-11am each Wednesday – they are drop-in sessions for support with anything.

Bring It On Brum offer useful support when it comes to helping with the ‘cost of living’. Over half term, they are running some great activities with free lunch for any students who attend. To sign up, click here:

This Friday is the deadline for Year 9 students to return their forms indicating their preferences for courses they would like to study at Key Stage 4. Thank you to all parents who attended our Year 9 Parents’ Evening on Thursday.

It was brilliant to meet Norma from Silverfish Jewellery last week and discuss working together so students can see opportunities for them within industries in the JQ. We have some brilliant artists and designers at JQA. We’d love students to enter the ‘MasterPeace’ competition to create wearable art jewellery symbolising and embodying the spirit of UBUNTU a South African word meaning unity, harmony and peace. We will continue to work with partners within the Jewellery Quarter to ensure there is more BAME representation within the design and manufacturing industries in the quarter. It’s Apprenticeship Week across the country and we will be having providers on site every day to showcase opportunities to students. We are continuing to develop our partnership with UCB and Warwick University and I will share more details about this shortly. Finally, if you got in touch regarding your child joining our after-school athletics club with Birchfield Harriers, I will be giving your child a letter with details of the club this week. We are working with this elite sports club to unearth ‘diamonds in the rough’ and those who qualify to attend the training at Alexander Stadium can have free transport provided by the Academy to support them on their path to ‘gold’. Why can’t one of our gems be an Olympic gold medallist, following in the footsteps of Mark Lewis Francis or Denise Lewis? Excellence is expected here.

We are working with Birchfield Harriers to unearth the next potential gold medallists