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Headteacher's Blog 28 - Friday 27th April

Keeping our Students Safe

The National Online Safety team has this week shared with us a useful guide for Parents and Carers to help them keep their children safe when using Snapchat.

Snapchat has had the most reported cases of online grooming of children in the region during the last 6 months and presents a genuine safety risk to children if not used carefully.

The guide can be found on our website here. 

Student Voice – Smoothie Success

Year 9 Student Council minutes flagged up to me the students’ desire for cold treats in warmer weather (if only the sunshine had lasted!)  Luckily Mrs Higgins and our Academy chefs were already on the case and I am delighted to announce that the following delicious treats are now available: 

Iced fruit lollies, choose - Fruits of the forest, Orange or Strawberry. Available at morning break and lunch time priced at 80p.

Have you seen our new smoothies on our 3 week menu which are individually priced (90p) and also available as part of a meal deal? Next week we have the following flavours to choose from:

Berry Burst, Strawberry Spilt, Tropical Delight, Sweet Melody, Toffee Banana (All count as one of your fruit portions as part of your 5 a day)

STEM-Tastic!

What a busy week our STEM Club has had!

Last Saturday four of our STEM students who have all been Teen Tech finalists travelled to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore to take part in an open day.  

Nicole Hirst, our runner-up Young Engineer of the Year was interviewed on stage by Maggie Philbin and talked about her journey from STEM club to Teen Tech and on to win at the Big Bang Fair.  

The students then took part in tours of the Hospital campus including the Operating Theatres, the Motor Learning Laboratory, the London Implant Retrieval Centre and the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences. In addition there were numerous workshops including a bionic hand, hip surgery and clinical & surgical skills amongst others.  

A very inspiring and educational day was had by all the students who were a credit to the Academy and who are now all interested in following medical careers.  Well done to Nicole Hirst, Ben Brooks, Aaron Daley and Anya Allott-Ratcliffe for giving up their weekend to discover career opportunities.

And yesterday, Horbury STEM Club had an inspiring visit to an event at Doncaster racecourse that promoted STEM subjects and companies showcased how science, technology, engineering and maths is used to build, manage and maintain our world. Not only were the group attracted to the sweets, shiny key fobs and other freebies on offer, they worked alongside the traffic police to capture would-be speedsters with a hand-held traffic camera; boosted their geography and maths skills to plan and budget a train line through the conurbations and the conifers with Network Rail; and programmed a robot through an assault course with Sheffield University. Better still, they presented and were rewarded for an idea of their own to the judges: a pair of earpieces that block out any unwanted sounds from a chosen radius; something I think we can agree will pay for itself within the hour.

The students took from this visit a flavour of how many opportunities there are in the industries and institutions they all know for STEM careers. With Nicole Hirst receiving a Gold award from Teen Tech (only four of these have ever been awarded – nationally!), an interest and inspiration for women in STEM is found in our hardworking students and we all look forward to what the future holds for our STEM fanatics.

Very well done, you have all done Horbury Academy proud! 

 Rugby Coaching

Last Friday PE were fortunate enough again to be joined by coaches from Castleford Tigers Rugby Club and the students thoroughly enjoyed the sessions put on. They are now looking forward to taking part in upcoming tournaments later on in the year at Castleford. 

Knife Awareness Day

Yesterday, students in years 7 to 10 attended a 50 minute presentation in our Main Hall. This presentation was led by members of the West Yorkshire Police Service and is part of a national approach to inform young people of the dangers of carrying a knife. 

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Gibson is the Operational Knife Crime Lead for West Yorkshire Police, this is what he has said: 

“In my role as a Senior Investigating Officer I see first-hand the terrible consequences knife crime can bring. It can have a devastating impact on the victim and their family but also the perpetrator and their loved ones. It can also cause great concern in local communities. We want to spread a simple message – #StopKnifeCrime. Carrying a knife is never the answer – knives take lives and if you carry a knife you risk being sent to prison and increase your chances of being seriously injured or killed.” 

“Education must also play a key role as well and we want to share our #StopKnifeCrime message as far and as wide as possible. By publicising the wider dangers of knife crime we are helping to get this potentially life-saving message across.”

As an Academy we hold a zero tolerance approach to anyone carrying a knife and work with the police to ensure our Academy is a safe place. We ask that if you or your child is made aware of anyone with information on the illegal carrying or use of knives to report it to the police via 101, online or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Progress Check and Report Update

Students in Years 9 and 11 should have received their latest Progress Check today. Also included in with the Year 11 Progress Check is a letter outlining all of the subject revision sessions that we have scheduled for the coming weeks alongside full details about study leave, Prom, leavers' assembly and lots more. This letter can also be found on our website here.

Year 8 Students will be receiving their Progress Check early next week and this will also contain confirmation of their allocated option subjects for next year. Mr Brook is always inundated with requests to change subjects both after issuing this letter and again in September. He would like to remind you that any request to change must have parental consent either through a note in a student’s planner or via telephone or email.

Finally, teaching staff are currently busy producing written reports for students in Years 7 and 10 and these will be issued alongside the latest Progress Check in a couple of weeks’ time.

PiXL Strive for Five Conferences

On Wednesday a group of 18 Year 10 boys visited the PIXL English Strive for 5 conference. The students represented Horbury Academy impeccably. Working on key skills and questions for their forthcoming GCSE English Language exams, we hope that it gave them the boost they needed.

Action Jackson's motivation speech at the end of the conference left them with some lasting messages: 'Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.'

This was followed on Thursday by a group of 31 Year 11 boundary leapers who attended the PIXL Maths Strive for 5 conference.  Their concentration throughout was superb and they kept up with the fast pace enabling them to work on BANKER questions and key Maths skills.  Shabz’s motivational speech at the end of the conference left them baffled after some magic tricks as well as ensuring they heard some lasting messages: 'You are the key to your success’, ‘only you can stand in your way’, ‘don’t let others programme you to think you aren’t capable and always hold your head high’ and ‘you are priceless so your time is money, spend it wisely’.

Any Plans for the Weekend?!

Revision of course! 

Last Sunday the first of our weekend revision sessions took place for year 11 maths students.  This Sunday revision is focussed on GCSE English Literature.  From 10 – 12.15 students can come and refresh their knowledge of plot, character and themes in “Jekyll and Hyde.”  And then, from 12.30 – 2.00 students can master Shakepeare’s “The Tempest”

Everyone is welcome!

And finally …

Look out for next week’s blog where a bumper crop of certificates will be issued…has anyone reached Governors’ Award yet?!