2nd December - Junior Volunteer of the Year
I am delighted to share with you that one of our Year 13 students, Claudia Southwell, received the junior volunteer of the year award at the Rushcliffe School Sports Awards last week. This was a fantastic achievement for Claudia as there were five nominees all of whom have completed a tremendous amount of work both in and out of school. Well done Claudia.
Students from South Wolds Academy have now won the award for the last 4 years - which is an amazing achievement and really does showcase the fantastic young people we are lucky to work with.
20th November - Careers Fair
Mrs Welch and Mrs Vitel organise our annual careers fair which ran this week on Tuesday. Students from Years 9,10,11, 12 and 13 were able to talk to a wide variety of employers and education settings about opportunities for the future.
It was an incredibly productive day - it was clear that all of our students took the opportunity seriously and made sure that they had the information that they needed. Many of the providers reported to us how impressed they had been with our students' polite attitudes and the serious way they approached this great opportunity.
18th November - Driving Standards
I am sure that many of you followed the news over the weekend about the tragic crash that killed four school students and their friend. This tragedy will have touched all of us and made us reflect on the importance of driving safely.
Yesterday, as part of the sixth form Personal Development programme, the Driving Standards Agency ran a session for all of our students on safer driving. It was a very informative, hard hitting session. Talking to the students afterwards they found it a very useful reminder in the context of the news over the weekend.
Please drive safely everyone.
13th November - Year 11 Reports
It is an interesting time at school at the moment because Year 11 have just received their first set of reports. We have tried to improve the information included in the report in order to make them a more useful document for students and parents. The reports are now colour coded to indicate if students are making enough progress from Key Stage 2. At South Wolds we aspire for all of our students to make more than expected progress.
If a subject is coloured green then the student is making more than expected progress, yellow indicates expected progress and red indicates less than expected progress. This is promoting some interesting discussions between students and staff, and I am sure will do so in today's parents' evening.
The important thing is that no matter what the colour is - it is not too late to make a change. Reports are a point in time and they are not the end product. A red can be turned yellow and a yellow can be turned green. If you have any comments or thoughts about the reports then please contact our Assistant Head Teacher Carol Shardlow by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
12th November - Proud
This school is the best kept secret in the borough of Rushcliffe - this is something that I am happy to say to anybody and I know that visitors to the school are always so impressed by our great students attitude, appearance and work ethic.
On this note it was lovely to receive this message from a local member of the community this morning. I was absolutely delighted with this feedback and I will be sharing it with staff and students who are the ones who deserve the real credit.
11th November - Preparing for Mock Exams
Year 11 have started to prepare for their mock exams. Full information on the exams are available in the exams section of our website. This year we are trying to give me support through publishing clear details of what is included in the exams and what needs to be revised. To do this we have given every student a copy of booklet with all these details and more. You can download a copy here.
October 24th - A National Context
Anyone following the education stories in the press will know that this was an interesting year for schools. Performance measures have changed significantly which meant that it was difficult to put our 2014 results into any national context. The national figures released yesterday show how well our students did in comparison to schools nationally and locally:
- 67% achieved 5A*-C GCSE including English and Maths. National 53%, Nottinghamshire - 57%
- 34% achieved the GCSE Ebaccalaureate. National 23%, Nottinghamshire 25%
- 76% made expected progress in English. National 72%, Nottinghamshire 70%
- 83% made expected progress in Maths. National 66%, Nottinghamshire 65%
- Average Point Score Per Student was 767. National 699. Nottinghamshire 676.1
Of course as a scholol which serves a high achieving area we should always be achieving above national figures. However, in this time of huge fluctation in outcomes across schools it is pleasing to see that in the key measures of achievement and progress we are performing significantly higher then the rest of the country.
October 22nd - Duke of Edinburgh
Eighteen students have been invited to the Duke of Edinburgh presentations for completing the bronze award. The ceremony takes place on the 24th November and will be a wonderful occassion for all involved. Anyone who knows anything about the DofE programme will know the effort, skills and persistence needed to successfully complete this award. Each and everyone of these students should be proud of what they achieved and I am sure they will enjoy a fantastic evening.
On a slightly competitive note, it is pleasing to see the numbers of students invited from other schools. 8 from Beckett, 17 from Rushcliffe, 2 from Toot Hill, 19 from West Bridgford and 0 from any of the other Rushcliffe Secondaries. Given we are a smaller school than most of the other schools in the area this shows the talents and commitment of our students and staff - very proud.
October 21st - So Much Going On!
A parent said to me yesterday that they were worried that we are becoming an exam factory. This concerned me because we have always set out to get the balance right between achieving excellence in GCSE & A-Level qualifications and developing the whole child.
Ensuring that all students achieve excellent qualifications will always be at the centre of our work. It has to be and it is quite right that it should be. However, we will not lose sight of offering a range of exciting opportunities for everyone to participate in. If anyone wants any reassurance that we will continue to do this then please have a look at today's student notices below. This is just a snapshot of the wonderful opportunities on offer that provide the balance we are looking for at our great school.
October 15th - Busy Time for Parents
Earlier this week I attended my daughters' Year 6 parents evening. If I am honest I was overwhelmed by the amount of information about preparation for SATs and how we could support her at home. It felt very daunting for us all.
What really worries me is what this is this going to be like when she is taking her GCSE exams. She will, of course, have a whole range of teachers she is working with all preparing her for different qualifications with different requirements. How will we cope at home?
So what can we do to help those of you who are already going through this. Clearly the more information we can share with you the better. To do this we are running a series of parents' events in the next few weeks to help you understand what is happening at school and how you can support your children. These events are:
- Year 9/10 Information Evening. That is running tonight. Please contact the school office for details. All are welcome.
- Year 11 Information Evening. This is running on the 5th November at 6pm. Invitations are here.
- Year 7 Parents Evening. 22nd October. Year 12 Parents Evening 22nd October. You can book appointments for these here.
All of these opportunities have been well received by parents in the past and I am sure you will find them useful this year. If at any point you need any help with supporting your children then please do contact us. This can be done through the school office who can put you in touch with the most appropriate member of staff or through the parental queries section on the website.
October 10th - Parental Involvement
Have you heard about the Parental Involvement Group? These are a group of volunteers who offer to support our work in helping students prepare for the world of work and the choices that they will have to make.
The PIGs are people who come into school and work with students on careers education. In the past this has involved opportunities such as mock interviews, running sessions on Key Skills Days and STEM speed dating. This year a number of them are running assemblies talking about their careers and giving advice on the lessons they have learned.
This is a really powerful partnership. It is tapping into a resource that our children will benefit from. You can find out more about the group or details on how to get involved here.
October 9th - FutureChef 2015
I've always felt that if you give teenagers the opportunity, they can achieve anything. Yesterday, along with Mrs Angus, I was lucky enough to judge 23 entrants for the FutureChef2015 competition. Have a look at the quality of the food below.
I have to say that the quality of the dishes was such that I would have been delighted to be served many of them in a restaurant. The planning, creativity and workmanship of every student was plain to see. Each dish was their own creation and they had planned for nutritional balance, taste and cost effectiveness. Wow!! Congratulations to everyone who took part. In the next few days Mr Retter will be announcing the two students who will progress to the next stages of the competition - I have to say that, on the basis of yesterday, everyone was a winner.
October 8th - Working with Local Business
You may recall that last year a group of students worked with the Keyworth Business Group to design and produce a website. The website has now been launched and you can see it at www.keyworthbusiness.co.uk .
This is a not for profit website offering businesses the opportunity to have a presence in an online directory for the local community. Ultimately the aim is the for site to be the number one place for people in Keyworth and the surrounding areas looking for local businesses, trades people, suppliers, shops and restaurants.
Please do take time to have a look at the website - you will see what a fantastic job our talented students have done.
October 7th - Student Voice
A school can never sit still. There are so many ever changing factors that mean that we have to be rigorous in how we use evaluation to identify priorities for improvement. We evaluate a huge range of evidence to help us make sure that every step is taken to make sure children are safe, happy and successful at South Wolds. However, a key source of evidence is the students themselves. This year the Student Council are looking at how they can better collect feedback from the rest of the student body in order to play their role in helping to continue to improve our school. As well as the suggestion box in the hall, which they monitor regularly, they will also be available in the Hall on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday break times for any student to talk to. Any feedback they receive will then be discussed at their weekly meetings with Mr Clemmet.
October 3rd - E-Safety
Keeping all of our youngsters safe online is a key part of our work. Mr Stanley has taken on all of our work in coordinating this and is currently planning the next steps. To do this he is going to form an E-Safety team who will meet to discuss issues inside/outside of school, uses and forms of digital communication among students, and have some input into whole school E-Safety initiatives. Any student who is interested in joining this team should see Mr Stanley as soon as possible.
October 2nd - Improving Independent Learning Through Partnerships with Parents
As you will already know we are putting a huge amount of effort into improving independent learning and study habits through improved communication with parents about homework and introducing a rapid response detention when homework is not done.
The vehicle for this is the Show My Homework website which we have been using since September 1st. Informal feedback from parents and students has been fantastic. Although the information on the website can be accessed without logging in, we are delighted that over a third of parents have already logged onto the website and are using this to ensure that they can support their children in completing homework to a high quality and on time.
If you haven't already started using the website and would like more information then please email us at email@example.com.
October 1st - Thank You!
Thank you to the parents who attended the Body Gossip briefing on Monday. This session was offered to complement the work that Body Gossip had run during the school day with Years 8,9 and 10. Those parents who did attend were very positive about the session and felt that it gave them useful tips to use at home. Body Gossip work to help youngsters reach their academic and social potential by working with them to understand how they can identify and tackle negative self-belief.
If you weren't able to attend the session but would like more information then you can find out more by visiting their website.
We are looking at running similar sessions throughout the year to help support parents understand the role that they can play in helping their children survive and succeed in the context of the challenges our modern society. Please keep an eye on your email for more information throughout the year.