Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Journey of discovery for Year 7 at Africa Day

Written by Holly and Harshitha - Year 8 student reporters

At 8:50am, lessons began for the eager Year 7 pupils. It was Africa Day, and they had been given a different timetable, with lots of very exciting African activities to do. 

In the first class we went to, pupils began the day by watching a series of short video clips about places in Africa. After each video, they discussed life in African countries. The pupils held on to every word their teacher and friends discussed during the session.

Next, the African quizzes!

The ambience of the classrooms was very lively, with lots of fun to be had from pupils sharing answers, whilst learning plenty of new things about Africa. Everybody was concentrating hard on the questions, and thinking outside of the box to get the right answer.

It was now time for imagination and creation! 

The pupils began to draw African patterns to design beautiful dresses. Other classes were making African masks for a colourful fashion show. In Mrs Wilson’s classroom, one pupil brought in a selection of African clothes to show the class. The whole class enjoyed wearing the real clothes and posing for the camera!

Miss Reynolds’s class made pastel pictures and tasty mask biscuits using their new found knowledge. Miss Reynolds said that she was keen on the idea of her pupils learning new things they would not usually learn in normal lessons.

After a lot of drawing and colouring, it was time for some African sports, including wrestling. The activities took place in our small gym. Miss Pearce demonstrated some wrestling techniques. All pupils listened attentively as it required a lot of thinking in order to pin your opponent down to the ground without striking (kicking). As soon as ‘the green light was on’, students became very passionate about trying to get their friends down to the ground. The gym became very noisy with laughing, shouting and all sorts of strange noises!

Later in the afternoon, around 1:10pm, the whole of Year 7 gathered in the Sports hall to learn a bit more about Africa. Some of the facts included: 

  • There are 2,000 or more languages spoken all over Africa, and most people know a little 'Swahili' without realising it, because 'Rafiki' from the movie 'The Lion King' means friend, and 'Simba' means Lion. How amazing!

Thank you to the teachers for the work that was put in to make the day “The best it could be”, and to give us all a glimpse of African life, its culture, and a new language!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Students achievements recognised at KS4 Celebration Evening

Written by Todd - Year 11 student

On Thursday 11th January, we were invited to attend the Whitley Academy Celebration Evening for Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11 this academic year).

It was 6:00pm, and the beautifully decorated green Canteen was packed with students and parents. Outside it turned dark, foggy and cold. However it remained dry.

The evening started with the talk of Miss Rachel Sandby-Thomas, the current Registrar of Warwick University. The audience listened attentively, and a massive applause filled the room at the end of her talk.

The remaining time of the evening went by rapidly, but there was an air of anticipation as Miss Sandby-Thomas prepared to give out the certificates and the awards. Nominated students went up one by one, sometimes twice, if there was more than one award to present.

I was the last on the list of Year 11 students. It was a total delight to realise I had been nominated by the teachers in the Learning Support Department.

Walking up to receive my award, I felt exhilarated, with everyone clapping and congratulating me. It was like winning the best actor or the best film director, and my parents were sitting at the back of the room with the audience. When I reached the front of the hall everyone’s eyes were fixed on me! It was absolutely excellent!

As the event came to a close, the last awards were given out and the staff started clearing things up, my emotion became mixed with happiness and sadness. It’s my last year at Whitley Academy, the school I entered as a child from primary school, and leave as a young adult. I will have lots of sweet memories about my time here!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Annual Christmas celebrations enjoyed by pupils

Written by Ava and Eve - Year 7 student reporters

On Tuesday the 19th of December at 5:00 pm, Whitley Academy hosted the annual Christmas Fair in our cafeteria, decorated for the snowy season, by the school lake.

The bright Christmas decorations lit up the room, sparkling next to the light green background colour of the walls, along with the dazzling items that have been handmade by our lovely school pupils.

Some of those fabulous gifts included; glowing and decorative bottles, delicious hot chocolate reindeer, and crafts aplenty. In addition, there was delightful sweet treats and a tasty buffet with everything you could imagine on it.

There was a merry mood filling the room and not only our friends and family joined us, but ex-students and even teachers from another school came to enjoy the fabulous festivities. All around the room people (young and old) were laughing and having a great time observing all the fantastic items they could get and the prizes they could win in the raffle.

Some of the most popular stalls were the slime stall (as that is the most popular craze of 2017), elegant light up bottles, biscuit and cake decorating, and baubles that would add a splash of colour to the Christmas tree. But everyone did an extraordinary job!

We had a lot of special visitors but one that stood out the most was Santa! He brought a lot of festive cheer to everyone, even some of our teachers sat on his lap. You’re never too old for Santa!

This fair may all just be for fun, but being with your family and friends, also the feeling of pure joy, really made this night memorable for everyone. The festive ambience of the whole room will remain in our memories for a long time.

Now to wrap this up like a Christmas present! We would like to give a special thanks to our amazing teachers, who helped us provide such a fabulous fair.

We hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. 

All the best wishes for 2018!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Manor Adventure popular with Year 7 pupils

Written by Ava, Omonigho, and Eve - Year 7 student reporters

On the 20th of November, many eager and ecstatic Year 7 pupils set off on a trip to Manor Adventure, located in the south Shropshire countryside. We were all very energetic on our coach journey as we had a two hour journey ahead of us!


It was time to set off from Whitley Academy, and we were ready to experience a wonderful adventure. Anticipating the fabulous activities that we would be taking part in, our hearts started to race.


The arrival at Manor Adventure was quite an experience, we were all in awe and couldn’t wait to get into our rustic rooms. Before we knew it, we were already starting our thrilling activities.

The first thing our groups did was rock climbing. All of us were a bit nervous, but when we went up the enormous climbing wall, the fears soon faded. We had a bit of a scare, specifically Eve who got up halfway and then gave up! However, Eve got a lot of encouragement from her fellow teammates and her instructor (Alex). He pulled her up, and didn’t let her give up until she got to the top. And she did!

Shortly after, we had a delicious dinner, then headed back out to do the dreaded, 'muddy underground maze'.

Omonigho, who had trouble with this maze, ended up soaking in muddy and dirty water. Our guess was that this maze wasn’t made for tall people! Omonigho is the TALLEST girl in our year group. Shorter people, nevertheless, still had difficulties, as both Ava and Eve ended up with a swimming pool inside their wellington boots!

Day 2

After a good night’s sleep (well, not really, as we were in a room with 13 other girls), we woke bright and early at 7:30AM, ready for another day’s fantastic activities.

First of all, we had a delicious breakfast that consisted of some English classics. 

Our first activity of day 2 was the zip line, and we were all quite scared as we had to climb up a rickety rope ladder, and, as you can probably imagine, it wasn't easy going! After, we jumped off and started zooming down! It gave us such a thrill. Then, we had a break so we could discuss our adventure with our noisy roommates.

Now came the archery session. It was in a muddy field, so we saw all of our friends slipping and sliding about. When we actually got to the archery, we were trying our hardest, and some of us managed to hit the bullseye!

Soon after our delightful lunch, we had kayaking and canoeing.

It was an eventful activity as Omonigho ended up in the water, fortunately Eve and Ava stayed dry. Phew! The difference between the two activities was canoeing is with two people in the boat and kayaking was a boat to yourself.

All of us got wet, but nothing compared to Omonigho, who was cold and very wet! We all had a fun time, but I think you can imagine, it was the nicest feeling to be back in the warmth!

Before the disco time for the evening, we needed to tidy our rooms, and fast!

So we danced, laughed and had the time of our lives with our friends, even the teachers joined in! Soon after the disco finished, we all went to bed and slept well this time.

Day 3

Wednesday was our last day, and we made the most of it. We had a lovely final breakfast, and then set off on our first activity of the day, fencing.

It was a unique experience as it was our only indoor activity. We got kitted up and had to wear a lot of protection. We arrived in the main hall and got to grips with the basics of fencing then moved onto bigger things like battling against our friends. We listened to the coach attentively, as there were many techniques and footwork skills to practice.

Shortly after, we got onto our final activity and that was abseiling (it means to rope down a cliff or a slope). We had been anticipating this all week and now we all had butterflies in our stomachs.

The abseiling took place in the woods not far from where we spent the nights. Once we had the courage to go up, we had to put our heels on the edge and we could feel our legs trembling at the thought of falling off, of course we were safely clipped into our harnesses.

Once we were ready to start, we had to pluck up the courage to lean back and go over the edge. It was a hard thing to do, but once that part was over, it was amazing to hear all your friends cheering you on. 

The wall was very slippery and it was difficult to stay in control. However, once we picked up our confidence, we felt like we were floating on clouds. It was such a thrill, and we were all so glad we conquered our fears.

We had a lovely lunch afterwards with a chocolate cookie that was the size of our faces, truly our highlight of the meal. 

Before we knew it, Manor Adventure was over. We were all so upset to go but we knew we belonged back in Coventry with our family and friends.

Our MASSIVE thanks to our teachers who worked so hard to organise such an amazing trip for us all.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Great British Parliamentary Debate

Written by Ciaran, Year 9 student reporter

On Saturday November 11th,  a small Whitley Academy debating team arrived at the campus of Warwick University for a great day of British Parliamentary debating.

At 8:30pm, we were buzzing with excitement, ready for a hectic day. The University campus was surrounded with beautiful colours of Autumn. The pavements leading to the debating theatre were wet, and the threat of rain loomed in the air.

Awaiting the call asking us to enter the Humanities lecture theatre, we paced up and down the corridors hoping that our second team would arrive in time. Luckily that’s just what our team mates did, they arrived with plenty of time to spare. We were now ready for the long day ahead.

Around an hour after arrival, we were briefed on the rules of the day’s proceedings. Once this was over, the draw-ups began. This was where a random grid was created informing all teams of which rooms they were allocated to, what position they were, and who their adjudicator should be. Finally, everyone was given the motion

Do you know that…

British Parliamentary debate style is a common format of debating in academic settings. There are two sides called the Government (or ‘Proposition’) and Opposition. 

There are four teams around the debating table: two for Opening and Closing Government, two for Opening and Closing Opposition.

The motion is what the four teams debate about.

Off we were, heading up to the fourth floor where we would have 15 minutes to prepare our arguments on our first topic: 

This house believes the media should not report on the private lives of politicians.” 

The preparation time went by very fast and the debate came as quickly as a flash. Paired up with two students from another school, we were in unfamiliar territory. Besides the confidence in public speaking and the manner to deliver our speeches effectively, we got to know some precise facts and current news, locally and nationally. Despite some reservation at the beginning of our speech, we did however run head on to tackle the topic. 

At the end of each round we were asked to leave the room for the judges to deliberate the results. We moved to the other side of the corridor where handshakes were exchanged and it was time to socialise with all of our opponents. We found it fascinating to realise we were the youngest debaters sitting at the debating table. We felt very proud indeed!

Around fifteen minutes later, we were sent back into the room where we received our scores. Unfortunately, we did not come first but we had made a good effort. Despite our defeat, we were more determined than ever to push ourselves to our maximum potential!

Shortly after round two, we were all invited to enjoy some sandwiches for lunch. 

Following our lunch break we were given our positions and the third motion which was:

“This house would allow the military to go on strike.” 

Another tricky topic, but we had good ideas. 

Round four came and we were told it would be a closed round, which meant we would not be informed of our rankings after the debate. We pushed as hard as we could, made good points and backed up our fellow team members, and managed to take fourth place (as determined after the event).

Some things I have personally learnt from the day are that in order to do well, you need to fulfil your role in the team, communicate during preparation time, and make two or three points followed by a summary. 

All in all, it was a great day. Now all I have left to say is, this house believes that you should remember this blog!

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Betty Bus visits Year 7 pupils

On Tuesday 31st October, The Betty Bus came to Whitley Academy. 

The Betty Bus was visited during the day by our Year 7 pupils, to help create a generation of girls and boys in Coventry who are truly at ease talking about periods and how they affect girls.

On board, our pupils got involved with digital activities, including augmented reality, touch screen activities, and quizzes; before moving on to group work to discuss how periods affect girls physically as well as emotionally. 

Alongside this, the boys took part in a lesson to understand how girls may be affected during their periods.