Monday, 18 September 2017

Parents and pupils visit for Open Evening

Written by Chase and Melissa, student reporters

On Thursday 14th September, Whitley Academy welcomed parents and pupils into the school for Open Evening.

Starting at 6pm, Mr Rex the Principal welcomed our visitors, and talked about what Whitley Academy had achieved over the years, especially the GCSE and A-level results in the last academic year 2016-2017.

Mr Downing, the Chair of Governors, shared his experience as a parent of his three children and how he felt secure to send his children to our school. He was very down to earth and the audience listened attentively to his short stories.

Afterwards, Miss Bloom (our Vice-Principal) talked about the school’s expectations for new Year 7 pupils and a variety of enrichment activities students could take part in. Sitting amongst the audience were the student reporters (the new Year 7 pupils are welcome to join the student reporters as early as they wish) who got the mention in Miss Bloom’s talk. They surely felt very proud of their hard work.

Then parents (and of course future Whitley Academy pupils) were invited to explore the school.

Walking around the school you could see each department had a room full of activities and books from the finest of our students.

Miss Allen and Mrs Stanbrook lead a classroom about our RSA 8 programme. It was largely to do with charities.

The English and Maths departments prepared games about the subjects so visitors could get a feel for some Whitley learning. The Science department was up to some shocking experiments. Mr Eborall was demonstrating the amazing Van der Graaf electrostatic generator. For your information, it creates static electricity and, if you want to have a go at it, it does make your hair stand up! 

Many children gathered around the generator having fun giving their parents an electric shock! There were also plenty of other scientific activities around the room.

In Geography, Miss Ward was leading an activity to match the food to their origins. In History, Miss Wright had an activity to design your own crest for your family. How cool!

All the Opening Minds classrooms had different team building games. This was to make sure the visitors could get an understanding of our Opening Minds curriculum. 

In the Learning Resource Centre, Mrs Nguyen and the student reporters were hosting a series of activities and explaining how hard the student reporters work. Some of the reporters enjoyed playing the giant tower block games with the visiting children.

In Catering, Miss Stones and the other staff members were showcasing the students’ cooking, and an amazing lentil curry.

On the third floor in Drama department, Mr Samuels got super creative with an interactive production. Everyone who got involved, evolved the showcase into something completely creative in their own way!

In Arts, Miss Bradshaw was showcasing the Whitley Arts programme. This also included the journey from Year 7 to 11 and how the students’ works have been evolved and improved over the years. We all loved it!

Walking along the corridors of different floors you could see the smiley faces of parents and the laughter of the children around. Everyone must have shared a fantastic time with a part of Whitley in their hearts.

Our MASSIVE THANKS to all of our dedicated staff and teachers who have spent countless hours to stay behind to help make this Open Evening “THE BEST IT COULD BE”!  

Friday, 25 August 2017

Congratulations to Year 11 students on completing more terminal exams than ever before

Congratulations to all our Year 11 students who have completed more terminal exams than ever before. In English 68% achieved level 4 or above and in Maths 64%. Significant numbers of students achieved 7-9 (Grade A/A* equivalents) in both subjects.

There were some fantastic individual results with 12 students getting 5 A*/A or more.

Julia Lubiszewska achieved  a 9 in Maths, an 8 in English Literature, A*’s in core Science and Additional Science, an A* in Further Maths, and an A in Art.

Katie Yuan achieved the best ever results by a Whitley Academy Student, with 9’s in English Language and Literature, a 9 in Maths, a A^ (higher than A*) in further maths, and A*’s in all her other subjects apart from French which was a A. She also achieved full marks in Art.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Excellent A-Level results for students in 2017

Year 13 results

There were some excellent results in Year 13 this year. 97% of all grades were passes. 74% of grades were C or above. The average grade rose this year to a C+. There were particularly good results in some of the Applied courses with most Art and Sport students achieving a Distinction or Distinction Plus. Charlotte Richmond achieved 2 A grades at A level, and Natalie Hill Achieved 1 A* and 2 A grades. 100% of our Year 13 students have a positive destination and pathway beyond Post 16.

27% A* - B
74% A* - C
Average grade for all entries C+

Year 12 results

There were fewer entries for AS this year due to the start of new specifications, however a third of all entries were graded at a B or above. And Chirag Virchande and Charlotte Gater continued where they had left off in Year 11 achieving A grades in all their subjects.

We are very proud of all our students who have worked so hard to achieve their results. A huge well done!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A day of 'Transitions' at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Written by Ethan, Year 10 Student Reporter

The background of the project was that three schools in the RSA Family of Academies were given a written script, and each school performed their own version of this script on consecutive nights.

The script focused on what it meant to be part of a family of academies, the impact this has on teachers and students, with some reflection on the education industry as a whole. The students received the completed script less than a month ago, and so they have worked very hard to produce and learn a performance in a very short time.

8:42 AM
On Friday 14th July, we left Coventry for Birmingham. The journey was short and smooth via Virgin Train. The weather was very windy and cool, but the sun was soon gliding over the clouds. Walking through the streets of Birmingham, we saw mesmerising landscapes and witnessed a lot of modelled bears unusually scattered around. Then we walked around the astonishing theatre (the REP) to find the Stage door. This made us feel as if we were real actors.

9:30 AM 
After a short wait we were greeted by Daniel Tyler - the Head of the Birmingham REP. He then took us to a small theatre for the rehearsals. Later on we realised we were based in a theatre called The Door with its capacity of 140 seats. We were also amazed to learn that the REP has a long history, dating back to the year 1913. Wow!

Rehearsing was a very detailed and precise process. We did not have enough time to memorise the script. We tried our best during the past three weeks. It was now time to work through the script together using the stage lighting, projection and the sound system. The whole day rehearsal had helped us to remember and improve our lines.

Clive, the Senior Sound Technician, stayed with us throughout the morning to check all the sound clips whilst we were doing our rehearsal. His job was to ensure the sound clips and the visual effects go precisely with the scenes of the play.

Not far from where Clive was sitting was Ruth, the REP Stage Manager. Ruth was sitting casually on the steps and went through all the scenes and the scripts with us very carefully.

Mrs Nguyen was in the audience seat. She slowly realised that a big part of the script was about the BBC Student Reporters and her commitment with BBC School Report during the past 10 years. Ten years, such an exciting journey for her and her student reporter team. This ‘Transitions’ play has accurately reflected what has happened back at Whitley Academy.

11:40 AM
We were taken to the dressing rooms and got changed. Then we practised some more, practice makes perfect after all.

After a quick lunch we got back to rehearsal. Mr Samuels talked to us all to make sure we knew how to project our voices to the far end of the theatre. We also discussed with him where our confidence fell short. This enabled us feel better for the real show, also improving our projection and emotions in our voice.

After  a long day of rehearsals we all went out for a nice, refreshing walk around the Birmingham Centenary Square. We then followed the flow of people going through the shiny Symphony Hall, Bridge Street, and finally spent some of our precious time at Brindley Place where you could sit for hours watching the live Wimbledon tennis matches on show. 

We all took some lovely photos including some funny ones of Abbie teaching Mr Samuels how to do a dance called ‘Floss'.

After the walk, we went back to The REP and had some dinner and a couple of students were interviewed by a staff member from the RSA. We were asked questions about the performance and how it linked towards real life at school. 

The nerves were really building up. Our parents and grandparents were there in the audience.

We heard the massive applause from the audience. Such a relief!

The following is our reflection of the Day at the Birmingham Rep.

"At the start of the day I began to feel nervous. As we rehearsed more and more, I started to feel exited as well as the rest of the group" - Abbie.

"I have performed before in a theatre in Leamington so I am quite familiar with performing. It is not easy to remember the script but hopefully I will remember my parts when it is the performance time" - Max.

"So far the day has been great. I have been able to remember my lines and not get brain stuck. All of us have felt nervous a lot. A part of the play was about the experience as a Whitley Academy student reporter. I myself have been a student reporter for 3 years, I have been to the London Houses of Parliament and some other amazing places. I love taking the risk and pushing myself as far as I can. That’s the reason why I am here today"- Jade.

"From the start of getting involved in the play I have worked with people that normally I don’t really work with and don’t really speak to. We share everything together and we are a strong team" - Morgan.

"Coming here has boosted my confidence in Performing Arts. It’s made me realise who I really am. Naturally I am a very shy girl. It’s only in Performing Arts that I could express myself as the person I want to be" - Holly.

My own thoughts were that this day made me feel like a proper actor. The experience has made me so confident about performing in front of people and I want to go to drama school. Tonight was the special night for me and it really boosted my confidence to find out that my Grandad, who doesn’t really go out, was coming to watch my performance! I have made him very proud. 

Thanks Grandad!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Making rockets at the BASE summer event

Written by Melissa O'Brien, Year 9 Student Reporter

On Thursday 13th of July, pupils and parents were invited to an after school event hosted by staff members of the BASE, with the support of teachers from the Science and PE departments. There were some fun activities such as rocket making (and launching), popping canisters, and static electricity. The evening was also a taster for some of our new Year 7 pupils, who will start our school in September 2017. 

Mrs Stanbrook, Mr Billyeald (Head of P.E), and Miss Roberts oversaw the barbeque burgers and hot dogs. The weather was very summery with light winds that made the smell of the barbequed food spread all over the school. From the distance towards our school lake you could see small troops of Canadian geese standing on the grassy ground, staring their black dotted eyes towards the crowd of ‘human beings’ who were consuming such mouth watering food!

The crowd got bigger and bigger with parents, pupils and their siblings. The teachers did such an amazing job that they even ran out of food!

In the Dining Hall, there were arts and crafts for visitors to get involved in. This was where the rocket making took place. There was yellow cardboard with clear instructions stuck onto the table for everyone to have a try at making a paper rocket. As soon as you finished making the rocket, you could take it to the canteen door where you would get help from Miss Williams (who teaches Science) and your rocket could be launched. 

Not far from the rocket making table was another Science stall, where the static electricity demonstration took place. Mr Shah and Mr Eborall demonstrated with this curious set-up. On the tables you could see some equipment to generate static electricity including the Van der Graaf electrostatic generator. 

In simple terms, you put your hands on a silver ball which generates static electricity. You get a funny feeling inside. Then if you tap someone you will give them an electric shock.

Standing in the sun enjoying his barbecued hamburger, Tyler of 7ESM said, “It’s great as it gets kids off their electronics and spending quality time with their families.” 

I agreed whole-heartedly. Tablets and phones take up time, leaving no social connections. In the end spending time with your family is one of the most important things we all should do. 

The Base and Science departments as well as all the other teachers put in the extra time to provide this fun free event. They stayed for nearly 4 hours longer than a regular school day.

Overall the event was great, and everyone (with their families) had an amazing evening. 

Thank you to all the teachers and students who stayed behind and helped. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Reporting on our staff CPD showcase

Written by Paige and Chase, student reporters

On 28th June, 14 student reporters and Mrs Nguyen attended the Whitley Academy staff Continual Professional Development (CPD) showcase in our school Assembly Hall. 

At the beginning of the day we were unsure what CPD was about. We then found out that teachers and staff members of the school do their own self-learning, attend courses and share their good practice together.

All around the Auditorium there were different stalls from different departments: Middle Leaders, Senior Leaders, Health and Safety, Business Support, NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) to name but a few. In the green canteen next door there were mouth watering refreshments, which were later to be enjoyed by everyone.

3:40 pm - 

10 minutes in, Mr Purslow (Director of MFL & CPD) made an announcement that Ms Alison Critchley (Chief Executive of RSA Academies) was going to make a speech. It was a very short, sharp speech that highlighted the on-going training that all staff attend and benefit from. She went on to say thank you for sharing their CPD journey so far.

After that there was a prize raffle. Mrs Nguyen won the first prize (a gift card), Mrs Billyeald won the second prize (a massive bag of sweets) and in third place was Mrs Devgun, who won a bottle of champagne. We felt that all the teachers have worked hard enough to receive a prize as well!

With our student reporters, we moved across the Hall inviting teachers and staff members to take part in our interviews.

4:30pm – 

It’s home time. We have now realised that teachers and other staff members have their own learning journeys and share their good practices so that we the pupils can achieve our best results. We felt privileged and overwhelmed to be in the CPD Showcase celebration.

Thank you Mr Purslow for organising everything for the celebration!