Sunday, 19 July 2015

BOPA and Whitley remember the sacrifices made during WW1

Written by Jamila Houmadi - 7A Student reporter
On June 19th, 700 students from around Coventry, Rugby and Birmingham, came to the Coventry Belgrade Theatre to celebrate and remember the bravery and sacrifices of Black and Asian soldiers during World War 1. This was an event hosted by BOPA (British Organisation for People of Asian Origin). 
By 10am, the hallway of the theatre was packed with students from schools and people from different organisations. We had nearly an hour to scroll along the beautiful and very impressive displays of decommissioned weapons, uniforms, photos, and memorabilia.  
We stopped at some displays and talked to the soldiers in their uniforms. We found it very interesting to listen to them enacting as the WW1 soldiers. They explained how the decommissioned weapons were used during the war. We stood still touching the soldiers’ helmets thinking about how the soldiers coped with living in the trenches days and nights…the loneliness…the darkness… the thin line between life and death. We really struggled to think further than that.  
We then went around to other stalls to look at the displays. We realised it was a part of the Positive Images Festival in Coventry.
Kian, a student in Year 7, said:  “I really liked looking at the old hats and the medical equipment the soldiers had during the war. It was very fascinating comparing what we have now and what we had then”.
11:10 am – It was time for the ceremony.
All of us went into the theatre. We were lucky enough to be seated towards the entrance doors with lots of room for us to move around to take photos.
Back to the happenings on stage….
When thinking about WW1 there must be a common misconception that it was only the British soldiers fighting the Germans, but as many students had just learnt from the speakers, we realised more than 1.5 million Indian soldiers and 55,00 soldiers from Africa fought in World War 1 alongside the British forces. You could sense the silence in the theatre when we were told that 74,000 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in the war. The more numbers we heard the more quiet we were…
Then came the talk from Mr Paul Sabapathy, the Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands. We were told that Mr Sabapathy was appointed Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands in 2007. He is actually the first ever non-white Lord Lieutenant who came to the U.K more than 50 years ago, and had a number of very important jobs before becoming the Lord Lieutenant. He told us he was very proud to be British.
There were two beautiful singers –Ms Bhatia with the song ‘Oneness’, and Ms Tally Koren with two songs: ‘Free Will’ and ‘Two Kisses’. The lyrics of the songs were so true and powerful….We felt all the words from the songs…
As the celebration was coming to an end, Mr Jahan Mahmood – the WW1 and WW2 historian, told us about the impact a bullet had on metal, especially the soldiers’ helmets. He surprised us by showing us the slide of the first British King who wore a ceremonial turban – King George V. Once again we learnt a lot of the bravery and sacrifice of the Asian and African soldiers during the First World War.
We know it is now a hundred years on and warfare must have changed massively. We do not want wars. We want peace. We feel very lucky to be born and brought up in this country – Great Britain. We need to feel proud of the fact that our ancestors fought bravely and sacrificed their lives, without which the peaceful British Society we live in today wouldn’t have been possible.
12:40pm - Children from schools went on stage, and talked about what they have learnt and how they felt about the event.
Selina – our student representing Whitley Academy- reflected:” It was an amazing opportunity. I counted myself lucky that I was chosen to be onstage to represent our school. At first I was nervous, but now I feel glad I attended the BOPA event today. I am very inspired.”
Selina’s thoughts summed up how we all felt on the journey back home…
Thank you to everyone who organised such an inspirational day for us all to learn, enjoy and share together.
Jamila Houmadi
July 2015

Friday, 17 July 2015

Another fantastic Whitley Festival this year!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Year 6 to Year 7 Transition at Whitley Academy

Whitley Academy prides itself on offering an enhanced transition programme for Year 6 pupils from primary schools, making the transition into Year 7.
Part of this year’s programme involved thirty lucky Year 6 students, who had been nominated from a range of primary schools, attending two visiting days to Whitley Academy last week.
During the visits, the Year 6 students experienced a ‘circle time’ introduction, hosted by our specialised inclusion members of staff, where they were able to share initial concerns, and many myths about our school.
Later in the day, our visitors made and designed their own t-shirts, trialled American food, had a go at team sports, experienced our ‘Opening Minds’ lessons, and completed a poetry workshop.
The students displayed excellent resilience throughout both days, and Whitley Academy is very excited for the entire cohort of Year 7 students to start in September.
In addition to our thirty visitors last week, there will be two transitional summer schools this summer. One for pupil premium students at the start of the holidays, and one for all students towards the end.
We do this to ensure a smooth transition for all Year 6 students, as starting a secondary school can be a nervy and uncomfortable experience. 
If you have a query about our transition programme, please contact Whitley Academy on 02476 302580.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fun in the sun at Whitley Sports Day 2015

Written by Emma Smith and Selina Miruku.

On the 9th July 2015, Whitley Academy held their annual Sports Day, where Year 7, Year 8, and Year 9 students took part in multiple sports, such as rounders, tug of war, athletics, and various field events.
At break time, everybody changed into their P.E kit for the exciting afternoon ahead. We were allowed an early lunch (12:00pm). Everyone had a suitable and balanced lunch to assure that it would fill them up for the hot afternoon ahead.
After the students had made their way to the field, they excitedly scurried to their designated areas and listened to the music coming from the gazebo the P.E teachers had put up, so we could listen as we were waiting.
Before the events started, the ice-cream van pleasantly arrived and a wave of delight filled the air.
Finally the sports competitions began and people were waiting anxiously for their sport to be called up. The first sports were field events such as long jump, javelin, shot put and more. Whilst the events were taking place, the students and teachers were relaxing, eating ice cream, and listening to the very popular music of 2015.
Moving on in the afternoon was the ‘tug of war’. Of course this event required quite a lot of strength. First of all three boy teams competed against each other. 7C and 7D were victorious. The losing teams weren’t afraid to show their disappointment!
After that it was the girls’ turn. 7C and 7D managed to win again! Wow! Everybody who took part tried extremely hard and should be proud of their efforts.
The weather was absolutely beautiful with the sun blazing down on everyone as they were cheering each other to the finish line. No matter what, each group’s team work was outstanding as you could hear your name being chanted.
On the day, we all learned a valuable lesson. All that matters is you take part and support each other, even if they are not on your team, and even if they are not in your year group.
Written by Emma and Selina
Mr Billyeald – Head of P.E Department said; ““A brilliant success, everyone tried really hard in their activities and the students supported each other superbly. I just want to say well done to everyone who took part in the event!”

RSA Arts Day

‘Boop! Boop! We’ve got the power!’ sang a chorus of students from Ipsley CE RSA Academy, Arrow Vale RSA Academy and Whitley Academy to a packed house in the RSA’s Great Room. Joined by fellow students from Holyhead School and the RSA Academy, Tipton, the full family of RSA Academies undertook a dive into the creative unknown at the RSA Academies' Arts Day.
Guided by the power to create as the jumping off point, the bumper packed day explored the theme of ‘power’ through spoken word, dance, film and music.
This was the annual RSA Academies' Arts Day held at the RSA at which the students were empowered to come up with an original creative response to ‘power’ and perform it as an ensemble collaborative piece to an audience a few hours later.  No pressure then.
With a healthy level of trepidation the students were stirred into a creative awakening by Stephen Steinhaus, a teacher from Whitley Academy and Oliver Carpenter from the Upton Blues Festival who coaxed us into a bluesy gospel performance before we realised what was going on. All fired up, we dispersed throughout the RSA to the workshops considering how we might creatively collaborate together.
To find out more about our exciting day please click here

Whitley wins the RSA Art prize!

Michaela Crimmin, curator and lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Arnold Schwartzman and Roisin Ellison judged the final pieces. The brief set was: the power to create is the ability to turn your ideas into an image/images. What happens when your creativity is unleashed.  
All the RSA schools entered submitting an impressive array of responses. The stars to watch are:
First prize: Nawal Jafar, Whitley Academy
Second prize: Awais Javed, Arrow Vale RSA Academy
Third prize: Molly Johnson, RSA Academy, Tipton
Commended: Karl Sullivan, Arrow Vale RSA Academy
Commended: Sofia Adburahman, Whitley Academy