Friday, 30 September 2016

Whitley celebrates KS3 pupil successes

On Thursday 29th September, Whitley Academy enjoyed celebrating the success of current Year 8 and Year 9 students. Awards were given to students which reflected their academic progress, attitude to learning and resilience in subjects.

This year also saw awards given for student leadership skills, contributions to the RSA events, contribution to school life, and creative attributes. The staff at Whitley are very proud of the students and their success, and hope that this continues for the rest of the academic year.

Whitley Academy would also like to say a big thank you to parents who attended the event.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Blues festival of the year!

For the second year in a row, Whitley Academy students have participated in music workshops through the  Upton blues festival.  Professional blues musicians have come to the school to lead workshops and prepare the students for performances. Alongside students from the other RSA Academies' with the students actually performing this year on the main stage  of the festival. 

We are also excited to announce that, for the second year running, The Upton Blues Festival has been named Blues Festival of the year by the British Blues Awards. 

It must be that Whitley influence!

A student directed documentary of the blues project is coming soon!

For more information about the Blues Festival please click here
Our last Whitley news item with photos relating to this can be found here

Whitley pupils quiz Mark Carney in BBC live broadcast

On Friday 16th September, Whitley hosted the visit of Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) in a live BBC television event. This was an invaluable experience for our students, who were given the chance to observe the BBC live production team, work with BBC reporters and presenters, and quiz Mark Carney on issues impacting their families locally.

The Day the Governor Came to Whitley

Written by Duncan, Melissa, Divya and Eliana - Year 8 & Year 10 Student Reporters

The day had arrived! Outside the weather turned a bit cooler than yesterday, Thursday 15 September was the hottest September Day for a long time.

We all arrived at school much earlier than usual to get prepared for the arrival of Mark Carney. For the whole week before his arrival we did some research about him and watched the BBC News to get ready for the event. We all were extremely excited (and of course nervous). Mr Steinhaus, Mr Price and Mrs Nguyen (our main teachers who organised the event) must have felt the same.

Josie from the BBC School Reporters came to help us out the day before. It was really amazing to see how much preparation needed to be done before Mark Carney’s arrival. We knew there were questions sent to us from BBC School Reporters around the country, and finally 18 questions were chosen for us to ask.

In the Auditorium, we were told that Mark Carney had trouble getting to Coventry because the train he was on was derailed. It took him a bit more time to come to our school. We were given extra time to think about the questions and of course some more … cookies.

9:45am - We went into the auditorium and waited for 10 minutes before Mark Carney arrived at our school. Minutes before going live Paul (the floor manager) told us when he waved we needed to clap our hands. It was unbelievable to see all the equipment the BBC staff had to arrange for a live television event. They came to our school at 6 am this morning! Wow!

Tina Daheley, BBC Presenter, introduces Mark Carney to an excited Whitley Academy audience. 

Then Paul counted …five…four…three…two …one! It’s live now.

As we went live it was hard to keep yourself under control. No sneezing, talking or yawning. Of course you had to switch your mobile phone off completely!


It was quite nerve-racking when Tina Daheley (the BBC presenter for BBC Crime Watch) started talking because once we went live there was no going back.

As Mark walked in we applauded him. He gave us a short speech about the journey to come to Coventry (there was a landslide in Watford Junction), the UK economy, what the Bank of England does, and how he came to be who he is today.

I (Melissa), asked him a questions about his childhood nickname. He told us that he used to be called “Carnage” and “Carnival” because his last name was Carney. He was quite relaxed to answer my question. I found it interesting to know that he preferred the nickname Carnage. So would I if I were him!

Once you put aside the technical difficulties, everything ran smoothly. I even managed to sit in the same chair that he sat in during the live event!

After the live talk with Mark Carney we headed back to the Learning Resource Centre, which was transformed into our base for the day, and had a little talk with Kamal Ahmed. We sometimes see Kamal on BBC News and now we could talk to him in person. How cool!

The way how he interacted with us made us feel comfortable and confident to ask him many questions. Joe (our Year 10 reporter) was busy with the filming so that we could have a look at the video and learn more later.

Some of the questions included:
  • “How did you become a journalist?”
  • “Is your job hard?” 
  • “How would your past self react to the job you have now?”
  • “What do you do in your free time, as you are quite a busy person?”
Kamal talked about how he came from a state school education and when he was 16 he had no idea of what he wanted to do in the future. By taking the opportunities that were given to him along the way he managed to end up with the job he has now.

After studying in university he chose to start print journalism from the bottom and work his way up. By doing this he had the opportunity to gain more experience and even told us some of his stories about the small articles he wrote – one of them being a report in 1990 on how the new phones which had the internet were going to replace newspapers. Wow!

Through Kamal’s talk we learned that you need to have a passion for the job you want to do and take the opportunities that come your way. How true!
Our reflection after the visit of Mark Carney.
  • William (Year 9 reporter): “ Never give up and always follow your dreams!
  • Joe (Year 9): “You need to be passionate in what you are doing in order to succeed.”
  • Melissa (aged 12): “ If a normal Canadian can be the Governor of the Bank of England, then anything is possible”. 
  • Kian (aged 13): “No matter where you come from or how much your parents earn, you can do anything if you put the effort in it.”
  • Divya (14 years old): “Despite being from a  low income family, it’s up to me to decide how my future will go and we all need to take every opportunity that comes my way because I never know where that could take me to”.
Going into the BIG INTERVIEW, we didn’t know how Mark Carney would relate to us. However; after meeting him and hearing about his life, we at Whitley have learnt so much.

We hope to interview many more inspiring and influential people that help to shape our futures.

The event was broadcast live on the BBC's 'Victoria Derbyshire' programme, and is available to view here -

Kamal Ahmed, Economics Editor for the BBC, reported on the event, which is viewable here -

Friday, 9 September 2016

Whitley collects British Council's International School Award

On Monday 14th November, Mr Purslow and Mrs Nguyen collected the British Council's International School Award at a ceremony in London, on behalf of Whitley Academy.

This is a very prestigious award which recognises our school's rich network of international partner schools, and there impact upon our students learning, confidence, and life experiences.

Please feel free to read more about our school's international links (listed below) , and further, our official letter from the British Council.

Dear Whitley Academy,

We are delighted to inform you that Whitley Academy has been successful in gaining Accreditation of the International School Award and is accredited for three years until August 2019.

It is clear from your activities that Whitley Academy is a thriving international school. You have three committed international partner schools in three different countries and are also working with a number of partner schools across the UK. Of particular note is the way in which you are developing young peoples skills and confidence through the international dimension to learning and deepening their understanding of the wider world through this.

Your development of the international dimension in this respect has been commented upon by OFSTED and this is a great achievement and indicates that your work is making a strategic impact on learners experiences and staff professional development. The international activities cover a wide area of the curriculum and it is clear that your link with your French partner school has been a key component in the education of pupils in your school on topical issues such as the EU referendum , including input from your UK partner schools, and this is commendable. This link has also made a significant contribution to the education on offer in the school on WW1 and has clearly enhanced the learning experiences with real life visits to France.

Your Africa and Japan Days are obviously key events in the life of the school and has made a real difference to learners enjoyment and experience of life in an another country and contributed to learning about life in South Africa. It has been interested to read the comments from pupils which convey a strong sense of enthusiasm and motivation There are a variety of relevant and meaningful international activities and contexts taking place across the school in conjunction with partner schools and it is extremely clear as to how this is making a difference to young peoples citizenship skills and their intercultural competencies.

The international dimension to learning is a key feature in the ethos and life of the school and making a sustained and valuable contribution to teaching and learning. It is clear too that your evaluation of the impact of each international activity is an integral part of your international strategy.

Congratulations on working so hard to co-ordinate such an impressive range of work. Thank you for taking part in the International School Award. Please convey our very best wishes and many congratulations to all staff and students both in the UK and overseas who have taken part in the scheme. Please also contact your local media to inform them about your successful international work - this is a great achievement and one that deserves celebrating and sharing widely.

Kind regards

International School Award team
British Council.