Carol singing, charity fundraising and a great finish to the term

The final week before our Christmas break has been just as busy as any of the other jam packed weeks this term. It was a week full of variety and we have kept our focus firmly on delivering the best education that is possible.


On Monday (16/12/13) there was a workshop that was delivered to our Sixth Form students by two serving Metropolitan Police Officers called ‘Safer Schools’. The whole idea behind the workshops was to educate and inform our young adults and to equip with the knowledge to make informed and sensible choices. Alcohol, drugs and protecting yourself were all on the agenda. The whole day was very well received by students and staff alike and I believe that this type of education is just as important as the teaching of individual academic subjects.


Mrs Liversedge and Mr Wyborn (Drama Department) organised an excellent production along with our Year 12 BTEC students. There were two performances of ‘Alice in Wonderland: The Tea Party’. The scene was performed twice in two different styles, Berkoffian and Stanislavskian. Both performances were superb and very contrasting. Well done to all involved.


There was a fiercely contested football match on Wednesday when the staff side took on the Year 12/13 team. It was played in exactly the right spirit and I was very impressed with the team play. Mr Kenning (PE Faculty) showed that he had definitely not lost his touch with some very deft passes to his teammates as he took on the role of midfield maestro. The score line was 3-3 after extra time so we went to penalties and the hours of practice that the staff had put in proved decisive and led them to victory.


Mr Key took a group of Year 10 students to Anglia Ruskin University to experience ‘the day in the life of a student’. All of them returned to the Academy highly enthused and clearly inspired to make sure that they achieve the outcomes required to be able to attend university in the future. This work was consolidated the following day when representatives from Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University attended the Academy to work with our Year 10 students.


On Thursday and Friday we held our second residential to Wyboston for our Year 11 students. The focus was on mathematics and Mr Samuel (Vice Principal), Mrs Budner (Head of Maths) delivered some great sessions that will have enhanced the chance of gaining the elusive A*-C pass in GCSE Mathematics for those who attended. I believe that this type of intensive work helps our students and will be instrumental in the GCSE success that I expect this year. Feedback from our students is very positive and they really appreciate the efforts that the Academy is going to to ensure individual success that will enable each student to have greater educational choices in the future.


Mrs Winslow (ACES) organised a trip for our ACES students to The Luxe cinema in Wisbech. It was an end of term treat for these students to reward them for the progress that they made recently. Our ACES children are giving their very best efforts on a daily basis as they seek to raise their levels of attainment. The  event went extremely well and our students were a credit to the Academy. I would like to thank Mrs Winslow for organising and planning the event.


Once again our students were centre of attention when they ventured in to town to sing Christmas Carols on the marketplace.  Despite the cold weather they delivered some first class renditions of all of the usual classic carols. I would like to thank Ms Brownhill, Mrs Griffin, Mrs Furlong and Mr Wyborn for their support with his traditional event. The group then moved on to Heron House to sing for the  residents of the local home. This reinforces the community links that we continue to work hard to develop.


Continuing the community theme I am very happy to announce that our Sixth Form students have raised over £800 for charity this term. This is a great achievement and only this week they raised £100 for March Food-bank. I am sure that this money will be put to good use over the festive period. Once again I am very proud of our students and grateful for their charity work.


I can confirm that Year 9 students will be shortly receiving letters indicating which pathway we are recommending they follow for Years 10 & 11. This follows on from a successful curriculum information evening led by Mrs Mandley Assistant Principal) last week. Our KS4 Options booklet is also available on our website; this gives information on pathways and all the subjects on offer. Students should now be thinking about possible option choices. However, there is no need to panic over the Christmas holidays as tutors and teaching staff will be on hand to give advice once students return in the New Year.


We are constantly reviewing our practices at the Academy and we do listen to all a parental concerns. When I first became Principal at Neale-wade in September 2011 one common complaint was the number of supply teachers that were used at the school. At the time the figure wasn’t much higher than in many other similar sized schools however we have worked very hard to reduce the number of supply teachers that use through a number of different methods.  I am delighted to inform you that there has been a 70% reduction in the use of supply staff. This now places us as one of the lowest users of supply staff within Cambridgeshire. Very few of our lessons are now covered by supply agency staff.


Finally I would like to thank all parents and students for their support and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I am confident that 2014 will bring individual and collective successes at the Academy.

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