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Gloucester Academy

Term 1 Newsletter

Dear GA Families

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support and feedback this term.  It has been an amazing start to the year and we are all incredibly proud to support your children as they climb the mountain to the very best universities and professions. 

 This term we have: 

  • Been awarded the Character Kitemark.

 The kitemark is a very prestigious award and recognises schools that demonstrate a planned and reflective approach to the cultivation of positive character qualities in their pupils, which allows them to grow, flourish and achieve.  We are one of only 27 secondary schools to have been awarded this accolade and are extremely proud to showcase how our students demonstrate ambition, excellence and pride in all that they do here at GA and in the community.  Achieving the award is down to everyone in the school and community.

  • Hosted the Gloucester Opportunities Fair. 

Years 9, 10 and 11 were invited to speak to businesses and charities in the area to give them more insight to the careers and volunteering opportunities in the local community.  The atmosphere in the sports hall was exceptional and it was clear that both exhibitors and students were thoroughly enjoying themselves.  We most definitely were enabling our students to see what is at the top of the mountain and the experience will increase the determination of many to achieve the climb. 

  • Hosted Year 6 students from Robinswood Primary school 

Year 6 students and our Year 7 character representatives worked together with artist Tom Shears to produce an art sculpture for Robinswood Hill.  We cannot wait to see the final piece on display and thank Robinswood for working with us to complete it.  We look forward to many more opportunities to work together in the future 

  • Worked with Young Minds Matter on World Mental Health Day 

Our students in all year groups were able to come and speak to practitioners to discuss how they could access the support offered by the team.  We were able to offer this as we are part of the Trailblazer programme which enables us to access support for mental health that is not available to all other schools as yet. 

  • Begun our student leadership team 

It is incredibly important that we give our students the chance to lead in the school.

It builds character and gives students a voice so they can give feedback and suggestions on how we further improve the school.  The leadership team will have training on positive leadership and will represent the school in many different ways. So far, our key stage 3 character leads have been given their roles and have already been supporting parents as they attend open mornings hosted by the school.  Year 10 and 11 leads have yet to be appointed but it has been a humbling experience interviewing 20 Year 11s around their hopes and aspirations to be Heads ambassadors or prefects in the school. We cannot wait to work alongside them.

  • Had Year 9 Brilliant Club visit Oxford University 

Year 9 Brilliant scholars visited Keble College, University of Oxford on the 20th October 2022.  The trip involved a campus tour, a study skills session and the chance to meet current students.  A fantastic time was had by all and we will be continuing this partnership throughout the year 

  • Had a visit from Cheltenham Ladies college 

As part of our work with the college we have been given the opportunity for some of our students to qualify for a full bursary.  The bursary means that selected students from Gloucester Academy have the opportunity to receive a free place at the college when they finish their education with us.  The college representatives were in school this week to meet our students and receive a tour from them. The team at Cheltenham Ladies college are great believers in what we are doing here at GA and incredibly complementary about our students. 

We have many more opportunities planned for our children next term including a Year 8 trip to take part in a cyber event in November.  It is incredibly important that we ensure that our children at the academy get as much experience as they can when they are with us so that they are well informed and full of character when they pursue their next steps. 

One last area I would like to share with you is the feedback we have been getting from all year groups over hot chocolate on a Friday.  As Headteacher I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of your children to talk through what they like about the school and suggestions they have made for improvements. 

Year 7 

I met with Abigale, Cayden, Miles, Ashton, George, Olivia and Maceo and they explained to me that they liked: 

  • Mixing with other year groups at break and lunchtime 
  • How welcoming the staff are and how friendly the other students are 
  • The chance to do science practicals

They would like to suggest the following: 

  • The chance to play Dodgeball in PE lessons 
  • More cheese at lunchtime 
  • A card to cover words in the Knowledge Organiser to make it easier to complete the homework 

They also told me that they would like the community to know how good the school is. 

From their comments and suggestions, I have: 

  • Discussed with PE alternative sports that should happen in PE lessons including Dodgeball, rock climbing and frisbee golf, they are looking into what they can offer in the new year 
  • There is now cheese available in each area of the dining hall!
  • I have explained that the students can fold their Knowledge organiser pages to cover the words and help them learn them. 
  • We are all working hard to change the reputation of the school and we are hopefully achieving this.

Year 8 

I met with Rhian, Isabel, Selina, Arshman, Harley and Cheldon and they explained to me that they liked: 

  • The teachers 
  • The behaviour system so they can learn in lessons
  • New subjects they can study including DT and Music 

They would like to suggest the following: 

  • Plastic bottle recycling 
  • More languages other than Spanish 
  • More school trips 

From their comments and suggestions, I have: 

  • Agreed we absolutely should be recycling in school and modelling to others how we can be sustainable. We are working on putting in recycling bins and ensuring that our recycling is collected. This will be an ongoing project in the school 
  • Explained that we only offer Spanish at the moment in school because we think that mastering one language at a young age is more beneficial than trying to learn two but we are happy to keep exploring this. 
  • Made sure we offer more school trips throughout the year with residentials for Year 7, Oxford trips, theatre visits, Borneo trip and many more to come. 

Year 9 

I met with Atal, Daraa, Jordan, Stacey, Mia and Tilly and they explained to me that they liked: 

  • The rewards they get 
  • The length of lunchtime so they get a real break 
  • The food we serve 

They would like to suggest the following:

  • Phones out at lunch and break 
  • Picnics on the field 
  • More room in booklets to continue their writing and we would like to keep them 
  • We would like to use the keyboards in music 

From their comments and suggestions, I have:  

  • Explained that we have a no phone policy to ensure that our students engage with each other verbally, can spend time being active and encourage students to join the enrichment clubs that we offer. 
  • Agreed that picnics are a great idea, we will look at getting some blankets so when the warmer weather comes our students can sit on the field
  • Explained that we are reviewing the booklets that we use in lessons and ensuring that our students get the best deal in their lessons. This is really valuable feedback which we can use in the review. We are also making sure that students have access to booklets that they have completed
  • Ordered new keyboards that arrived today after spending £10,000 on kitting out the music room. Exciting times ahead. 

Year 10 

I met with Tyler, Anthony, Isla, Nivikithan, Laura and Grace and they explained to me that they liked: 

  • The booklets as they don’t have to waste time writing titles and sticking in paper
  • The food in the dining hall 
  • The fact that the teachers do not hold a grudge if you get it wrong sometimes
  • Being able to go to the library

They would like to suggest the following:

  • We should have a say in which sport we do 
  • Not so many detentions from PE 
  • Publishing work covered so we can catch up if we are absent 
  • Increase the variety of trips as some of us are not sporty 

From their comments and suggestions, I have:  

  • Explained that with the addition of new sports they will have a wider experience of different activities 
  • Spoken to PE and detentions will be given to those who repeatedly have missing kit but we are keeping a log and supporting those who need any kit with a long-term loan.  If you would like to find out about our long-term loan policy please get in touch with Mrs Pearce
  • Explained that it is very difficult to put all the lessons on the website but Year 10 and 11 will have a full list of all topics covered across the year and links to lessons and resources that will help them catch up, in fact Year 11 have this already
  • Discussed this with the character and reward lead and we will have a wider variety of rewards on offer

Year 11 

I met with Ayesha, Zainab, Rumen, Josh, Isabelle and Robert and they explained to me that they liked: 

  • They can earn money for the prom by not borrowing equipment 
  • We listened to some music choices they wanted and played them at lunch 
  • Tutor time focuses on Maths and English 

They would like to suggest the following:

  • We do not do enough recycling please can we do some 
  • We have more PE available 
  • Less options in Elite Training, Period 7 as you feel you are missing valuable information by only going to one

From their comments and suggestions, I have:  

  • Agreed that they are absolutely right and this is something we need to start promoting as soon as possible.  This would be a great project for a team of leaders in the school 
  • Put Sport activities into the October school so at least there is some down time available, suggested they come to GA prep where they can have breakfast and play sport before school if they wish to
  • Spoken to Mr Meldrum who will ensure there are less choices but there are more expert teachers in the room so you can ask them questions if you wish to

I hope you enjoyed finding out all about our first term at Gloucester Academy, I have certainly enjoyed reflecting on our achievements. If you have any feedback about what you would like to read in this newsletter please send it to Mrs Gasher

We encourage everyone to come and visit the Academy remember ‘Every day is an open day’ at Gloucester Academy, please visit our website and book a ‘school in action tour’. Come and see one of the most improved schools in the country, we will take great pride in showing you around. 

Have a great half term break with your families we will see you all on Tuesday 1st November 2022. 

We will of course see Year 11 during the following week as they attend October school and come in for our Inset day if they have been invited to do so. 

Mrs P Lewis