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Gloucester Academy

Term 2 Newsletter

Dear GA Families

It is great to be able to share with you the phenomenal achievements of our students this Academic year and share with you their thoughts and ideas that they have had to keep our school climbing its own personal mountain.  Before you read about the incredible events and activities the school has been involved with I just wanted to share the arrangements for the end of term and beginning of the next.

End of school arrangements

We will be finishing at the normal time on Thursday 21st December 2023

Friday 22nd December will be an inset day and the school will be closed

We welcome students back to school on Monday the 8th January 2024 at the normal time

This term we have:

Had teams enter the data face competition

As part of the Cheltenham Science Festival, six students from Year 8 and 9 have been working throughout unit 1 on creating visualisations which bring data stories to life.  These ranged from the impact of sea level rises on endangered mammals, gender inequality and the cost of living crisis.  The judging took place at the end of unit 1 and an external judge from the science festival commented on how varied, creative and insightful each project was and how each team spoke confidently and passionately on their subject.  The winning team will be heading to the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2024 to display their project and compete against other schools to be overall winner.


Year 10 students completed a work place experience day at PWC in Bristol

Straight after half-term 40 Year 10 students had the opportunity to visit PWC, a large corporate firm, to take part in a workplace experience.  During the day students had the opportunity to tour the offices, meet with employees and leaders within PWC and present on important issues such as how to increase diversity in the workplace.


Year 8 girls attended the Empower Her Cyber Event

We were delighted to offer all Year 8 girls the opportunity to take part in ‘Empower Her’, a cyber event which aims to inspire young women to get involved with STEM.  During the morning session, the girls programmed computers, used code to solve crimes, learnt about ethical hacking and much more through meeting local employers within STEM.


Year 11 has been visited by a range of Post-16 Providers as well as being taken to Local Open Evenings

As our Year 11’s make their final ascent up the mountain, we are more committed than ever to help them make informed decisions that are, importantly, right for them. To support Year 11 we have therefore invited a range of speakers from post-16 providers including Henley Bank, SGS College and Prospects to visit us.  In addition, we have also supported students by chaperoning them to Open Evenings including at Holmleigh Park and Henley Bank to see in real life the amazing opportunities available in the local area.


Career Talks for Year 7 and Year 10

To further guide all students up their mountain, and open their eyes to the wide range of future career

paths, we have been delighted to host a range of Career talks this half-term.  More specifically, Year 10 has recently been visited by a retiring RAF soldier to learn about his career path within the armed forces.  Alongside Year 7 who worked closely with the NHS to learn about the 350 plus roles available.  Our favourites included forensic psychologist, neurosurgeon and play therapist!


Reverse Mentoring with the Local Council

Again this unit, two Year 8 students have had the opportunity to mentor a member of the Local Council, and act as a sounding board to new council initiatives.  We are delighted that our students have been chosen to represent young people in Gloucester and be a voice for positive change, as well as grateful to the council for ensuring the voice of local young people is heard.


Brilliant Club Continues for Year 9

Our Brilliant Club scholars programme has gone from strength to strength with our 13 Year 9 students submitting fantastic extended essays on the global issue of food insecurity and ways to face this crisis!  We cannot wait to see their final assignments and of course their upcoming graduation pictures in February!


Year 7 Treasure Island Trip

We were delighted to take 200 of our Year 7s to the Barn Theatre in Cirencester to watch a fantastic production of Treasure Island to help make the literature they learn in class come alive.


Unit Enrichment Fayre

Our Unit 2 enrichment fayre kicked off another fantastic 11 weeks of enrichment.  With activities ranging from Cheer, to Football, to Anime, to Warhammer, to Creative Writing and more!  We are equally pleased to announce we now have approaching ten student-led societies run by students from Year 7 to Year 11 and supervised by staff.  We invite all students to set their own enrichment or take part in another at any stage throughout Unit 2 by signing up on Bromcom or collecting a letter from student reception!


GLT Christmas Concert

Our amazing GA Choir students dazzled the audience at a recent GLT concert. Combining their amazing vocal skills with students from other schools, as well as completing a GA Performance.  A huge thank you to all students involved and Mr McCarthy!


Student Leadership Sessions

Our student leaders have been undertaking a wide range of activities based upon their role and age group. Whilst our KS3 Character Representatives have attended a leadership meeting with their new Leadership Lead, Mr Hoyle, to define their role and responsibility both today and throughout the year with events.  Whilst our Year 10 leaders have been making an impact with fortnightly visits to their KS3 tutor groups to raise attainment for each house.  Finally, our Year 11 team have been busy juggling mocks and responsibilities, with daily duties, assemblies, litter picking and launching their own legacy projects on topics ranging from culture to transition to wellbeing.


Bronze Reward

To celebrate the huge successes our students have made this unit, our Bronze reward celebrated students that reached over 400 points in the first 11 weeks of school.  We thoroughly enjoyed having an hour-long session of inflatables which included football shootouts, football darts, axe throwing (inflatable of course!), basketball, traditional games such as giant jenga or connect four, a basketball bungee run and a very competitive obstacle course!  Unit 2 will see the advent of a


Bronze and Silver reward to celebrate the strides each and every child has made up their mountain!


Weekly drop in sessions with YMM

Young Minds Matter have joined us on Thursday lunchtimes for a drop in session, accessible to all students since the beginning of term.  This session is run in Mountain Rescue and all students are welcome.  This is an informal platform for our students to access support for their mental health and wellbeing.

Musicworks Transition Programme

A group of our year 7 students have been taking part in a transition workshop with musicworks; boosting self-esteem and wellbeing through creating music. We can’t wait to hear the final product!

We have many more opportunities planned for our children next term including a drama trip to see the Life of Pi, a pantomime visit for all of our 100% attendance students, a Year 9 visit to a local university, a small group of Year 11s visiting Oxford University and for parents we have a introduction to qualifications in the UK event. 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 this term.  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.  This term we mainly focussed on feedback from the girls - rest assured I will be meeting the boys over the next two weeks and will update you on what they say.

Year 7

I met with Edward, Tobias, Zoe, Clarke, Daria, Rumaysa, Erica, Luke and Ibitamuno   and they explained to me that they liked:

The teachers are open and helpful and we all have a trusted adult to speak to

The variety of meals and food that is available at lunch

The fact that school trips are free

We like turn and talk so we can rehearse our answers

The badges, they are a real incentive to work hard and be kind

The lessons make sure everyone is concentrating

They would like to suggest the following:

The lunch lines are annoying as some people push in

More food choices for students that have intolerance or allergies

We have a culture day

We could have a drop down Friday as a surprise sometimes and do something different

From their comments and suggestions I have:

Made sure that we have all of the Senior leadership team and duty staff to be on each line at the beginning of lunch so that students do not push in - this is going well but we are still looking to improve this

We have a menu revamp coming up which includes a survey so we will definitely look into this

Culture days are on their way, the Year 11 leadership team have some fantastic plans that they can’t wait to unveil

Drop down Friday is a great idea

Year 8

I met with Jeremy, Liam, Miles, Abbie and Malia and they explained to me that they liked:

The teachers, they are very caring and approachable

The IT lessons are great fun and a welcome addition

PE lessons are good fun we enjoy them

The choices of food are good

They would like to suggest the following:

The stair cases are a struggle sometimes and make us late to lesson

We need plants in school and more benches to sit and relax outside

More healthy food options

Everyone should be able to watch the production

From their comments and suggestions, I have:

This is a really good point, we have an excellent one way system downstairs but it is a little more challenging elsewhere - we are looking to see if we should make some staircases one way only

We need plants I agree and we definitely can put in more seating when the new playground goes in

Health food is part of our new menu, we agree that there should be more choice

This is a great plan for everyone to watch the production, we will see what we can do

Year 9

I met with Tyler, Kady, Selina, Hannah, Zack and Vanesa and they explained to me that they liked:

The range of subjects they were able to study

They like the IT lesson that are in place

The range of trips and visits that they can go on

The variety of enrichment activities that are available

PSHE lessons in the Heartspace and that they can discuss their idea sin class

They would like to suggest the following:

Using the field in the summer as they would like more space to sit or play

Breaktime needs to be longer so we can eat our food

Tutor time reading we would like more audio books so we can listen to different character voices and get more involved with the story

Bring back the thick crust pizza

Sometimes when someone has said something inappropriate to others they do not get enough sanctions

From their comments and suggestions, I have: 

Thought about how we could do this so that students do not go to far and miss the bell

We can take some time off lunchtime to give a longer break but this didn’t seem to be the answer Year 9 were looking for!

That is an interesting point about audio books - we will have a discussion about next steps. The downside of audio books is the teacher cannot explain what the words mean easily.

I will find the thick crust pizza

I have made sure that if students are upset or want to talk to someone they have a name trusted adult.  We publish where the Heads of Year and prefects are each lunchtime so there is always a chance to tell someone how they feel. I will meet individuals personally if they feel their needs are not met.

Year 10

I met with Tayton, Michael, Assiyah, Peace, Lakeisha, Paige and they explained to me that they liked:

Sparx Maths which is very useful to support learning

All the assemblies on careers when there are guest speakers

Homework club as it gives an opportunity to do homework in school nad get support

The homework that is set as it helps you revise for GCSEs and get better results

We like the food choice

They would like to suggest the following:

Change some of the routines before Elite Sport as they don’t make sense

More careers lessons

Change the Skirt to a black on so more students will wear it

We could have self defence lessons

More benches in the KS4 playground and some shelter

More trips out of Gloucester

From their comments and suggestions I have: 

Thought about the routines before Elite training and will be changing them in January as they are right they don’t make sense!

We can get some guest speakers in when Elite sport is in so students can choose to go and listen to different career talks

There won't be changes to the uniform as yet but I will consider ideas.

Self defence is a great idea, I will talk to the PE department and see what they can offer or contact some instructors in to help out

More benches can be sorted quickly, more shelter is expensive but we can see what we can do.

Trips are a great idea and something we are looking into

Year 11

I met with Year 11 Kyle, Sisi, Xena, Liam and Fatima they explained to me that they liked:

This terms festivities, we have loved all the celebrations

The way we embrace everyone's culture

The PSHE lessons are great as they help us to learn about ourselves and others

The fact that we support individuality in the school and everyone's opinion matters

Every lesson is unique

Lots of revision opportunities in they believe other schools don't offer

They would like to suggest the following:

Chocolate muffins for the winning attendance breakfast instead of sausage rolls

More sessions for Elite training as we like the teachers supporting us in the evening

Lining up a the end of the day can take too long

Can we have more varied assemblies as they are always the same

More help on how to structure revision

From their comments and suggestions I have: 

Interesting feedback about breakfast however we are not sure a chocolate cake in the morning sets you up for the day !!

We will ensure that more teachers offer sessions and we will advertise these on the Route Plan

We are working hard to ensure we tighten the end of the day so we can celebrate Year 11 achievements

We will make sure we look at the assemblies and ensure they include relevant Year 11 tips and skills

Ensured that we do some more practice of preparing revision timetables 

I hope you enjoyed finding out all about our second 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 Christmas break with your families.  We will see you all on Monday 8th January 2024.

Mrs P Lewis