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Gloucester Academy

Term 3 Newsletter

24th February 2023 Term 3 Newsletter

Dear GA Families

It is hard to believe that we are now over half way through the year and we have only ten weeks before our Year 11 begin their GCSE exams. It has been an exceptional year so far, one where our students have made outstanding progress whilst experiencing a wealth of different opportunities.

In this newsletter we will endeavour to give you all a flavour of the personal development that our students have been involved in over the past six weeks and celebrate with you the academic success of our outstanding community of students.

This term we have:

Hosted primary schools in our new 4 'o' clock club

We have invited and hosted many of our primary schools to take part in some taster lessons in Design Technology, Food and nutrition, music, drama and science and we have many more of these to come. We have enjoyed meeting our feeder primary schools as we build links across the community.

Built new enrichment societies

As promised to our students we have given them the chance to put forward their own ideas for enrichment and allowed them to lead their own societies supported by a designated teacher.  We are looking forward to many more of these societies appearing so that students can host their own clubs and test their skills of leadership and organisation.

Entered the FameLab finals with Year 9 attending the Cheltenham festival

FameLab International represents a global science communication success story, supporting the British Council’s mission to build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through education and cultural exchange. Our Year 9 FameLab club has been constructing and presenting 3 minute talks about scientific phenomena.  Year 7 were lucky enough to take part in the judging and we can't wait to hear how it goes in Cheltenham

Our Year 9 Brilliant Club graduated at Reading University

The Brilliant Club Scholars programme helps students develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to progress to the most competitive universities.  They have had an amazing experience and long may it continue.

We have started our D of E Bronze and silver training as well as Ten Tors

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an award that empowers young people; to support them as they learn new skills, overcome obstacles, and build confidence and resilience.  We are so proud of our new cohort and congratulate those who have recently gained their bronze and silver awards after graduating this year.  Ten Tors is for those who have shown commitment to outdoor expeditions. Our Ten Tors team has been in training to complete the National event which involves trekking up and down ten hills or tors over two days.

Other events throughout the term allowing our students to explore new experiences

We have attended a GCHQ languages outreach learning Russian and computer coding.  Had a Renishaw Engineering visit for Year 10 to explore the opportunities within engineering both through

University and apprenticeships. 

Myth busting with GROWS for key stage 3 explaining why University

is a great option for all.  A ‘You’re Good Enough’ workshop for key stage 4 to help focus students on careers they may wish to get involved with.  ‘Be your own brand’ inspirational speaker Kamal has been working with Year 9 to help build esteem and many students were able to visit Gloucester Rugby to watch a professional game.  Year 11 drama has been to the theatre and we have had lots of sporting success in Netball and Football against other schools.

Taken part in Musicworks’ transitions workshop

A small group of year 7 students have taken part in a 10-week workshop with Musicworks, building self-confidence and increasing self-esteem through song writing and making music to encourage excellent school attendance and support with the transition from primary to secondary school. During these sessions, students are able to experience different ways of making and developing music such as singing, using a variety of instruments, music tech on ipads and lyric writing.

Hosted a Young Minds Matter (YMM) psychoeducation session on exam stress

During February school, year 11 students were part of a psychoeducation session regarding looking after their mental well-being during the upcoming GCSE exam season.  This session provided our year 11 students with skills to regulate their minds when feeling overwhelmed or anxious during the lead up to their exams and during their exams.  Following this session, Young Minds Matter continues to provide our year 11 students with bi-weekly drop ins during elite training to provide confidential mental health support.

Again, I would like to share with you 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 Kyarnie, Lilly, Ocean, Fatoumata, Eric, Domincar and Kora they explained to me that they liked:

GA prep, coming to school at 7.15am to play sports or complete homework is a great opportunity to see friends and you win prizes

The GA uniform, especially the red colour because it sets a good vibe for the school.

That the teachers are very friendly

The rewards and badges that can be achieved are brilliant and we are proud to wear them.

They would like to suggest the following:

Have some board games out at lunch time so we can play

We should raise money for charity and do some fundraising events.

The stairs can be very busy at times

From their comments and suggestions, we have:

Looked at buying some board games that can be played at lunch time but these will need to be ones where parts are not easily lost. No one likes a game with bits missing but we love the idea.

We are up for fundraising.  We have talked to our leaders across the school to help come up with suggestions.

We are reviewing our staff duties as we speak and will try to ensure that staff are out to manage students as they walk down the stairs.

Year 8

I met with Kady, Joshua, Zach, Tyler and Megan they explained to me that they liked:

Sport at GA as you get to do Netball, Football, Rugby and American football and it doesn't matter if you are a boy or a girl you can have a go at all of them

The Design Technology Lessons where currently they are designing a clock

The warm bagels that are free every morning - they even come with a choice of topping.

GA prep in the morning - a chance to complete homework and take part in sport

They would like to suggest the following:

We should have computer lessons in the timetable

We would like to start our own clubs like Warhammer or D and D.

Bring back food and nutrition in Year 8

From their comments and suggestions, we have:

We have an advert out at the moment for a computer science teacher - this is definitely what we want too

We have launched out to start your own club on the weekly message board.  Check out how to start your society and talk to a member of staff about sponsoring you

Food and nutrition will not be in the timetable this year for Year 8 I am afraid but you will get a chance to enjoy it in Year 9

Year 9

I met with Alison, Dylan, Lucas, Ruby, Matthew and Leo they explained to me that they liked:

The variety of lessons and subject we have at GA

The new GA puppy Chester - we will put out some pictures of him on social media

The way teachers structure lessons so you always know what you need to do and help is on hand

They would like to suggest the following:

Somewhere to store skateboards or scooters as we are unable to lock them up

Have a suggestion box so lots of students have the opportunity to have a say

The school has events to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community

From their comments and suggestions, we have:  

This is a great idea - we will look into this so that we can provide a safe storage area that is easily accessible

We will look at gathering more suggestions from students through our student’s leadership groups

Discussed what this might look like but will definitely get something in place.

Year 10

I met with Alan, Kyle, Adrian, Smith and Oumou they explained to me that they liked:

The student leadership team as it helps channel ideas through the school to the teachers and senior leadership team.

Opportunities for meditation as it helps focus the mind and not worry as much

The guidance we receive from teachers both in lessons and around lessons 

They would like to suggest the following:

More sport opportunities at lunch time

Have a cultural celebration so we can appreciate each other’s backgrounds

We can use the field at lunchtime to play on

From their comments and suggestions, we have: 

We would love to offer more sports but do not have enough teachers to supervise everything.  We will have a look at what equipment we can put out that people can play with during social times

Considered this idea and are drawing up some plans to host an event like this

The field will open up for students to play on once the weather warms up.

Year 11

I met with Josh, Jessica, Nicholas, Windy and Mahla they explained to me that they liked:

Making flash cards for revision in lesson because they really support learning

Collecting rewards on the passport to success as it also gives you a chance to win a prize each week

The way that all the teachers genuinely cared about them doing well in the exams and were always around to support both in the day and at elite training (4.00 - 5.00pm)

They would like to suggest the following:

More revision resources on google classroom as sometimes it is hard knowing where to start

Enrichment activities for Year 11 as there are few opportunities to do something else other than work

Assemblies on how to revise

From their comments and suggestions, we have: 

Launched google classroom to staff again and completed four training sessions on how to use it successfully.  We will ask for structured revision to go on there so there is some each week for all subjects

This is a good point we will try to ensure there are some wind down activities available during the term so there is something to look forward to

We will put in a how to revise assembly next this week to go over the best ways to approach workload and we will have a parents evening to share some strategies.

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.

Remember we are always here to help or listen so please stay in touch.

Mrs P Lewis