Head of School Blog
February 3rd 2020
It has been a busy two weeks at the academy since I last updated you and one which has brought two positive good news stories I would like to share.
Firstly, building upon the success of year 7 I discussed previously we received some outstanding examination results from our year 11 PE students. 50% of the students who sat the exam achieved a Level 2 Merit or Higher which means that once they have completed their coursework we are hopeful for another great set of final exam results from these students and the PE team. This has given all the year 11's a real confidence boost as some sit real exams in business studies and food in the next few weeks and start their final mocks in other subjects before the final exams in May/June.
On Thursday night the academy hosted the postponed primary dance festival. This event should have happened before Christmas but had to be delayed because of the extreme rain on the day of the event. It was wonderful for me to see so many primary students and their parents in the academy, showcasing their work and performing to a really high standard. The quality of performing arts students that could potentially be walking through out doors in the coming years is very exciting! The event was compared by two of the academies KS4 students who are both amazing dancers themselves and the show finished with a stunning performance from Nottingham Trent University based in Clifton. It truly was a community event and if you didn't get chance to attend it is something to look out for in the future. As you know it is my ambition to have the academy at the heart of the community and putting on events like this help us to do so. Please look out on social media for us promoting our upcoming performance of High School Musical which will be later in the year.
January 20th 2020
As we settle back into the routines of school following the Christmas break I have been very impressed with the start that the students have made. They have settled quickly into the routines and expectations of the academy and are focussed well on their learning.
This week year 11 parents and students attended their progress evening following the mock exams. We had a record attendance at this event with over 75% of students represented on the night with that figure rising to over 80% following additional support meetings in the following few days. This is a phenomenal turn around for the academy as usually only about 50% of parents attend such events. I would like to thank all of the year 11 parents who are engaging with us in such a positive way to support your children and I would like to encourage all parents to make the most of every opportunity to come into the academy and speak to us about your child. Every conversation has an impact and can make a significant difference to them. Even if parents can't make calendared events due to other commitments we are always open and willing to accommodate different times to ensure you have the opportunity to speak with us. Please contact your child’s head of year to arrange an appointment.
Last year we staged a very successful musical production 'We Will Rock You' and this was the first time in a significant number of years this had been achieved. At the time I promised parents, staff and students that this would become an annual fixture in our calendar. This year we will be staging a production of 'High School Musical'. This will be on February 25th and 27th. Please look out for more details on our social media channels closer to the time. It would be great to see as many parents in attendance as possible. The last show was excellent and this is set to be even better.
As you know I am incredibly proud of the cultural changes that we have made over the past 18months in terms of behaviours and attitudes of the students and whilst I accept that our students still don't get it right 100% of the time the number of behavioural issues both high and low level have reduced significantly as the students respond to tighter boundaries, higher expectations and buy into the culture of learning. This week I was given some excellent news regarding maths. The year 7 students across our multi academy trust all follow the same scheme of learning and sit the same assessments. This allows us to track their progress against a larger and more statistically valid sample. This week I learnt that the year 7 students at Farnborough were the highest performing in terms of progress with over 72% of them achieving marks that were in line of better than would be expected based on their achievements at the end of year 6. In short, the maths faculty at Farnborough ensured our students made the most progress in the first term of year 7 in maths compared to the other secondary schools in the trust. This is an amazing achievement and one that I am very proud of. Congratulations to all of the staff and students who have worked so hard to achieve this.
I would like to end by giving year 9 parents an early reminder that on February 11th we will be hosting out options evening. At this event I will be presenting the process to you and explaining how it all works. There will also be the opportunity to speak to all of the different subject leaders to that you can better understand the new courses that are on offer for students to select.
January 7th 2020
Happy New Year to all parents, carers and students. I hope you all had a peaceful and restful Christmas, we are looking forward to welcoming the students back today.
Last term was a very successful one in the journey of the academy. As you are all aware the academy has had a reputation for poor behaviour from students in the past which has resulted in high levels of detentions and exclusions, both fixed term and permanent. I have been very clear since I joined the academy in September 2018 that I would not allow this to continue and that we would work with students and parents to change this culture and begin to embed high expectations at all times.
Last term saw the fruits of this labour paying off and the consequence of this is that teachers are freer to teach as they have significantly fewer incidents of poor behaviour to deal with and can therefore focus more on their teaching and also students benefit from disruption free lessons and can therefore focus more on their academic studies.
Last term saw a significant reduction in the number of students being removed from lessons (issued with a C3) with 268 or the equivalent of about 4 per day being issued, this is a reduction from a massive 928 or 14 per day that we saw at this point last year. This means that if your child is issued with a C3 there behaviour is falling significantly below the normal expectations of the academy and they need to be supported and challenged to improve this.
We can and do still exclude students and I have unfortunately had to issue 18 fixed term exclusions so far this academic year which again is a significant decrease on the 160+ that had to be issued in the same time period last year but pleasingly we have not had to issue a permeant exclusion to any student. This is the first time in over 5 years that the academy has gone a period of one academic term without issuing a permanent exclusion. The challenge now is to ensure this significantly improved behaviour and sttitude culture is built upon and continues to develop.
What are the reasons for the changes?
For me it is simple and clear.
A clear understanding of the rewards and sanctions that students will receive;
The knowledge that this will be delivered consistently and unwaiveringly at all times by academy staff and leaders.
I am so proud of the way the students at the academy have responded to the way we have continually raised the bar. When visitors come to the academy they comment on the calm and purposeful atmosphere in lessons and they polite and courteous way students interact with them. Please remember our doors are always open and if you want to see the academy in action on a typical working day you just need to contact main reception to book an appointment.
Whilst I am of course pleased and proud of these achievements I am also determined that the hard work is not completed and we need to continue to push forwards to ensure that with the significantly improved atmosphere and ethos from the students we also translate that into academic success.
We are starting to see great improvements in the quality and quantity of work produced by students and I am becoming more and more positive about the prospect of record-breaking results in 2020.
Teachers are working hard to continue to develop interesting and thought-provoking lessons and to offer new and unique opportunities to extend learning outside of the classroom. 2020 is set to be a great year in the journey of Farnborough academy and I am delighted that you are all part of it.
As it is the time of year where we tend to look to the future and make resolutions, my resolution to you is to continue to work as hard as I can and be the best Headteacher I can be so that the experiences your child gets from Farnborough is the best it can possibly be and they achieve as highly as they can. My resolution is also to ensure that all students are able to Achieve, Believe and Commit to the Farnborough way and go on to have successful futures.
November 25th 2019
Christmas is fast approaching and will be here before we know it, but, until it is here life at the academy will continue as normal with learning being our key focus until the end of term. There are of course opportunities for students to join in with key festivities across the remainder of the term, but they will not take over all that we are doing.
Three key dates for parents are December 12th, 18th and 19th. On December 12th the academy will be having Christmas dinner. This will be the only option available to students at lunchtime, other sandwiches and hot snack options will still be available at break for those who do not want a Christmas dinner. We will be providing the Christmas dinner free of charge to all students on this day and will have a slightly different lunch sitting time which will be communicated to students in due course.
On December 18th at 7pm we will be having our Christmas concert. This will see students and staff performing in a variety of different ways and bring that real Christmassy feel to the academy. Entry to the concert is free of charge but we would ask for donations to the refreshments that will be available on the night.
December 19th is a rewards trip day. The students are being offered the opportunity to attend different reward trips such as cinema, bowling, ice-skating (depending on their year group). Students will be selected because of high levels of attendance and for displaying excellent behaviour. As these trips are rewards they are being offered free of charge to students. A little gift from the academy to recognise the efforts of those who do the right thing day in, day out.
This week I was so proud because of some data that had been collated and shared with me. As you know I have adopted a very clear stance on poor behaviour at the academy and will not waver in my pursuit of excellence and high standards at all times. The consequence of this was that last year the academy had one of the highest incidences of exclusion both fixed term and permanent in the whole country as students pushed back against raised standards and expectations. I always maintained that this would be the case and that if the academy ensured that it held the line and was clear with parents and students then the benefits of this would soon be seen. In the last half term, the academy has recorded the lowest level of fixed term exclusions in the whole of the Spencer Academies Trust and only 4 students had to be issued with a fixed term exclusion when compared to 67 in the same period last year. This shows that students are buying into the new culture of the academy and can be seen with calm, purposeful and engaging learning taking place across the curriculum every day.
As an academy we are right to be proud of this, and we are determined to continue to improve in all areas as your children deserve nothing but the best education myself and my team can deliver.
After a restful two week break the first week back at the academy saw us hit the ground running in order to ensure that the students continued with their learning at pace so that any lethargy from such a long break at this time of year isn’t allowed to take hold!
This is especially imperative for year 11 as they are building up to their November mock exam season which begins in earnest at the end of this week. I am sure you will all join me in wishing them well. I deliberately don’t like to use the word luck about exams as I am a firm believer that hard work and accurate preparation is what leads to exam success rather than the lottery of lady luck. With hard work and preparation in mind I have to express how proud I have been with the year 11’s so far this year. They have responded magnificently to the challenge laid down before them and they have stepped up to the plate. They are focussed in lessons, attending additional support and revision sessions and acting on the advice and guidance being given to them. They are taking this mock exam process seriously as they know that the outcome of these exams will enable them to tweak and improve their performance come the real deal in the summer.
Last week I spoke to all of the students during my assembly about the importance of developing resilience. One of the academy’s core values is believe and part of this value is about developing resilience as this character trait will be beneficial to students not just throughout their school journey but also in life after school.
In the assembly we talked about the six domains of resilience and how they can build on these areas in their lives. This is important for all students, but especially important for year 11 as they need to have the skills to deal with situations in and around exams where things don’t always go to plan but be able to continue to move forwards so that these obstacles can be cleared and they don’t become defining moments.
In the time since my last blog academy staff have continued their fundraising efforts for the Ghana expedition with 7 members of staff running a 10K cross country event. Thank you to all those that sponsored them and raised almost £500. The children are also continuing their fundraising efforts, watch out on our social media channels for information.
If you know of friends or family with year 6 children please remind them that on Thursday and Friday this week we are hosting our final academy in action events before the deadline for applications into year 7 for September 2020 passes. Please ask them to call the academy on 0115 9744444 or check out our Facebook page for more information. The previous two sessions were very successful and the parents who attended felt they really benefitted from seeing the academy on a normal working day.
On Tuesday night we are hosting an exams preparation event for year 11 parents and students as we build up towards the mock exam period after the half term break, we hope that as many year 11 parents as possible can attend this important event where we will be providing information on all of the support that is available, bespoke intervention timetables and information on how to support your child with revising for specific subjects. The event starts at 6.30pm and there will be light refreshments available on the evening.
This half term has been hugely successful in terms of our continued development and improvement as an academy. The number of negative behavioural incidents have dramatically and sustainably reduced which means teachers are able to deliver high quality uninterrupted lessons which benefit all of the students. The atmosphere around the academy is excellent and students have responded positively to the expectation that all lessons start with a 10-minute silent knowledge retrieval task. This is important for setting the tone for the rest of the lesson and starting in a calm and purposeful manner.
As well as improvements in behaviour and teaching and learning we have had a focus on mental health awareness through our form time learning and bright day programme. Students have been learning that it is ok not to feel ok and that if they need support someone is always available to give it. The academy now has two counsellors dedicated to supporting children who are struggling and if you feel this is something your child could benefit from then please contact your son or daughters head of year.
Last Thursday students and staff wore yellow in support of world mental health days campaign #helloyellow it was a great success as it enabled conversations about the importance of mental health to happen as well as raising money for a worthwhile cause.
Parents in year 10 will be aware that our award winning accelerating confidence project is now underway and you will see regular updates from the different groups on our Facebook page. In the last few weeks the East Midlands Airport group visited the airport and got to try out their brand new state of the art air traffic control simulator. The simulator is a vital piece of training equipment that the airport will be using to train air traffic controllers of the future, some of them possible former Farnborough students. BBC Radio Nottingham were present to watch the students have a go, you can listen to their exploits at the link below:
I have to start this blog by thanking all members of the school community who sponsored me to run the Nottingham half marathon this weekend. Thanks to your generosity we have raised £550 towards the Ghana expedition in October 2020. The fundraising for Ghana continues so please keep an eye out for other events as the year progresses.
Since my last blog update we held our annual year 6 open evening. We had record numbers at this event and the students and staff showcased the best that Farnborough has to offer. The conversations that we had with parents and carers were really encouraging and it is great to hear that we are changing mindsets and more and more members of the community are now viewing Farnborough as an option for their child’s secondary education.
As an addition to the open evening we are hosting academy in action days on October 17th and 18th.This gives parents of year 5 and 6 pupils the chance to see the academy on a normal working day and to ask any further questions they may have. If you know anyone who would benefit from this opportunity then please ask them to call the academy or visit our Facebook page for more information.
Alongside our open evening we have also held the annual careers fair which was attended in large numbers by our year 9, 10 and 11 students. It was great to see so many of them engaging with colleges, sixth forms and prospective employers as they were finding out the information they need to make the next steps in their journey once they leave Farnborough at the end of year 11. If your child is in year 8 then please look out for next year’s event as it is never too early to start exploring the options that are available.
This half term is gathering pace and students are firmly into the swing of academy routines and expectations and I, along with other colleagues continue to be impressed by their attitudes to learning and their commitment to excellence. Year 11 will start their mock exams after the half term break so it is important that they continue in the way they have started this year. We will be inviting all parents of year 11 students into school for an event to launch the mock exams on October 15th, a letter with further details will be sent out shortly.
As we enter the second full week of the academic year the pace has really started to pick up at the academy. The start to the year has been fantastic and I have been so proud of all of the students and of the whole team when I am absolutely in and out of lessons.
The confidence we have been working on developing in students is starting to come to the fore and they are now much more comfortable to talk about their learning, what they are doing and why they are doing it. They are also starting to be able to see and make clear links between different topics and subject areas. This is all a beneficial part of the learning process and helps them to see the 'bigger picture' moving forwards.
Year 7 are settling well and I have been impressed by how they have handled the transition from primary to secondary school. Most are now comfortable with finding their way around the academy and it is great to chat to them about the new learning they are taking part in and what they are enjoying the most.
In the past two weeks year 11 students have sat their first English language mock assessment of the year and I was especially please with how they approached the task. The volume and quality of work produced was brilliant and now they are focussed on making the little tweaks that will make a big difference in the summer.
You will have seen from our social media channels that we are actively showing parents and carers the types of activities that students are completing in lessons on a day to day basis. The purpose of this is to involve you more in your child’s learning and to facilitate conversations regarding what learning has taken place at school today. As the parent of two teenagers myself I appreciate how difficult that conversation can be!
You will have also seen the launch of the accelerating confidence project for 2019/20 on Facebook in the past week. This programme allows year 10 students to be connected with a local business and experience different opportunities within that business across the year. The students then retain a business mentor into year 11. The really exciting element of this year’s programme is the addition of two more businesses to our portfolio - The internationally renowned Rolls Royce and a local dot com Unidays who develop apps aimed at students. The addition of these organisations takes the number of businesses to 8 and means 80 students now have the opportunity to take part. Applications close soon so please encourage your son/daughter to apply. We are always looking to expand the number of businesses involved so if you work for an organisation who you feel may be interested then please contact the academy and ask to speak to the careers co-ordinator Miss Bosley.
This week sees our annual open evening which allows parents and carers of all potential future students to come into the academy, see what we are all about and ask any questions they may have. The focus is mainly on year 6 parents, but parents from students in any year group are very welcome. The evening runs from 6-8pm with talks from me at 6pm and 7pm in the lecture theatre. I will ab available all evening to speak to parents along with the rest of my senior team and a host of teaching and support staff. It will be great to see as many of you as possible at this event, it was very busy last year so please arrive early.
I can't believe the summer is over already and it is time to welcome back students in years 8-11 and welcome our new year 7 cohort to the academy.
The new year 7 class of 2024 will be our largest year group with over 150 new students joining us to continue their education journey. As they come in we can also reflect on the delight of the exam results from the year 11 class of 2019. These remarkable students achieved the second-best set of exam results in the history of the academy and a large number of them have successfully enrolled on A-level, BTEC courses and apprenticeships. We wish them the best of luck for the future and hope they keep in touch to let us know how they got on.
As I stated in my end of year letter with every year changes come in terms of routines and expectations in all schools. For those of you who are unsure as to what these changes are you can see a copy of the letter here http://thefarnboroughacademy.com/docs/letterbox/Mr%20M%20Jobling%20end%20of%20year%20letter.pdf
At the end of last year, we launched our Ghana 2020 expedition and a number of students will be fortunate enough to travel to the country and carry out some project work in a local orphanage. As you are aware the students need to fund raise to cover the cost of their transport and visas so in order to help them I have been in training to run the Robin Hood Marathon on September 29th. If you would like to support our Ghana fundraising with a donation of any amount then you can do so at the following link
Finally, I am looking forwards to working with you all again this year as we continue to move the academy forwards. Last year we saw real improvements in the behaviour and attitude of students in school and this is bearing fruit in lessons in terms of the learning and progress that is being made. The academy is focussed on continuing to develop the quality of teaching and learning and I am sure that you will start to be told about changes that we are making to lesson structures as they bed in over the next few days and weeks. I am confident that 2020 will be the year that Farnborough Academy announces itself back on the scene in terms of the quality of education and outcomes for students that is delivered and with your support that vision will become a reality.
In the time since my last blog we celebrated with the class of 2019 at their leavers prom at Blotts. It was a wonderful evening and the students who attended all looked stunning. It was a great opportunity for staff and students to say goodbye and share fond memories from over the past five years. It was my first Farnborough prom but I look forward to enjoying many more in the years ahead.
We welcomed 150 students who are about to form our class of 2024 over two days in the past fortnight as they completed their final transition days at the academy. The students had the opportunity to meet their tutors and the rest of their tutor group as well as experiencing lessons with some of the teachers who will be teaching them next year. The atmosphere around the academy was wonderful on those days and we are looking forward to working with all of them and their parents over the next five years.
On Tuesday night last week, we had the summer concert. This was a great opportunity for a significant number of students to showcase their phenomenal talents. There were over 50 participants in this extravaganza which considering the size of the academy and the fact that year 11 have now left us is a great achievement. The quality of the singing, dancing and acting was top drawer and it is clear that a number of the current crop of Farnborough students have the potential to follow where others have lead in previous years.
Over the course of the next week students in years 7-10 are taking part in enrichment trips to Derbyshire, Wales, Scarborough and London. These trips are important in giving students opportunities to enjoy different aspects of our culture and visit areas they may not have yet had the opportunity to. Whilst not all students are attending these trips it is important that they do attend school so that they can continue with their learning. I am very clear that the summer break starts on July 25th and not before so lessons will be continuing as normal until we leave on July 24th. All students need to be in school and there will be additional opportunities for rewards for all students who are in school for the final eight days of term.
As this is my final blog of the academic year I would like to take the opportunity to look back on what has been achieved and also look forwards to next year. The academy is a much calmer place to be and we have worked hard to ensure that students are following our raised expectations in terms of behaviour. This has been successful as fewer students are now being removed from lessons or excluded from the academy. The knock on effect of this is that lessons run much more smoothly and students are able to be more successful in their learning. We are also pleased with the greater variety of trips and visits that we have been able to facilitate this year either in the year or ones such as the Eindhoven and Ghana visits that were launched this year but will run in subsequent years. We have also started to focus on the appearance of students and the new clip on ties (whilst not popular with everyone) have instantly improved the appearance of the student body as a whole and as I have said previously I am a great advocate of the clear links between dressing smart, thinking smart and working smart.
Looking forward to next year I wrote to all parents and carers reminding you of the changes which are coming into place across the whole of our multi academy trust. These include the requirement for all students travelling to and from school on a bicycle or scooter to be wearing a helmet, the need to ensure that the only jewellery to be worn is one stud earring in each ear with no other jewellery or facial piercings and also the requirement for students to not be wearing any nail varnish or polish. These are simple and clear expectations and I know that you will all support the academy in ensuring your child meets these expectations when they return on Wednesday September 4th.
I would like to wish all of you a pleasant and restful summer break and I look forward to seeing the students back and refreshed after the summer break.
This fortnight I need to start with the item I finished with last time. Thank you to all of the applicants and their families for supporting them for the Ghana expedition. We were truly amazed by the volume and quality of the response! So much so that we had to delay announcing the selected students as it took us longer to go through them all and so that we could secure additional places on the expedition so that we could take as many people as possible. Please look out for fundraising initiatives over the coming weeks and months and support them as much as you can.
As the year 11 exams finished so it became the turn of year 10 to face mock exams and start to practice in the conditions of the exam room under the same expectations as year 11. They were all superb and have shown a fantastic level of maturity in the way they have faced these exams. I have high hopes for our year 10 class of 2020 as they are already starting to benefit from the interventions and support that we know helped year 11 but we weren't able to put in place until much later in their journey through school.
In assembly this week Mr Davis has been speaking to the students about the importance of community. The importance of belonging, being proud of where you come from and the importance of helping all members of the community. He was able to share anecdotes with them about helpful members of the community.... The 12-year-old boy who selflessly helped an elderly gentleman who was struggling with shopping bags. The 14-year-old girl who every night sits with an elderly woman on the bus and asks her how her day has been, the 15-year-old girl who helped a lady use the ticket machines at the tram stop when she was struggling with understanding how to use her card to pay for a ticket. What was great about all of these stories was not just that they involved young people who often get a bad reputation in society doing acts of kindness totally unprompted and with no request for reward, but that all of these people currently attend our academy and all of them affected the people they helped so positively they contacted us to tell us how proud we should be of them. It just shows how amazing our students are and how much they care about their community and how they want to help, these are the qualities we endeavour to instil in all of our students every day.
Finally, as I am sure you have seen from our social media channels over the past few weeks we have seen visitors from year 4 in the academy working in the technology department. It has been a pleasure to welcome them to the academy and we look forward to working with them again soon. We are currently working in science with year 5 and will be welcoming our new year 7's for their induction days this week. Please check out our social media for pictures and more information.
I would like to start by welcoming back students and staff from the half term break. I hope that everyone managed to relax and spend time with friends and family. I know that even though it was the holiday period staff and students were still working hard and it was great to see year 11 taking the opportunity to do some additional revision sessions with teachers.
The half term break also saw the 'Jumpers for Goal Posts' event take place. This event was planned by the students with the support of Step out stay out and the city council. The students should be proud of themselves as they panned an event which built upon a smaller session last October and brought together different branches of the community. The year 10 students also put a football team together which ended up winning the adults tournament as they skilfully beat a team of prison officers from Lowdham Grange in the final!
Along with their football skills the students also showed off their ability to organise events, deal with a wide range of different organisations and remain calm under pressure and ensure that everyone who attended had a good time. It was wonderful to see so many of the local community in attendance and we hope to grow the event next year into one that is even bigger and better,
Just because it is the final half term of the year it doesn't mean that things will be winding down at the academy. Over this half term we will be welcoming future students through a range of transition events, running our end of year enrichment visits to Scarborough, London, Derbyshire and North Wales along with many other activities which we will keep you posted on via our social media channels. As with every half term we will be working hard right until the end of term so please do not believe your son/daughter if they tell you there is no point in coming to school today as we aren't learning anything new, that simply isn't the case.
Something we are continuously trying to achieve is the opportunity to enable our students to gain new and novel experiences that will stay with them for life. With this in mind later this week we will be launching an exciting opportunity for current year 8 and 9 pupils to take part in a visit to Ghana in 2020.
The visit will enable some of our students to visit an orphanage that some members of staff working within the academy have links with, experience life in another culture and give back by supporting some of the development work which is taking place. There will be information coming out to parents of these year groups this week and also information on how all parents and carers can support our fundraising towards this without costing them a penny!
Please look out for this important information when it comes to you as we want this to become a regular event so that students at Farnborough have the same opportunities that are afforded to students in other schools across the country.
March 25th 2019
The past two weeks have seen another round of exciting and busy times at Farnborough. Year 11 pupils have completed their mock examinations and are receiving their feedback in lessons. The indications are that they have performed well and we are really pleased with their commitment, attitude and focus. This was evident by the turn out to our success fair last Tuesday where a large number of pupils and their families came along to find out about the different revision techniques that could make a difference to them in the summer. They also had the opportunity to speak with local colleges and sixth forms about the next steps.
Year 10 pupils have continued on their accelerating confidence courses and have been on visits to Nottingham City Homes and my personal favourite one of all the control tower at East Midlands Airport! On this trip the pupils had the opportunity to observe the air traffic controllers at work as they guided commercial airliners into and out of the airport on a busy day. The accelerating confidence project is a hugely successful part of what we do to support our pupils at Farnborough and we are already exploring ways of enabling more pupils that the current 60 to get involved next year.
Alongside this all of year 10 had their interview skills day. Twenty local employers gave up their time to meet with every pupil in year 10. Discuss their CV, plans for the future and put them through their paces in a mini interview. The pupils now have some first-hand experience and feedback so that they are more prepared for the real thing when they face job interviews and college interviews in the coming months. The pupils were a credit to the academy and the employers were full praise for the focus and engagement shown.
Year 9 have also had opportunities in the past fortnight to expand their horizons when it comes to thinking about their future and exploring university as a real and valid option as part of their journey after Farnborough. A group of pupils had the pleasure of visiting Cambridge University to see what life could be like at one of the top universities in the world. The pupils were chosen because they have the ability to achieve this ambition. They need to follow the advice they were given on the visit and remain focussed in their GCSE and A-level studies and who knows, in a few years they could be showing the next generation of Farnborough pupils around when they come for a visit.
Alongside our work with Cambridge, Nottingham Trent University also came into the academy to work with pupils on study skills in order to help them start to prepare early so that they can achieve their goal of attending university in the future.
On March 15th we had two very special events at the academy. Leicester Tigers coaches spent the day with pupils from Farnborough, Arnold Hill and Rushcliffe as well as year 5 pupils from Whitegate primary. They day taught the pupils some key skills and all the pupils and staff involved got a lot from the activities. We look forwards to continuing this link with the Tigers into the future.
Also on this date I had the pleasure of hosting the monthly meeting of all of the secondary school head teachers in the Spencer Academies Trust. It was the first time many of them had been into Farnborough and for others the first time since last academic year. These colleagues are experienced head teachers who work in very good and outstanding schools. They were very impressed by what they saw when they walked around the academy, viewed lessons and spoke to pupils. They felt that the pupils were open and honest with them and were happy to talk about their learning. They could see the improvements that we have made since September and felt, as I do that Farnborough is on the up and we have a lot to be proud of. There is still some way to go in order to ensure that the improvements will be fully recognised when we are next inspected, but, by continuing to work together and staff, pupils and parents we will ensure that Farnboroughs journey of improvement continues at a pace.
Part of this improvement requires greater links to be formed with our primary schools. This week I embarked on a visit to each of the local primary schools with some year 8 pupils. These pupils were involved in making benches on our last bright day. The pupils worked with staff from Wickes to make benches from garden decking. Thee pupils were given no instructions to follow, they were just provided with the dimensions of the benches. We hope the pupils at the primary schools enjoy the additional places to sit in the playground that the year 8’s from Farnborough have provided.
Finally, it is the time of year where head teachers begin to think about the recruitment process for staff in September. You will have seen from our social media channels that we are currently recruiting for some key roles in preparation for this. The volume and quality of interest in these roles has been truly impressive. I have spent a large amount of time this week showing prospective candidates around the school and talking to them about my vision for Farnborough and the journey we have set out upon. They have also been impressed by what they have seen and I am confident that we will be in a position to announce some top quality recruitment successes in the near future. If any parent would like a tour of the academy during the day so they can see for themselves the changes that have been made and to discuss the journey we are on then all you have to do is to contact the reception team who will be able to make arrangements for this to happen.
March 11th 2019
I have to start this fortnights blog by sending my condolences to the family and friends of Ray Mather. Ray was an ex teacher of Farnborough and although I never had the pleasure of meeting him myself, the way in which colleagues who did know him and ex pupils have talked about him in the days since his passing was announced tells me he must have been a truly inspirational individual. The academy will commemorate Ray and his contribution to Farnborough and will announce how we will do this in due course.
I would like to thank all of the members of the local community who supported the ‘We Will Rock You’ cast and crew by attending the performance on Feb 27th and 28th. They were brilliant performances, the pupils did themselves and the academy proud and I know from the comments and views on social media that the community had the same opinion. Watch this space for our next production as we are determined to make this an annual event at the academy.
There have been lots of activities and events that have been happening alongside our normal curriculum program as you will have seen from our social media updates.
Two of our year 10 accelerating confidence groups have had one of their employment emersion days at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nottingham and at J Tomlinson the local construction company. The accelerating confidence program enables the year 10 pupils who were successful in completing a robust recruitment process the opportunity to learn about the different jobs on offer within a group of local organisations over a period of time. The pupils make regular visits to the company and meet with colleagues who carry out a wide range of different roles and find out what skills and qualifications are needed, as well as having a go at some of them for themselves. Alongside the two companies visited this week different pupils also have the opportunity to learn from employees at East Midlands Airport and Nottingham City Homes. At the end of the one year course the pupils maintain links through a business mentor in year 11 who will help them maintain their focus in the build up to their exams.
Year 8 have also been thinking about their futures over the past two weeks with the opportunity to visit the Sutton Bonnington campus of The university of Nottingham before taking part in ‘inspire’ sessions across the day on Friday hosted at the academy by Nottingham Trent University. Both of these events enabled pupils to ask questions and find out about the different courses and options available for those who go onto university. The pupils certainly asked a lot of questions and feedback from the universities was exceptionally positive about the engagement and attitude of the Farnborough pupils.
Year 9 are also thinking about their futures this week as Wednesday night is options evening. Please make sure you come along with your son/daughter so you can find out all the information you need to know before making any decisions. Full details are on our social media channels.
Year 11 pupils this week are entering the final week of their final mock examination season. The next time they sit exams it will be the summer and the real deal! We have made this process feel as much like the real examination season as we possibly can, and we have provided them with additional support where it is needed. Pupils recently participated in a walking talking mock for English language. This is an activity where pupils are walked through the exam paper and the teacher reads the questions and reminds pupils how to go about formulating their answer. The pupils still have to answer the question on their own. The purpose of this is to help the pupils as they can think back and visualize the walking talking mock when in the real exam. Feedback from year 11 this week after sitting their real mock exam was that they were able to do exactly that.
Watch this space in the coming weeks as we provide more information on our Easter school timetable as we gear up for the final exams in May.
This time of year schools begin to recruit staff for the following academic year. It is always a time where head teachers worry slightly about the number and quality of applicants that they may attract. This week we have successfully recruited into three key posts of Head of Year and teachers of English and Maths. The quality of applicants has been phenomenal and I am delighted to have been able to recruit new colleagues of high caliber to work with the existing team and your children. What was also pleasing about the process was the recognition by these external visitors regarding the improvements in the academy. All they know was what the Ofsted report of September 2017 says. They all could see how much the academy has moved forwards from this point and the pupils they spoke to could articulate how the academy has improved further since September. We will continue to work hard to make the improvements that are needed in order to ensure that the children of Clifton can attend an academy the whole community is proud of. We may not always get it right. We may not always make decisions that everyone agrees with, but please be assured all decisions are made with the best interests of the pupils at the forefront of our minds. I would like to finish by thanking you all for your continued support and look forward to continuing this into the future as we continue on our journey.
February 25th 2019
Firstly I would like to start by welcoming back the whole academy community from the half term break. I hope the pupils, parents and staff were able to relax and recharge their batteries over the past week.
Whilst the academy was officially 'on holiday' it was great to see year 11 pupils and staff in school working hard to ensure that they maintained the important focus that is needed to ensure all pupils achieve their full potential in their GCSE exams in the summer. Their hard work and commitment to their studies is a true reflection of their desire to achieve and to ensure that they make the most of all of the opportunities that we are able to offer.
As we continue to move towards this important time of year for our year 11 pupils there are more and more opportunities for help and support available to them. Pupils are given lots of information on a weekly basis from their head of year and form tutors and we will be sharing this information with parents via our social media channels too.
This week sees the much anticipated performances of 'We will rock you.' Our first academy musical production. The cast and crew have been working very hard on this production and they and I can't wait to welcome the local primary schools to a matinee performance and parents, carers, friends and other family members to our evening performances on Wednesday and Thursday. Those of you who still require tickets please contact the academy reception and we will be happy to assist with your requests.
I appreciate that it can be problematic at times to send cash in with pupils for events such as production tickets and trips, especially if you don't have the correct change and if the quantities of money are quite large. Please look out for a letter, email and text over the next week which will provide information on our new cashless system for paying for school meals, trips and any other items you may need to purchase directly from school. This system will bring the academy into the 21st century and also make life easier for parents moving forwards. This is the first in a wave of some new technologies we will be rolling out to make communication and interaction with the academy easier for you all.
It was great to be able to meet with parents who are interested in supporting the academy via a PTA group and also encouraging to receive emails from those who couldn't attend the initial meeting but would like to be part of future ones. Those parents who have contacted us have had their details passed onto the PTA group and they will be in contact soon with details of future meetings. If you would still like to participate in the PTA in any capacity, then please contact the academy and we will pass your details on and ensure that you have information about the next meeting once it has been arranged.
February 4th 2019
Where has the last month gone!
It certainly doesn't feel like we have been back at school for a month since the end of the Christmas break, but when you look back on what we have achieved and what the pupils have experienced it makes you realise how busy academy life is.
Since my last update our year 11 cohort had some excellent examination success. 88% of the pupils who sat the Certificate in financial education examination achieved a good pass or better with a significant proportion achieving top grades. This puts this group in a very strong position to achieve highly in the summer when they sit the final paper. I know the pupils are grateful to the staff for the hard work they have put in to help guide them through a new course, but, this success wouldn't have happened without the commitment and dedication of the pupils.
We continue to support the pupils in English and Maths in order to ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes in these vital subject areas so that they can go on to fulfil their ambitions later in life. Over the past two weeks we have used our bright day to offer additional sessions to the pupils and the engagement, focus and quality of work produced was phenomenal. Pupils are also engaging well with intervention sessions before and after school with a significant number volunteering to give up their time to help others as peer mentors in maths which is a fantastic advert for the togetherness and ethos of this year group.
They are currently sitting additional mock exams in Maths and English as well as preparing for a full mock season in March so I am sure you will join me in wishing them every success.
In my last update I talked about the opportunity that year 11 pupils have to experience a summer of challenge and adventure with NCS, it is great that approximately 50 of our pupils have taken up this opportunity which will only be of benefit to them in the future and will give them great life experience to take into their next stage of education or employment.
As part of my role as head of this wonderful academy it is important that I engage with the community and support community events. Over the past two weeks I have been building relationships in this area which in time will only be of benefit to our pupils. I held a meeting with local community representatives and Lilian greenwood the local MP to begin planning a sports event called Jumpers for Goalposts. This event is the brainchild of Pete Bell a local sports leader and is being planned in conjunction with academy pupils. It is shaping up to be a great event and we will provide more details in due course. All there is to say for now is keep Thursday May 30th 2019 free in your diaries!
In addition to Pete I have also met the local army cadet’s leaders and the leader of a local youth club scheme in order to see what further community support we can bring to pupils and what support our pupils can bring to the community. As these initiatives begin to gather pace we will share with parents our ideas and projects.
The half termly parent forum group met in late January and it was encouraging to see a slightly larger than normal turnout. We discussed several issues including the new tier system and attendance rewards. It was great to get clear support from parents with regards to the tier system and our aim to ensure that all pupils behave in an appropriate manner when at school. In terms of attendance rewards, we have heard your message regarding the costs associated with some rewards and will be speaking to the pupil council to generate more ideas on how we can further modify these rewards.
On Thursday February 14th at 5pm I am hosting a meeting to discuss the forming of a Farnborough academy PTA. If you wish to be involved in this initial meeting then please contact the academy to book your place. We will publish the outcome of this meeting to parents in due course so that anyone who is interested, but is unable to make this date can still be involved in future meetings and events.
January 21st 2019
Over the past two weeks the atmosphere around the academy has been calm and purposeful. The pupils have started the new term in a focussed and positive way and I have been very impressed by their attitudes to learning and the way they have responded to the increased level of expectations that have been placed upon them in terms of attitude and behaviour.
I, along with the rest of the staff body are determined that excellence in all that they do will become a habit for our young people in order that they will go on to be successful and achieve their full potential. Excellence will only become a habit if we insist on it being displayed at all times in all areas. In order to support this during unstructured times we launched a new system from the start of this term. The tier system is used to support and remind pupils which behaviours are and aren't acceptable and to ensure a calm transition between lessons. The vast majority of pupils have responded well to this new system and as previously stated the impact has been to change the atmosphere in a positive way at these key times. During the assemblies with pupils where the new system was launched I made no apology for increasing the level of expectation and promised them that expectations will continue to rise as we move through the year.
It was great to see the National Citizens Service (NCS) in school to offer year 11 the exciting opportunity to spend three weeks in the summer having the opportunity to develop skills they didn't even know they had, take part in an adventure week and experience life on a university campus plus much more. It is an exciting opportunity which is being offered for the all in price of £50 or £20 for those pupils who are in receipt of free school meals.
More info can be found at the following link www.ncsyes.co.uk/summer if you would like your child to attend but they haven't yet signed up then contact the academy and we will be able to support with this. Also if additional support is needed to make the required payment then please speak to us as we may be able to offer some support with additional time to meet this NCS deadline.
The final preparations for the school show 'We will rock you' are well underway and we are getting excited for the performances at the end of February. At the weekend pupils and staff were raising additional funds to support the production through offering a bag packing service at Morrisons. I would like to thank them for giving up their time and you for contributing to the success of this. A larger charitable event I have begun to work on will hopefully see pupils raise funds for and manufacture useful products for an orphanage in Ghana. Some luck pupils may even be given the opportunity to visit and see their charitable contributions in action in the future. This is an exciting link which whilst in its infancy promises to offer so much for our pupils in terms of broadening their horizons and offering new and unique opportunities.
Some key dates over the next few weeks are:-
School photographs for years 11, 9 and 7 are on Thursday this week
The next parent forum meeting is on Wednesday this week (23rd January) at 6pm. It would be great to see as many of you as possible. we will be discussing the tier system, attendance rewards and sharing some of the different teaching and learning strategies that are used in lessons to support your children.
January 7th 2019
I would like to start by wishing all members of the Farnborough community, parents, governors and the wider community a very happy and healthy new year. Now the festivities of the season are over and the new school term has begun our attention turns to ensuring that all pupils continue to be given every opportunity to shine brightly and achieve their full potential.
In the build up to Christmas you will have seen through our social media channels that a number of pupils showcased their talents and community spirit by visiting a number of local sites and residential homes to sing carols and also put on a fantastic showcase performance in the academy on December 19th. A number of these pupils will also have the opportunity to entertain you in February when we debut our musical for this year, 'We Will Rock You!'
Whilst pupils don't return to the academy until Tuesday January 8th, the staff will be hard at work on January 7th. the focus of our INSET day is to continue to develop teaching and learning within the academy. One of the reasons I enjoy my job so much is that you have never finished learning as a teacher. there are always new ideas and new ways of delivering engaging and motivational lessons to pupils that you can learn, no matter how long you have been teaching for. The staff always enjoy these sessions as it enables them to discuss and try new strategies and activities in order to make any necessary tweaks before they are used with pupils. It is important that we as teachers have these continuous learning opportunities as part of our role as without them the education system would not move forwards.
As we are in January and it is traditional to think about resolutions I have made several that link to my role at Farnborough. The pupil voice I completed before the holidays suggests that they would agree that I am a man of my word and that when I make promises to them about their academy I ensure they are delivered, therefore, I am confident that this will be the case for my resolutions.
In order to spread the word about the amazing work that happens at the academy I have entered the 21st century with a twitter account and will be aiming to tweet out about the internal work of the academy at least 3 times a week, for those of you on twitter follow me @ and the academy @
I will be updating my blog on the website on a much more regular basis (fortnightly) in order to keep you abreast of all of the work we are doing and inform you of any important upcoming dates.
Finally, I will continue to work hard to bring the community and the academy together in order to work as one to support the young people of Clifton both inside and outside of school so that they can continue to shine brightly and be as successful as possible.
October 7th 2018
In the two weeks since I updated my blog there have been lots of activities happening around the academy. The pupils are getting into the swing of the academic year and they are settling well into their learning. Year 11 are beginning to prepare for their mock exams which are in a few short weeks and these will be an important milestone in their journey towards their final exams.
Over the past two weeks the academy held its annual careers fair for years 9-11 and this was fantastically well attended and has shown pupils exactly what they need to achieve at school in order to fulfil their aspirations. We have taken a group of pupils to Dovecote Primary School to support with their English festival. This visit was really well recieved by the Farnborough pupils, the primary school teachers and the year 6 pupils they worked with. We have also launched our annual opportunity for year 10 pupils to work with local large companies in order to find out more about the world of work. Two years ago this initiative involved just 10 pupils and one company (East Midlands Airport), this year 70 year 10 pupils will be able to participate across 7 different local companies, this is a unique experience that only pupils of Farnborough benefit from and we are always looking for more partners to work with.
My favourite activity over the past two weeks though has to be the opportunity I had on Wednesday when I was able to meet with over 500 Farnborough students, all with one thing in common. All of the students I met with were students who do the right thing, day in, day out without making a fuss and as such had recieved only positive achievement points via the school reward system. It was wonderful to be able to say well done to this outstanding group of young people and to talk to them about how their hard work, positive attitude and commitment to school will benefit them in the future.
Looking forwards this week we are once again opening our doors on Wednesday October 10th from 6-7pm for our second open evening. This gives parents and pupils who couldn't make our first event an opportunity to visit us before making your secondary school application for 2018/19. We look forwards to welcoming prospective pupils and their families to this event.
September 23rd 2018
This week the academy welcomed year 11 pupils back from a week of work experience. They were full of interesting stories about what they had learnt and were motivated to achieve what they needed to in order to gain employment in the future. A record number of students participated in this experience and all students completed the full week with impeccable standards of behaviour and commitment. A number even received offers of apprenticeships in the future (exam result dependent of course!). Well done to you all.
I had the delight of meeting with a number of parents on Tuesday night at the parent forum event. It was great to see such a large number of parents join us. It was clear to me that they are as passionate as I am about ensuring the academy provides the highest quality of education for the young people of this community now and into the future. We discussed a range of topics such as the plans the academy has to continue to develop and move forwards as we move into the new trust, the key messages we have given pupils and communication. If you would like to get involved with the next event look out on social media for more details after half term.
On Wednesday we were delighted to be able to welcome a large number of visitors to our year 6 open evening. It was great to meet with potential future pupils and their parents. Current pupils and staff used the opportunity to showcase the very best of Farnborough and all were a credit. The atmosphere around the academy was excellent with the year 6 pupils taking the opportunity to try out some of the exciting activities they would undertake as a Farnborough pupil. If anyone who did or didn't manage to attend this event would like the opportunity to visit the academy again or has any further questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Whilst Friday was an INSET day for pupils, staff were at work undertaking further training in order to ensure that we continue to develop as an academy. Staff were engaging in work around positive behaviour management so that we can continue to effectively instil our core values into the pupils we teach and reflect them in our activities and interactions. In addition I also had the pleasure of meeting with Lilian Greenwood MP. Lilian and I discussed the support she can give to the academy and the opportunities she can support with in terms of the holistic development of our students. It was a productive meeting and I am sure that there will be great opportunities for our pupils in the future as this positive relationship between Lilian and the school continues to flourish.
September 12th 2018
I would like to thank all parents, students and staff for the support they have shown me during my first full week as head teacher at Farnborough and for their commitment to starting off this academic year in an outstanding manner.