Year 11 Prom

January 2018

Dear Parents / Carers                                                                                                

YEAR 11 PROM EVENING THURSDAY 5th JULY 2018, TREGENNA CASTLE HOTEL

The Year 11 Prom will take place at the Tregenna Castle Hotel, St Ives on Thursday 5th July 2018.

The total cost for the evening is £27.00 without transport and £30.00 with transport from school and back. In order to guarantee a ticket, the full amount must be paid by 20th April 2018

The payment for Prom will be added to our School Gateway Cashless system where you will be able to pay in full or via instalments:

Instalment 1-£10.00, to be paid by 26th February 2018

Instalment 2 - £10.00, to be paid by 24th March 2018

Instalment 3 - £10.00 (with transport), £7.00 (if transport is not needed), to be paid by 20th April 2018

Students will enjoy a three course meal followed by a disco.  The dress code for the evening is formal.  A cash bar will be open throughout the function for non-alcoholic drinks.  Please click here for the Menu choices and arrangements for transport. This should be completed and returned via Miss Conway-Baker / Miss Giles.  A Prom ticket will be issued from the 4th May on receipt of full payment.

Transport to and from the venue will be available but must be booked in advance as seats are limited.  Please indicate clearly on the attached sheet whether your child needs to travel on the prom bus. 

The schedule for the evening is as follows:

5.00pm - Meet outside Pool Academy – (please do not park in the bus bay at any time during the evening).

5.30pm (prompt) - Bus will depart

6.00pm - Arrive at Tregenna Castle Hotel

7.00pm -Three course meal will be served

11.00pm (prompt) - Bus will leave Tregenna Castle Hotel

11.30pm - Bus arrives back at Pool Academy – please arrange for your child to be collected from the bus bay.

There will be a photo booth provided during the evening, which will take unlimited photos.

Yours sincerely

Miss Conway-Baker and Miss Giles

 

Year 11 Mathematics Revision Guides

Dear Parent / Carer

The Mathematics Department have taken delivery of the order of revision guides and exam question workbooks as mentioned at the Year 11 evening before Christmas.

If you are interested in purchasing the books, please could you enclose payment with the slip below to the Finance Office. This will generate a receipt and allow us to release the books to your child.

In the event that we experience a greater demand than we have ordered, there may be a slight delay while we order more books in.          

Available at both the Foundation and Higher levels, these books retail at £5.95 each.  We are offering both at £5.

I hope that you will take advatage of this offer.

Yours sincerely

Mr Alastair James

Head of Maths

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Please complete and return to the Finance Office via Student Reception.

Student Name:_____________________________________________________________

I enclose £5 for the copies of the mathematics revision guide and exam paractice books at the Higher/Foundation level.

Signed:_____________________________________________  Date:_________________

Year 11 Mock Science Papers

12th January 2018

Dear Parents / Carers

Year 11 students will be sitting three Science Mock Papers on the following dates:

·         Wednesday 17th January (Biology Paper 1)

·         Wednesday 24th January (Chemistry Paper 1)

·         Wednesday 31st January (Physics paper 1)

We have decided to sit additional mocks in Science as the exam board (AQA) have recently released new specimen papers and we have an opportunity to compare the mock data generated with other students from across the country. This will allow us to have a much more accurate picture of how our students are progressing and to determine the grade at which they are currently working.

Please note that the students will be sitting either a Higher Paper or a Foundation Paper. If sitting a Foundation Paper, the students can achieve from Grade 1 to a Grade 5. Grade 4 is equivalent to the old Grade C for the current Year 11 students.  Higher tier paper students can achieve from Grade 4 to Grade 9. The risk with students who sit the Higher tier is that if they do not perform well enough to achieve a Grade 4, they will end up with a ‘U’ (ungraded).

There are a number of common questions which appear on both Foundation and Higher Papers. If a student who sits the Foundation Paper did well on these, we could consider entering them for the Higher tier. However, if a student sitting the Higher Paper does not perform well enough on these questions, we may well have to consider entering them for the Foundation Paper. This would of course be communicated with you at the time.

Please click here to access the Physics equations which the students have to remember going in to their exam. We would be extremely grateful if you could support them in learning all of these. The students have been sent details of a GCSEPod playlist that will support their revision and they also have their revision guides and workbooks – these will prove to be invaluable so please make sure that they aren’t gathering dust on bookshelves! We also offer intervention on Wednesdays after school from 1500 – 1600.

I am extremely proud of our Science Department and with your support, I’m confident that our students can fulfil their potential. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely

David Buckingham

Head of Science

dbu@poolacademy.co.uk

Changes to Y11 Mathematics Groups

Dear Parent/Carer

We have made an important change to Year 11 Mathematics so that the progress and achievement of our students can reach their potential. The decision was not easily arrived at and we are aware that it may cause concern for some of our students and parents. However, the decision has been made to designate the teaching of Year 11 to a specialist set of teachers. As a result there will be changes in some students' classes and teachers. 

From today, students will start an intensive programme in preparation for their exams. Students and yourselves will regularly be updated with information about topics they have mastered and those they are still working towards. 

I am confident that in Summer 2018 we will be celebrating excellent GCSE Mathematics results with all students. In the meantime though, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. 

Yours sincerely

Mr Alastair James

Head of Mathematics

aja@poolacademy.co.uk

Monthly Letter (January 2018)

Dear Parents / Carers
 
I am delighted to welcome students back to Pool Academy for the start of 2018.  The Autumn term was, as always, busy and we are incredibly proud of the students’ achievements already this academic year.  Every month I have written to you about a few of these achievements, along with including details about events coming up in the next month.  I have tried to make these letters as easy to receive as possible so have added them to our website and have texted them to you.  If you haven’t been receiving these monthly letters, please can you contact Tracy Lewis who will be able to update your contact details for you.  Her email address is tl@poolacademy.co.uk or you can speak to her using the normal school contact details (01209 712 220 or pop into main reception).

Just before the holiday we reminded students during our celebration assemblies that their ‘Key Challenges’ are: Strong progress across all subjects, impeccable conduct and making a positive impact in the community.  I was thrilled with the number of students who met all of the challenges across the Autumn term and enjoyed writing postcards to them to say congratulations - I am hoping to write even more postcards this halfterm though.

We also held house assemblies where we talked about 3 changes we are trialling for this term:


●    We are opening up all tutor rooms during break and lunchtime.  This has meant a few tutor rooms moving from laboratories and workshops but now all students have access to their own indoor space.  We also have 3 large communal indoor spaces open (Dining hall, gym and library) so students can always find a quiet space to sit and relax.
●    Most students have never had a C3 detention but when it was absolutely necessary, these have been running after school.  For the next term we are trialling running the detentions for behaviour during lunchtime.  This will mean that students can still catch the school buses and don’t have to walk home in the dark.   We will notify you if your child receives a C3 detention and then the students will be expected to do the detention the next day during lunchtime.  Students will be able to eat their lunch during the detention.  Please note: during this trial period, homework detentions will still run after school.
●    We have introduced an extra registration session from 1:45pm - 1:55pm each day to allow tutors more time with their tutor groups.  This will support our focus on Citizenship this term and I look forward to including more information about this in my next monthly letter.

I am really pleased to welcome 2 new members of staff:
●    Mrs Rachel Facey - rfa@poolacademy.co.uk.  Mrs Facey will lead our SEND team and will work closely with Mrs Adams to ensure students’ individual needs are met.
●    Ms Alana Trathen - atr@poolacademy.co.uk.  Ms Trathen will work in the pastoral team as one of the Deputy Heads of House.  

Just before October halfterm, many of you completed our parental questionnaire - thank you.  (This was sent as a text which included 10 quick questions.)  I was really grateful to the parents who also left their contact details and met with me to discuss their thoughts in more detail.  During the questionnaire, parents said the strengths of the Academy include: My child is happy; My child feels safe; My child is well looked after; I am happy or very happy with the progress my child is making and My child is taught well.  The 3 areas we have been working on since the last questionnaire are: Responding to concerns; Communicating to all stakeholders (students and parents) about the Academy’s Anti-Bullying strategy and Ensuring progress information is as valuable as possible.  I hope you are happy with the progress we are making in these areas but if you have any further suggestions, please do get in touch as we would love to work with you further on this.  We will be sending out a link to the questionnaire again just before February halfterm and we would be very grateful if you’d take the time to answer the 10 questions.


Please can I remind you of a few events coming up this term:


‘Friends of Pool Academy’  (formerly Parent and Carers’ Forum),    16th January,  6pm, Mr McKenzie    wmc@poolacademy.co.uk


Options evening for Year 8, 1st February, 4:30pm, Mr Ryder, pr@poolacademy.co.uk


Year 7 Parents’ evening, 7th February, 4:30pm, Mr Ryder, pr@poolacademy.co.uk


Year 11 MOCK Interview day, 8th February, Mrs Grenfell, ng@poolacademy.co.uk


Immunisations, 8th February, Mrs Adams, ya2@poolacademy.co.uk

Half term: w/c 12th February
 
If you require any further information, or if there is anything we can help with, please do get in touch.

Yours sincerely

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Miss Claire Meakin
Principal
 

Monthly Letter (December 2017)

Dear Parents / Carers
 
The Festive Season is well and truly upon us at Pool Academy.  We held our annual Carol Concert on Tuesday 5th December at Trevenson Church.  The evening was very well attended by students, their families and members of the local community.  We are looking forward to welcoming students’ grandparents into the Academy today for Christmas lunch.

Recently, students took over the role of Principal for the day in a national initiative called Takeover Challenge.  Billy, Year 9, said: "When I was Principal I was a little nervous about doing all the work but that changed when I started doing it.  The experience was amazing and it let me explore the role of the Principal.”  During Billy’s time in my office he made a call to Clive Bramley, Chair of Pool Academy’s Governors.  Mr Bramley was impressed with Billy.  He said: “I was particularly pleased with his report on the learning experiences of students and that behaviour was good throughout the school. His report made me proud to be Chair of this Academy and it was clear that he was proud too.  Milly, Year 8, was also given a chance to become Principal.  She thoroughly enjoyed the experience but said she didn't realise a Principal had so much work to do! The Takeover Challenge was launched in 2007 by the Children’s Commissioner’s Offices as a way to encourage organisations to open their doors to young people. It’s hoped the scheme will help children see what it is like to be in the workplace.

We held a very successful Quiz Evening at the end of November.  The evening was a wonderful success and very well attended.  I am delighted to report that we raised well over £1000 and Barclays Bank have agreed to match the first £1000 through their Citizenship £4£ staff scheme. The funds raised will be used in the music department to purchase a new set of instruments for the school orchestra as well as to recondition the existing brass, strings and woodwind instruments.  It will have a huge impact on the musical opportunities that we can offer to our children.

Pool Academy has secured funding to buy a kit car to build and race in the future.  Students are being invited to get involved with a project to design and build the car at school.  The car will arrive in the next eight weeks along with a £40,000 CAD package.  Mr Jones, Science teacher, is leading the project and hopes the car will be fit for racing in different events across the country.  He is inviting local businesses to get on board to offer extra support to the project.  Mr Jones would be very interested to hear from parents who may work in relevant sectors for help and support.  Please email jjo@poolacademy.co.uk if you think you may be able to help.
 
During the Spring term, the Academy will have a greater focus on building the community and citizenship.  Mr Hamblin (nh@poolacademy.co.uk) will be working with students to launch the Pool Academy Citizenship Awards.  We encourage all students to take part in these.  We are also looking forward to our first Community Awards evening- details of this evening will be with you early in the new year.  To support this community focus, we are introducing an additional registration period in the afternoon so students can spend 30 minutes each day with their tutor and tutor group.  This means there will be a small change in the timings of lessons, but no change to the start or end times of the day.  Details can be found on our website: www.poolacademy.co.uk.
 
Please can I draw your attention to a few future events coming up next term:

New term starts: 4th January 2018

Year 11 National Citizenship Scheme Assembly: 12th January (Mrs Grenfell, ng@poolacademy.co.uk)

‘Friends of Pool Academy’ (formerly Parent and Carers’ Forum): 16th January, 6pm (Mr McKenzie, wmc@poolacademy.co.uk)

Year 7 Reports to parents: 29th January (Mr Ryder, pr@poolacademy.co.uk)

BT STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics): 31st January  (Mr Jones, jjo@poolacademy.co.uk)

Options evening for Year 8: 1st February, 4:30pm (Mr Ryder, pr@poolacademy.co.uk)

4th - 9th February: Year 10 Berlin trip (Mr Turner, mt@poolacademy.co.uk

Year 7 Parents’ evening: 7th February, 4:30pm (Mr Ryder, pr@poolacademy.co.uk)

Year 11 MOCK Interview day: 8th February (Mrs Grenfell, ng@poolacademy.co.uk)

Immunisations: 8th February (Mrs Adams, ya2@poolacademy.co.uk)

Half term: w/c 12th February
 
A reminder that the school term finishes on Tuesday 19th December at 1:15pm. The school canteen will be open for students who wish to eat their lunch before departing for home.  The school bus will arrive at 1:45pm.  If you wish for your child to remain at school until 2:55pm, please contact Sadie Sutcliffe either by phone on the number below or email (ss@poolacademy.co.uk).  The new term starts on Thursday 4th January 2018.  

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
 
Yours sincerely

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Miss Claire Meakin
Principal

Support for Your Child in their History GCSE Exams

8th December 2017

Dear Parent / Carer

Support for Your Child in their History GCSE Exams

As we get closer to the GCSE exams, I thought I would send you this letter to let you know how we in History will be helping your child and how you can support them. I hope that he or she can attend the special booster sessions below.  Please complete and return the attached reply slip to confirm attendance on any of these sessions:

History Exam dates - 

  • 4th June 2018- Paper 1 - Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present

  • 8th June 2018- Paper 2 - Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88 (British depth study)  The American West, c1835–c1895 (Period study)

  • 12th June 2018 -Paper 3 - Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

Special weekend and twilight  teaching to give a last “boost” before each exam - 

  • Sunday 3rd June  10am – 1pm
  • Thursday 7th June 3pm – 6pm
  • Sunday 10th June 10am – 1pm

After school support in History rooms available to all students to work on their own revision with a teacher present.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and some Fridays - for all Exam dates

Revision Books we Recommend you buy

Revise Edexcel GCSE History 9-1  OR  Hodder My Revision notes for Edexcel 9-1 History

Available online from Amazon or each company direct.

You will need one revision book of your choice for each unit. Please see titles in table above.

What we will be doing to help every student that wants it.

  1. History classrooms open for support and advice every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 3-5pm.
  2. We have already begun offering 1:1 intervention for those that feel they need that confidence boost.
  3. History teachers will continue to mark and provide feedback on practice questions that your child may wish to do in their own time.
  4. We are available for help and advice at our usual email addresses.

What can you do to support your child?

 ●     Buy the revision books if you can afford it. If it might be a problem, please email me below.

●     Encourage them to do as many of the above as possible.

●     Would you also be willing to test them on the facts in their revision books or the Quizlets they will be making?

I appreciate that there may be practical reasons why they cannot take advantage of all the above, but taking these opportunities now to revise and perfect their History over the coming weeks in a caring and supportive environment will be much better than sitting a paper that they are unprepared for. Many children feel extreme stress prior to taking an exam simply because they know they have not prepared. We hope to help them avoid that, with your help.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this. Please contact me if I can help in any way.

Yours sincerely

Mark Turner

Head of History 

 (mt@poolacademy.co.uk)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Please return to Student Reception who will pass on to Mr Turner

Please let us know the sessions your child will be attending

Student name:

Special weekend and twilight  teaching to give a last “boost” before each exam

Please tick

Sunday 3rd June 10-1

Thursday 7th June 3-6

Sunday 10th June 10-1

Signed: ……………………………………………………………………………. Parent / Carer

Print Name: ………………………………………………………………………. Date: ……………

Fundraising Walk, Jog or Skip to raise money for Asthma UK

Dear Parent / Carer

I am writing to let you know that we are putting on a fundraising event to help raise awareness of Asthma.

We would like all students to walk, jog, or skip a mile for this very worthwhile cause. We are asking each student to donate just £1. For each £1 donated the students will be given a raffle ticket which they will be able to win prizes such as meals out, balls, caps and lots more. The more sponsor money for each child equals more chances of winning a prize and more money raised for the Cornwall Asthma charity.  Money should be given to Main Reception.

If there are any parents and friends of the school that would like to also take part in the run, skip or walk then the PE department will also be running this for the local community after school on Thursday 14th December, Starting at 3.45.  Please could you sign in at Main Reception.

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties.

It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also appear for the first time in adults.

There's currently no cure for asthma, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it doesn't have a significant impact on your life.  Some people, particularly children, may eventually grow out of asthma. But for others it's a lifelong condition.

For more information about the symptoms, causes and treatments then please log onto the NHS website   www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma

Thank you in advance for your support.

Yours sincerely

Alastair Durant

Head of Physical Education.

Monthly Letter- November

30th November 2017
 
Dear Parents / Carers
 
We held a successful fire drill practice this halfterm and will repeat this exercise regularly across the year to ensure students feel confident about what to do in the event of the alarm going off.  As part of our work with students to safeguard against all critical events, we would like to hold 2 further drills in the next few months - a lockdown drill and a full evacuation drill.  Please be assured that the likelihood of either of these drills being needed is very low, but all responsible schools are practising these procedures with their students to ensure they feel confident about what to do.  I will send a message to you the day before we hope to carry out each drill so you are fully prepared.  If you have any questions about these though, please do contact your child’s tutor, Head of House or any member of the Leadership Team. 

A Cornwall Councillor has pledged to give a grant to help launch Pool Academy’s career support network initiative.  Philip Desmonde, Councillor for Pool and Tehidy, visited the school to find out more about the Academy’s Specialist Careers Support Network.  The scheme is soon to be launched to help as part of the children’s transition into the GCSE options at the end of Key Stage 3.  Councillor Desmonde offered to supply a grant to support the initiative which will see students and local businesses working closely.  It’s hoped this will give children insight into the real world of work and help them with future choices.

We were delighted to hear that a former Pool Academy student has been handed an apprentice award after being praised for his ‘extraordinary’ work ethic.  Oliver Weeks was given the Construction Apprentice of the Year Award, which is sponsored by Corbey Construction, at the recent Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards 2017.  Oliver, who works at RHR Construction, is described by people who know him as someone who has ‘an extraordinary work ethic’, ‘happiest when busy’ and ‘focused on the day’s tasks’.  He was nominated by his Truro & Penwith College tutor Tim Toomey.

The Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir raised more than £1,000 for charity while performing at Pool Academy.  Members of the choir visited the school recently to hold dancing, singing, drumming and art workshops during the day before putting on a public performance in the evening.  The touring group, which included singers aged seven years old and up, showcased a mixture of traditional African singing and dancing from 6.30pm.  Their colourful costumes and upbeat tunes both entertained and helped to raise £1.098.20 much-needed cash for charity.

A few general  reminders for parents/students:

●    Please leave access to school clear in case of emergency
●    Students must sign in and out at main reception when leaving the site.
●    Return slips should be returned to Student Reception
●    If socks are visible, they must be black.

Please can I draw your attention to a few future events coming up in the remainder of this Autumn term:

●    w/c 4th and 11th December - Y11 Parents can book meetings with the Senior Leadership team any day to discuss MOCK results and plans for the remainder of the year.
●    Carol Concert, Trevenson Church - 5th December, 6.30pm
●    School of Rock Production - 12th-14th December (tickets available from reception - £5 adult / £4 child)
●    Grandparents’ Christmas Lunch - 13th December


The school term finishes on Tuesday 19th December at 1.15pm. The school canteen will be open for students who wish to eat their lunch before departing for home.  The school bus will arrive at 1.45pm.  If you wish for your child to remain at school until 2.55pm, please contact Sadie Sutcliffe either by phone on the number below or email (ss@poolacademy.co.uk).  The new term starts on Thursday 4th January 2018.  

I look forward to seeing you soon but in the meantime, if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 
Yours faithfully,
  
  
Miss Claire Meakin
Principal

Year 11 Results Evening Update

Thursday 23rd November 2017

Dear Parent / Carer

I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify the arrangements for the Year 11 Results Evening next Thursday 30th November.

The event will start at 16:00 in the Main Hall where I will be delivering a short presentation.  Results will then be available for collection in the Sports Hall from 16:15.

In response to parental feedback, I will also open up the Parent Booking system from tomorrow morning, Friday 24th November to enable parents to book five minute appointments with teachers between 16:20 and 18:30 during this evening, instead of informally meeting with staff.

The booking system will also be opened up to allow you to book an appointment with myself, Mrs Neesham or Mr McKenzie during the week of Monday 4th December.

I look forward to seeing you next week.

Yours sincerely

Mr Ryder

Assistant Principal

Grandparents' Christmas Lunch

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Dear Parent / Carer

On Wednesday 13th December we will be holding our annual Christmas Lunch for Grandparents and other members of the local community.

Students who have their Grandparents coming in for the lunch will be serving for their respective Grandparents and other students from the Academy will also help.  The cost of the Christmas lunch is £3 and tickets are available from Main Reception.

Arrival is 11.45am and lunch will be served at 12 noon in the Main Hall.  We will have Christmas music playing, and a raffle will also be held with the proceeds going to a selected charity.

If you would like to invite your child’s Grandparents, please complete the slip below and return to the school reception by Monday 4th December in order for numbers to be confirmed.

Yours sincerely

Mrs K Boyall

Vice Principal

"…. …………………………………………………………………………………

Please return to Mrs S York in the Main Office by

Monday 4th December 2017.

Name of Student…………………………………………Tutor Group …………

I* / we* would like to attend the Grandparents’ Christmas Lunch on Wednesday 13th December, 12 noon.

Name of Grandparent………………………………………………………………...

Name of Grandparent ………………………………………………………………..

Name of Grandparent ………………………………………………………………..

Name of Grandparent ………………………………………………………………..

Pearl of Africa

Thursday 2nd November 2017

Dear Parent / Carer

Re: Ugandan Children’s Choir – Performance at Pool Academy

On 15th November from 6.30pm we are delighted to be hosting a performance of the Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir; a renowned Ugandan choir made up mainly of orphan children from Uganda.

The choir will be spending the day in the Academy working with selected students in 3 workshops where they will be learning African songs and dances and also learning African rhythms on drums as well as making African crafts.

In the evening, the choir will be putting on a special concert for families of Pool Academy and the local community.  They are a truly inspiring choir – everything you would expect from traditional African rhythms, song and dance.

The choir has toured the UK for the past few years, performing mainly in schools, colleges, churches and headline sports events. 

The concert is free for all who attend, with a voluntary donation.  There will be a sale of African crafts during the interval and at the end of the concert.  Through this, the choir hope to raise funds for their orphan community.

We hope to see you at the concert – it promises to be one of the performance highlights of the Academies calendar this year.

Yours sincerely

Miss Claire Meakin
Principal

Monthly Letter

30th October 2017

 Dear Parents / Carers

We need to say a huge thank you to all those parents who were able to complete our parent questionnaire.  We strive to improve our students’ and parents’ experience of Pool Academy so we are always grateful to receive feedback on how we are doing and areas we might want to focus on.  A simple summary of the responses can be found at the end of this letter for your information.  The questionnaire was anonymous but all parents who specifically left their contact details were contacted by email/phone initially, and then they were invited in to meet with us to discuss their feedback in more detail.  I have really enjoyed meeting many of you and would welcome any additional parents to make appointments by phoning Mrs Sadie Sutcliffe (Principal’s PA) on 01209 712220 or by emailing her at ss@poolacademy.co.uk. Our next Parents and Carers Forum Meeting is 21st November at 6pm and we would welcome all parents to continue the discussions about these areas during this meeting.

We have also been working with our Parents and Carers Forum to make our website more accessible.  Your comments would be appreciated and if you have any, or would like to discuss this with a member of the Leadership Team, please do get in touch.  A quick reminder too about a small change in uniform from today, Monday 30th October.  We are asking that if socks can be seen, that they are black please.  Thank you for your continued support with this.

Pool Academy’s mascot, Buzz the Bear, travelled even further after successfully completing his second mission to space.  Scores of people arrived to watch him take off at the school’s open evening.  He was strapped to a helium balloon, along with high-tech equipment, to take photographs from the air.

Despite the drizzle, and being momentarily tangled on a flood light, the bear journeyed for about an hour and a half before landing in South Devon.  He rose more than 61,000 feet into the air and at some points reached speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. The lowest temperature was recorded as minus 40 degrees.  

Mr Jones and his team collected the bear from a tree in North Devon the next day and brought back the technology to analyse the data.  Hundreds of photographs and film footage showed shots from above the clouds including the sun set.  Earlier this term a competition was run with the local Primary Schools to find reporters, presenters, engineers and designers to help make the launch night a success and they were all invited to help out with the launch.

Our Year 11s will start their Internal Exams tomorrow (Tuesday 31st October). Each subject has issued revision material for students.  Mr Ryder has also sent a link to support year 11s with any problems they are having understanding elements of their work.  Please encourage them to use this if they are having any difficulties with their work.  If you would like to speak to anyone, please feel free to contact the relevant Head of Department (email addresses on the website) or email me directly (principal@poolacademy.co.uk) and I’ll coordinate a response for you.

We continue to work with our Student Leadership Team to review the arrangements at breaktime and lunchtime.  Keeping students safe will always be our first priority and it’s important that we can properly supervise students across the site.  As the winter draws in, we will be restricting the use of the muddy fields and encouraging students to access the indoor spaces.  We have 300+ seats available in the Main Hall and 500+ seats available in classrooms meaning all students can sit at a table.  

We also have the gym open, areas for students with specific needs, access to quiet spaces and a range of teachers each day are working with students during their breaks to give them extra support where needed.  We will continue to review this provision and welcome you to get in touch if you would like to discuss it.

At the end of last year we introduced 3 Key Challenges for students - Excellent achievements, impeccable conduct and making a positive impact in the community.  We also introduced our ‘Miles scheme’ last month, where students earn achievement points to allow them to access key rewards trips.  Mr Jones (Network Manager) has been working to create an app which will allow students and parents to review students’ progress against these challenges and miles.  We hope to be able to share this with you in our next letter.

Many of you will be aware that Mrs Boase reluctantly had to resign her position at the academy earlier this month.  Mrs Boase has worked at the academy for 14 years and will be missed by students, staff and parents.  We were lucky to be able to appoint Ms Facey to start as SENDCo in January and I look forward to introducing her to you in the new year.  Across this half-term, Mrs Boyall (Vice Principal) will work closely with Mrs Adams (SEN Manager) to develop the work of the SEND team further, and Mrs Boase will continue to support key students with their reviews.  Mrs Neesham (Vice Principal) will be sending a letter to all parents about how she is securing consistent teaching for all students across the academic year.

Devon and Cornwall Police have invited all schools to take part in a project called ‘Operation Encompass’.  Operation Encompass is a Police and Education early intervention safeguarding partnership which supports children and young people exposed to domestic abuse.  A full update has been added to the end of this letter.  We believe this is a vitally important project.  If you have any questions, as always, please do get in touch with us.

We are very proud of all of our students, but we need to give a special mention to those who have recently received top certificates in a National Maths Competition.  Students from across the academy took part in the UKMT Junior Maths Challenge in July resulting in Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards being handed out as well as Best in Year titles.  More than 2,500 students from across the UK took part and had to problem solve and think their way through 25 multiple choice exam questions.  

Please can I draw your attention to a few future events coming up in the remainder of October / November:

  • w/c 31st October (and following 2 weeks) - Year 11 internal exams

  • 3rd November - The Big First Aid Lesson

  • 10th November - RAF and Royal Navy Education Programme (Year 7 and Year 8) and Next Steps South West Careers day (Year 10)

  • 15th November - Pearl of Africa choir performances

  • 16th November - Careers evening (Year 11)

  • 21st November - Parents and Carers Forum meeting, 6pm

  • 29th November - Parents and Carers Quiz Night, 7pm

I look forward to seeing you at an event soon but in the meantime, if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,  

Miss Claire Meakin

Principal
 

Pool Academy’s Parental Questionnaire - October 2017

At least 80% of parents said:
Their child is happy
Their child feels safe
Their child is well looked after
They were happy or very happy with the progress their child is making
Their child is taught well

Three quarters of parents said:
The Academy ensures all students behave
Their child receives an appropriate amount of homework
The Academy is well led and managed
They would recommend the Academy to another parent.


Areas of focus for the Academy now are:

Responding to concerns:
All parents who left their contact details in the questionnaire, have been contacted specifically about the concern they raised, but also invited to come in to talk generally about their experiences.  
All parents have been invited to informal drop in sessions and to book formal appointments.  
The Senior Leadership Team all attended the first Parents Carers Forum meeting to introduce themselves and have an informal discussion about their aims for this year.
We ask that if parents have concerns, please get in touch and we will aim to resolve these with you as soon as possible. (principal@poolacademy.co.uk

Communicating with all stakeholders about the Academy’s Anti-Bullying strategy:
We are introducing an anti-bullying charter that all students will participate in making.  This charter will then be placed around all rooms in the academy.
We will be asking more students to volunteer to be trained as our academy anti-bullying ambassadors.  We will be running these sessions leading up to the Secondary Schools’ National Bullying Awareness Week from 13th - 17th November organised by the Anti Bullying Alliance. 
At the next Parents Carers Forum meeting, Mr Walker will be available for questions about our charter and other actions for the academy on this area.

Ensuring all progress information is as valuable as possible:
Mr Ryder (Assistant Principal) is working with our Parents Carers Forum to produce a summary sheet that details when parents can expect to receive information, what it means and how they can best support their child.
Please contact him by phone or email (pr@poolacademy.co.uk) if you’d like to work with him on this.
 

Staffing and Timetable Changes

Monday 30th October 2017

Dear Parent / Carer

I am writing to let you know that we will have some necessary staffing and timetable changes required from the start of November. Pool Academy recognises the importance of students having access to high quality teaching from consistent staff and have updated the timetable to ensure all students have this.

Mrs Ludlow will continue to be absent whilst her treatment continues and as Miss Meakin has informed parents, Mrs Boase has also reluctantly left the Academy. Students will be provided with new copies of timetables on Wednesday 1st November, with any changes that are going to take place, starting on that day.

I would like to reassure parents that the Academy continues to strive for the best possible outcomes and learning experience for our learners. If you have any questions or comments about this news, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Mrs L Neesham

Vice Principal

 

Operation Encompass

Dear Parent/Carer,
 
The school has been given the opportunity to take part in a project that will run jointly between schools and Devon and Cornwall Police

Operation Encompass is the reporting to schools, prior to the start of the next school day, when a child or young person has exposed to, or involved in, any domestic incident.

Operation Encompass will ensure that a member of the school staff, known as a Key Adult, is trained to allow them to liaise with the police and to use the information that has been shared, in confidence, while ensuring that the school is able to make provision for possible difficulties experienced by children, or their families, who have been involved in, or exposed to, a domestic abuse incident.

We are keen to offer the best support possible to all our pupils and we believe this will be extremely beneficial for all those involved.

Yours sincerely


Miss Claire Meakin
Principal
 

Response to National Funding Formula Announcement

28th September 2017

Response to National Funding Formula Announcement – Sept2017

Dear Parent/Carer,

Following the Secretary of State for Education’s announcement about school funding on 14 September 2017, Headteachers working across 17 counties – from Cornwall to Norfolk - believe that you have the right to know the facts that will affect your child’s education for years to come. 

The attached information factsheet draws only from information provided by the Department of Education and the Independent Institute of Fiscal Studies.  The implications of the newly announced funding formula are profound.

Is £1.3 billion enough?

It should be acknowledged that introducing a new national formula was complex and challenging.  This Government is the first in a generation to try and grasp the nettle.  Schools that have previously been at or below the “breadline” do receive some improvements to their funding position, but the universal view of Headteachers across the 17 counties is that this is not enough to make a real difference.

In July 2017, the Government announced that schools would benefit from £1.3 billion of additional funding.  This does not, however, make up for the £3 billion overall reduction that was already announced and planned for 2015-20.   Over a five year period, there is a shortfall of approximately £1.7 billion.  The Institute of Fiscal Studies states that during 2015-20 school budgets will have been cut in real terms by 4.6%. 

This means that there is simply not enough money in the system.  As a result, the Department for Education is unable to implement a new funding formula that meaningfully addresses the two principal aims of their new policy.  These are, firstly, to fund all schools adequately and secondly, to ensure that schools with the same socio-economic / school based characteristics in one area of the country will be funded the same as another in a different part of the country.

So, how do the new arrangements work?

Instead, due to the £1.7 billion shortfall, the new funding formula is now dependent on a series of limits (capping) to either how much a school can gain or potentially lose from the formula.  The caps are largely arbitrary and mean that any new per pupil funding is often based on the previously discredited formula.

Better funded schools gain funding protection which means that their relative positions are unaltered.  We have no real issue with this.  Schools such as ours know how challenging and difficult it is when budgets are reduced and squeezed to the limit.  The problem is, however, that in order to fund these protections the Government is limiting what many other low funded schools will be able to gain under the new formula.  Crucially, these differences will not last for a year or two, they will last for years and years. 

What does this mean for our schools?

The examples shown on the attached factsheet are truly shocking.  Parents and Carers need to be clear that schools in very similar socio-economic areas will continue to have entirely different levels of funding. This often amounts to hundreds of thousands of pounds in the primary sector and even millions of pounds across the secondary sector each year. 

Far from being resolved, your child’s education will still be at the behest of a post code funding lottery.  Some schools with the same socio-economic characteristics will be able to afford teacher/pupil class sizes of 20, whilst others will have to make do with 35.  Some children will have three Teaching Assistants in their class, whilst others from similar backgrounds in a different part of the country will have none.   At the end of the day though, all pupils will take exactly the same Key Stage 2 tests and go on to take the same maths and English GCSEs.  Their futures are simply not being fairly catered for. 

By the same token, “similar schools” with entirely different budgets will be made accountable via identical league tables and OFSTED inspections.  How can this be fair or reasonable?

So what do we do now?

As stated previously, costs will continue to rise and again differently funded schools will have different abilities to soak them up.  All school budgets will be under severe pressure, but some will be under much greater strain than others.  

As Headteachers, we simply want to see every child’s school in England, funded adequately.  It is not about all schools receiving identical amounts of money, but it is about the fair application of a formula right across the country. 

We recognise that there has been some improvement to our budgets and that as a country we must live within our means.  We cannot, however, suggest the new formula is, in any way, satisfactory.  The finances of very low funded schools are still insufficient to provide the service that your child deserves.

Your influence as parents/carers is utterly vital.  Please discuss these issues with your local MPs and local representatives.  There are also many active local parent groups who you can engage with.  We will continue to lobby vigorously too and provide further updates shortly.

In his budget in March 2018, the Chancellor must do better to support your child’s education.  MPs and education ministers must continue to bang the drum until every child’s education is fully and fairly funded.   

Yours sincerely

Miss Claire Meakin

Principal