Principal’s blog January 2017
Firstly I would like to wish you all a happy new year, I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas holiday. It was lovely to welcome all staff and students back to school and to see everybody looking refreshed and ready for a new term and a new year.
The autumn term was a very memorable one at the academy in which we settled in to life within our superb new building; the building really has enhanced the provision and ethos of the academy and will serve us well long in to the future. Work is still progressing well on our sports facilities and external landscaping and in May/June of 2017 the whole project will be complete. This will provide us with a completely refurbished sports hall, a brand new fitness suite and activity studio, an additional school yard, tennis courts and a new 3G sports pitch along with enhanced parking provision and soft landscaping. 2016 was a successful year in many other respects too at BCA:
- There was a new measure introduced by the government last year to judge the GCSE performance of students across 8 GCSE subjects; this measure is called Progress 8. In 2016, we achieved a Progress 8 score of -0.05 which was in line with the national average and ranked as 4th best of all Warrington high schools.
- We had a very successful external review of our provision for students with special educational needs in December which recognised the strength of the practice at the academy in this area. Our processes were described as ‘rigorous’ and it was noted that we have ‘high aspirations’ for all of our students. We are proud to be a fully inclusive school and this report provides strong evidence of this.
- Students’ attendance is currently the best it has ever been; it is above the national average and is amongst the highest of all high schools in Warrington. Good attendance is vitally important for students’ success and I would like to thank you in supporting us to achieve this goal.
- Reports of bullying also remain low, this is due in part to our ‘tell us’ strategy where students can report any issues they have or witness via an email system firstname.lastname@example.org, please encourage your children to use this system or to speak to any member from the pastoral team if they have any concerns.
- Our Respect curriculum is now firmly embedded across the academy; this was a new curricular strategy introduced in September 2016 to facilitate personal development and to ensure students are prepared for life in modern Britain. You can read more about this strategy on our website.
- We have recently received applications from Year 6 parents hoping to send their sons and daughters to us next September. For the third year running we are significantly over-subscribed and cannot offer enough places to meet the need; this reflects our strong reputation in the local area.
- Two groups of students deserve a particular mention for notable achievements last term. Firstly a group of aspiring female engineers from Year 9 did exceptionally well in defeating some strong opposition to win the Cheshire heat of the ‘Makeit’ challenge, they are now through to the regional final. Also our sporting success continues as the Year 7 team has now made it through to the north west final of the Cheshire cup, good luck boys.
We are very proud of these successes but we know there is a lot more hard work to do in 2017 and we have a lot of challenges to face. There have been numerous changes imposed upon schools recently: GCSEs are being reformed and a new GCSE grading system is being introduced this year; national curriculum levels have been removed which will affect how students are assessed and how we report to parents and carers; we also have work to do to ensure all subjects and all students perform to their potential.
Our focus for this academic year is to promote ‘challenge and independence’ with all of our students to enable them to be successful and to cope with increasing demands of the terminal examination system and the wider world. We are spending a lot of time ensuring all students’ are challenged both in class and at home and we would ask that parents and carers make sure home learning is encouraged and supported to compliment the work we do in school.
I am confident we will cope with these challenges well; we are lucky to have a strong and committed staff, a fantastic student body and supportive parents & carers at BCA and I look forward to another positive year.
Mr A Moorcroft BA (Hons), NPQH