Academy Director's blog - 21 February 2017

21st February 2017

Academy Director's blog Feb2017Welcome back to Queen Elizabeth’s. I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on a very busy and productive half term.

I hope that you have been able to make the most of our new mobile phone app called ‘My Ed’ which is giving parents vital, live information about their child’s attendance, reward and behaviour points and is an easy way that we can communicate with parents. It translates information for our parents who have English as an additional language and is a free way for you to communicate back and forth with us, pay for meals and check your child’s timetable. Search ‘My Ed’ in your app store if you would like access to this excellent tool.

We have had some new staff join the Academy who I would be delighted to introduce, and some staff who have taken on important new roles within the Academy:

  • Laura Dewsnap and Tanya Jones are our new teachers in the Science department and they have already added strength and consistency to the department and they bring with them complementary skills, Tanya is a biology specialist and Laura is a physics specialist. They are highly motivated and keen to ensure that the Science department performs highly this year.
  • Ceri Graham is an established teacher of Science at Queen Elizabeth’s who has been promoted to Progress Leader within the Science faculty. She has clear ideas about how to move the faculty forward and ensure that teaching and learning is at a consistently high level, working closely with the new Head of Faculty to bring about significant improvements in this faculty.
  • We are delighted to welcome Oliver Saunders who started in January as Head of Humanities and Science. A very experienced Head of Faculty, he has brought stability, improved data tracking and a clear vision for the faculty. This has already begun to show significant impact in the classrooms including the introduction of innovative new schemes of work which are directly linked to the new advanced curriculum.

We have appointed progress leaders for each key stage to keep a particular focus on the progress made by students in all subjects:

  • Lesley Hill, an experienced MFL and English teacher has been appointed as the Progress Leader for Key stage 3 and will start by analysing recent test results to identify high fliers who might be part of our Accelerate Programme, and also to work with students who may be falling behind to ensure that we support them to remove any barriers they may be facing.
  • Rachel Williams, an experienced Child development and Health and Social care teacher is the newly appointed Progress Leader for Key stage 4 and her work will mirror that of Lesley, but with an eye also on the transition to KS5, ensuring that students are on the correct curriculum pathways to achieve their future goals and that they have had excellent, independent careers advice.

The SEND department has grown to ensure that students with special educational needs or disabilities are well supported and that they make progress in line with their peers. The appointments of Daniel Bradford and Rob Hudson as Assistant SENCOs have added valuable experience and capacity to this department and we are working extremely hard to ensure that every child’s individual needs are identified and supported. Parents and carers of students with additional needs meet with the SEND team regularly and programmes of support are developed and reviewed with the needs of the child at the centre of all discussions.

You will have seen that we have made some changes to the order of the academy day which is now in place (the start and finish times are unchanged), to ensure that tutors can have an excellent view of progress, behaviour and attendance for their tutor groups. The role of the tutor has never been more vital and they will be an important part of our journey to Outstanding – and they will be a vital first contact for parents/carers. Your child will receive a welcome letter from their tutor this week which will give you important contact details, the academy focus for the term and an important ‘What to do if’ section.

Attendance is going to be a huge focus for this term, we are unable to do the best job that we can for your child when they are not in the academy regularly and our attendance policy defines ‘regularly’ as 97% or more. We would value greatly your support in ensuring that students are on time, (in class for 8.30am), and that they attend every day wherever possible. Could I also remind you that our breakfast club is open from 7.40am and is free for all students.

Important contact details:
lhill@queenelizabeths-ac.org.uk – Progress leader for Key stage 3
rwilliams@queenelizabeths-ac.org.uk – Progress leader for Key stage 4
osaunders@queenelizabeths-ac.org.uk – Head of Science and Humanities

I look forward to welcoming the students and staff back after what I hope has been a restful and enjoyable half term holiday.