IN THE TOP 7% OF SCHOOLS!

We were very pleased yesterday to see the DfE publish the provisional school league tables for 2019.

The key headlines from the all-important Progress measure are that Boston Spa Academy is 4th in the city of Leeds and in the top 7% of all schools nationally (426/6498).

The data is all in the public domain. You can sort the data by local authority, allowing you to see the performance of schools both in Leeds and North Yorkshire, so the key performance indicator, the progress children make, can be seen and it looks like this:

Boston Spa Academy 0.51
Garforth Academy 0.50
St. Aiden’s 0.48
St. John Fisher 0.43
King James Knaresborough 0.40
Tadcaster Grammar School 0.31
Harrogate Grammar School 0.27
Rossett Academy 0.07
Wetherby High School -0.18

The score of 0.51 means that every child is achieving over half a grade higher in every one of their GCSEs compared with their peers across the country.

Of the top four schools in Leeds three are from The GORSE Academies Trust. In the top eight schools in Leeds, seven hold Ofsted ‘Outstanding’’ judgements, Boston Spa being the only school yet to achieve this recognition.

We are pleased, but not yet satisfied. The drive to see this level of achievement maintained for the students at Boston Spa Academy is absolute.

ROWING

Last Saturday our Year 12 rowers made their first foray onto the water for the 2019-20 rowing season.  This was a very exciting day, as the squad have been training extremely hard in the gym for the past six weeks. It marks the start of an exciting time for the development of the rowing programme here at Boston Spa Academy.

The students were exceptional and special mention must go to Millie Thomson who went in a single and despite an early dip, showed outstanding resilience and determination in her desire to get off the tow rope, to end up paddling with incredible confidence.

October half-term will also see some forty selected Year 8 and Year 9 students embark on their first  journey as part of The GORSE Boat Club, with a training camp which will have two coaches coaching 4 sessions a day for 5 days. This will see a total of around 100 students on the water over the course of the week. Exciting times.

FORENSIC READING

We know that reading is the fundamental foundation of progress in school. We know that building knowledge, vocabulary, understanding and critical thinking are key to success in the curriculum and so the Trust-wide initiative for Forensic Reading is very important as a strategy to build these fundamentals.

The Trust has gifted each student a beautifully designed anthology to allow insights into topics and ideas that they would not otherwise be covering as part of their normal school curriculum. The strand that we are currently working in covers women, suffrage and misogyny through extracts from ‘Of Mice and Men’, the dramatic monologue ‘My Last Duchess’, an article by Camilla Long about Hugh Heffner, and ‘Fight Like a Girl’ by Clementine Ford. Through these incredibly challenging texts, students are being taught about highly topical social, moral and cultural issues, including such subjects as the gender pay gap, institutionalised misogyny, workplace harassment, and many other issues that we as a society are seeking to challenge.

The high-level vocabulary and grammatical structures used in these texts challenge students in not only an emotional sense, but a literary sense as well, meaning that their awareness of the world around them, and their written and oral communication skills are significantly improved as a result of their time in Forensic Reading lessons.

Ben Thornton (Year 7) tells us: “I really like the forensic reading lessons because it’s interesting and we learn about things that happened in the past and things that are influencing our community now”. Larina Sabah (Year 8) comments: “I like forensic reading because you learn about things like feminism and suffrage. I really like debating and I enjoy the arguments, because the historical perspectives interest me”. Leyla Ergul (Year 9) says: “I like it because it’s a chance to debate and you get to express your opinion and I am very opinionated. It’s also a chance to have a discussion about important issues – the topics are interesting and ideas about feminism are something I’m very passionate about”.

If you would like to know more about Forensic Reading please contact Miss Forster via Reception.

CELEBRATING ACHIEVEMENT

Well done to all the students who have been presented with their Bronze Awards in Celebration Assemblies this week. We are very proud of you all; the full list is here.

ATTENDANCE AND PASTORAL OFFICER OPPORTUNITY

We are recruiting for an Attendance and Pastoral Officer, and as ever on these occasions we would welcome applications from our community.

Working as part of The GORSE Academies Trust, Boston Spa Academy ensures that students receive an outstanding education that focuses on aspiration, high expectations and personalisation. Together these non-negotiable values instil in young people a self-belief that enables students to access the highest standard of higher education provision and employment.

We are looking to appoint an Attendance and Pastoral Officer who is a compassionate individual with a practical approach to providing support and challenge regarding the punctuality and attendance of our students. We are looking for someone who has a positive and flexible approach, who can communicate effectively, maintaining confidentiality, and who is tenacious until the required outcome is achieved.

The purpose of this post is to analyse, identify student absences, and take appropriate action to support students back into the academy. As an innovator and educator, you will see the breadth of this opportunity and will be excited by the potential to have a positive impact on students’ attendance, and ultimately their academic achievements.

I hope this post is of interest to you; further details and all that you require to apply can be found here .

EMBRACING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Tiyamike Gadi (Year 9) writes of her experience over the summer in Malawi.

“During the summer I was very fortunate to go and visit my family in Malawi.  This was a learning experience for me as I visited a school that is run by my auntie.  This was a very different experience from schools in England. Being in Malawi allowed me to see the value for education that the people have. Throughout Malawi people considered education to be important and without it you would have less life choices. Meeting the teenagers there really opened my eyes to how they appreciate education and everything that they have available to them .They understand that respect for each other is key; they remember why you are at school and what your purpose is in school.

The average school day is quite different in some ways as they start much earlier. You are at school for 7am and do not finish till 4pm.  The subjects are similar but have a very practical influence and are focussing on significant life issues that are relevant today for all young people such as workshops on AIDS, knife crime, xenophobia. And also the expressive arts.

Whilst there I spoke to the Head Teacher of the school and he was teaching me about xenophobia which is something that I was not really educated about before.  I found this subject really interesting and I was shocked to hear his experience in South Africa, where he was told not to disturb the children as they could cause harm to him as the children are exposed to crime and violence at an early age and do not treat strangers well because they are fearful of them.

I enjoy my culture and I am appreciative of what I have learned in Malawi. I am proud of my family’s heritage and I think this is such an important quality as a person.  I am proud of my different backgrounds and feel privileged to have an understanding of cultures, with my mum coming from the Philippines and my dad from Malawi, and with it the trials and tribulations that they have experienced.”

SPORTS NEWS

On Tuesday the Year 7, 8 and 9 boys’ football teams travelled to Bruncliffe Academy to compete in the next stage of the Gorse Games.

The Year 7 team did fantastically well and finished as runners up in the group. The Year 8 team were unlucky to draw a couple of games that they dominated which cost them dearly and they finished in third place. The Year 9 team struggled in the first couple of games but they managed a draw and win, and they finished fifth.

We are really proud of the boys. They performed exceptionally well and showed great character and sportsmanship throughout. These results are coupled with the girls’ results from last week and leave us joint leaders after the first event of the competition.

Next up for the Gorse Games is Indoor Athletics in November.