End of year assembly 2021-22

In this week’s assemblies I started with some facts and figures. I told the students: 

  • That there were 1,663 of them at the Academy
  • That we have 168 staff to teach, care for and support them 
  • 160,100 rewards points issued – an average of 92.81 per student
  • That 542 students have reached the milestone of 125 conduct points required for a Headteacher’s Commendation
  • That 220 have reached the 175 points needed for a Trustees’ Commendation 
  • 512 students ordered a maroon “clubs” hoodie in the first round of ordering, to celebrate their participation in extra-curricular activities this year
  • There were only two points between first and second place in this year’s inter-house academics competition

Of course, the facts and figures only tell part of the story. I went back through the photo archive to jog memories of some of the things our students have got up to this year:

Even these pictures don’t tell the full story. They don’t capture the daily successes and setbacks of lessons and social times, the small things that make a big difference. I spoke at the Celebration of Success events this week about how the mark of a Churchill student is how they respond to both; what they learn from both the achievements and the obstacles to their progress; how they overcome their difficulties, how they build on their accomplishments. These are truly the things that we should celebrate this year.

Priorities

I also spoke to students about the progress we have made on our priorities. I spoke to them about our sustainability initiatives, and how proud we are to have reduced our carbon footprint by just over 70% since 2015. I also congratulated students who had participated in our Seeking Sustainability competition, especially the winning teams from Tudor House with Project Paperless, and Lancaster House’s Chicken Team, who will be implementing their projects over the coming academic year.

We also reviewed our progress on our priority for inclusion and diversity, and I reinforced the importance that every single one of us has to ensure that every student feels welcome and included at school. We have made great strides forward over the course of the year, but we know that this work is never finished – and we are committed to continuing our efforts to educate and empower our students to go on making a positive difference.

The House Cup

The House Cup: who will win?

It was an unusual end-of-year assembly, because I was not able to award the House Cup. The postponement of Sports Day means that, at the time of writing, there are still enough points up for grabs that any house could still triumph in the year-long competition. Tudor are in the lead, but Windsor are only just behind them, with Lancaster, Stuart and Hanover snapping at their heels. Tudor have already won the Academics Cup this year, and Lancaster have won the Head of House Challenge Cup – but the overall competition is still wide open. I am assured that, through the wonders of modern technology, the Sports Day scores will be fed instantaneously into the supercomputer to provide us with an overall total for both competitions on Friday. So, at the end of the events, we will be able to award the Tug of War trophy, the Sports Day cup, and the overall House Cup – all in one go! Check the Academy’s newsletter for the final result…

Summer

Finally, I went through the plans we have in place to ensure all students stay safe in the coming heatwave, before wishing them all a restful and relaxing summer holiday – which is well deserved after this rollercoaster of a year!

End of year assembly

In my end-of-year assemblies this week, I have tried to do three things. Firstly, I have tried to look back over the year that we’ve had. Secondly, I have celebrated the successes of our students – including awarding the House Cup! And finally, I have looked ahead to next year.

The year gone by

SARS-CoV-2 virus

The year has, of course, been dominated by the coronavirus. It is a tiny thing, ≈0.1 μm in diameter, yet it has led to more than 5m cases and 128,000 deaths in England, according to government figures. It’s worth remembering: this is not normal. This is not how we are used to living. And we hope that it will change.

It’s easy to characterise the year gone by in terms of what we’ve missed out on. From October, we’ve missed out on our vertical tutor groups, which make our House system so strong. After Christmas we were locked down, with some students joining us in school for Frontline, but most of them set up at home with laptops, tablets or mobile phones to access Google Meets and Zooms. We missed out on face to face teaching, on seeing our friends, and on seeing our families. We’ve missed out on holidays, on trips to the cinema or the theatre, on seeing live music and sporting events.

It has been a hard year. But I don’t want to focus on what we’ve missed out on. What I want to do is to be grateful for the fact that we are here. We are together at the end of this really difficult year with a lot to be grateful for. If we start with where we are as a country, we can see that many, many fewer people are now dying as a result of COVID-19. We should be grateful to the amazing National Health Service for the vaccination programme they have rolled out, as well as the incredible care they have offered during this pandemic.

As a school we are grateful that, thanks to the efforts and focus of our students during lockdown and beyond, we are seeing that the vast majority have remained on track with learning through this year. In other words, our students are not a million miles away from where we would expect them to be in if they hadn’t spend several months learning through a screen.

Celebrating success

I was really pleased that we were able to complete our Activities Week and Sports Day towards the end of term, despite the pandemic. These were great opportunities to celebrate successes, including learning beyond the classroom in different environments. Of course, Tudor House won through on Sports Day, although Lancaster led the way in Year 8, and Hanover in Years 9 and 10 – so next year it’s all up for grabs!

Over this last week of term, alongside holding the finals of our Bake Off, Poetry and Spelling Bee competitions, we have been sending home our Celebration of Success certificates to students whose attitude to learning, academic accomplishments, and personal qualities shine through day after day, week after week, month after month. It has been a great honour to review those awards and see them added to this year’s Roll of Honour. I hope that, next year, we will be able to hand them out in person.

The established end-of-year traditions have also been disrupted this year – and the House Cup competition is no exception. There have been many fewer inter-house events than we would have normally held, and we are really looking forward to coming back full throttle next year! The competition was still held however, with the following winners:

  • Academics: combination of each House’s attendance, conduct points and effort grades – winners STUART HOUSE and LANCASTER HOUSE.
  • Competitions: combined totals from all the inter-house competitions – winners TUDOR HOUSE.
  • Overall House Cup Winners: combined totals from all the inter-house activities – winners TUDOR HOUSE

Congratulations to all our students – and especially to Tudor House!

Looking ahead

The pandemic will still be with us in the year ahead. However the new guidance on contact tracing and isolation outlined in my recent update letter to parents will, we hope, reduce the disruption caused to education. We are looking forward to what we hope will be an uninterrupted year with our students, to get back to what we do best – inspiring and enabling young people to make a positive difference.

We are so grateful to our students for the positive difference they have made to our Academy community by being part of it this year. In our students I see bundles of potential, just waiting to be channelled and unleashed on the world. Even when things have been difficult, they have been a pleasure to work with. We are so proud of the positive difference they have made to themselves this year: the progress they have made in their learning; the confidence, resilience and determination they have built up as they have overcome challenges; and the kindness they have shown to themselves and others in their actions. As we step forward to next year in pursuit of the priorities laid out in our development plan, we look forward to what we can achieve together.

More immediately, of course, we are looking forward to a well-deserved summer break. After the year we’ve had, our students deserve some time to rest, recharge and recover – and our staff desperately need it too! The Headteacher’s Blog will return in September.

Churchill Academy & Sixth Form, summer 2021

Celebrating Success: The House Cup 2019-20

This has been a year like no other! Despite all the challenges, there has been much to celebrate. In this, our final week, we have devoted ourselves to celebrating success – and awarding the House Cup!

House Cup: Attendance

We have only counted attendance up to March this year…for obvious reasons!

Congratulations to the overall winners: STUART HOUSE!

House Cup: Events

There have been a number of inter-house competitions this year. Not as many as we would have liked to have held, but we managed to squeeze some in!

House Cup: Attitude to Learning

For this competition, we take the average attitude to learning for every student in each house in each year group. All “Highly Motivated” grades scores 100%, and all “Disengaged” would score 0% (nobody actually scored this at Churchill!)

Many congratulations to the overall Attitude to Learning winners: TUDOR HOUSE!

House Cup: Conduct Points

For this competition we total up the net reward points for each house, and subtract any concern points issued. We also do an average score per student because there aren’t quite the same number of students in each house – but this year, that doesn’t change the overall standings!

Congratulations to the Conduct Points winners: TUDOR HOUSE!

House Cup: House Matches

We haven’t been able to hold all our House Matches this year, but we did have an inter-house virtual House Match Quiz during lockdown!

Congratulations to the overall House Matches winners: WINDSOR HOUSE!

House Cup: Virtual Sports Day

Sports Day is one of the highlights of the Academy Calendar. We didn’t let lockdown put us off, and Team PE ran a week-long virtual sports day this year instead! There were 1.3k hits on the website, with 880 entries from 600 unique users over the course of the week…with a nail-biting finale which went right to the wire!

House Cup: The Final Result

One of the privileges of being Headteacher is that I have no House allegiances at all. This means that I am the only one who has access to the top secret massive House Competition spreadsheet, where all of the points from all the competitions are fed into a secret formula to keep running totals and calculate the winner. And this year, the winner is…

WINDSOR HOUSE!

Congratulations to Windsor, who ran out clear winners. Fortunately, Mr Cross was in school this week, so I was able to hand over the Sports Day Trophy and the House Cup, adorned with Windsor blue ribbons, for a quick photo. What a great way to mark his final year in charge of Windsor!

Congratulations to Windsor House!

Next year, with five houses in the running and (we hope) the Academy open all year, all bets are off and it’s anyone’s game! Remember, every day you turn up to school, every reward point you earn, every grade you get on your report, every competition you take part in…they all contribute to your house total. Everybody counts. Well done to all of you for all your efforts this year!