Back by popular demand!

It seems like a long time since I have written a blog. Actually, it is a long time.  The Academy is moving along at pace and every day is active and full of learning and skills development. Whilst the blog has been down, the following has happened and is worth a mention.

  • Crib Festival
  • Christmas lunch
  • Small Nose Theatre company, a collaboration between History and Drama
  • Carol Concert
  • Food boxes delivered to charity
  • Women in Black workshop in the West End
  • Cross Country success
  • Two stories on Anglia News praising our work on safeguarding and our inclusive community.
  • Themed lunches for Burns night and Mexican
  • Launched our search for a Chantry Alumni
  • English Speaking union working with our Y8 students
  • Launched our partnership with Eastern Region Training
  • Visit to Suez Recycling centre
  • Rugby success
  • Y9 student leadership conference at Ipswich Town FC
  • Positively Mad study skills with Y8-11
  • Amazing production of Hairspray
  • Visit from the STEM ambassadors programme
  • Professional Dance auditions
  • We also had some snow
  • Lots of learning

However, I would like to spend some time talking about a few of the recent activities that have stuck in my mind.

This week, we opened our doors to Y5 to provide them with a flavour of life at Chantry during our Y5 Open Evening. This was an excellent chance for our students to talk to Y5 about the work they do, the expectations they meet and the aspirations they are working towards achieving. As I am sure you are already aware, I am immensely proud of the students and how they respond to others. But during the evening, it was clear that our students even exceed my own expectations. The feedback from visitors was tremendous, typical comments illustrated this “they are a credit to the school” and “I was so impressed with how positive they are”.

On the same evening, we also hosted  our Y8 options evening. Our students get to choose a selection of courses which they will study at GCSE level for the next three years. This has clearly sparked a lot of interest, with parents and students keen to hear from the staff about the possibilities and prospects whilst studying the subjects.  I was overwhelmed with the response from parents, all appreciating the benefit of an additional years study.

This week has also seen our careers week in full swing, Mr Moseley and Miss Richards have organised a range of opportunities for our students to hear from a number of representatives from industry.  These included Ipswich Town FC, National Health Service, A-Tools, Barclays, Paramedic Science and Aim Apprenticeships. Over the week, students attended amended timetables to ensure they had the chance to attend workshops, assemblies and QA sessions. This has caused a real buzz around the academy as students are talking about what they now want to be, how to get there and what they need to do to reach their goal.

Over the last few weeks, our students have been performing the hit stage musical “Hairspray”. The students gave it everything, and had “power and punch” in their performance. I am always taken aback by the commitment, dedication, talent and confidence that our students demonstrate when they have to.  A special mention must also go to Ms Denny, Miss Lincoln, Mr Perry, Miss Sadler and the Derrimans – without their input and vision, the production would not have been such a mind blowing event. The students had 5 performances with a total audience of over 1300 including our feeder primary schools, and we are delighted that our whole community got behind our performers.

 

Finally, as we look back over the years of continual improvement, we can see that Chantry Academy is not only becoming the school of choice, but is a school which our students and the whole community can be proud of. Once again, our forthcoming Y7 cohort will be full, and we are therefore operating a waiting list for our 2018/19 Y7 intake.  This is a real vote of confidence in the work of our staff and students, in building what is proving to be an excellent school.

 

 

 

 

 

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Books, the Bard and a Bear (Pudsey)

This week has seen the academy offer a record number of opportunities for our students. I’m always blown away by the dedication of our staff and readiness of our students to participate in extended learning. Our vision states that students have the opportunity to exceed their Aspirations. This week has been testament to the whole community supporting our VALUED ethos.
Over the last two weeks, Mr Wilder has been arranging our library fortnight in partnership with our feeder primary schools. During these two weeks, the library becomes the key feature of the school. Students have library lessons, we have book sales and we launch our new additions to our extensive library collection. This year the fortnight has coincided with the Chantry Book Jam, where we have worked alongside our primary partners to increase the profile of reading within the community. This week alone we have hosted a number of authors, who have not only worked with and presented to our students, but also children from The Oaks, Gusford, Hillside, Ranlegh and Sprites primary schools.

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Andy Briggs joined us at the Academy on Monday. Andy is a screenwriter, graphic novelist, author and conservationist – writing on movie projects such as “JUDGE DREDD”, “FREDDY VS JASON” and “FOREVERMAN” for Paramount Pictures, Spiderman creator Stan Lee and legendary producer Robert Evans.  He has worked on TV projects for Syfy, Netflix, ITV and Amazon, and is working extensively between the UK, US and China.

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Jane Elson joined us on Thursday and Friday to speak to students and work with classes. Jane’s novels are based on her experiences and those of a child with Autism. Sitting in on the session she gave a real insight to our students of what this feels like as one living with Autism.

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On Wednesday we hosted James Campbell, comedian and author of the Boy Face series.  James won a playwriting festival at the age of 19, and has since visited 2500 schools to discuss his passion for writing.  At weekends and holiday times, James has performed his Comedy 4 Kids show all over the world. Currently in the middle of a rebrand, his current show is calling itself “The Funny Thing About..” and is a mixture of comedy for children.

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Remaining on the literary theme I was delighted to attend our Y9 performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at DanceEast on Thursday.  Our students performed a modern take on the story with night club scenes, “lads” culture and real passion delivered with each line. It is rare that students have the opportunity to perform Shakespeare in a professional theatre setting, after all the Bard’s performances come alive when they are skilfully performed. The beauty of live performance is that you stop having to translate the Elizabethan prose as the acting absorbs you into the moment. I was so proud of the students, and the skills they acquired during this performance. A big thank you to Miss Lincoln and Miss Sadler for dedicating their time to such a valuable experience.

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Confidence comes from experience, and increasing the number of experiences available to our students, has a marked impact on their sense of belonging to our community.  This week our dedicated sports teams have been in action.  Our Y7 & Y8 rugby teams have played against Westbourne and Northgate.  Both years played brilliantly securing a few wins for the Chantry Wolves.
Our Y9/10 girls football team were knocked out of the National Cup by this year’s favourites Bottisham. The girls enjoyed an excellent run in their first year in the competition, and we are proud they got so far.
This past fortnight has also seen additional learning opportunities for our upper school students as the University of Suffolk visited to deliver a session on law and social media. A big thank you to those involved, as many of us are keen to use social media but unable to relate the implications of their actions to a legal context. It was a real eye opener for our students, who now understand that what they say “informally” on social media is admissible as evidence in any investigation. This does raise the question, are children socially responsible to have social media accounts?

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Whilst on my social responsibility soap box, it is essential that students reflect on how their conduct to and from school impacts on others. We often talk about good first impressions and how people form their opinions on a fraction of the information about you. We ask our students how you want to be perceived. Unanimously, they wish to be seen as a positive influence. How they cycle, scoot, walk and even cross the road impacts on that first impression. BUT more importantly it impacts on their safety. Last week, I wrote to parents to say that students should ensure they have the appropriate high visibility, lights and protection whilst cycling or scooting. It is good to see a number have heeded the advice.
Y11 have recently had their first parents evening to discuss their progress with their teachers. What are their next steps? What do they need to improve? What are their successes and areas of strength?  A large number of our students have already got 2 or more GCSEs at higher grades, this really supports their college applications and gives them a choice of what they do next year.
At this time each year, we remember those who have fallen in defence of our national values. I was touched by the emotion and respect shown by our students during the silence held on the 10th November.  Thank you to the whole community for joining with us for this moment and special thanks to Mrs Denny for supplying the atmospheric Last Post.  It was a moving scene to have our students’ line up along the refectory to pay their respects. This was extended as our Senior Student Leadership team attended the remembrance service in Christchurch Park on Sunday, and laid a wreath on behalf of our Chantry community.

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Today, we have been involved in the BBC Children in Need appeal with all our students donating to wear non-uniform. Students and staff have also prepared a large selection of cakes and biscuits which have been sold to raise money for such a great cause.

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Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff and students for their continued dedication. This was evident last night, when I went for my usual wander around after school. At 4pm, I noted 300 students had stayed to attend the extra-curricular activities on offer – Football, Rugby, Netball, Homework club, French and German sessions, English revision, baking cakes for the Children in Need cake sale, and rehearsals for our forthcoming production of Hairspray.  This represents over 40% of our school community. Phenomenal!

 

Careers, Creativity and Competition

As the end of another two school weeks at the academy draws close, we catch our breath to reflect on the successes of the fortnight.

This time has again been populated with a variety of opportunities that will lead to the students developing their versatility.

We have had the Y10 Historians invade Framlingham castle in their droves. However, this time it was with pencils and clipboards, as they explored the layout of the Keep and the evolution of the defences over time.  A big thank you to the History team who invested a large amount of time to ensure the History came alive.

History was not the only Humanities subject who connected the theory to reality this week, as the Geography team took our Y10 Geographers to explore the dock area of Ipswich.  Students noted that their local environment is influenced by social and economic factors.

We have had a number of opportunities over the past two weeks to inspire our students with a variety of careers advice and guidance.  Before half-term, our Y9 students went to the Suffolk Skills Show to meet employers, gather information and gain the thirst to achieve their dream job.  They also had a go on lots of gadgets, collected pens and appeared in the paper pulling faces. 

Careers advice continued in school this week, as we hosted our own Next Steps evening which gathered local post-16 providers Easton Otley College, Suffolk One, Suffolk New College, Kesgrave, Northgate and St Albans alongside employers such as Aldi, Royal Navy, Army, EDF, BT etc.  This event was open to Years 9 -11, as now is the time they need to start thinking about where their attainment will take them.  A huge thank you to Mrs Bonwick and Mrs Richards for coordinating this event, as it will make a significant difference to the life chances of our students.

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Mrs Hendin arranged an Art trip to London this week so students could be inspired by the great masters, contemporary and modern art.  It is difficult to really get to grips with the scale of the art projects from images on the web or from text books.  There is no replacement for standing in front of a depiction of 17th century Venice painted in oils by Canaletto.  Following the visit to the gallery, students gathered inspiration and an appreciation of the use of artistic representations at the London Dungeons, this extended the students understanding of the skills artists use to stimulate emotional response.

Remaining on the artistic theme this week, I received a phone call from the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra, my initial thought was that they had finally agreed that the “Spoons” should be included, my big chance was here. However, they wanted to know if we would be interested to have our students work alongside them in a masterclass.  This was a wonderful opportunity not to be passed up.  Miss Denny leapt at the chance to have a professional orchestra work alongside our Flautists, Violas and Violins.

Now for the sports news.  Before I go into the results, I would like to thank the PE department – Mrs Manhertz, Miss Taylor, Mr Barnard and Mr Stronach for all their hard work and dedication to ensure the sporting opportunity is there for our students.  They dedicate a lot of time to training and accompanying teams to games.  The last two school weeks have seen a number of successes.  Before half-term, our Y9/10 girls football team recorded a 4-1 victory away at Harwich & Dovercourt to progress into the 3rd round of the National Cup.  Meanwhile, our Y7 boys won their first ever football match 8-3 against Holbrook, and our Y8 boys football team beat Claydon 6-0. This week, our Y9 girls Netball team returned to winning form with an 11-9 victory over Westbourne.  There is a lot to say for members of our community representing their society with pride and conviction. Whilst the players leave the pitch full of pride, they inspire pride in the rest of the community.

Y7 Football

Our students look the part in their uniform, the building inspires pride and the conduct and dedication of the community reflect our ambition to be the very best.  We can now also turn up to events in style with our new minibuses. The first one arrived this week and the second one will arrive next week. No longer will we have to park at the back, but arrive knowing that we are VALUED.

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Collaboration, Competition and Coffee

These last few weeks has seen the academy continue with it’s pledge to provide opportunities to exceed the students own aspirations, either sporting, artistic, social or academic.

Last Thursday, Ipswich Town FC first team players Jordan Spence and Grant Ward visited the academy to join students in a training session.  Obviously, they learnt one or two techniques they may not have picked up during the season playing for the Championship side!  A big thank you to Mr Barnard for arranging the event which not only inspired our students, but also helped the Ipswich Town boys get back to grassroots football.

ITFC Visit

Staying with sporting endeavours, we are keen at Chantry for our students to have the opportunity to experience success on the pitch or court as well as in the classroom.  Last week, our Y10 students enjoyed a convincing 43-12 victory over Northgate on the rugby pitch, whilst our Y9/10 girls football grows from strength to strength, as they progressed to the next round of the National cup with a 9-6 win over Debenham.

Girls Football

Alongside this success, our Y8 boys football team has progressed to the next round of both the Suffolk and National cups with a 6-1 win over Claydon and a 3-2 victory over Westbourne.  Meanwhile, our Y9 netball team has had a great start to the 2017/18 league with a 12-7 win over East Bergholt and 24-13 victory over Felixstowe.  Finally, there has also been success for our cross country team, who competed in the Area Championships at Holbrook on Thursday, with six of our students qualifying for the County race at Culford in December.  I’m just exhausted thinking about the amount of energy being spent during these events.  A huge congratulations to all the students involved, and to the staff who support them, train them and provide transport to the varying locations.

Cross Country

Developing leadership skills is essential not just for sport, but the daily routine of life. Those with high skilled leadership ability are more successful in all areas of life. This year, Mr Moseley and the Chantry Academy school parliament organised a student leadership conference at Ipswich Town. This was a great opportunity for all the Active Learning Trust primary schools in Ipswich to get together and decide how they would change an element of their school. This was an amazing day with around 90 students involved.  The sessions were planned and delivered by the students at Chantry. We are so proud of our students, as they always demonstrate the very best that they can be.

Aspirations were further developed by the Y9 Gifted and Talented visit to the University of Suffolk, where our students had the opportunity to experience the life of a student.  They toured the accommodation, social areas and teaching spaces.  During the feedback session at the end of the day, all the students stated that they wanted to continue their studies beyond 18 years by attending University, as they can see the benefits and opportunities this provides.

UCS

Mr Moseley continued his travels last week with a visit to Adastral park in their innovation zone. This careers trip was designed to ensure our students recognise the high level of innovation sitting on their doorstep.  BT have cutting edge technology and invest millions on RD projects.  During the day, the students had a chance to look at the innovation, as well as design next generation technology.

Leadership was evident in Café COPE, as our COPE students opened their doors to staff and invited them to tea and coffee.  The service was swift, courteous and attentive.  The staff felt like royalty as they were waited on hand and foot.

Finally, the school have invested in board game tutor time. Once a week the students in lower school have the chance to collaborate, communicate and enjoy each others company. The feedback has been really positive from both staff and students alike.

 

 

A very proud community!

It is always with a sense of pride that I address parents at Y6 Open Evening.  Proud that the school is continually improving, proud that the staff and students are keen to demonstrate their contribution, and proud that we can share our recent success with everyone.  During my address, I realised that the content, vision and values haven’t changed in 3 years.  That too made me feel really proud, we know as a community that we are heading in the right direction.  We must be doing something right as we are now becoming the school of choice for the people of Chantry.  There were some amazing contributions from students, with our Head & Senior Deputy Head Boys and Girls presented their views and aspirations, communicating their pride in the school and their desire to be successful.  The evening was filled with activities that engaged students and gave them the opportunity to see the typical activities within the school.  Vacuum forming in DT, light experiments in Science, improvisation in Drama and problem solving in Maths. It was great to see the students demonstrating their versatility.

We are continuing to raise the aspirations of our students through our high number of enrichment activities.  If you follow our Social Media feeds you will see the diversity and frequency of the opportunities afforded to our students. One of my recent posts was regarding the forthcoming Schools Shakespeare Festival.  Each year our students perform an abridged version of the Bards selection, and tread the boards at Dance East supported by professional front of house and back stage crew.  This year’s delight is Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing.  The general overview is…..   ‘A group of soldiers return from the war.  The world-weary Benedick and his friend Claudio find themselves reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite their own altogether more combative courtship.  I have had the privilege of watching our Shakespearian players rehearse, and I am looking forward to seeing their performance next month.

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O, what men dare do! what men may do! what
men daily do, not knowing what they do!

 

 

This evening we are starting our auditions for the fantastic musical Hairspray.  The musical with really upbeat numbers and a story about racial integration in the 1960s is a phenomenal show. I am delighted that the Academy is continuing it’s success following last years performance of Loserville.

Both these events are an example of the extra-curricular activities which extend the student’s confidence and  build character. We currently offer activities in Art, Design Technology, Music, Drama, Sports and a range of opportunities within the library. To obtain further information regarding these, please look at the extra curricular tab on the Academy website.

Finally, for those of you who are new to the Academy, we participate in the initiative Drop Everything and Read (DEAR).  Students and staff read everyday together for 10 minutes.  This shows the community that we are serious about reading, that it is for everyone and can improve the quality of your life.

Welcome back everyone!

As we start the new academic year I can’t help thinking about my own school days (I’m not going to mention jumpers for goalposts and Tom Brown’s School Days). It’s easy to forget the mixed feelings that we all felt as we started in September. Y7s excited about a new school, having grown out of the old one. Uniform looking too big, bag looking too big and all the other students looking too big. Y8 returning to see their friends and determined to make this year their best year yet. Exercise books are neat, uniform correct and with the chance to shine. Y9 starting their new curriculum, really getting to grips with their GCSEs, whilst Y10 and Y11 having matured and determined to make their mark.

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We also have to remember that it is a fresh start for staff as we welcome Mr Firmin in Technology, Mrs Simpson in Mathematics, Miss Sadler in English and Drama, Mr Hirst in Science, Mrs Gifford in Science and HSC, Mr Ankin in History, Mrs Colville in English  and Mrs Warne in Science.  I am sure they are feeling as anxious to make a great first impression as will our students. I am also sure that you will also welcome them to the school community as they work hard to support the children of Chantry.

This year has already begun with success as the Academy celebrates it’s best ever results, an increase of 18% on last year with 56% of students obtaining a grade 4 in both English and Mathematics. These results give the students the confidence to choose their own pathway rather than have desirable routes closed to them. I know that this year the Academy is working hard to extend the number of children who have this choice.

We have already had our first whole school assembly of the year and the theme was a simple one, “Don’t do it until you get it right, do it until you can’t get it wrong”.  At the Academy we are determined to ensure that students meet our high expectations everyday so that their high standards become second nature. This has already started to have an impact as I walk around the building sitting in lessons and talking to students, there is a palpable sense of determination to get it right.

You will have already seen the expectations on uniform and jewellery, whilst a few members of the community state “What’s the point, it doesn’t affect their learning!”. There is a real need to ensure that students present themselves in a proper manner. Getting it right everyday leads to good presentation as second nature; this will give students the edge when applying for college or employment. Just before an interview do we really want our students worrying about how they look rather than focussing on the challenge ahead?  School is transitional and our focus is to prepare them for their next stage of education. Learning isn’t just about grades, but it is also about learning to make the most of the opportunities ahead.

As for opportunities, our PE extra-curricular schedule has started and yesterday we had 50 students attend the first Rugby training session, thank you to the coaches from Ipswich Rugby Club and Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club for their expertise and support.

Homework club has started in the library for all students, anyone who needs support with their homework or even a quiet place to study can attend after school between 3.15 and 4.15. Obviously there will be times when students will be directed to use this opportunity to best effect.

Y11 are on work experience this week and will be demonstrating their versatility to the local businesses and creating their own opportunities for the future.

Finally, I would like to mention two forthcoming parental events. This Thursday at 6pm, we have our Y7 information evening, and next Thursday between 6-8pm, we have our Y6 Open Evening where all can see the difference this school is making to the life chances of children of Chantry.  We look forward to welcoming parents to both of these events.

 

The “Fantastic” Fortnight

The wonderful thing about Chantry is the devotion of the staff to ensure our students are given the very best opportunity to shine. Whether this is within lessons, whilst around the academy and also additional activities. Our core purpose is learning, and sometimes within this blog I never spend enough time talking about the everyday quality of learning . My plan was to do that today, BUT I can’t because there are so many additional events that it cannot fit into the word limit for the blog.

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Let’s start with the Y11 prom. It was amazing! The students looked stunning, they behaved in an exemplary manner and danced the night away. I was so proud of them and it was a real testament to the dedication of the staff, that over 25 staff attended to share this special evening with them. The pictures of the evening are on the Academy website, the link is below.

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I spend a long time talking about the benefits of sport to drive improvement, resilience and determination. This year we have not only sent students to represent the Eastern region to Twickenham, we have now sent our Tennis ambassadors to Wimbledon. Two major sporting events this year. What an opportunity! The students had tickets to No.1 court and had the benefit of seeing the worlds top players in the worlds most prestigious tournament. That is what I call an inspirational day out.

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Inspiration is also sometimes closer to home. I was so proud to hear that one of our own students had been selected to represent the region in the English School Athletics Championship in Birmingham. Lonarra will be competing in the 100m, an event which is seen as the highlight of any athletics meet.

Last weekend our students had an opportunity to work with Dance East and perform in a professional setting. As with all events involving the arts the level of commitment and dedication from students is masked by the smooth operation and faultless delivery of the performers. The students have spent a long time preparing for this event with hours of sweat and exhausting rehearsals to produce an inspiring routine. A big thank you to Dance East and Miss Lincoln for arranging this opportunity for the students.

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Fame costs….and right here is where you start paying…in sweat!

 

 

We have a strong partnership with our primary partners, always looking for ways to ensure the transition between primary and secondary education is smooth and meaningful. Last week we had the pleasure of 5 separate activities which enhanced this bond.

Mrs McKay (Head of Languages) took a group of students to Halifax primary school to support their delivery of French. Our students ran small groups and taught the younger years basic vocab and conversation. We received this message from the staff at Halifax.

“On Monday 3rd July, children in Year 3 at Halifax primary school held a languages day. As part of our celebration of languages, we were absolutely delighted to welcome Madame Mckay and twelve year 8 students form Chantry High School. Madame Mckay and the year 8 pupils led an exciting French session, which extended the children’s existing knowledge and got them used to using French in a real and meaningful way.  The children were enthralled throughout and loved learning from the older children. Everyone at Halifax was really impressed with not only the French skills of the children from Chantry, but their very mature ability to teach others. They really were fantastic role models for the children at Halifax. The children absolutely loved the session and are now extremely motivated to improve their language skills, as they look forward to becoming accomplished linguists, like the children at Chantry.”

Très fier !

Alongside this event, Mr Hanson (Senior Vice Principal) responded to a request to support the Willows students in their move from primary to secondary education by arranging a day for year 4s and 5s to attend regular sessions with our students. They experienced secondary Science, Maths, English and Art amongst other subjects. The feedback we have received has been brilliant.

We have also hosted our new Y7 intake this week, as I am sure you are aware the work at Chantry has resulted in an ever increasing roll and now in Y7 we are oversubscribed with a waiting list of students wishing to attend. The new Y7 have had a brilliant couple of days with a range of activities that are designed to bridge the gap between primary learning and secondary learning. On the third day our maths department had an additional day that applied mathematics to sport, this was a marvellous day with such tremendous feedback.

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Chantry also hosted the primary schools “Dragon’s apprentice” where each of the primary schools attended with a team of budding Alan Sugars’ to convince our students to invest in their product and business. It was wonderful to witness our students fulfilling the Dragon’s role and challenging the students.

The aspirations for our students knows no bounds, and this was demonstrated by the continued efforts by our careers advisor, Miss Richards, who had arranged a careers fair for all our students. Over 30 employers, apprenticeships and FE contributors presented the benefits, opportunities and career routes through their organisation to our years seven through to ten. We have found starting earlier with our students supports their aspirations and opens their eyes to the opportunities around them.

Finally, I would like to congratulate our student leaders, head boy, head girl and deputies for attaining their new positions within the school. They are a credit to the academy and demonstrate our VALUED ethos daily.

 

All this and a quality learning as well. What will the last two weeks bring?

Enterprise, Excellence and Extending Skills

ports do not only enhance the physical attributes of our students, they also develop the wider skills which prepares children for the rigours of the world.  This is why I am always pleased to hear from the PE department about the success of our students when they compete. Recently our Y7 boys attained the right to be called the fastest relay team for their age group in Ipswich. This sits alongside the Y9 girls who won the Ipswich Rounders tournament, and have subsequently qualified for the County championship. Through these experiences the students learn resilience, teamwork, communication and determination, all skills which they will need going forward.  To use these skills effectively they need to be honed, and this point is not lost on the PE department. Mr Barnard is launching the “Sporting Ambassadors” programme which seeks out those with these skills and utilises them for the greater good.

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Sporting excellence and a very proud team

 

Sticking with the competitive theme, our team of Y8 budding Alan Sugar’s went to Copdock to compete against the other seven secondary schools within the SWISS partnership. The students had to design, manufacture, present and create objects whilst working with a range of employers. The students had a successful day finishing 3rd and only 1 point from second spot.

 

Collaboration is key when building strong community partnerships. At the academy, we work closely with our partner schools. Last week, some of our students went to the Willows Primary School to support their sports day. The students were a credit to the school as they officiated each event, and ensured fair play was always the highest priority.

Finally, the geography team took four field trips out to focus on the different tourist appeals of Ipswich waterfront and Walton on the Naze. This activity will be directly assessed during the final examination so it was vital that students had first hand experience of fieldwork and sampling.

As we now approach the end of the year, I would like to say goodbye to the outgoing Head Boy and Head Girl.  They have served the school with determination and pride, and I wish Camryn and Blake every success in the future.  I am confident they will continue to be shining examples of success.

Poetry, Pythagoras and Parenting

It is amazing how quickly a year can pass, it only seems like yesterday that last year’s Y11 started their first exam. Now our current cohort are in full exam mode. This is such an important time for the students as they prepare, practice and polish off their PEEL answers. Whilst this is a time that can be pressured, it is also an exciting time as students have crossed a threshold, and are now demonstrating that they have outgrown secondary school and are getting ready for the next stage of their life. I am sure that you will join the rest of the Chantry community in wishing them luck.

This week our staff produced a best wishes bunting for the Y11. Over 100 comments, tips and statements of support that encourage our students to be the best that they can be.

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Remaining on the theme of thorough preparation for the final exam. Mrs Kaminska-Smith (Head of Maths) took 15 students to the London O2 arena to participate in the PiXL revision conference. As the students returned from the conference they all stated how useful it was.  During the day they covered the following topics:

  • Aspects of ratio and proportion (including exchange rates, value for money, conversion graphs)
  •  Percentages of amount, percentage change (including reverse) and compound percentage change
  • Shape Combo: applies a generic approach to answering “shape” combined with a money calculation (including fractional and percentage change)
  • Constructing Algebraic Arguments: links shape knowledge with algebraic skills often in a problem solving context.

 

Recently, we have had our Y10 parents evening. I particularly enjoy these evenings as I have the chance to listen to the quality feedback our students receive from the dedicated teachers we have at the academy. This year, we enhanced the provision by inviting the Further Education providers Suffolk New College, Suffolk One, Easton & Otley College alongside apprenticeship organisations. It was a great opportunity to have our students and parents move from a conversation around current progress to a discussion about future destinations.

Mrs Manhertz (Head of Year 8) has been working with her Y8 council on an Anti-bullying campaign. They will be running an Anti-Bullying poster campaign, which will be distributed across the school. Alongside the campaign, they are devising a Chantry Charter which will be signed by every member of Y8 to show their commitment to the cause. 

This year, running alongside our success at Rugby through the all schools Project, we are part of the Tennis Foundation’s School of Tennis initiative. This gives us access to coaching, equipment and links to local clubs. This is a phenomenal opportunity for our students, one that I am sure they will all benefit from.

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It’s not just Tennis and Rugby where we are having success. I am delighted to say that our Y8 girls have made it through to the Rounders County Final. This is an amazing achievement and with their continued hard work and dedication I am sure they will be bringing back the silverware. (I am currently looking around for a suitable place for our trophy cabinet).

Whilst we often have good news, I want to share some areas that as a school we are concerned about.  We work closely with our local community, as the students are an essential part of it. So I am disappointed that I sometimes hear about the antics of the young people on the estate. It has been reported that during evenings and weekends, there are a significant number of issues surrounding the “Top” shops. As a school we are concerned that this behaviour can often put the students and your children at risk. We would encourage you to talk this through with your child and monitor any issues that occur. Our advise is to contact the police if you have any major concerns, they often pass on any relevant information to the school. We also pass any information to the police for their records.

We have also been told about a website called “Blue Whale”. The name is apparently being used by an alleged online pressure group, which is said to assign a curator to individual participants who then encourages them to complete tests over the course of 50 days. These assigned tasks reportedly escalate from straightforward demands such as watching a macabre video or horror film to something more sinister – even leading to suicide. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for teenagers to be drawn to social media groups that ultimately have a detrimental effect on their mental health and safety. Please be aware of this website and closely monitor your child’s activity online.

Finally, I would like to finish on a really positive note. The students have been creating their own poetry and these have been combined into an anthology. I have selected a few of these (some cheery, some not so) to share with you and will share more with you in the future.

A Cancerous Career (Charlotte B Year 8)

Klaus Baudelaire. Invisible. Insignificant. Impenetrably intelligent. At least, that’s how the world perceived him. Of course, like the irregular shedding of a snakeskin, he had his layers. He had his secrets. He had a sixth toe. You might think this was a flaw- an imperfection in biology. You couldn’t be more wrong. For this extraordinary lump of skin was in fact the unique origin of the pride in Klaus Baudelaire. His employment may consist of stripping wallpaper- literally- but this occupation was most metaphorical when it comes to the pure talent sewn into his mind. His mind had layers. His mind had a secret. His mind had a- well… that doesn’t matter now. For this secret would always never be told as long as he lived… that was one thing he wouldn’t have in ten days time.

Ten days later was when the truth came out and his secret was exposed.

He had a secret.

He had layers.

He had a body decorated with cancer.

Boats (Charlotte A Year 8)

Bright and live, yet alone. Isolation tearing the beauty apart- dragging it away to a far unknown place. Life surrounding the ocean shack, standing on its last legs; praying for survival.

A single man, rowing along in his khaki shorts and no shirt. The heat was unbearable- stripping away his way to live.

Escape was a dream. Few were stuck, surrounded by waves- stealing their hope. No-one knew what was beyond this world: escape was a far off nightmare.

Determination, DT and Deuce

At Chantry Academy we are determined to ensure that our students excel and have the opportunity to demonstrate that they are the best.  These last two weeks have not disappointed as our students have returned from Easter with renewed vigour.

We are in the process of launching a new homework initiative at the academy.  All subjects within the lower school will produce a “homework menu” of different tasks, and students will be able to determine on a weekly basis which task they would like to complete from the menu.  We understand that our students have other engagements and commitments that enhance them as individuals outside of school. This new initiative will enable students to take control of their learning, and help them plan ahead. Over the term, students will complete all the homework on the menu. To ensure you are aware of the outcomes of the homework, we have already introduced our new homework scoring system.

  • H0: No homework completed
  • H1: completed but not to acceptable standard
  • H2: completed to acceptable standard
  • H3: completed to a standard that exceeds expectations
  • H4: outstanding homework

H2 to H4 have positive points awarded, whilst H0 and H1 see negative points applied and an invitation to homework club. Homework is always a struggle and this adjustment will ensure that homework is completed, recognised and in the long term generate an ethic that will ensure continued success.

Last week, we were joined by Ian Seath an Ex HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector for Ofsted), to evaluate the progress of our boys in an external review commissioned by the academy. Ian visited lessons, spoke to students, key staff and looked at the assessment, behaviour and attendance data. The day was robust and provided the school with an external view against one of our Ofsted targets. I am delighted to say that he confirmed our own views that our boys are making better progress than previously.

This progress can be seen in the work being produced by our Y11 students. They have now completed their coursework and  below are some samples of their products. There has been a lot of work and skill involved in developing these products. A big thank you to the staff who have supported the students.

Alongside our Rugby involvement which has clearly made an impact on the quality of Rugby at the academy. Recently we have been involved in a similar project with British Tennis. This opportunity will provide us with coaching, links to local clubs, equipment and professional development for our staff. I am looking forward to sharing the successes of our Tennis players in future tournaments.

Group photo

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for your continued support. This support has been very apparent recently, as I move between Gusford Primary School and Chantry Academy.  It is nice to see familiar faces at Gusford, and have the opportunity to talk about the progress of all children within a family from Infants through to Y11.