ACADEMY UPDATE FROM THE HEAD, SIMON HUBBARD

As you know we have been looking into the option of becoming an Academy as part of ATT (one of only 7 Ofsted identified successful academy groups which actually improve life chances for young people).

Our main reason was that we are seriously underfunded as part of the Local Authority.  Loads of preparatory work has been done; an Academy order has been granted and we were due to convert on the 1st October.

However over the past few weeks it has become apparent that far from being better off as an Academy we would actually be worse off because all Academy chains take a percentage (3-8%) for their services. This money comes directly from the School’s, already overstretched, budget and in our case from some of the most vulnerable young people in Walsall.

On a personal note I may well have been better off but we could well have been facing staff redundancies in the near future, to balance the books, compromising our independence and safety. As it is we are facing a substantial deficit this year due to cuts in Local Authority funding and a carryover of last year’s deficit.

We are looking at other options and are happy to remain with the Local Authority for the time being. (Local Authority maintained schools are currently outperforming Academies and Free Schools, a fact that the Government don’t want you to know). Academisation is not in itself improving education, but it is allowing many people to suck substantial amounts of money out of the education system in inflated salaries and duplicated services that ought to be going to fund improving life chances for young people.

It may be that at some point Academy status is the right thing for Elmwood but in the meantime we will continue lobbying the Local Authority to fund the school fairly as we have always been a poor relation in the spectrum of ‘specials’ in Walsall. Despite this our social, emotional and academic outcomes are amongst the best nationally and we certainly outperform all similar schools in the West Midlands.

 

 

 

ELMWOOD CELEBRATES ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR OF EXAM RESULTS

Another successful year, 5 years of sustained improvement for the pupils of Elmwood.

This group of pupils started their journey with Mr Hubbard, Mr Cross and the successful team at Elmwood 5 years ago back in 2011! A lot has changed since then and these changes have resulted in a group of well-rounded individuals who will progress onto further education across a variety of themes from car design, hospitality and catering, mechanics, construction, hairdressing and pre-apprenticeships. We are extremely proud of our pupils achievements, especially when some of have only been with us for such a short period of time (look at what you can achieve when in the right environment).

This group of pupils are all about grit, determination and accepting stretch and challenge in every aspect of their education. Their success and journey reflects on us as a School and we are extremely privileged to have been a part of that journey. Good luck in the future to our Year 11 pupils.

Detailed results analysis will be shared on the Examination Results Page of the website in the coming weeks.

CHANGE OF ACADEMY STATUS CONSULTATION EVENT

All parents/carers and community members are welcome to attend a consultation meeting with the proposed sponsor, Academy Transformation Trust, on Wednesday 21st September 2016 from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm.  At the meeting you will be able to find out more about the proposed sponsor, academies, why this is being considered,  what the benefits would be and how it affects your family and the community.  Please try and attend. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

FAMILY SUPPORT CONTACT DURING SUMMER HOLIDAYS

If any parent or carer needs to contact one of our Family Welfare Officers in the event of an emergency, Bev Bailey is available on 07773102267.  Please leave a message and Bev will get back to you as soon as possible.  Please note that she will not be available from the 18th to 28th August.

GOING BACK IN TIME!

On the 13th July Elmwood School was transported back to the Stone Age. Teachers from surrounding Schools were trained by our Lead Teacher of Outdoor Learning, Mr Whittaker, in ancient living skills. This is part of a wider picture where Elmwood hopes to support local primary pupils with this National Curriculum module. The training was part of our SLE links with Lindens Teaching School.

The teachers sampled cave painting, foraging and cooked over the campfire without pots or pans, drinking nettle & bramble tea. After a session of archery the course ended by viewing stone age artefacts such as spears, flint head arrows, fire lighting methods, prehistoric pottery, stone hammers etc and attempting to place the developments of stone age man onto a timeline. The teachers all enjoyed the training and are aiming to bring their pupils to enjoy similar experiences as inspiration for their topic work back at their own Schools.  Feedback from the participants included ‘loved the events and activities we did’, ‘presenter was excellent, friendly, knowledgable and really passionate about subject – lots of added detail’.

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MAYOR, COUNCILLOR KATH PHILLIPS, OPENS OUR SPORTS DAY

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAWe were thrilled to learn that the newly elected Mayor, Councillor Kath Phillips, would open our annual sports day event on Thursday 14th July at 10.00 am.  Our special guest and her consort, Mr Maurice Phillipps, began the day’s proceedings when our four house teams of Wiggins, Ainslee, Murray and Ennis competed for the accolade of winning the School house cup. Also attending the event were parents/carers and governors who  enjoyed refreshments including strawberries and cream – and even the sun shone! We enjoyed welcoming the Mayor to our event and showcasing our talented young people.

Feedback following the Mayor’s visit stated:

The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Kath Phillips, has asked me to pass her sincere thanks for the invitation to the “Annual Sports Day”  held  on 14 July. The Mayor had a most delightful morning and was very impressed by how well the event was organised.  The students were brilliant and also the parents who supported them.  The event was thoroughly enjoyable.

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OUTDOOR EDUCATION/SCIENCE BASED TRAINING DAY

Elmwood staff recently engaged in an action packed training day which developed staff’s ability to support the Out and About curriculum as well as raising the profile of science (whole school priority). Staff experienced cave painting using natural materials as well as coloured chalk to produce some fantastic originals that will be displayed at the front of the school to inspire pupils in the future. Our willow weaving skills were stretched even further this year (led by Helen Sanger from Walsall Countryside Rangers) with staff producing some tension trays – their empathy and guidance will support pupils along their journey in producing one next year. The shooting range was a big success and a highlight for many with Mr Francis being crowned “Hot Shot” after a near perfect score! Finally Emma Cronin of Wild Pickle delivered a fermenting vegetables session resulting in staff experiencing massaging cabbage, salt and spices to perfection. This was a new addition to the curriculum and staff thoroughly enjoyed the process and gained a lot from the knowledge and experience of Emma whose enthusiasm was contagious with staff sampling her home made produce with their German inspired lunch menu (carefully created by Nicole and Simon Hubbard).

Staff are encouraged to contact Emma if they have any problems with their Kraut or want any additional information for the future. I know that we will be pestering her in the future when the pupils get loose on those cabbages!!!!

Anyone interested in finding out more about Wild Pickle can contact Emma via the following:

Facebook link   https://www.facebook.com/WildPickle/

Twitter  @wild_pickle

Instagram @wildpicklefoods

Website: www.wildpickle.co.uk

View from Blymhill and Weston Village HallThe secret venue was a pleasant surprise for staff this year with a well stocked bathroom of goodies to make us feel extra special. The facilities at Blyhmill and Weston Village Hall were exceptional and it enabled us to run all of our workshops with ample break out space on the veranda looking over the Staffordshire/Shropshire countryside. The addition of the community field also added great value for our rifle range.

Further details of this ideal facility are available via the link below which hosts community events and is available for hire.  Next year’s training has a hard act to follow having used this perfect venue!

http://www.blymhill-westonvillagehall.co.uk/

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FURTHER RECOGNITION FOR ELMWOOD SCHOOL

Further recognition to Elmwood School for working collaboratively to support other Senior and Middle Leaders and pupils with SEMH. This was part of a targeted approach to validate English and Maths work across KS3 and KS4 whilst providing high quality professional development regarding key issues that curriculum leads are facing in their respected Schools. A massive thanks goes to Gemma Mayo (Curriculum Lead for Maths) and Chris Bowen (Curriculum Lead for English) whose input has greatly supported colleagues and pupils.

Extract from Ofsted’s Monitoring Report for Mount Gilbert, Telford and Wrekin reads “Leaders took action to improve the accuracy of teachers’ assessments and, as part of this process, now moderates pupils’ work every half-term. Teachers’ assessments are further checked externally through leaders from a nearby school.” (Pg 8, April 2016)

ELMWOOD SCITT VIDEO

As part of the continued success with the Evolve Teaching School (based at Barr Beacon School) we have been successful in being an integral part of their SCITT status from 2016-17. This is testament to the continued hard work of staff and pupils in making the teachers of the future welcome within our environment and enabling them to see a different perspective around education that one size doesn’t fit all.

Recently two members from the Multi-Media Support Team at Barr Beacon School came into School and spent time in all bases as well as observing out and about lessons.  What they observed has now been put into a short video which highlights the great work and learning taking place at Elmwood School.

BBScitt – Elmwood School from Barr Beacon School on Vimeo.

EVENING VISIT TO SEE PINOCCHIO JOINS THE CIRCUS

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERACircus Starr once again gave fourteen students the opportunity to go along to Darlaston Town Hall on Monday 18th January to watch Pinocchio joins the Circus.  The students who went along had a thoroughly enjoyable time and have since written lovely thank you letters to the kind Companies who funded the cost of the tickets.  A big thank you also to the following staff – Di Cadman, Emily Carter, Phil Damms and Matt Webb who gave up their time enabling the visit to go ahead.