Around the Departments at Alleyne's Academy

News from our Staff at Alleyne’s Academy July 2019

Duke of Edinburgh

On 7th-9th June, 27, Year 10 students took part on their Silver Duke Of Edinburgh practice weekend.  The weather was not kind to us on two of the days!!  The students and staff camped out for 2 nights, starting at Standon Bowers and walking from Milford Common on Saturday morning to Beaudesert Campsite on Saturday night when the weather did start to improve.  The students woke to blue skies on the Sunday morning and made their way back to Milford Common via a different route managing to avoid cyclists on the Staffs Iron man!!  The students all were amazing and a real credit to the school and their parents.  I am very much looking forward to the qualifying weekend in the Peak District.

Mrs H Broadist and Mrs M Plant

 

Key Stage Co-ordinators

Year 9

This has been a good term for Year 9.  They have settled into school well and have been preparing for their summer mock exams, which start imminently. 

32, Year 9 students have been involved in the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  They have recently completed their qualifying expedition in the Peak District.  The students were a real credit to the school.

Finally, Year 9 have been involved in raising money for a Thailand girl’s charity providing sanitary equipment for girls aged 12-16.  The students have been raising money as part of a tutor group challenge.

Mrs H Broadist and Mr B Molloy

 

Year 10

I wish to pass on my thanks to Maddie Plant and Heather Broadist who have organised multiple Duke of Edinburgh trips with Year 9 and Year 10 this term.  The students are currently working towards their Silver Award.  These trips are amazing for the students and form memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.  It is always a delight to hear that Year 10 students have participated fully and are getting the most out of their education at Alleynes. 

In addition, I wish to thank Michelle Justice who has taken 123 Year 10 students to the Big Bang Fair at Staffs University.  Another incredible opportunity for our students to further their education outside of the classroom.  I am personally very pleased with the high level of interest shown from our students.  Close to 2/3’s of the year group wanting to take part.

Finally, thank you to Arran Goodfellow who has organised the Rewards trip to Alton Towers in July.  Close to 140 students will have their hard work rewarded.  Once again, it is great to recognise the fantastic efforts of the students in Year 10 who work so hard on a consistent basis. 

RE GCSE:

Year 10 have now sat their RE exam.  The results of this exam will be of great interest.  Fingers crossed for August! 

Mr C Whalley and Mr A Goodfellow

Year 11

Last term the Year 11 Prom marked the end of a fantastic three years at Alleyne’s.  Year 11 continue to impress showing excellent conduct and attitude during their GCSE examinations.  Confidence is high and I am sure we will all be pleased with their results in the summer.  A huge thank you to the Year 11 tutor team who have worked hard to get the very best out of their tutees.  A special ‘thank you’ to Deputy Head of Progress and Support, Mrs. Powell, for her superb organisational skills with the Prom and her dedication and hard work throughout the year, particularly with the Pupil Premium students..

Attention now turns to next year’s Year 9 and ensuring their transition between schools goes as well as possible.  The year leadership team have made several visits to the middle schools to meet students and staff to ensure smooth transition. Year 8 students will all be involved in two experience days at the beginning of July, where they will have the opportunity to participate in the lessons they have opted for.

We are looking forward to celebrating with our Year 11 student in August and welcoming them back into the Sixth Form this September.  

Mr P Farnworth and Mrs C Powell

 

Sixth Form – Mr R Haydon (Head of Sixth Form)

The Sixth Form has been a hive of activity as the summer exams approach.  Firstly, Year 13 are currently completing their A Level and Applied General examinations and appear well-prepared following revision in the preceding months.  All students who have applied to University have now received their offers and are working hard to secure these places by achieving the conditions set.  Our latest monitoring data suggests they are on course to do this with Attitude Towards Learning (ATL) very positive and predicted likely grades showing positive value added.  Awards Evening and Prom will take place during late June as a chance to celebrate their time in the Sixth Form.

Year 12 are also preparing for their end of Year progression exams which will involve them sitting papers in all their A Level subjects having completed external Applied General exams in May.  The results will allow us to gauge their progress and allow them to start to make informed plans regarding their future post 16.  In this respect, we have already run a well Future Options Evening where options with regard to University, Apprenticeships and employment were outlined which was well attended.  When exams are completed, we will then run a trip to Birmingham NEC to a Higher Education exhibition where students can look at some of the University options available in terms of institutions and courses.  In January Y12 also undertook work experience to help inform some of their future plans.  Year 12 ATL was over 90% Good or better with many students now also consistently developing their independent learning.

During the final weeks of term we will elect our new Head Prefect Team to replace Dan Grounds, Millie Campbell and Becky Grattage who have undertaken their duties with distinction.  Sixth Form Council representatives will also be elected prior to end of term meaning that Year 13 council will be in place from the start of the Year. 

The new Year 12 in September have been set work to complete over the summer in the form of the Bridging Projects which have been posted on the school website.  Having already been interviewed by Senior Leadership Team in April this should ensure students have been advised well with guidance on to courses where they can be successful.  We look forward to welcoming them in September and easing their transition into the Sixth Form way of life.  They join at an exciting time with last years results and hopefully by time they arrive some more positive results to build on.

 

Expressive Arts Faculty

Art

The Art Department has delivered GCSE and ‘A’ Level examinations over the last five months.  A huge amount of time and effort goes into the development of these exams, which run from January to June.  They culminate with the ‘timed’ conclusion, whereby GCSE pupils complete a 10 hour piece of work and ‘A’ Level students complete a 15 hour piece.  The department has now completed a full cycle of the new changes to syllabuses, marking criteria, grading and mark distribution.  The pupils have, once again, developed fabulous portfolios of work and we expect our tradition of excellent results to continue.  We are now in the process of curating the exam exhibitions, in anticipation of the examiners moderation. 

Our Stone Advent Windows exhibition was, once again, a great success.  Year 9 and 10 pupils enjoyed representing the school at the unveiling of our art installation at ‘Home and Colour’, on Stone High Street.

             

Year 9 pupils have continued to produce high quality work and, following on from their successful Wayne Thiebaud / Amelie Lynette ‘Seaside’ project, they have now developed work influenced by painters, Sylvia Ji and David Lozeau and have focussed on the theme of ‘Mexican Day of the Dead’, gaining particular influence from Ji’s studies.

After school and lunchtime art clubs continue to be very popular and pupils are able to use these in the development of their skills, technique and extension of portfolio work.

Here is a sample of work from this year’s GCSE Moderation Exhibition;

                             

Drama

Year 9 students have worked hard this year and studied a wide range of texts and techniques; from ‘Blood Brothers’ to physical theatre and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’. They particularly excelled at a ‘Blood Brothers’ set design task.

 

 

 

Year 10 students have been busy studying set text ‘Noughts and Crosses’, ‘The Crucible’ and Shelagh Delaney’s ‘Five Kinds of Silence’. They also produced some excellent devised pieces based on ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’.

Year 11 have performed extracts of John Godber’s ‘Teechers’ to an external examiner while preparing for their written exam and focusing on ‘The Lovely Bones’ and ‘Noughts and Crosses’.

Year 12 have been studying for their BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts and sat the Unit 1 written task in May. They will perform Unit 2 (My Mother said I never should) to gifted and talented Year 10 students on 3 July.

Year 13 performed Polly Teale’s ‘Bronte’, based on the famous Bronte sisters, to an external examiner. They have continued their studies of ‘Antigone’ and ‘Metamorphosis’ for the written exam which they took in June.

Years 9, 10 and 11 students travelled to The Birmingham Repertory Theatre to watch ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Seabold. This was an excellent opportunity to develop critical analysis skills for their exam. 

40 Drama students have just returned from a two day trip to London where they were able to watch ‘School of Rock’ and ‘Aladdin, The Musical’. They also enjoyed a trip to the V & A Museum and a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe, followed by some free time in Covent Garden. The students were fantastic and we are already in the process of booking next year’s trip.

On 16/17 July Year 8 students will be visiting Alleyne’s, along with Year 9 parents, to watch the current Year 9 students perform their final end of year assessment.

We are also planning next year’s production with imminent auditions. Show to be confirmed, so watch this space!

Music

This year, the school orchestra was set up and has proved to be a success, with regular attendees teaming together, with a view to performing in the next school year.  Pupils are of differing ability levels, but this has made for a good mix and keeps with our ethos of inclusivity. 

Year 10 pupils have recently completed mock performances.  These were very pleasing and showed an outstanding level of ability.  A number of Grade 9 performances were delivered.

Year 11 pupils have performed well in their practical GCSE modules and are now completing final preparation in order to tackle the ‘Listening’ and ‘Written’ exam papers. 

Our musicians continue to contribute to whole school initiatives and have helped with Open Evenings and Presentation Evenings, for example. 

Finally, congratulations to Kate Clayton, Freya Hatton and Oliver Taylor who have achieved Grade 6 with Alto Sax, Flute and Piano, respectively.

Business Studies/ICT Faculty – Mr S Eldershaw (Head of Faculty)

Once again our Young Enterprise team worked extremely hard to establish themselves as one of the premier businesses in this year’s competition with an exciting product and vibrant mission statement. The EcoWrap team represented the school with professionalism and creativity, leading them to a strong finish Regional Finals at the World of Wedgwood.  The judges particularly liked the environmental benefits of the re-usable wrapping paper which was designed to help in an industry where so much waste is created. Balancing academic commitments with business related objectives proved tough, yet rewarding, and the team made us all very proud, representing you all in an exceptional manner, once again. Carly-Jade Newnes worked closely with them in a mentoring role, giving up many of her evenings and weekends to support the group, as she has done since starting with us in 2017.

We have continued to run trips such as to Stafford College for the Computer Science Lego Mindstorms events (arranged and monitored by Joe Millington), Business Tutor2U Seminars to improve A Level prospects and our annual trip to Drayton Manor Park, which offers students a unique insight into the world of Business.

We have been delighted to establish a few more strong links with local businesses such as through our sessions with our business experts, which Year 9 and the Sixth Form have found invaluable. We were delighted to welcome back Eric Gresswell from Popcorn Media, as well as a new face in Steve Tellwright from Capula who both provided detailed and inspiring talks to groups when they attended in October. Added to this, Paul Farmer MBE from Wade Ceramics continued to work closely with us and all three will back in June 2019 for the final session of the year. Providing this context and detail allows our students to develop a greater understanding of the Business concepts covered in class and we are all very appreciative of the time offered to us by local business people. We have extended this relationship to include Work Experience places at Capula for both Year 10 and 12 students, along with establishing strong links with Staffordshire University. We hope to use those placements to offer some of our disadvantaged students the opportunity to experience work in some of the more sought after industries that many would otherwise have found it difficult to enter into. The Work Experience period kicked off, again, at the start of the year with both Year 10 and 12 participating, as in previous years. We were again delighted with participation levels, with this current Year 10 cohort providing the highest number of placements across both disadvantaged and non- disadvantaged pupils.

Combined Design and Technology Departments

Mr Marsh’s Graphics class have again created extremely professional examples of graphic design and hope that they go on to choose a career in this field – their work is outstanding.

 

Graphics coursework from Mr Marsh’s class showing a huge variety of different activity packs for children to encourage a healthy lifestyle. These include a hospital lunch box for young children and a Lads and Dads themed one for children with limited contact with their dad.

The Food and textiles Department had great success with its catering exams which took place last November. Our talented students worked with skill and creativity to produce their own unique culinary delights to impress both teaching staff and exam board alike.

The new three year curriculum has meant that students now have throughout year 9 to gain more knowledge and understanding of their chosen technology subject and also to develop a real love of it. We are obviously looking forward to next year when we see the real benefits of the recent changes to our Year 9 options policy. 

We are really excited to be meeting our new Year 8 students over the coming weeks as part of the transition programme between us at Alleyne’s and our feeder schools. We take part in a shared transition day with the rest of the Academy which offers students a real insight into their chosen subject – students are obviously delighted to spend time within the department and are set a task to complete over the summer months as an introductory project.

The Textiles Department has, for the first time, seen its Year 11 students create incredible products as part of the new Art and Design Textiles GCSE.

It has been incredibly exciting to see the department diversify in this area as we strive to offer students an even broader curriculum choice, and design and technology experience.

Alleyne’s technology students have a reputation for success and for reaching the final rounds of the National KMF Design Competition. We are extremely pleased to be taking part in this prestigious event which this year sees students faced with the challenge of not only designing and building, but also fighting in a full size ‘wrestling ring’  a ‘Robot Wars’ style monster machine! We are through to the final round and are extremely excited to be not only competing, but also to being filmed for a BBC news programme.

The students have worked tirelessly and independently to produce their robots in their own time and we are confident that we will fight to the death and bring home the coveted trophy from the TV show.

We should like to thank our sponsors, Stafford Rotary Club who have kindly donated almost three thousand pounds to enable Alleyne’s students to take part – without them we would not have had this incredible opportunity.

Mr. Marsh, Mrs Stenson and Mrs Allen have been running weekly after-school Textiles, Product Design, Catering and Graphics Clubs, assisted by Mrs McBain (our fabulous Textiles technician). We will continue to run similar clubs for our current Year 10 classes for both folder and practical work as they move into Year 11 to help and support as they move into Year 11.

The new academic year will see us try to introduce a Year 9 ‘DM Club’ (Design and Make), which will see young students experience the fun practical side of our subjects and is not at all related to the pressures of school projects. Students will provide their own materials and will be helped and encouraged to make everything from bird houses, storage units and music docking stations.

 

English Faculty – Mrs A Graham (Head of Faculty)

Year 9

In an effort to ease transition between year 8 and 9 we have continued to strengthen our working relationship with the Heads of English at both middle schools. Debbie Hunt (second in English) is in regular contact with the middle schools regarding curriculum, literacy and hosting MAGT students. We were delighted to host some MAGT students from the middle schools (along with our more academically able year 9) to watch a live stream of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ which was enjoyed by all. Much like this time last year, a meeting has been organised with both heads of English to discuss schemes of work and how best to ensure students access a wide range of subjects and texts within English across both KS3 and KS4.

The literacy programme was extremely effective within the first two terms of this academic year; English teachers saw real progress in student’s technical accuracy.  It is our hope that we can enable students across all year groups to be more autonomous with their own literacy targets and equip them with the tools to assess their own strengths and weaknesses.

Our year 9s are in the process of completing their GCSE Speaking and Listening presentations. They have all studied Animal Rights; a scheme we created in conjunction with the RE department to enable students to broaden their understanding of the subject and discuss ethical issues. Students have approached this assessment with maturity and diligence which, I am sure, will resulted in some fantastic speeches. 

We are looking forward to students further developing their knowledge of Shakespeare in the summer term, as Year 9 students will be attending the annual production at Stafford Castle. This year the production is ‘The Merchant of Venice’.

Year 10

Year 10 have completed a range of Language and Literature modules this year and are continuously preparing for their GCSEs.  In March, students sat their English mock exam where they had to complete an English Language transactional writing paper. This was an excellent opportunity to measure progress and intervene where necessary. Prior to this mock exam, students completed a series of revision lessons and were provided with information sheets as well as information on the school website to guide them with independent learning and revision. In addition,  year 10 have also been encouraged to use SAM Learning and have been involved in SAM Learning challenges each half-term. Prizes are awarded at the end of each half-term and this has been excellent in encouraging independent learning. After being pleased by the attitude of year 10 we also decided to develop a programme of revision sessions after school where students were able to develop their skills in a controlled environment. These sessions are similar to what we already run with year 11 and encourage students to complete past paper questions, develop skills in analysis and evaluation and work independently.

Since Year 11 have left us, some year 10 students have been involved in English tutoring during lunch time registration. These sessions have been well attended and have covered all topics for the Literature and Language exam.

Year 11

Year 11 started the year by focusing on developing their English Language skills in preparation for the mock examinations. They also studied the Poetry Anthology, which includes eighteen poems that students need to understand in detail. Alongside this, students were encourage to independently revisit the set texts from last year through the new ‘Homework Pack’. This has been very successful and has encouraged students to start the revision process early.

Alexa Graham has been tutoring a group of 26 students during tutor time. Students have one session a week and have covered key skills for the exam, along with discussing revision techniques and receiving help with homework. We constantly evaluated the progress of these students as the year progressed and as a result some students no longer needed the support and other students were added to the list.

Our year 11 MAGT students had the opportunity to attend a Masterclass at The University of Birmingham. They took part in a session lead by an expert in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. Students found this to be a fresh and engaging look at Shakespeare’s soliloquys. When we returned to school a larger group of students took part in a Shakespeare Masterclass, it was impressive to see knowledge developed in the lecture being shared by the students that attended.

In March, Year 11 completed a full English Language and English Literature mock examination in the Sports Hall. This was a good opportunity to experience the full demands of the exam and to gain invaluable feedback from teachers. Students were able to reflect on the experience and identify strengths and targets for improvement and this went on to inform their revision.

All English teachers took a role in delivering a programme of focused revision sessions for year 11 and these were very well attended by students. Evaluation of these sessions suggests that students valued the structured approach to the different aspects of the examination and these sessions were a helpful starting point for revision at home.

 

Sixth Form

A Level Language:

In December the Year 12 English Language students attended an English Language Masterclass at Birmingham University. This session was delivered by one of the lead lecturers in English Language and explored ideas about why some language carries certain prejudices and where these negative connotations come from. It was an excellent opportunity for the students to experience the English Department there and explore the different routes they can take post-A-Level if they choose to pursue English. However even more valuable was the fact that the masterclass was tailored to the theories and concepts students study on the A Level course. Consequently our students were able to draw on the ideas discussed here in their language investigation coursework later in the academic year.

This year’s A Level Language cohort have just completed their final exam and have been very positive about the process. 16 girls have completed the course and have been a group of diligent and enthusiastic students. Last year’s A Level Language final results were outstanding, 24% higher than the national average, with an average grade B. Miss Torr and I are confident that the results this summer will share similar success as we have refined our approach to teaching the different units, but continued to use the excellent approaches we have developed over the past few years. The final language investigation coursework has been submitted and we are certain that this will bring excellent rewards for the hardworking students. Last year’s moderator’s report for this piece of coursework was extremely complimentary and reassured the English Language team that we are preparing our students to excel in this area.

A-Level Literature:

In November, a group of year 12 and year 13 literature students attended a ‘Masterclass on Dystopian’ Literature at the University of Birmingham. The fascinating lecture, given by an expert in the field, linked directly to the synoptic unit for the examination. Students found it useful to consider the topic from different perspectives and also to experience university life and the format of a lecture. Critical theory and historical contexts were discussed as part of the lecture, both key aspects covered in the assessment objectives. The experience has prompted many interesting discussions in the classroom and has inspired wider reading.

In May, students had the opportunity to see a production of ‘Richard III’ at HOME theatre in Manchester. It was a complex production that used staging in innovative ways, a contemporary twist on this classic play. It was particularly useful for year 13 students as they were able to watch the play a few weeks before their final exam. It was the ideal opportunity to consider different interpretations of the play, a key aspect of the assessment for this unit.

Year 13 students have now completed their final examinations covering ‘Richard III’, poetry by Christina Rossetti, ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ and dystopian literature. Student also completed a non-examined component that focused on post-colonial literature. This unit of work allows students to be more independent in their approach to the subject and choose the text they explore and their focus on these texts.

2018’s results for English Literature were very pleasing with an average point score above the national average and an average grade of a B. We have continued to develop strategies this year to encourage students to excel, including the introduction of Independent Learning books, wider experience of extra-curricular activities and the introduction of an after school drop in session for literature students. We will continue this next year as it is a valuable opportunity for students to gain confidence and work on targets. We look forward to planning more extra-curricular opportunities for students in the next academic year.

SAM Learning:

This is the second year that the department have used SAM Learning as a tool to support students with their revision. Each half-term students are set a challenge to complete a series of online tasks, tailored to the unit they are currently studying or the exam they are sitting. Each half-term there is an Amazon gift-voucher prize for the top boy and girl in years 10 and 11. Initially this was an intervention strategy we put in place to encourage more boys to engage with revision, through the medium of technology. However it has been very popular with both genders and a wide spread of abilities across both year groups. Each half term a different student has been the SAM Learning Champion and last half term, 74 Year 11 students took part in the challenge and 30 Year 10s. The benefit of this is that students can access their revision both in school, and at home and they are active in their independent learning.

Creative Writing Club

Students from across the year groups have been coming together once a fortnight since September to learn, share and create.  Students received mini-lessons on short story writing and poetry and explored a variety of classic short prose for inspiration.  This year, the topics covered have included Hemmingway’s ‘iceberg theory,’ Bakhtin’s ‘Heteroglossia’ and the concept of defamiliarisation in writing.  In creative writing club, students helped each other grow and develop as writers by workshopping each other’s writing.  The club has entered several competitions and had many pieces published in anthologies by the Young Writers company.  It is our hope to publish an Alleyne’s Academy Anthology by the end of the year, exhibiting our writers’ best work from this academic year.

English Club

The weekly after-school English club provides students with an opportunity to address their own personal learning needs and catch up on any missed work.  Students are given access to fully qualified members of the teaching staff to discuss their individual strengths and weaknesses and to cover any concepts that they might find difficult.  This extra hour of English studies every week has been helpful for all of the students that have accessed the service, and has been particularly beneficial to SEND and EAL students.  Year eleven students, preparing for their upcoming exams, have also shown a keenness to utilise this extra time to hone their skills and work collaboratively on revision.

Geography Department – Mr S Blood (Head of Department)

Within the department we have been busy supporting many revision sessions in recent months, both during school hours and after. Our turn out during the half term revision sessions was especially pleasing. In the coming weeks we are due to carry out our annual A Level Fieldtrip. Once again we are using the Field Studies Council to support the students and staying at Malham Tarn in Yorkshire. We are already planning next year’s trip, along with the GCSE field work and finalising payments and passport details for our overseas trips to Iceland (October 2019) and Italy (April 2020). As a department we will also be developing new curriculum maps and continue to create new resources and update existing lessons for both the GCSE and A Level specifications.

Year 9 have settled in well to the demands of the new three year GCSE. With a number of students showing great promise, already achieving grades of 8’s and 9’s, while many others are pushing for their targets.

Classes in this year group have worked particularly well alongside the PGCE Trainee Teachers from Keele University in producing creative ways to understand key geographical concepts linked to topics such as coastal processes and urban challenges. Creating Favelas that considered the challenges and opportunities in the relation to the latter topic. Numbers at GCSE for the next academic year look to be in excess of the current Year 9 and reflect the established reputation of the department to deliver engaging and progressive lessons that provoke passion and interest within the students to want to explore more about what is happening in the world and why. They are also due to sit their mock exam over the coming weeks so we are currently offering revision and exam technique sessions in order to better prepare them for these, as well as selling them revision guides at a discounted price.

Year 10 have also been working very hard, managing to complete a number of topics so far this year, these have included UK extreme weather, climate change, urban challenges in a NEE and urban challenges in a HIC. They have also had the opportunity to develop their skills more this year, carrying out map work skills assessments and also like Year 9 building their own favela’s where they explored their own range of opportunities and challenges. In the spring mocks the cohort all achieved a grade, with a strong 71% gaining 9-4 grades.

Year 11 worked very hard in the last few months, not only completing the final topic in the course, but also attending the fieldtrip to New Brighton, which was essential to support their work in Paper 3, and also working to understand the pre-release, which focused on the issue for road development in the Peruvian Amazon. The cohort have all now completed their GCSE’s with many working hard to attend revisions sessions laid on by the department, including sessions run during both May half term and during their study leave in June. We wish them all the best in August as many worked hard and deserve to achieve very good grades. Numbers for the next academic year in Year 12 once again look strong based on the size of the Year 11 cohort, with two classes currently timetabled.

 

Year 12 are currently completing their mock exams and are about to head out on a weeklong fieldtrip to the Field Study Councils, Malham Tarn site in Yorkshire. While there they will be exploring locations in both urban and coastal environments as well as developing key skills and techniques required to complete their Non Examined Assessments (NEA’s) successfully. With questions developed by the students themselves they will plan and carry out their own methodologies during the week and then return to present, analyse, conclude and evaluate this data, alongside secondary research. 

Year 13 have also been working hard to prepare for their final exams, attending an online CPD event we put on for them in May that supported their exam revision, technique and preparation for Paper 3, which was an unseen case study resource. Attendance at revisions sessions to further support this work has been steady, with students again making an effort to come in during the May half term for extra support and working hard to complete additional practice questions.

History Department – Mrs R Farnworth (Acting Head of Department)

Mrs Davies has been on maternity leave since October half term. In her absence, Miss Dale has done an excellent job of delivering all of Year 12 and Year 13 History, including the Non-Examined Assessment. This is a substantial undertaking in terms of the amount of preparation required and Miss Dale and Mrs Davies have been in working closely together, ‘remotely’ to make this a success. Mrs Davies’ Year 11 groups have been taught by Miss Dale and Mrs Broadist to ensure that the examination years have been effectively covered as a priority. Thank you to both of them for managing this so successfully. It is not easy to pick up new groups and build positive relationships in their final year.

Mrs Broadist ran lunchtime revision sessions for Year 11 , which were well attended, especially by middle ability boys – a key group where improvement is targeted. They looked at areas of the paper which required a high level of technique to score well i.e. evaluate questions. There was high uptake of revision guides, which were ordered at a discount with the publishers. Pupil Premium money was used to ensure that all students in this group received a guide. As well as the walk through mock taking place for grades 7-9 students, a similar session also took place for those targeted grades 4-6. In these sessions, Miss Dale explained the question types on the paper for students in more depth and particularly demonstrated how all of the questions require two key sets of skills. These sessions received very positive feedback and students reported feeling much more confident after them. Again this year, Miss Dale produced some simplified notes for the Paper 1 topics and also guides on how to complete the questions on the paper for students to use as part of their revision. These guides contained example answers and mark schemes. All students have also been provided with in depth revision notes for every topic that we study.

Maths Faculty – Ms M Justice (Head of Faculty)

This year is the first sitting of the new A level and so we are eagerly anticipating the results.  GCSE results look to be in line with previous years .

Alli Thompson has run a STEM club for 6th form which has seen students working with ABB and JCB which has gone down very well and included a trip to Cosford and a stay at a university as part of its plans.  Links were made early in the year with middle schools to run a stem project which was also very good.

Maths club continues to prove popular and is now on a Thursday after school with about 20 students most weeks.  UKMT maths challenge took place in November and saw 3 students go through to the next round.

A trip to Big Bang Near Me at Staffs University is planned for 18th June with almost 125 year 10’s attending.  This is an opportunity for students to get involved in STEM Activies and meet with university staff and employers.

Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) – Mrs V Durand (Head of Department)

The Department

In order to support our students with their French and Spanish GCSE examinations, the department, this year, added many revision slots to ensure that all students could attend at least one. Therefore, we ended with a revision session every Monday after school for both French and Spanish as well as a “breakfast club” every Friday at 8.15am, which was very well attended by Year 10 students. In addition, VDU ran lunch time sessions for Year 11 (Tuesday for French and Thursday for Spanish)

Trips:

Salamanca

During February half-term, 24 students from Year 9 to Year 11 went to Salamanca in Spain and returned full of enthusiasm for the Spanish language and culture. They all had amazing stories to tell and share with their peers. The trip was packed with various visits (museum, market, monuments, walks, etc.) It was a good idea to explore a smaller Spanish city (our last Spanish trip was to Madrid) and our students benefitted spending time to study in more detail the historical, gastronomical and cultural aspects of the western city.

French Exchange

This year seven families decided to take part in the French Exchange to Limoges (we had four students last year) and our students went first to France for 10 days during the Easter break. The feedback from the English families and the students were amazing (please read comments below); our young linguists experienced living with a French family and going to school; they equally enjoyed the numerous visits to explore the Limousin region. Now our students and their families are ready to host the French pupils in July. I was delighted to see the students’ progress on their return, not only with their confidence with the language but also their fluency and range of vocabulary.

Comments from parents:

Please thank everyone on the team for all their hard work organising the trip and looking after our kids. Lauren has had a fantastic time in France and her host family have been wonderful. Thank you.”

“Just a quick note to thank you and your team for giving Lucy such an amazing experience in Limoges. Lucy has returned in love with France and has made a friend for life with Elise her exchange student and many others she has met over the last 10 days. The family she was paired with were so hospitable and welcoming, even managing to squeeze in a day trip to Paris! Again thank you so much, the whole process ran smoothly and we are looking forward to welcoming Elise in July.”

“Thank you to all concerned in planning and implementing the trip. Charlotte had a lovely time and is convinced her French has improved! The family she stayed with were delightful and welcoming to her. We can’t wait for July to repay the hospitality.” 

MFL Enrichment:

For the European Day of Languages (26th September) the department focused on Spanish food available in the main canteen.

Book cover competition: in October, we had our annual book cover competition for year 9 for French and many students participated.

Year 9 Spanish are studying a film, Coco, which explores the traditions of the Day of the Dead, a Spanish child's desire to become a musician despite his family's wishes; the department’s idea is to make our students reflect on cultural and historical backgrounds.

Art: VDU is organising an additional session with the Art department; the idea is to invite our Year 9, Year 10 and Year 12 studying French and Spanish to take part in a display, painting Notre Dame and La Sagrada Familia;  vocabulary and artistic techniques will be explained in both languages. Our students are already showing their interest for this extra-curricular activity, which will take part in the last week of term in July.

Visitor:

Joel Paxton paid a visit to the department. Joel was a language student at Alleyne’s Academy two years ago and studied French and Spanish at A level. He came to visit our Year 10 and Year 11 linguists to inspire them with languages; Joel explained his course at Keele University where he studies International Relations and Politics with French.

Physical Education – Mr S Powell (Head of Department)

Extra-Curricular Sporting Round-up:

Football: In the County and District competitions years 9 - 11 exited the competitions in the early stages. The 6th form team provided most of the highlights with progress to the final of the District competition where they lost and the semi-final of the County competition where they narrowly went out 0 – 1. MC continued to represent the Academy in the County u18 squad. We have fielded teams at all ages from u14 – u16 in the girls’ competitions and it was the u15 girls who followed up their success from yr9 to reach the County Cup Final

Netball: A number of fixtures were arranged in the early part of the academic year for Yrs 9 – 11. For Yr11 the competitive matches arranged were used as an opportunity to moderate performance in netball with other schools for GCSE practical assessments, which proved particularly beneficial in advance of submitting final marks with the majority of the team being on the GCSE PE course.

Cricket: Due to the timing of last year’s report it was not possible to mention that the u15 team won the County ‘B’ competition in 2018. However, the Yr10 side of 2019 were not able to defend the trophy and went out in their first match as did the Yr9 team in their own competition. JK (u15), JS (u14) and CW (u14) are all part of the County squads. JL, from Yr9, has played as part of our teams this year and is also a member of the girl’s u14 County squad.

Cross-Country: After last year’s wet weather this year runners were faced with a frozen course at the County Cross-Country Championships, but despite this the event went ahead and proved very challenging. BC finished 3rd in the u17 race and qualified to run at the English Schools Championships held in Leeds this year. In the u16 race LP finished 10th and HB 19th. JL in the girl’s u14 race finished 3rd and so also qualified to run at the English Schools Championships. 

Badminton: At the district competitions in January our Yr11 boys’ team finished first and the girls second which was a fine end to their 3 years of successful involvement in badminton whilst at Alleyne’s. LH (Yr11) has broken into the County squad over this season having only taken up the sport since playing for the first time in Year 9.

Athletics: At the District Athletics Championships at Rowley Park from the year 9 & 10 team taken, 5 students were asked to return for the County finals.

RE and Social Sciences Department – Mr R Haydon (Head of Faculty) and Mrs T Aughey (RE specialist teacher)

It has been a busy term preparing students for their summer examinations.  For Year 10 and 13 they are the final external examinations whilst for Year 9 and 12 they are taking internal examinations to assess their progress.  A tremendous amount of work has been undertaken by staff and students to ensure they are well placed to achieve the very best results they can.

Year 9 are currently preparing for their end of Year mock examination where they will have the opportunity to show what they know about different religious beliefs.  They have already completed modules on Human Rights and Life and Death and are now learning about Christian and Buddhist beliefs.

Students in Year 10 have all now completed their RE GCSE examinations.  Student feedback was positive with regard to the examinations.  Hopefully, the momentum created via revision will help produce some good results on results day in August.

In Year 11 students have worked hard to complete their Health and Social Care coursework using a day prior to Easter to have a concerted push with this.  Having sat the examination in January they now are well placed to achieve on this course. 

Likewise, Year 13 have thoroughly prepared themselves for their final A Level examinations in Psychology and Sociology.  Many students gave up time to attend revision sessions as well as the weekly programme that has taken place since December.  Both subjects also attended a Tutor 2 U Revision day in Manchester during March which was well attended and productive.  As such, we hope that students will build on the progress they have made during the year to achieve well to allow them to reach their intended destinations after Sixth Form.  Pleasingly many intend to follow University courses within the subject area and should have the foundations in place to study at this higher level.  We wish them well and hope to see them on results day celebrating.

Finally, Year 12 are soon to complete their end of Year internal examinations.  This will allow us to assess relative areas of strengths and weakness for progression to Year 13.   Over the summer they will alongside the new Year 12 have work to complete in order to hit the ground running in September.   Future plans with regard with to University courses and other options will also be considered as part of an end of Year review with subject based advice helping in this process.

 

Science Faculty – Mrs R Eldershaw (Head of Faculty)

The academic year started with a new Deputy Head of Faculty, Miss Dulson (Chemist) supporting Mrs Eldershaw as Faculty Head. Following the success of the previous year, in June 2018 Mrs Eldershaw visited both of the middle schools to present an assembly to all Year 8 students. For this assembly she took with her Yr12 Science A-level students, who helped to present about the wonder of Science and at the end of the assembly, Year 8 students were set a research project (which then fed into their Science lessons at the Middle schools) to research and produce an A3 poster on anything within the topic ‘Earth & Space’. These posters were then submitted in September at Alleyne’s to their new Science teachers. There was a fantastic number of entries and the posters were then judged and the winners received prizes in an Easter Praise assembly. These posters have now been displayed around the Science department. We will be rolling this forward, and doing the same in 2019-20 but with the theme of Great British Scientists, and six Year 10 students have this year volunteered to help deliver the assemblies.

 

In September we were very proud to be the best performing GCSE core faculty in the school, with the highest average progress score. As the Year 9 students started in September, they were setted according to prior attainment and feedback from their teachers (at the Middle schools) using a progression exam results (using the same exam in both middle schools). For the next academic year this will be replaced with a set of transition tests (run (and marked) by Alleyne’s staff in the middle school). This year, in the first few weeks they were also given a baseline test (to establish if these groupings were correct) but this will now not be necessary for 2019-20. Student setting will continue to be reviewed termly in light of the monitoring data and all students will set mock exam papers in Biology, Physics and Chemistry in the summer term to determine setting for Year 10 (2019-20), and the same in Year 10 for setting into Year 11.

All students in years 9-11 follow our revised AQA Science GCSE scheme of work, which has been planned (by us) according to student strengths in these differing years, building on prior knowledge in a spiral curriculum, and aims to allow for a planned trip in June 2020 for Year 9.

As Head of Faculty, Mrs Eldershaw is also responsible for a Sixth Form tutor group, made up of Science A-level students. In this role she was able to use her previous expertise in UCAS to support their applications during the Autumn term. This year we have a student with an offer to study Medicine at Cambridge, a student for Medicine at Cardiff, Physiotherapy for two students at Russell Group universities as well as a student planning on taking up an apprenticeship at a local engineering company.

Sadly in January 2019 we suffered the great flood in room 204. As a result four labs were taken out of action for approximately one month, and 204 has been completely unusable since, we are hopeful that the remedial works will be completed ready for a fresh start in September 2019. Mr Mayland has been very flexible and managed the situation commendably, as did the other staff who were forced to move.

Progressing into the Spring term the Physics A-level students (Year 12 and 13) attended a trip to Keele University to access some of their high-tech equipment and help them with their required practicals. In addition they had access to undergraduate lecturers, and were able to ask some interesting and stretching questions. In March, Year 13 Biology A level students attended a trip to Chester Zoo, where they also had an expect lecture on Classification from one of the Zoo staff.

Again In March, Mrs Eldershaw took nine prospective Medicine students to Keele University for their Medicine Career Day. During the day students got expert advice about the application process for Medicine, were able to conduct practical tasks and talk to present Medical students and staff. Feedback, as always, from the students was that this was a very valuable experience, particularly in preparation for cementing their choices of A-level subjects for Sixth Form. During March Mrs Eldershaw also presented a series of Science week assemblies to all Year groups aimed at understanding potential career pathways in Science and possible job opportunities across the field.

Moving into Spring term 2, Science staff volunteered their time to cover a varied revision session timetable, aimed at allowing as many students as possible to attend (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after school sessions). All A-level subjects have been offering A-level revision sessions throughout the year, and we are hopeful that this will be reflected in the results this summer. This revision timetable was also applicable for GCSE students, and in a bid to try and attempt to improve performance of boys specifically we have written home and invited all boys who we think would benefit to attend a series of trial booster revision sessions for the GCSE Paper twos which take place in study leave time in June. Attendance to these has increased from about seven students per session last year to around 20 students per session this year which is pleasing.

Moving into Summer term 2, the Year 12 Chemists (along with Miss Dulson and Mr Molloy) visited the Chemistry department at the University of Manchester where they learned about spectroscopy and biofuels. Some of the Science staff are also accompanying Year 10 students to the STEM Big Bang fair (organised by Ms Justice) at Staffordshire University this year to hopefully get some innovative ideas for potential projects next year. Year 12 Biologists will again be travelling to Barlaston Downs to conduct their field course research. In addition, Mr Mayland, Ms Boumford, Mr Taylor, Miss Dulson and Mrs White (technician) will also be visiting Pirehill first school to deliver some Science sessions to Year 4 students on slime and soap!