Mobile Phones Policy

Dear Parents and Carers

From Monday 20th March 2017, Pool Academy will not allow any mobile phone use during the school day.

If you wish for your child to carry a phone with them for their journeys to and from school, the expectation is that it is switched off and remains in their bag once they enter the school building.  

Should you need to contact your child during the school day, please use the standard procedure of phoning or emailing the school. This will allow us to support your child appropriately if the need arises.

As you are aware the school iPads are filtered whilst being used at school and at home.  We appreciate your support monitoring the use of all mobile devices.

We understand that there may be exceptional circumstances that mean an individual student may need to have access to their phone during the day.  If this is the case, please do get in touch with your child's form tutor, head of house or any member of the pastoral or senior leadership teams to discuss how we can achieve this.

If you have any concerns about how to safeguard your child’s use of mobile technology, please do not hesitate to contact us.  

Yours faithfully,


Mrs Zelma Hill
Principal

Skills Show Trip


Dear Parent/Carer

Skills Show – Thursday 2nd March 2017 – Plymouth Pavilions

On Thursday 2nd March, all year 10 students will travel by coach to attend the Skills Show that is being held at the Plymouth Pavilions.

The event is run by Skills South West as part of a national series of careers, jobs and skills events, bringing young people aged 14-19 face-to-face with employers, training providers, further education colleges, universities, professional bodies and sector specific organisations. This highly interactive event offers learning through experiences, with exciting hands-on activities and demonstrations helping visitors to focus on areas of interest, as well as encouraging them to explore different routes into a vast range of career opportunities.

Please can students bring a packed lunch with them and a drink. Students entitled to a free school meal will be provided with a packed lunch and bottle of water. Students should wear full school uniform and bring a jacket, their iPad and pencil case. They will need to keep their personal belongings with them all day. Students will arrive back at school for the end of the normal school day. 

This is an amazing opportunity for students to start seriously considering their future pathways and we are really excited to have the opportunity to attend. Transporting the students to Plymouth is a big undertaking and is very costly. We are asking parents/carers for a £3.50 voluntary contribution to help subsidise the cost of the transport. 

Yours sincerely,


Miss M Williams
Head of PSHE/Careers
 

Spring Term Round-Up

Dear Parent / Carer

As we are now comfortably into 2017, we would like to thank you for your on-going support and share with you some good news.  Our data shows clearly that behaviour has improved across the entire school in all year groups.  We are really pleased with how the students are showing improved behaviour for learning.  We are working with our Student Leadership Team who have prioritised praise and achievement rewards as a target for the coming months and we are also working on a students’ bulletin, similar to the fortnightly bulletin which is available on our website or posted to those parents who have requested it.

Prefects

Our Prefect Team have been tremendous.  As well as leading in some assemblies, they are ambassadors for the school and have their own duty rota.  In the next few weeks we will be receiving Prefect applications from our Year 10.  If your child is in Year 10, please encourage them to apply.  This is a fantastic opportunity for them to develop leadership skills and support the community and it is, of course, something to add to their College applications and CVs. 

C3 Detentions

We have reviewed our Behaviour Policy and would like to clarify some expectations and explain the C3 detention system.

Currently, all C3 detentions will be taking place from 3pm-4pm in the Main Hall.  We have combined behaviour and homework detentions as we consider not completing homework a behavioural concern.  Two members of staff will be present during that time and a student will be required to complete a reflection about their actions that have led to the detention.  Students are expected to attend in full uniform and behave in the appropriate manner during that time and we appreciate your support with enforcing this.  We would also like to draw to your attention that the time for the Inclusion Room is from 8.15am until 4pm. 

Uniform

We sent a letter on the 12th December 2016 clarifying the school’s position with regard to uniform.  We would like to reiterate that although most of our students are very smart in their uniform, some students are still coming to school inappropriately dressed.   A reminder about trousers; these should be smart, formal cut without logos and black jeans are absolutely not permitted.  Sweatshirts and hoodies should not be worn in any circumstances.  Rings, bracelets and piercings are not allowed.  Footwear should be all black shoes that are able to be polished (not canvas), preferably without logo or logo should be in black.  We appreciate that you may like your child to use a mobile phone to and from school but we again ask for your support that the phone is not used by your child during the school day as this may be removed from the child and that the school is not responsible for any damage that may occur as a result of a phone / gadget being brought on site.  

Film Warning about On-line Grooming

Leicestershire Police has produced a film to raise awareness of the dangers of online grooming that has been made publicly available, based on the story of a teenager, Kayleigh Haywood.  The film highlights how quickly and easily children can be groomed on-line without them or those around them knowing it is happening. We would like to show this video as part of our PSHE scheme of learning to our students but appreciate that the content is sensitive and that parents may wish to view this first. 

Please visit www.leics.police.uk/categories/kayleighs-love-story-film in order to view the full version.  If you do not wish your child to watch this at school please let Mrs Williams know (mw@poolacademy.co.uk).

Yours sincerely

Mrs Zelma Hill
Principal

Y11 Exam Support

Dear Parent / Carer, 

GCSE Examination season is fast approaching and we want to ensure that your child feels prepared.  As a school, we are working to secure the best possible outcomes for your child’s future.

Enclosed with this letter is a Parent Support Pack.  This pack includes the following: 
•    An after-school revision timetable that details the days that subjects are offering After School Revision from 3pm till 4pm.  This revision is run by the subject specialists and will focus on the skills that students need to develop for their GCSE Examinations. 
•    GCSE Exam Revision Preparation information that informs you of the ways that your child can best prepare for their GCSE examinations.  It informs you about examination timings and content as well as useful links to revision resources. 
•    Additional information that supports you by sharing ways that you can support your child:  ‘How can you help your child prepare for their GCSEs?’
•    An ‘Examination Guidelines’ booklet which contains the procedures for examinations including: expectations of conduct in exams, what to do in case of illness and information about collection of results. This booklet also contains the information from the Joint Council for Qualifications, which details the legal guidelines for examinations.  
We have provided all students with logins to a website called ‘GCSE Pod’.  This website provides in-depth online subject knowledge for all of our GCSE subjects.  It is resourced with a 25,000 strong dynamic Question Bank, as well as hundreds of videos that students can access this directly from their iPad and download to support their revision. 
Students will also be having subject specific revision assemblies every Monday to prepare them for the examinations and give them the advice they need to secure the best possible results. 
Attendance to the after school revision is linked to rewards. There is a half termly draw for £25 worth of ‘Love to Shop’ vouchers and the names then roll over to a final draw for driving lessons before Year 11 leave us in the Summer term.  
It is important to ensure students manage their time properly and plan their revision.  We have been looking at how to do this during tutor time and during our PSHE days.  

Each Year 11 student has also been assigned with two mentors from school to support them with their revision planning and provide guidance through this busy time.  One of your child’s mentors is a member of the College Leadership team. This ‘Super mentor’ is available at any time during the school day for your child, and you, to support with any issues that may arise. Details of who your child’s Super-mentor is will be sent out separately and will include contact details so that you can reach them easily.  
On the 28th February we will be holding our Year 11 Progress evening 4.30 -6.30pm that will allow you to make appointments to see subject teachers about your child’s progress. Details of the evening, booking system and Year 11 full reports will be with you by the beginning of the half term. 
We are aware that this time of their GCSE course can be stressful for students and we want to provide as much support as we can for students.  
If you have any concerns, or would like to speak to me further about any of details in this letter then please do not hesitate to contact me 01209 712220 or email: al@poolacademy.co.uk

Yours sincerely, 

Mrs A Ludlow
Key Stage 4 Assistant Principal

Pupil Support Pack- Download here
 

Education Funding

Dear Parents

At a meeting of Cornwall’s secondary Headteachers and Principals last Friday, 27th January, it was agreed that this letter would be sent to all parents explaining to them the very serious financial pressures that schools in the county are facing.  We are delighted that our colleagues in primary schools across Cornwall are also writing to parents.  The heads and their governing bodies are also writing to their MP; many have already done so.

Over the past three years, the Government has imposed real terms funding cuts on schools by freezing the amount of money that is allocated to schools for each pupil. At the same time schools have seen increased costs that are really biting into school budgets. Inflation, the national Living Wage, the imminent apprenticeship levy are all considerable budgetary pressures, and the contributions that schools have to make towards their employees pensions and National Insurance contributions have risen significantly. This affects maintained schools and academies alike, both primary and secondary. Whilst the amount of money coming into schools from government has remained static at the per pupil level, the amount going out on expenditure due to government imposed changes has risen very considerably and for many schools it looks as if worse times are ahead.

Schools across the country are funded at different levels, and have been for many years. Generally, schools in rural areas are funded at a lower level than those in cities, and within each county there can be quite a wide variation of funding. This government has been brave enough to try and address these differences, and in December, proposals were published for a new ‘National Funding Formula’. On paper, the formula will result in additional funds coming into Cornwall which is to be celebrated. However, key to the new proposal is limiting the losses a school anywhere in the country will ever experience to a maximum of 3%. The differences between one area of the country and another are much larger than 3%, and so this will have the effect of perpetuating the current imbalance of Cornish schools being funded at a far lower rate than others in different parts of the country.

As you may well be aware, many schools in Cornwall are already struggling with their finances, and have been for some years. The new proposals are complex, but it is clear that the different funding factors that make up a school’s budget will result in many of our schools actually losing even more funding, and the proposals do nothing to help the majority of schools in our county. Nationally, using the government’s own formula and statistics, the National Association of Headteachers, the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers & Lecturers, have shown that between now and 2020 there will be an average cut in funding of 8.7% in secondary schools across the country. 

The proposals are currently out for consultation, and MPs from across England have been raising their concerns with the Secretary of State and on the floor of the House of Commons. Most notably, the Chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, Graham Brady has asserted that "it is clear that the draft published by the DfE does not rectify the long-standing unfairness of education funding,” and many other senior Conservative MPs have already publicly condemned the funding reforms announced. We are urging our local MPs to add their voice to the growing concerns being expressed nationally!

Some Cornish secondary schools have already made staff redundancies over the last three or four years and class sizes have already increased as headteachers and governors try hard to manage the increasing economic pressures they face.  We do not want your children’s education to be compromised. We do not want them to miss out on being taught a full curriculum in a school which has sufficient teachers and support staff to give them the attention they need to do well, flourish and make the best of their education. The current Government was elected on a manifesto that promised to protect school funding. Whilst we acknowledge there is more money in the national system, it is clear that this pledge is not being honoured in real financial terms for different schools across the country and specifically in Cornwall. 

We are asking our MPs to press the Chancellor to use the Budget to announce increased education spending. We are also asking our MPs to stress the impossible financial situation that Cornwall’s schools are facing when meeting with the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening and her ministers. 

What can parents do to help and support their local school and community?

The more people that raise their concerns with their MP, the more likelihood there is that changes may be made. The government is currently consulting on their funding reforms, so now is the time for Cornish parents to make their voice heard. You can do two things:

•    Sign a national online petition by clicking on this link: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#/contact-us  AND
•    Email your MP; you can use this link if you wish: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#/email-your-mp 

Your local MP will be expecting to hear from you – they know that we are sending this letter to you all! 

Yours sincerely
              
Mrs Zelma Hill           Mr Nick Lake
Principal                    Chair of Governors
 

Earth House Trampoline Trip

31st January 2017

Dear Parents/Carers

RE: Earth House Trip – Trampoline Park

I am very pleased to inform you that a trip to the Pool Trampoline Park has been arranged  for pupils of Earth House on Friday 24th February. Pupils will leave school at 1.30pm and will arrive back at 3.20pm, where they will be dismissed to go home unless the school is notified otherwise.  The cost of the trip is £6.00 per student and includes trampoline sock hire.

This is a fantastic opportunity for us to come together as a House and we are very much looking forward to it.  There are 65 places available which will be allocated on a first come first serve basis for students who have 15 achievement points or more. Any student with behaviour incidents shall be reviewed on an individual basis as part of a risk assessment. As always, we trust our students to behave impeccably on the trip and to be polite and courteous to the staff and general public at all times. 

If you wish your son/daughter to attend, please complete the slip below as well as the attached waiver form and return with your payment by Friday 10th February to secure a place on the trip. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01209 712220.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Gekas
Head of Earth House.
 

Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers


I am writing to inform you of my intention to retire from my post as Principal of Pool Academy.

This is the most difficult letter I have had to write as I do so with sadness in my heart.  I have been privileged to have been Principal for the last 16 years and I will leave with many fond memories of my time here.

I must firstly thank all of the Governors for putting their faith and trust in me on my appointment 16 years ago and hope that I have repaid their confidence in continuing Pool Academy’s journey in such turbulent, challenging and uncertain times educationally, politically and financially.  I have enjoyed almost every moment!  There has certainly never been a dull moment.

I have complete confidence in our governing body making an outstanding appointment for my successor. They know exactly what will ensure that Pool Academy remains a warm, friendly and very ‘special’ place for pupils to thrive, flourish and excel.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of my 16 years at Pool Academy and especially seeing the school on its improvement journey.  It has been exciting but very rewarding, with the support of a happy, committed and highly professional staff, and an outstanding leadership team.  Whilst I would have relished the challenge to take the school into its next exciting phase it may be the right time for an energetic, committed and passionate successor who ‘gets’ the school ethos to continue our exciting journey.

I will miss everything about the school – your wonderful children who engage me every day with their amazing contributions, good humour and achievements; you, the parents who have been so supportive and of course my outstanding staff and governing body. I feel I will be passing Pool Academy over to a new post holder in a very positive and healthy position.

Thank you all once again for all your friendship and support, having the belief in me, and enabling me to end my career on such a positive note.

Best wishes 

Mrs Zelma Hill
Principal

Mock Interview Day

Dear Parent/Carer

As part of our PSHE/Careers programme in year 11, we are running a mock interview day for students on Thursday 9th February. Mock interview day helps students prepare for life in the wider world and is a brilliant way for them to practice and showcase key employability skills within a safe and supportive environment.

We are very lucky to be supported by over 40 local employers and we do our best to match students with an employer from a sector that they are interested in, where possible. Previous mock interview days have been hugely successful and have even led to offers of apprenticeships or employment.

We try to simulate an interview as close to real life as possible and therefore students do not have to wear their school uniform. We expect students to come smartly dressed and have discussed with them how important first impressions can be when attending an interview. 

If you have any further questions about mock interview day please don’t hesitate to contact me via email mw@poolacademy.co.uk or Steph York sy@poolacademy.co.uk Alternatively you can ring the school on 01209 712220.

Kind regards

Miss M Williams

Head of PSHE/Careers

Curriculum Enrichment Week

Dear Parents/Carers,

Ref: Curriculum Enrichment Week 2017

I am delighted to confirm that this year’s Curriculum Enrichment Week will be running for years 7 to 9 during the week of the 26th June to 30th June 2017. Information has been released to children and parents slightly later this year, as the school has been reviewing the running of the week due to the impact of recent global events.

As a school we believe that this week is an incredibly valuable part of your child’s educational experience and we have therefore taken the decision that the week will continue to go ahead.

The full booklet and booking form will be released next Thursday and we will be taking payments in the Gym from 8.30am Tuesday the 24th of January. Please note that payments will not be accepted before this date.

Once a deposit has been received, a payment plan will then be setup to allow you to spread the cost of the trip. Failure to meet a payment deadline will result in the loss of your deposit and your child’s place with be offered to another student.

We look forward to another successful Curriculum Enrichment Week this year. Activity leaders will be in contact regarding arrangements for parent briefings for any out of county activities. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions (pr@poolacademy.co.uk).

Regards,

Mr Ryder

Assistant Principal

PSHE and RE Spring Term

Dear Parent/Carer,

Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) is an important part of our school curriculum. It provides students with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to live confident, safe and healthy lives. The topics that your son/daughter will be covering during their PSHE sessions this term are: 

Year 7

Spring 1: Animal rights and Human rights

Spring 2: Business and Enterprise

Year 8

Spring 1: Crime

Spring 2: Learning styles/career pathways

Year 9

Spring 1: Rights and Culture (including Female Genital Mutilation)

Spring 2: Employment Law

Year 10

Spring 1: Finance

Spring 2: Health and Safety in the workplace

Year 11

Spring 1: Post 16 applications and mock interview preparation

Spring 2: Stress and managing risk taking behaviours

 

The topics that your son/daughter will be covering during their RE lessons this term are:

Spring term – Other Religions

Year 7

Buddhism (the Buddha) and Islam (God)

Year 8

Buddhism (the Buddhist way) and Islam (the Prophet)

Year 9

Buddhism (Buddhist texts) and Islam (the Quran)

Year 10

Buddhism (beliefs and teachings)

Year 11

Buddhism (ethics and worship/festivals)

If you have any questions about our PSHE/RE programmes, or would like any more information about specific schemes of learning please, do not hesitate to contact me at mw@poolacademy.co.uk or Mrs Neesham (Assistant Principal) lne@poolacademy.co.uk

Kind regards,

Miss M Williams

Head of PSHE/Careers/RE

Christmas Holiday 2016

Dear Parents/Carers

The school term finishes on Friday 16th December at 1.15pm. The school canteen will be open for lunch for students who wish to eat their lunch before departing for home. The school bus will arrive at 1.45pm.

The new term starts on Tuesday 3rd January.

We wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and look forward to welcoming students back in the New Year.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Zelma Hill
Principal