We’ve had another really busy term and we’re really excited about what the summer term holds too.
Our Principal announced her retirement in January and the process of appointing a new Principal began in earnest. The Governors established a team to manage the appointment with much of the behind the scenes organisation ably carried out by Mrs Sutcliffe and Mrs Martin. After a gruelling interview schedule Miss Meakin was appointed as our new Principal. Miss Meakin and Mrs Hill will continue to work together over the summer term.
There were some significant changes in the Governing Board during the spring term. Miriam Venner resigned as a Community Governor as she has accepted a new post outside Cornwall. Nick Hamblin’s term of office came to an end and the Governors expressed their thanks to Nick for his service to the Governors. Kerry St Leger joined the Governing Board as a Community Governor. She works for Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change and is very keen on finding ways to work with disengaged students and families. Clive Steel has been working as an Associate Governor investigating new funding opportunities and establishing a marketing strategy.
Mrs Ludlow and Mr Ryder continue to work with MLT to identify any last minute support for Year 11 students in preparation for their GCSE exams. Students have ‘super mentors’ who aim to meet their students regularly to discuss exam preparation and any potential barriers to learning. Year 11 have also had subject revision assemblies and parents have been sent revision packs so they can support our students at home.
As well as launching the progress dashboard app for both Key stages 3 and 4, the parent area of the website for Key Stage 3 has been redesigned to make parental access to half termly assessment sheets more accessible and to promote parental engagement.
The C3 ‘working party’ have worked with both staff in meetings and students in assembly to set clear expectations in response to behaviour and sanctions. This reinforcement has led to a decrease in the number of issued C3s and students taking a greater ownership for managing their own behaviour. Inclusion now has an earlier time of 8.15am in response to staff and student feedback. This ensures a ‘smoother’ start to the day.
Heads of Houses are reporting on data to the Leadership team and have worked together to devise suitable termly action plans to address any ‘gaps’ in their Houses in relation to attitudes to learning. Heads of Houses now have taken ‘home’ in a new large central office to ensure all work is shared and consistent.
The Middle Leadership Team have been working on Assessment and Marking. MLT have reviewed departmental marking policies. Marking should allow for students to make progress and give them the opportunity to improve their work. MLT continue to work with CLT on whole school priorities.
Tutor time PSHE sessions for years 7, 8 and 9 covered a wide variety of topics from human rights to business, crime, British Law to finance. The Spring term for year 10 and 11 comprised of careers work and future planning opportunities. Year 10 have been completing health and safety in the workplace booklets in preparation for their work experience placements and they also all visited a large skills show at Plymouth Pavilions. Year 10 also had the opportunity to watch a drama performance all about Higher Education which was exciting and inspiring for the students and during National Apprenticeships Week they had an assembly through Future First, with some of our alumni, talking about their experiences of apprenticeships.
This term has also been very busy with future/career planning for year 11 as they completed their post 16 application forms and also excelled themselves at our annual mock interview day. Year 11 had an assembly with two representatives from the National Citizens Service who talked about opportunities available to them through their excellent summer programme – we currently have 15 students signed up to the programme, considered of good value by universities.
There were also other opportunities for the younger year groups as the whole school had the opportunity to be involved in voting for the next member of the Youth Parliament for West Cornwall. Also, we introduced our monthly “cookies with the cops” drop in sessions which allows students to meet with our local PCSOs in a friendly, relaxed environment which have proved very popular.
Year 10 also had an assembly from a representative who works for the Teenage Cancer Trust who discussed some important health messages for young people. We had one successful PSHE day this term which covered topics including animal rights, a mock trial, a mock election, sexual health and drugs and alcohol education.
Well being staff / students - Rob Dowling visited our Year 11’s and staff to deliver Mindfulness and Managing Stress sessions. Year 11 students had both assemblies and smaller group work to tackle exam stress relief and managing the workload of the exam period. Alongside focused revision sessions, it is hoped that this will improve the outcomes and experiences for these students. Mrs Strana, our fantastic food teacher delivered a hot-cross bun baking workshop for staff on the last Thursday of term, with Mr. Jones (Science) being the star baker for his perfect buns. Relaxation therapy and reflexology sessions are still running for staff on Fridays, run by qualified therapist Mrs Brennan who is one of our LFs.
Governors recently recognised Mr Webb (Assistant Principal) and Mr Peasley (Pastoral Support Manager) for over 20 years of service to Pool Academy. Mr. Webb and Mr. Peasley both started back in 1996 so have taught/supported many parents of current students at Pool.
STEM projects - Mr Buckingham with Lego Education, Hewlett Packard and Nova Construction Cornwall joined forces to support Tablet Academy’s Lego Festival at Pool Academy on the 2nd February 2017. The event provided local pupils with the opportunity to use Lego Education resources and explore the possibilities these products can bring to improving teaching methods and learning processes. The event involved pupils working through six challenges including - Science, History, Engineering, Maths, Computing and Literacy. The Festival was coordinated by the Tablet Academy as a chance for companies such as Lego Education, HP and Nova Construction Cornwall to support local schools and provide a means to training as well as engaging students and provide them with access to new resources and opportunities. This event featured on Spotlight news. Mrs Grenfell took a group of year 8s to Humphry Davy School for the Young Engineers Energy Quest, building wind turbines and solar powered cars. Triple scientists have visited University of Plymouth with Mr Jones and Miss Giles as well as taking part in the Biology Olympiad Challenge, some of them achieved Silver accreditation which is superb.
The Student Leadership Team have been working on projects linked to student information sharing via a ‘lock screen’ on all student iPads, water facilities for students, positive achievement recognition ideas for students and improving the environment of the school. During weekly meetings, working groups have been set up.
PE updates - Pool Academy has definitely been at the heart of County sport over the last term, hosting county finals in Rugby sevens (both Year 7 and 9) and Cross Country. Our hockey, netball and football teams have continued to improve with large squads of girls and boys training regularly and full fixture lists for all five year groups. GCSE Dance practical exam went really well for Year 9 and 10 students who are now eagerly awaiting their results. We have hosted primary festivals in basketball, hockey and football, with many KS 4 students leading and officiating.
PCF are still meeting termly. This year they have worked with Mr Jones on the use of iPads in school and Mrs Neesham on the pastoral system. The PCF have also looked at safeguarding issues and eSafety. Future agendas include looking at the delivery of PSHE and RE as well as Careers guidance and the transition from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4.
ITT students this term from Truro SCITT Ms Hocking (History), Ms Hooper (Science), Ms Hawkey (English), Mr Glazebrook (Computer Science) and from Peninsula SCITT Ms McGerty (Science).
Community news - One of our Year 10 students, representing CAAP (Cornwall Accessible Activities Program) recently travelled to Hull to perform and receive the amazing news that CAAP had won the lottery bid through the national people’s projects. The project, Time2Shine will receive invaluable lottery funding to continue its excellent work with young people within the West Cornwall area