As we mark the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War 1, Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy took part in a very special celebration of all those who fought to give us our future. We stood together in union to pay respect to all those in conflict 100 years ago, and all those since.
Many of our students who are members of uniformed youth organisations, representing the Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, Scouts, Girl Guides, Boys Brigade, attended school in their service uniforms today, and played a pivotal role in the proceedings by forming an honour guard for the service. Our students were joined on parade by the Birtley Community Partnership, the SSAFA, and also Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, John Robinson DL, RAFVR(T).
Head Boy and Girl, Daniel Wales and Lucy Hughes, took big parts in the service with helping with opening the service, and speaking about why we were here to mark the important centenary event. They followed on with a lovely reading ‘Home at Last’ by Tony Church, helping us to reflect on the impact war has on those family and friends who are left at home.
The Principal, Mark Lovatt, read the names of those who have sadly lost their lives through conflict and war, all those personal to staff and students from out local community. Wreaths were then laid to honour these memories.
David Ord performed the Last Post and Reveille, before two students fall out of parade to deliver a poem, before concluding the service. Ben Harbottle dismissed the banner party, Niamh Cowie, then the parade, after doing a fantastic job throughout the service commanding the parade throughout.
Our guests were invited to stay for refreshments enjoy wartime songs and to get to know our students involved in the service. Here at Lord Lawson we our very proud of all students involved in the lead up and during this very special centenary service.
This year, Lord Lawson students in year 7 have been able to participate in a national initiative from ‘BookTrust’, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, to provide each year 7 student across the country with a reading book for free chosen from 15 available titles.
‘Bookbuzz’ started earlier in the year when students were given the opportunity to read blogs, research and watch videos of each of the authors explaining and reviewing books from this year’s selection. From this our students were able to make an informed decision about which book would best suit their interests and abilities.
Orders for books were taken until mid-October and the books have now arrived in the academy! Students can expect to receive their free book over the next couple of weeks during library lessons.
To find out more about Bookbuzz, please visit the following web page:
Miss B Dixon
On Thursday 1 November our year 10 Product Design students had the opportunity to attend an Engineering Discovery Event at Nissan Sunderland Plant, aimed at inspiring young people to consider careers in advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Students learned about engineering at Nissan and took part in related activities. The event looked at all models made at Sunderland Plant, and in particular the 100% electric Nissan Leaf.
Then followed a plant tour to see the Nissan cars in production. On the shop floor students were able to see how thousands of parts arrive at the side of production line, on time, to be fitted to the painted vehicle shell.
With thanks to Nissan, as all of our students had a very enjoyable and inspiring experience of the world of work, and also gained valuable insight into the many different types of engineering roles and opportunities available in this industry.
Quotes from students include:
“An awesome and inspiring visit”.
“Amazing to see engineering and manufacturing ‘brought to life’ in real life work”.
“I enjoyed using my problem solving and presentation skills in the engineering activities”.
“As a female, I now feel empowered to work and succeed in the Engineering/Manufacturing Industry”.
We have vacancies on the Board of Governors for parents and employers of our students and members of our local community.
We need your help to set the strategic vision for the Academy and hold leaders to account. We are especially looking for people who have experience in mental health, accounting and finance, fundraising, PFI contract issues and those with experience of vocational education and supporting young people from a disadvantaged background. We are also keen to here from local employers of our young people who can help ensure we have a curriculum which equips students with the skills employers need.
You will join the Board at a critical time as we prepare to welcome OFSTED back into the Academy and as we take action to better stretch and challenge our most able students, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and boys, in particular.
You would also join at a time of significant change for the Board. We have reduced the size of the Board from 22 to 13 with the aim of having a smaller number of more actively engaged governors with a focus on the skills and experience they each bring to us.
Becoming an Academy governor is a serious commitment. You would need to be available for up to four evening meetings per term, typically starting at 5:30pm on a Monday or Thursday, and commit to at least two visits to the Academy during the school day each year. These visits will be carried out as part of our Impact Evaluation Programme; you will be tasked with working with staff and students to review a priority area for the Academy looking at what the issue is, what is being done about it and whether we are having sufficient impact. Our aim is to improve the level of knowledge and understanding of the Board and help the Academy identify opportunities for improvement.
If you think you could help and would like to find out more contact our Chair of Governors, Chris Smith, at email@example.com to arrange an informal chat about the role.
We are looking for our new governors to be in post by the time of the next full governing body meeting on
22 November 2018.
At the Governors’ meeting last month I took over from Albert Leaf as Chair of Governors. I was joined by Alison Logan and David Horn as Vice-Chairs. Albert and Caroline Mathias, who was vice-chair for many years, have now stepped down from the Board and I want to pay tribute and give thanks to them both, on behalf of the Academy, for their decades of service, support and friendship to this school. Few schools are fortunate enough to have members of their communities give up so much of their time for so many years and we are indebted to them.
We were pleased to offer Albert and Caroline a formal token of the Academy’s appreciation – a pair of stunning glass plates bearing the Academy phoenix kindly created by our very own Ken Maynard – and staff will also mark this moment by hosting Afternoon Tea for Albert and Caroline and their families at the Academy this week.
Thankfully, Albert and Caroline are not leaving the Academy altogether. They remain members of the Academy Trust and, under changes to our Articles which we are presenting to the DfE for approval, they will lead a panel which will oversee the effectiveness of governance in the Academy, bringing their years of experience to bear as they hold us to account. If they do not think we are doing a good enough job, they can replace us!
This is one of a number of changes we are making to governance in the Academy. We have reduced the size of the Board from 22 to 13 and it will now meet formally twice each half-term. Each Governor is tasked with reviewing a priority area for the Academy, which will mean each of us gets a ‘whole school view’ during our visits and the aim is that staff and students will see ‘more of us, more often’.
For example, so far this term Kim Marshall and I have worked with Mr Diamond reviewing the Academy’s approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our aim is to improve the level of knowledge and understanding of the Board, evaluate impact of Academy policies and help the Academy identify areas for improvement. Other areas governors are looking at this term include how well we stretch and challenge our most able, the level of rigour in our KS3 curriculum, impact of our PP spending and the progress of boys.
Ultimately, this is a critical year for the Academy. OFSTED will visit again in the next 12 months and, when they come, we must satisfy them that the Academy is continuing to improve at pace. The Academy secured its second best ever results this summer in terms of student attainment; that’s the number of students achieving grade 9-4 in five or more subjects including English and Maths. This is crucial to the life chances of our young people and their ability to progress into the further education, training or employment they want and the Academy is delivering on that.
However, in assessing the quality of schools the government now focuses on the progress (distance travelled) of every student in the Academy and we recognise that we still have work to do here. Our students already have a much higher than average level of ability when they start with us and we are taking robust action to better stretch and challenge our most able students, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and boys, in particular.
Like all schools, we face financial challenges and pressures on our budget that show no sign of abating in the coming years. On the contrary, things seem likely to get only harder. We are continuously reviewing our ways of working and spending to do our utmost to ensure the ongoing financial stability of the Academy.
We need your help to do this. We have vacancies on the Board for parents and members of our local community who feel they could contribute and help us set the strategic vision for the Academy and hold leaders to account. We are especially looking for people who have experience in mental health, accounting and finance, fundraising, PFI contract issues and supporting young people with employability. We are also keen to here from local employers of our young people who can help ensure we have a curriculum which equips students with the skills employers need. More information is on the Academy website.
Of course, school life is about far more than exam results (important though they are) and at Lord Lawson we are pleased to offer students a vibrant and safe environment where diversity is celebrated and creativity encouraged. We ensure all students have the opportunity to take part in many extra-curricular activities and trips during their time with us, broadening their horizons all the while. Many of our new Year 7 students have started their Lord Lawson careers by visiting Dukes house Wood this weekend and we are grateful to the staff members who gave up their weekend to make sure our young people have a safe and enjoyable time.
Chair of Governors
We have hosted another very successful coffee morning and raffle in aid of Macmillan cancer relief. This is a charity close to the hearts of so many staff and students.
We have supported this amazing charity for over 24 years and raised nearly £20,000 to date. The raffle included a gorgeous chocolate cake donated by a Yr 12 student and homemade bread from a retired colleague. Watch this space for the grand total raised.
We would like to congratulate all of our students on their recent examination success. Results this year are among the best the Academy has ever seen with 81% of students achieving a pass grade in either English literature or language, 72% achieving pass grades in maths, nearly 70% of students attaining pass grades in both English and Maths, and 72% of students attaining pass grades in two or more Sciences.
There have also been some exceptional individual performances with a significant number of our students attaining grades equivalent to A/A* or above (the new grade 9) in all or nearly all of their subjects. This performance has been against a background of new and significantly tougher exams. Well done to all.Your hard work and resilience have paid off.
Today saw the day our Y13 students had been waiting for. After 2 years of hard work, dedication and resilience, they collected their A level results and we couldn’t be more proud of them. They have worked relentlessly at these challenging qualifications and are now going of follow their dreams. Many are going to Universities such as Cambridge, Durham, Manchester and Newcastle to study wide ranging subjects such as Law, Nursing, Games Design and Town Planning. Others are taking on apprenticeships and employment. Several of our students are attending prestigious Performing Arts Institutions, for example Laine Theatre of Arts. We would like to say a huge congratulations to each and every one of you and wish you much success in your future. Well done.
Last week, Mr McConway and Ms Emmerson took a group of ten of our Year 11 students to Uganda on an International Inspiration trip. Our young leaders were collaborating with a group of Ugandan students to share cultural experiences, plan and develop a sports festival, and to visit a range of primary schools to observe the education system and the way that people live. They also went on safari and experienced a range of Ugandan traditions.
Our students had an incredible time and we are so proud of the mature way they represented the school. They learnt so much from their experiences, and we strongly feel that this will be a trip that they will remember and value always, and one that has helped to shape them into even more thoughtful and kind individuals. They made such mature comments about what they had learnt and how grateful they feel for their education. What a fantastic, enlightening and empowering way to end a school year.