Following a series of performances based on the Minimalist music of Steve Reich and Phillip Glass, the Royal Northern Sinfonia visited LLoB Academy on Friday 25th January. 12 musicians performed for 40 of our GCSE Music students and instrumentalists centring the event on Reich’s Triple String Quartet, Pachelbel’s Canon and an extra special performance of Clapping Music also composed by Steve Reich. So inspired, students have since downloaded the Clapping Music app on their phones to try to recreate the performance themselves! The workshop presented served as an introduction to Minimalist music and the creative compositional processes involved in creating successful compositions using musical devices and textures.
This has been an amazing opportunity and a privilege for our students to work with a world-renowned British Chamber Orchestra and the leading professional orchestra of the North East. Many thanks to Gateshead Music Education Hub who supported this event financially.
Mr Lovatt has asked the Board of Governors to be released from his contract with the Academy in order to explore new challenges after more than 5 years’ loyal and dedicated service to Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy. Governors have agreed to Mr Lovatt’s request and he will be leaving us with immediate effect, with our thanks for his service and very best wishes for the future. Mr Lovatt also expressed his gratitude to staff, students and parents and gives his best wishes to all for the future at Lord Lawson.
The Board of Governors are delighted to welcome Simon Hawkins as Principal of Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy. Mr Hawkins has a wide range of experience as Headteacher and a Senior Leader in a number of large schools in London and across Yorkshire. As Headteacher, his leadership was recently described as, “having high aspirations, and pace with a strong drive for improvement” and Ofsted have echoed this.
Mr Hawkins starts work on Thursday 24 January 2019 and will lead the Academy until the end of the Academic year. A process will shortly commence to make a permanent appointment to the role.
Regarding his appointment, Mr Hawkins said “I feel honoured and privileged to have been appointed to lead Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy. This school has many strengths, exciting potential and I am keen to start work immediately on how we can drive up standards.”
Mr Hawkins added “Unconditional positive regard for all is at the heart of my approach: each pupil, family, colleague and visitor is valued here and welcomed. As a parent with two teenage children, I have high expectations of them and their school. I expect these same high standards of progress and personal development for your sons and daughters too.”
Chris Smith, Chair of Governors, said “On behalf of students, staff and our whole community I’d like to offer Simon Hawkins the warmest welcome to Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy. He brings warmth, passion and years of experience of senior leadership to his role coupled with a track record of producing rapid and sustained improvement in the schools he has worked with. Governors are confident he will have an immediate, positive impact at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy and we wish him every success in his role”.
Come and meet the new Principal!
Mr Hawkins is keen to meet parents and carers; your voice matters and we want to listen to your views of the school’s strengths, priorities and how we can work together. Mr Hawkins is therefore inviting parents and carers to come to any of the drop-in coffee evenings held at school from Monday 28 to Thursday 31 January (inclusive) from 6pm to 7:30pm or on Friday 1st February from 7am until 8am. You do not need to make an appointment; simply drop in and come and meet Mr Hawkins over coffee for as long as you wish to stay.
Thank you to students from Jesus College Cambridge for visiting Lord Lawson and talking to our year nine students about university life and Oxbridge.
As part of the access and liaison team tour to the North East, Jesus College answered questions and encouraged our year nine students to think about applying to university.
Our year 9 students will soon be making their options choices, so the visit from Jesus College was very timely.
The First-Aid Unit here at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy is staffed by ‘First-Aiders’ not trained nurses or health professionals and as such can attend to first-aid incidents that happen in or on the way to school. The First-Aid Unit is not able to deal with on-going illnesses such as coughs, colds, flu etc. or any injuries that may have happened over the weekend or the night before, nor can they diagnose an illness. These types of problems need to be assessed by a trained health professional such as a doctor or the A&E department of your local hospital.
Please see below a letter informing you of the potential impact of what is being described as a ‘School funding crisis’.This letter is being sent out today from all schools in Gateshead and I would urge all parents to contact their local MP and/or sign the petition online ( Click here ) to express your concerns.
Principal – Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy
Well done Sixth form on another successful and fun Children in Need fancy dress day when we raised £349. The Sixth form students and staff paid £1 to dress up. Mr Blobby and other well known characters visited classrooms to collect money from staff and students as part of our annual fundraising for the BBC charity.
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.
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 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.