Our Communications Strategy
As another week draws to a close, leaders and staff at Leeds West Academy have once again relentlessly focused on our key areas for improvement. I feel it is important that parent(s)* are fully aware of the developments at the Academy, because the improvements we are making will directly impact on your children; in realising and expanding their potential and supporting them in creating amazing lives for themselves.
I am pleased to announce the outcome of the ballot to appoint a new Parent Governor to the Leeds West Academy Local Accountability Board. We were delighted to receive four nominations, which meant that a ballot was required in order to elect one of the candidates. I am pleased to announce that Mrs Tracey Simpson was voted-in with 47% of the vote. Mrs Simpson has two boys, one who has successfully completed his time at LWA and one who has just started, and believes that the voice of the parent is so important to the running of the Academy. She currently works within the education sector and feels that her knowledge and experience will bring a great deal of value to her responsibilities as Parent Governor. I would like to express my sincere thanks to each of the other nominees for their engagement with this process.
In assemblies this week, Mr Chattoe, our Vice Principal for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, has launched one of our key initiatives from our Strategy for Rapid Improvement; The Purple Zone, an initiative that is expected to nurture and extend the resilience of our students in their learning. This is a period of time in a lesson, when all students are working independently through challenging, stimulating and/or thought-provoking situations. This period of “hard work” is designed to promote deep and profound learning, by ensuring students are challenged to complete work that is just outside of their comfort zone, because this is where learning takes place most effectively. We expect students to find this part of the lessons difficult, but each activity will be tailored so that the work each student is completing is closely matched to their individual needs. Over time, the length of time students are engaged in The Purple Zone will increase as the work becomes progressively more difficult. Please talk to your son/daughter about the work they are completing in The Purple Zone; we are confident that our students' progress will accelerate significantly and with this, confidence and resilience will flourish.
As outlined over the last three weeks, Attendance remains a critical focus and so far, we have seen some great successes, with some students transforming their attendance, and therefore benefitting from more time spent learning. As outlined last week, we are launching a high profile Attendance Reward this term. First Direct have donated exclusive use of one of their VIP Suites at the First Direct Arena on Saturday 2nd December 2017, to see Harry Potter Live! First Direct have also offered unlimited soft drinks, along with VIP Access to their “Black and White lounge”. Two tickets are up for grabs from each Year Group (7-11) for students who have attendance of 98% or above between now and December. Any student who reaches this target will be entered into the draw, where two lucky students will be invited to this fabulous event. Along with the potential to win this fabulous prize, the benefits of attending every day lie in the improvements in learning and potential for success that great school attendance brings. We expect parents to support us in this vital drive to improve the life chances for the young people of our community.
Three weeks ago, I expressed my intention to share with you details of our intentions to support the development of effective communication between parents and academy staff. Many parents with whom I have met since joining Leeds West Academy in June, have expressed significant concerns with regard to the reliability and effectiveness of communication between home and school. As promised, I am now pleased to share with you our newly devised Communication Strategy. I am expecting this strategy will significantly improve and formalise our lines of communication so that we can continue to develop positive working relationships with our parents. Within this document, you will see that the e-mail addresses of key staff will be posted on our website to ensure you are able to contact the right person to respond to your concern. This list of key contacts will be posted within the next working week and will be announced through our usual social media channels.
Next week, we will be starting our first cycle of Quality Assurance, involving a series of Learning Observations, covering every teacher in the Academy. This will further enable us to evaluate the quality of teaching and plan any necessary training to ensure our standards continue to climb, all with the intention of securing the best possible education for your children. I remain extremely positive about the climate for learning in our classrooms and the positive engagement of our team of teachers and support professionals. In a new record, almost 50 teachers engaged with our voluntary training sessions last week, in order to share and develop excellent practice. This is a strong indication of just how much our dedicated team are investing in the education of every child at Leeds West Academy.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents that Leeds West Academy will be closed for Staff Training on Friday 20th October. On this day, we will target more key initiatives to ensure your son/daughter is receiving the very best teaching.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
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*The term ‘parent’ includes any person or body with parental responsibility such as a foster parent, carer, guardian or local authority.