A New Year, A New Beginning
This first week of the new academic year at Leeds West Academy is very much a new beginning for our school. The overwhelming majority of our students have returned to us filled with enthusiasm for the year ahead, ready and eager to learn. Our young people have also been welcomed by our committed family of teaching staff who are dedicated to raising aspirations and securing the best possible education experience for every student. It has been an honour to welcome new students to our learning community this week, including a superb Year 7 and vibrant Sixth Form, in addition to new young people who have joined us across several year groups.
As you will be aware, the first two days of this week were dedicated to training days for our staff. These sessions were key in driving forward the standards of teaching in our school, in addition to our fair, consistent approach to positive behavior across the Academy. This included developing staff in building Professional Confidence in teaching practice, which is underpinned with Organisational Clarity; clarity in communication, clarity in expectation, clarity throughout everything we do. Our new actions and method of practice, driven forward on these training days, will rapidly benefit each and every student this year.
My colleagues have exceptional standards and deliver the very best teaching to challenge, motivate and raise the aspirations of our students. That’s why we’re asking our students to have equally high expectations of themselves; our uniforms will be consistent, our behavior impeccable, our efforts tightly focused on positive outcomes. These are the foundations on which great futures are created for our community.
I would like to briefly reflect on our Summer results, which have noticeably improved this year. We've secured remarkable improvements in 20 subjects at A* to A, and across 16 subjects at A* to C. The average grade achieved by our students has improved from a Grade D in 2016, to a Grade C in 2017. This is a time for celebration and a clear waypoint in our first steps on a journey to outstanding and we are greatly looking forward to seeing our improved Progress 8 score, which is to be released shortly. Our Strategy for Rapid Improvement is now one term into existence and if you haven’t taken the time to familiarise yourself with the detail within the document, please click here to find out more.
This summer we received a letter from Vicky Beer CBE, Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, regarding our recent OFSTED Inspection. Vicky Beer was very supportive of our progressive vision and the improvements we have made, stating: "I appreciate the achievement and recognise the hard work that goes into improving a school. It is clear that Leeds West Academy is moving in the right direction." (You can read the entirety of the letter by clicking here.)
Above: Our all new and expanded Academy website, which is due to be launched shortly.
In the coming weeks, we will be launching our new Academy website, which vividly reflects the new academic year and new beginnings we’re enjoying at Leeds West Academy. I am delighted to be driving forward a robust system of communication between the school and the community, offering clarity and an open dialogue over our ambitions and expectations for our students. In the meantime, I would ask that our community consistently refers to our channels of communication on the present website and social channels as the official line on all activities surrounding Academy life. From start times and holidays, to expectations in uniform and attendance, our policies and systems are clearly available on these easily accessible pages.
Finally, may I thank the overwhelming majority of students who have followed the guidance and policy for uniform this week. The sense of pride in which our students wear our uniform is at the heart of our school community and, as I have said before, underpins our values in equality and unity.
Our mission is to be a world class place of learning for each and every student who walks through our gates, for every young person who enters our classrooms. To fulfill our ambitions and meet the aspirations of our young people, we will work together as teachers, parents, support staff, governors and students. We pledge to deliver exceptional standards in everything we do and we thank you for your support through every step we’ve made so far.
I am very much looking forward to working with you all in my first full year as Principal of Leeds West Academy.
To download printer-friendly versions of Mr Wilcocks' letters, please visit Letters Home.