Key Aspects for Rapid Improvement
At the end of an extremely busy and productive week, I am pleased to report our progress to you in my weekly Principal’s Update. On Wednesday evening, we welcomed almost 1000 visitors to our Academy on our annual Year 6 Open Evening. The evening was extremely busy, with all staff around the Academy opening their doors to prospective students and parents to share with them their collective enthusiasm for their subjects, and pride in our Academy. I have received an enormous amount of positive feedback about the renewed sense of purpose and a revived passion for success. The clear message to our visitors was this; there is no better time to join Leeds West Academy.
Each week, I enjoy spending time in lessons across our Academy. Once again this week, I have been encouraged by how well the vast majority of students are engaging positively with their learning. As outlined last week, we are maintaining our strong focus on three key aspects of our Strategy for Rapid Improvement. It is important to ensure you are aware of these aspects as I am asking for your support in ensuring your children embrace the improvements we are making:
- Attendance and punctuality: I am pleased to report a small improvement in attendance this week, which currently stands at 95.2%. We cannot be satisfied until we reach our target level of 97%. The impact of poor attendance is significant; a student with 95% attendance will be absent for 9 days in an academic year, which is broadly equivalent to two school weeks. Within this time, a student will have missed 50 lessons and therefore, a significant amount of learning. It is for this reason, we ask that every parent joins us in driving our attendance to record levels.
- Strategic Seating and Interaction Plans: Our work in this area continues to gather momentum. In summary, every teacher, in every subject and every classroom, is asked to ensure they have planned where students in their classes are seated. There are a number of clear reasons for this: We need to ensure that all teachers take into account the different needs of each student in their classes. We want to make sure that every student has the opportunity to progress, whatever their starting point. These plans go beyond simply where a student is sat within a classroom; they are used to record key information about each student, whether this is a plan for how best to support, engage or challenge each student, or clear strategies the teacher will adopt to support literacy and any additional needs that may have been identified. This is a huge step forward and a process that will be monitored closely to ensure the plans have a positive impact on every individual student. Again, we ask for your support in encouraging your son/daughter to engage in dialogue with their teacher, allowing teachers to establish precisely what your son/daughter needs in order to maximise his/her progress, in every subject.
- Pride in Presentation: We have already established the highest of standards and expectations when it comes to presentation, but we must ensure that this standard is maintained and/or improved over the course of the next few weeks and for the rest of this year. Teachers have been asked to challenge work that does not meet the required standard, and to reward students where their books shine with a clear sense of pride. We will again, be asking for parents to check the standards of presentation in your child's books and planners, to ensure we are united in our stand to expect the very best.
In order to maintain our drive to improve and sustain the quality of teaching at Leeds West Academy, we have developed a programme of exceptional training and development for our staff. This week, we launched another strand of this programme to support us in achieving excellence; our all new 15 Minute Forum; a voluntary session where colleagues share excellent practice with other colleagues from across the Academy, in order to develop, enrich and sustain classroom excellence. As a parent, you will be pleased to know that over 40 teachers attended this first session, a clear sign that the teachers employed by Leeds West Academy are extremely determined to deliver the very best for your children.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind parents of the current vacancy for a Parent Governor. This is an exciting opportunity to join the Leeds West Academy Local Accountability Board, to support the Leadership team in shaping the future of our Academy. More details of this vacancy can be found here.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support and wish you a restful and enjoyable weekend.
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