Head of School's Blog #10 Monday 6th February 2017
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Monday 6th February 2017

Students continue to make every effort in their learning and this week Year 11 have come to the end of their mock examination period.  Their exam papers are currently being marked and the progress they have made will be shared with both students and parents at the upcoming Year 11 Progress Evening event which will take place on Monday 13th February.  Elsewhere around the Academy a range of activities have continued to take place.  A number of teams have represented the school in sporting fixtures, and several students have had their efforts commended publically for assisting members of the public and others for their involvement in work with the Council on political issues.

This issue of the blog brings together some of the highlights of the hard work and enjoyment which takes place daily in the Academy.  I hope that you received and have had the opportunity to read the latest edition of our Sandhill Soundbites Newsletter which goes into far more detail about current events and activities within Sandhill View.  

I hope you enjoy this edition of the blog.

Richard Carr
Head of School

Students & Authors on the Same Page

Very recently, we were excited to host not one but two best selling authors, who came into school to speak to our pupils about their writing experiences.

Our first visitor was Kathyrn Evans; whose debut novel More Of Me has won several awards including the ‘Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award’. Kathryn was kind enough to take our Year 7 group through several of the creative exercises she uses to help her write stories, which produced a lot of wild ideas from our pupils, who had great fun dreaming up impossible scenarios with Kathryn’s help.

The second author who visited us was L.A. Weatherly; she has written several series of books including the Broken Sky trilogy, book one of which was presented to some of our best-performing disadvantaged students by their author. Mrs Weatherly read excerpts from Broken Sky to our students and explained her reasoning behind the story and why she became an author.

In both cases our students were enthralled by our visitors, many being inspired to start their own stories as a result. We’d like to thank our guests for taking the time to visit us and for also helping us to foster a love of the written word in our pupils.

Students Test Out Their Art Skills

Art students have worked very hard to prepare for their mock exams this month. In art lessons they were asked to respond to artist Lora Zombie. The results demonstrate a range of personalities and interests communicated through expressive paint work. Well done year 11! 

On the Leading Edge

Recently five of our Year 9 students were selected for the Leading Edge Project. This is a project that has been running for ten years now and Sandhill View is one of only two Academies in Sunderland to take part, as well as six Schools in Newcastle. 

The project pairs students with an Academic researcher from the science department at the University. They then do several workshops such as working on presentation skills, laboratory skills and a debate program.

This year our project is “How do drugs affect the developing brain?” 

The academic lead we have been paired with, Dr Sarah Judge, has given our students choice of what they want to test to find out what could happen to a developing brain if they are exposed to certain drugs. Dr Judge has been researching these for a while now and is really excited to have our students on board. This project gives our students a real insight into the STEM world as they won’t just be doing Science. They will be working with very complex technology as well as performing Mathematical analysis of their results before their final presentation in July.

Watch this space for further updates on our project as we do it!

Sixth Form Progression Evening

We had our best turnout yet for the latest Sixth Form Open Evening. This was a chance for students to think about where they want to be in three years time, and with seven universities and three higher apprenticeship providers in attendance, they had plenty of people to talk to. But even better than talking to the professionals, potential sixth formers had the chance to hear from our successful candidates for Cambridge, Durham and Veterinary School. 

Don't forget, applications are due in by the Friday 10th February!

The Right Choice

Fifteen of our Year 9 students are now part of a scheme called ‘Right Choice’.  This mentoring programme has been developed by the University of Sunderland and it allows pupils, from across the city, to experience life as a university student.  The scheme runs for seven sessions, which include three sessions at the university and three sessions in school.  These sessions include information about university, student life, societies and finance, courses and UCAS and the final session is a celebration event.

Our first session took place on Wednesday 18th January and the students enjoyed an afternoon of discussion about the university, a grand tour of St Peter’s campus and getting to know their group mentors.  The students thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and many of them discussed the possibility of going to university.  We will keep you updated with what happens next.

Awarding Success

I am always keen to celebrate success and in particular the achievement of students.  Every week, here in school, I run a competition for Head of School’s Student of the Week Award.  I request that staff put forward the names of students who have demonstrated outstanding attitudes to learning in lessons, rapidly improved their behaviour or attendance or whom have represented the academy at an event or sporting fixture.  There are many occasions where students make a positive contribution to the local community.

Each Friday I have the pleasure in reading the very long list of nominations which covers every year group.  I then have the pleasing but very difficult task of choosing one winner to receive the award from years 7 to 11.

Winners receive an engraved sterling silver Sandhill View Academy pen and a certificate signed by myself which they keep safe for future use when applying for part-time jobs, further education or full-time employment in the future.  All winners are also photographed receiving their prize from me.  

As you can see from the images, there are huge amounts of achievement that take place within the academy every week.  Well done to all students who have been nominated and to those in particular who have been selected as winners.

Richard Carr

Pen Power

The Creative Writing Club at Sandhill View Academy is a new addition to the Sandhill View Academy programme of extra-curricular events.  Initially it was pitched at Year 7 students, but we are now rolling it out to all year groups as we are launching a half termly student newsletter - first edition due off the press Easter 2017.

The student newsletter was the brainchild of Mr Shannon, Literacy Co-ordinator at Sandhill View, and is an excellent opportunity to involve all year groups in a project which is written for the students, by the students. We are currently working on staff/student interviews, sports club reviews, and an Arts/Entertainment section. In addition to this we will be showcasing some of the wonderful work produced by the students in our club. 

This term we are working closely with New Writing North, an Arts Council funded organisation who work with new writing talent across the North East of England. Our students are contributing work to their Cuckoo Young Writers programme, and will be offered the opportunity to take part in their creative writing workshops. 

We currently meet on a Tuesday and Thursday after school: 3pm to 4pm in EN6.  New members are welcomed from all year groups. If you enjoy writing short stories and poems, come along and join us in a friendly and supportive environment.

What do you do at Sandhill View?
I have joined the Multi Academy Trust in September 2016 working in Southmoor’s Sixth Form and I teach KS4 RE at Sandhill.

Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?
All of them! I went to a wonderful school and knew I always wanted to be a teacher. I feel very privileged to have been taught by them. I hope to pass all of the wonderful things they taught me to the students I now teach
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Being a Mum takes up most of my time outside school, I have a little boy and two step children so my hands are pretty full. My family and I spend a lot of time outdoors; we like to go to the beach with our new Beagle puppy Flo.

Who is your favourite musical artist or band?
I like all sorts of music, my favourite song is Moon River. I have recently learnt how to play this on the piano as it is my Mum’s favourite song too and I wanted to play it for her. 

What's the best thing about Sandhill View?
The first thing I noticed about the school was how well cared for the children were, I have met loads of staff who would go to the ninth degree for the children here. It feels great to be a part of it.

What's the one thing you could never be without?
My handbag, it contains my whole existence!

Please refer to our school website for more up-to-date information on Sandhill View Academy.

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