Tuesday, 24 November 2015

RSA Takeover Day 2015

On the 18th November 2015, Whitley Academy’s school council travelled to London to attend to an RSA student take over day, where they presented a sustainable money making or money saving idea which can be helpful to the society and environment.

While at the RSA the students had a tour of the building and learnt some history. The building is actually 5 houses knocked together to form a large building with maze like corridors. The building is situated above some vaults which were previously used as storage leading to and from the Thames; these are now hired out for events.

Our presentation was about making our school more economically friendly; we pitched about recycling bins, printing balance and lighting around school. 

The head boy Ashu Nahar said “I feel like the day was a great success, even though we didn’t win the prize we put across our point. Overall it was a fun day and I would love the opportunity to do it again.” 

The chair of student council Martyn Adam quoted “It was an amazing experience to present to members of the RSA, and we learnt new things that we wouldn’t have in school.”

Monday, 16 November 2015

Shanghai/New Zealand Study Tour

On October 17th – October 31st 2015 Mrs Allen and Mrs Wright travelled to Shanghai and New Zealand on a Study Tour.

Please take a look at their exciting trip and enjoy their videos and photographs below:

View our slideshow here

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

My life changing trip to India

My life changing trip to India

The countdown to the life changing trip to India began in April 2015 when I got an email describing that I won a place on the scholarship to India; words cannot describe how ecstatic I was that I managed to win such an amazing opportunity. The journey began on the 4th of August, where I travelled to Heathrow Airport to meet facilitators and the other 28 individuals who would be sharing my experience. After two long plane flights, we finally arrived in Udaipur, India and I couldn’t wait to see the amazing sights that India had to offer. 

Throughout the stay we were accommodated in an area used frequently by Free the Children; the Aravalli Centre. We stayed in permanent tents supplied with tents and normal bathroom facilities, and I got to share it with other girls from the trip. Every morning we started off with yoga which was run by Kapil our instructor and Free the Children in-country team member who looked after us throughout the whole trip. It was amazing how a short 30 minutes of yoga made us relaxed for the day ahead. 

Most of our days were spent on the building site. We worked on two sites; Verdana, a primary school and Kalthana, a secondary school. At Verdana we levelled off the ground, dug holes in preparation for a wall, and made cement. In Kalthana we increased the height of a wall, made cement, and actually got to do some demolishing of an old classroom to leave space for a new one. The building wasn’t easy but we were determined to make a change in the community that were we so warmly welcomed in. 

Our free time was spent around the Aravalli centre surrounded by lakes and mountains. We played a lot of sports, relaxed by the lake and in the evening spent time reflecting on the day and doing activities to get us thinking about how to effectively help those in need. Some of the additional activities included samosa making, Bollywood dancing, tie die painting and an art lesson from a local artist. 

An eye opening day for me was the water walk. We visited a lady who lived in a house smaller than most of the bedrooms that children in England live in. She shares it with her husband and daughter but they don’t even have a bathroom! She is lucky- she has access to water which is just a couple of hundred meters away from her, but it’s not clean. She uses the handmade containers, which are very fragile to carry water back to her house. To experience how difficult it is to carry water we took the containers and carried back some water. It was very heavy, and most of us spilled half along the way even though we only walked a couple hundred meters. Some women have to walk around 5km just to get water that essentially makes them very ill because they are not aware that it has to be boiled beforehand. 

There was some sightseeing days to the Kumbhalgarh fort, a local temple as well as a trip back to Udaipur to do some shopping and this was our opportunity to take a break from the building and enjoy the beautiful sights of Rajasthan. On the last day at Vardana we played with the kids and took loads of photos. It was a really emotional time for each and every participant of the trip because we really made close bonds with the kids and it was hard to leave them behind. However, I knew that I was leaving with a memory of kids who taught me that the most important thing in life is to be happy.   

This trip was an absolutely amazing experience, one that will remain with me for life. Thank you for everyone who was involved in making this a phenomenal experience and for the other 28 members, who went from strangers to friends for life. 
Martyna Adam

Deputy Head Girl and Chair of School Council

Thursday, 1 October 2015

60 Years of Whitley!

On Thursday 1st October 2015, Whitley celebrated 60 years of Whitley Academy.
We looked at old photos throughout the years and buried a time capsule, not to be opened until 2075!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Whitley Hosts Year 7 Languages Day

On Friday 25th September, Year 7 students experienced the culture and diversity of the European Union. This was an excellent opportunity for them to share ideas, speak another language, and take home ideas for learning more about our role as a European citizen.
Written by Tamara and William – Year 8 student reporters
11:40  Mr Purslow is teaching European Language Day to 7C. They are making European passports. Four students are chosen to hold up flags outside the school reception with the RSA Academy sign. It is sunny and rather breezy. We take many photos.
11:55 We go into Miss Williamson's classroom. This was 7 JHO, and they were also making passports and learning about some celebrities who can speak languages around the world. An example is Kylie Minogue, who can speak French very well. You can see that many students are curious about all the other languages around the world.
Here are some thoughts from the Year 7 students about this special day:
Gemma says , “The main thing I learned and enjoyed today was saying loads of different phrases in loads of different languages, such as in German "Guten Tag" means "Hello.”
William also replies, “I enjoyed learning different languages because I have never even heard of them before.”
Lovisa excitedly tells us: “The favourite thing I enjoyed about today is going around the school to find different badges that teachers wear to sponsor these countries.”
We are told the winners get edible prizes!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Battlefield Tours Programme

The tour is fully funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and is operated by school tour operator Equity, part of Inspiring Learning and UCL Institute of Education, on behalf of the UK Government.
Together with Mrs Nguyen, two Year 12 students Rhiannon Bolger and Georgia Hollins have been selected to join this life-time opportunity.
This page will be updated daily starting from Monday 14 September 2015.
Hope you enjoy reading our blog and having a look at our photos.

Read our full blog here

Watch our YouTube video here

Sunday, 19 July 2015

BOPA and Whitley remember the sacrifices made during WW1

Written by Jamila Houmadi - 7A Student reporter
On June 19th, 700 students from around Coventry, Rugby and Birmingham, came to the Coventry Belgrade Theatre to celebrate and remember the bravery and sacrifices of Black and Asian soldiers during World War 1. This was an event hosted by BOPA (British Organisation for People of Asian Origin). 
By 10am, the hallway of the theatre was packed with students from schools and people from different organisations. We had nearly an hour to scroll along the beautiful and very impressive displays of decommissioned weapons, uniforms, photos, and memorabilia.  
We stopped at some displays and talked to the soldiers in their uniforms. We found it very interesting to listen to them enacting as the WW1 soldiers. They explained how the decommissioned weapons were used during the war. We stood still touching the soldiers’ helmets thinking about how the soldiers coped with living in the trenches days and nights…the loneliness…the darkness… the thin line between life and death. We really struggled to think further than that.  
We then went around to other stalls to look at the displays. We realised it was a part of the Positive Images Festival in Coventry.
Kian, a student in Year 7, said:  “I really liked looking at the old hats and the medical equipment the soldiers had during the war. It was very fascinating comparing what we have now and what we had then”.
11:10 am – It was time for the ceremony.
All of us went into the theatre. We were lucky enough to be seated towards the entrance doors with lots of room for us to move around to take photos.
Back to the happenings on stage….
When thinking about WW1 there must be a common misconception that it was only the British soldiers fighting the Germans, but as many students had just learnt from the speakers, we realised more than 1.5 million Indian soldiers and 55,00 soldiers from Africa fought in World War 1 alongside the British forces. You could sense the silence in the theatre when we were told that 74,000 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in the war. The more numbers we heard the more quiet we were…
Then came the talk from Mr Paul Sabapathy, the Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands. We were told that Mr Sabapathy was appointed Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands in 2007. He is actually the first ever non-white Lord Lieutenant who came to the U.K more than 50 years ago, and had a number of very important jobs before becoming the Lord Lieutenant. He told us he was very proud to be British.
There were two beautiful singers –Ms Bhatia with the song ‘Oneness’, and Ms Tally Koren with two songs: ‘Free Will’ and ‘Two Kisses’. The lyrics of the songs were so true and powerful….We felt all the words from the songs…
As the celebration was coming to an end, Mr Jahan Mahmood – the WW1 and WW2 historian, told us about the impact a bullet had on metal, especially the soldiers’ helmets. He surprised us by showing us the slide of the first British King who wore a ceremonial turban – King George V. Once again we learnt a lot of the bravery and sacrifice of the Asian and African soldiers during the First World War.
We know it is now a hundred years on and warfare must have changed massively. We do not want wars. We want peace. We feel very lucky to be born and brought up in this country – Great Britain. We need to feel proud of the fact that our ancestors fought bravely and sacrificed their lives, without which the peaceful British Society we live in today wouldn’t have been possible.
12:40pm - Children from schools went on stage, and talked about what they have learnt and how they felt about the event.
Selina – our student representing Whitley Academy- reflected:” It was an amazing opportunity. I counted myself lucky that I was chosen to be onstage to represent our school. At first I was nervous, but now I feel glad I attended the BOPA event today. I am very inspired.”
Selina’s thoughts summed up how we all felt on the journey back home…
Thank you to everyone who organised such an inspirational day for us all to learn, enjoy and share together.
Jamila Houmadi
July 2015

Friday, 17 July 2015

Another fantastic Whitley Festival this year!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Year 6 to Year 7 Transition at Whitley Academy

Whitley Academy prides itself on offering an enhanced transition programme for Year 6 pupils from primary schools, making the transition into Year 7.
Part of this year’s programme involved thirty lucky Year 6 students, who had been nominated from a range of primary schools, attending two visiting days to Whitley Academy last week.
During the visits, the Year 6 students experienced a ‘circle time’ introduction, hosted by our specialised inclusion members of staff, where they were able to share initial concerns, and many myths about our school.
Later in the day, our visitors made and designed their own t-shirts, trialled American food, had a go at team sports, experienced our ‘Opening Minds’ lessons, and completed a poetry workshop.
The students displayed excellent resilience throughout both days, and Whitley Academy is very excited for the entire cohort of Year 7 students to start in September.
In addition to our thirty visitors last week, there will be two transitional summer schools this summer. One for pupil premium students at the start of the holidays, and one for all students towards the end.
We do this to ensure a smooth transition for all Year 6 students, as starting a secondary school can be a nervy and uncomfortable experience. 
If you have a query about our transition programme, please contact Whitley Academy on 02476 302580.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fun in the sun at Whitley Sports Day 2015

Written by Emma Smith and Selina Miruku.

On the 9th July 2015, Whitley Academy held their annual Sports Day, where Year 7, Year 8, and Year 9 students took part in multiple sports, such as rounders, tug of war, athletics, and various field events.
At break time, everybody changed into their P.E kit for the exciting afternoon ahead. We were allowed an early lunch (12:00pm). Everyone had a suitable and balanced lunch to assure that it would fill them up for the hot afternoon ahead.
After the students had made their way to the field, they excitedly scurried to their designated areas and listened to the music coming from the gazebo the P.E teachers had put up, so we could listen as we were waiting.
Before the events started, the ice-cream van pleasantly arrived and a wave of delight filled the air.
Finally the sports competitions began and people were waiting anxiously for their sport to be called up. The first sports were field events such as long jump, javelin, shot put and more. Whilst the events were taking place, the students and teachers were relaxing, eating ice cream, and listening to the very popular music of 2015.
Moving on in the afternoon was the ‘tug of war’. Of course this event required quite a lot of strength. First of all three boy teams competed against each other. 7C and 7D were victorious. The losing teams weren’t afraid to show their disappointment!
After that it was the girls’ turn. 7C and 7D managed to win again! Wow! Everybody who took part tried extremely hard and should be proud of their efforts.
The weather was absolutely beautiful with the sun blazing down on everyone as they were cheering each other to the finish line. No matter what, each group’s team work was outstanding as you could hear your name being chanted.
On the day, we all learned a valuable lesson. All that matters is you take part and support each other, even if they are not on your team, and even if they are not in your year group.
Written by Emma and Selina
Mr Billyeald – Head of P.E Department said; ““A brilliant success, everyone tried really hard in their activities and the students supported each other superbly. I just want to say well done to everyone who took part in the event!”

RSA Arts Day

‘Boop! Boop! We’ve got the power!’ sang a chorus of students from Ipsley CE RSA Academy, Arrow Vale RSA Academy and Whitley Academy to a packed house in the RSA’s Great Room. Joined by fellow students from Holyhead School and the RSA Academy, Tipton, the full family of RSA Academies undertook a dive into the creative unknown at the RSA Academies' Arts Day.
Guided by the power to create as the jumping off point, the bumper packed day explored the theme of ‘power’ through spoken word, dance, film and music.
This was the annual RSA Academies' Arts Day held at the RSA at which the students were empowered to come up with an original creative response to ‘power’ and perform it as an ensemble collaborative piece to an audience a few hours later.  No pressure then.
With a healthy level of trepidation the students were stirred into a creative awakening by Stephen Steinhaus, a teacher from Whitley Academy and Oliver Carpenter from the Upton Blues Festival who coaxed us into a bluesy gospel performance before we realised what was going on. All fired up, we dispersed throughout the RSA to the workshops considering how we might creatively collaborate together.
To find out more about our exciting day please click here

Whitley wins the RSA Art prize!

Michaela Crimmin, curator and lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Arnold Schwartzman and Roisin Ellison judged the final pieces. The brief set was: the power to create is the ability to turn your ideas into an image/images. What happens when your creativity is unleashed.  
All the RSA schools entered submitting an impressive array of responses. The stars to watch are:
First prize: Nawal Jafar, Whitley Academy
Second prize: Awais Javed, Arrow Vale RSA Academy
Third prize: Molly Johnson, RSA Academy, Tipton
Commended: Karl Sullivan, Arrow Vale RSA Academy
Commended: Sofia Adburahman, Whitley Academy

Monday, 22 June 2015

Whitley students pay their respects at Normandy

Written by our student travellers
Everyone arrived bright and early at 6.30am on the morning of the 22nd, except for the teachers (blame Mr Anderton!!). By 7am, the parents were beginning to leave after being told that they were cramping the students’ style. Off we went, waving our fond farewells and then the sweets started to be unwrapped and consumed in their vast quantities!!
After a relatively calm ferry crossing where Ricky and Matthew purchased numerous toy cars to amuse themselves, we arrived safely in France to begin our four hour trip across to Normandy. We were treated to an authentic French dinner, with of course an extra serving of grumbling from the students. Following dinner, rooms were allocated and students had the chance to strut their stuff on the dancefloor prior to going to bed at 10.30pm, tired but excited for the adventures ahead.
On Saturday, the group was extremely busy as we soaked up the beautiful sights of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont St Michel. There was some free time to buy gifts and to appreciate the atmosphere of this beautiful place – there was even time for a tour of the abbey and its cloisters.
On Sunday, we paid respect to the D-Day landing beaches, visiting firstly Juno, the Canadian beach, then Gold at Arromanches where we watched the 360 degree cinema film ‘100 days of Normandy’; lastly we moved on to Omaha beach, the American beach and the cemetery at Colleville sur Mer, an experience which will remain with all as a very poignant and memorable afternoon. We returned home exhausted after a long day of sightseeing where the majority of us collapsed into bed following an opportunity to play Frisbee and football on the beach and walk into the local town of Merville.
On our penultimate day (Monday), we went to the Bayeux tapestry and to the British War Memorial, where we laid a wreath in respect from the Academy – our students were respectful and excellent ambassadors for our school. After another tiring day in the sunshine, and some shopping in the city of Caen, we returned to the hotel for our final meal of the week and a presentation of certificates for both educational and amusing reasons.
On our final morning we were up and ready (albeit bleary eyed) at 8am sharp for our final room inspections. After a leisurely breakfast we loaded up the coach with suitcases that were twice as heavy as they were coming over thanks to some impressive souvenir collecting. We set off on our long trek home at 11am. We stopped off at a hypermarket to use up the last of our Euros, (as well as providing certain members of staff the opportunity to re-stock their wine cellars!). The ferry trip and coach journey back up to Coventry was relatively uneventful as we relaxed and watched DVDs all the way. At 9.30pm we were reunited with our relieved parents, tired but happy after a thoroughly enjoyable trip!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Whitley triumphs in first RSA Academies Sports Day

On the 9Th June 2015, Whitley Academy hosted the first RSA Academies Sports Day for all the schools within the Family of RSA Academies. On the day, Whitley Academy, Holyhead School, RSA Academy Arrow Vale, Ipsley Academy, and RSA Academy all turned up with full squads, ready and raring to go for a fun, competitive, and action packed day.
After a quick introduction and explanation of the prizes and records on offer, all the schools made their way out on to the Whitley Academy playing field to start the rounders tournament. Each year groups (Year 7, 8 and 9) had their own tournament, with each school playing each other with 24 good balls to a game. In the Year 7 tournament, there were some very close games, but Ipsley Academy came out on top. In Year 8 and 9, Whitley Academy won, with Ipsley Academy pushing them in Year 8, and RSA Academy in Year 9.
The Family of Academies then returned to the Sports Hall for lunch and refreshments, with pupils enjoying the chance to socialise along with the staff.
After lunch, the athletics started in a competitive nature, with the boys taking to the track, and girls to the field. There were plenty of excellent individual performances for Ipsley Academy and RSA Academy, but overall, Holyhead School seemed to dominate the sprinting events. The boys and girls then swapped over and the atmosphere and competitive nature of the event really came out, as the pupils and staff realised it was going to be a tight race to the RSA Academies Sports Day Shield!
The final event was the long awaited ‘Tug of War’. The boys and girls from each school joined forces in each year group to show their strength and determination. In the Year 7 event, Ipsley Academy proved too strong for the rest, and romped home with the win overall, closely followed by RSA Academy. In Year 8, RSA Academy showed the most might, with Whitley Academy coming in a close second. With the score tight, and the last chance to win points for their school, the Year 9’s did battle. After a hard fought and very tight run of fixtures, Whitley Academy won overall with RSA Academy following in second place.   
As the day came to a close, the scores were calculated up. Overall winners of first RSA Academies Sports Day were Whitey Academy (255 points), followed closely by RSA Academy Arrow Vale and Ipsley Academy (250 points). In third place were Holyhead School (203 points), and trailing by only 1 point was RSA Academy (202 points).
Along with overall winners, there were year group medals available. Year 7 winners were an impressive Ipsley Academy (86 points), Year 8 winners were Whitley Academy (87 points), and Year 9 winners were Whitley Academy (85 points), by a small margin of 4 points.
Whitley Academy would like to thank all the staff and pupils that were involved. We would also like to extend a special well done to the participants who showed great attitude, determination and sportsmanship throughout the day.
Records have now been set, medals given out, and the RSA Sports Day Shield has been sent to get engraved. Onwards and upwards for next year, as the RSA Family of Academies celebrates its current and future sports stars!

View the Telegraph report here

Friday, 22 May 2015

Mrs Allen collects her OBE

Mrs Lorraine Allen OBE, Principal of Whitley Academy was invited to Buckingham Palace to collect her OBE for ‘Services to Education’ on Friday 15th May 2015 from Prince Charles.
Mrs Allen joined Whitley Academy in 2004, at this time the school was in financial deficit and with a cohort of 746 was experiencing falling rolls. Mrs Allen led a crusade, supported by the governing body, for greater autonomy and sustainable viability, firstly by becoming a Specialist College in 2007 and then a Foundation School in 2008. Academy conversion was achieved in July 2011.
Today the school’s student population has grown and it is over-subscribed for new admissions. It is using surplus funds, the majority of which are generated by the school itself and mostly from Mrs Allen’s work as a National Leader of Education, to complete a new Sports Hall, expand classroom capacity, drive teaching and leadership development and enrich the curriculum. Over the last four years the school has spent over £1.0m on these improvements which will be an enduring tribute to Mrs Allen’s dedication to the school.
Under Mrs Allen’s direction Whitley Academy achieved an “Outstanding” Ofsted judgement in 2010 and again in December 2013.  Ofsted praised Mrs Allen personally saying:
  • “The Principal, who is a National Leader of Education, provides very determined leadership, promoting a clear focus on continual improvement, including the sixth-form.  She drives school improvement with a clearly articulated vision for the future”. 
  • The academy has a strong commitment to working with and supporting other schools”.
  • “The Principal is a National Leader of Education (NLE) who is working in partnership with other schools in the region offering support and challenge towards school improvement”.
Mrs Allen’s passion for the equality of opportunity for every child,  and her unwavering commitment to enhancing students' life chances through education have enabled an unquantifiable number of young people to fulfil and exceed their potential, both at Whitley Academy and through her work supporting under achieving schools as a National Leader of Education.  Over the past 8 years she has supported 16 schools, most of which have improved from near Ofsted Category to Good or Outstanding.  She is always extremely modest about her enormous contribution, but she does make things happen for students and for the better. Mrs Allen’s “Service to Education” is exemplary and worthy of this recognition.

This article can be viewed in the Coventry Telegraph here

Friday, 15 May 2015

Japan Day


Origami, Calligraphy, Teriyaki, Sumo, Kendo – you name it, we had it… and all in a very Japanese way tocelebrate Whitley Academy’s second Japan Day on May 15th 2015. Teachers and pupils worked together to produce some wonderful work which is now showcased in the school and on our website; the day started with an assembly to highlight the importance of the link between Whitley Academy and the Kamokita High School in Coventry’s twin city of Hiroshima. The Japan Day for Year 8 also complimented the inaugural visit from the Japanese school to Coventry which took place in November last year, where 50 Japanese students were hosted by Whitley and experienced the very best in UK hospitality, as well as a visit to our beautiful and historic city centre.
Our Japan Day progressed last Friday with more experiences of creating artwork and reflecting on the similarities and differences in our two cultures as well as appreciating what a traditional school day would look like for a student in another country. From Geography to Catering; from Art to PE, the day culminated in a showcase of the excellent work produced and an opportunity for confident and brave students to share their experiences with their peers holding aloft examples of their hard work.

We are looking forward to welcoming the Kamokita High School again in November 2015 and students from current Year 8 will be their hosts; many thanks to all staff involved, to the student reporters and to Year 8 who worked extremely well and showed respect maturity and an understanding of another culture in a purposeful way.