Thursday, 21 December 2017

Annual Christmas celebrations enjoyed by pupils

Written by Ava and Eve - Year 7 student reporters

On Tuesday the 19th of December at 5:00 pm, Whitley Academy hosted the annual Christmas Fair in our cafeteria, decorated for the snowy season, by the school lake.

The bright Christmas decorations lit up the room, sparkling next to the light green background colour of the walls, along with the dazzling items that have been handmade by our lovely school pupils.

Some of those fabulous gifts included; glowing and decorative bottles, delicious hot chocolate reindeer, and crafts aplenty. In addition, there was delightful sweet treats and a tasty buffet with everything you could imagine on it.

There was a merry mood filling the room and not only our friends and family joined us, but ex-students and even teachers from another school came to enjoy the fabulous festivities. All around the room people (young and old) were laughing and having a great time observing all the fantastic items they could get and the prizes they could win in the raffle.

Some of the most popular stalls were the slime stall (as that is the most popular craze of 2017), elegant light up bottles, biscuit and cake decorating, and baubles that would add a splash of colour to the Christmas tree. But everyone did an extraordinary job!

We had a lot of special visitors but one that stood out the most was Santa! He brought a lot of festive cheer to everyone, even some of our teachers sat on his lap. You’re never too old for Santa!

This fair may all just be for fun, but being with your family and friends, also the feeling of pure joy, really made this night memorable for everyone. The festive ambience of the whole room will remain in our memories for a long time.

Now to wrap this up like a Christmas present! We would like to give a special thanks to our amazing teachers, who helped us provide such a fabulous fair.

We hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. 

All the best wishes for 2018!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Manor Adventure popular with Year 7 pupils

Written by Ava, Omonigho, and Eve - Year 7 student reporters

On the 20th of November, many eager and ecstatic Year 7 pupils set off on a trip to Manor Adventure, located in the south Shropshire countryside. We were all very energetic on our coach journey as we had a two hour journey ahead of us!


It was time to set off from Whitley Academy, and we were ready to experience a wonderful adventure. Anticipating the fabulous activities that we would be taking part in, our hearts started to race.


The arrival at Manor Adventure was quite an experience, we were all in awe and couldn’t wait to get into our rustic rooms. Before we knew it, we were already starting our thrilling activities.

The first thing our groups did was rock climbing. All of us were a bit nervous, but when we went up the enormous climbing wall, the fears soon faded. We had a bit of a scare, specifically Eve who got up halfway and then gave up! However, Eve got a lot of encouragement from her fellow teammates and her instructor (Alex). He pulled her up, and didn’t let her give up until she got to the top. And she did!

Shortly after, we had a delicious dinner, then headed back out to do the dreaded, 'muddy underground maze'.

Omonigho, who had trouble with this maze, ended up soaking in muddy and dirty water. Our guess was that this maze wasn’t made for tall people! Omonigho is the TALLEST girl in our year group. Shorter people, nevertheless, still had difficulties, as both Ava and Eve ended up with a swimming pool inside their wellington boots!

Day 2

After a good night’s sleep (well, not really, as we were in a room with 13 other girls), we woke bright and early at 7:30AM, ready for another day’s fantastic activities.

First of all, we had a delicious breakfast that consisted of some English classics. 

Our first activity of day 2 was the zip line, and we were all quite scared as we had to climb up a rickety rope ladder, and, as you can probably imagine, it wasn't easy going! After, we jumped off and started zooming down! It gave us such a thrill. Then, we had a break so we could discuss our adventure with our noisy roommates.

Now came the archery session. It was in a muddy field, so we saw all of our friends slipping and sliding about. When we actually got to the archery, we were trying our hardest, and some of us managed to hit the bullseye!

Soon after our delightful lunch, we had kayaking and canoeing.

It was an eventful activity as Omonigho ended up in the water, fortunately Eve and Ava stayed dry. Phew! The difference between the two activities was canoeing is with two people in the boat and kayaking was a boat to yourself.

All of us got wet, but nothing compared to Omonigho, who was cold and very wet! We all had a fun time, but I think you can imagine, it was the nicest feeling to be back in the warmth!

Before the disco time for the evening, we needed to tidy our rooms, and fast!

So we danced, laughed and had the time of our lives with our friends, even the teachers joined in! Soon after the disco finished, we all went to bed and slept well this time.

Day 3

Wednesday was our last day, and we made the most of it. We had a lovely final breakfast, and then set off on our first activity of the day, fencing.

It was a unique experience as it was our only indoor activity. We got kitted up and had to wear a lot of protection. We arrived in the main hall and got to grips with the basics of fencing then moved onto bigger things like battling against our friends. We listened to the coach attentively, as there were many techniques and footwork skills to practice.

Shortly after, we got onto our final activity and that was abseiling (it means to rope down a cliff or a slope). We had been anticipating this all week and now we all had butterflies in our stomachs.

The abseiling took place in the woods not far from where we spent the nights. Once we had the courage to go up, we had to put our heels on the edge and we could feel our legs trembling at the thought of falling off, of course we were safely clipped into our harnesses.

Once we were ready to start, we had to pluck up the courage to lean back and go over the edge. It was a hard thing to do, but once that part was over, it was amazing to hear all your friends cheering you on. 

The wall was very slippery and it was difficult to stay in control. However, once we picked up our confidence, we felt like we were floating on clouds. It was such a thrill, and we were all so glad we conquered our fears.

We had a lovely lunch afterwards with a chocolate cookie that was the size of our faces, truly our highlight of the meal. 

Before we knew it, Manor Adventure was over. We were all so upset to go but we knew we belonged back in Coventry with our family and friends.

Our MASSIVE thanks to our teachers who worked so hard to organise such an amazing trip for us all.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Great British Parliamentary Debate

Written by Ciaran, Year 9 student reporter

On Saturday November 11th,  a small Whitley Academy debating team arrived at the campus of Warwick University for a great day of British Parliamentary debating.

At 8:30pm, we were buzzing with excitement, ready for a hectic day. The University campus was surrounded with beautiful colours of Autumn. The pavements leading to the debating theatre were wet, and the threat of rain loomed in the air.

Awaiting the call asking us to enter the Humanities lecture theatre, we paced up and down the corridors hoping that our second team would arrive in time. Luckily that’s just what our team mates did, they arrived with plenty of time to spare. We were now ready for the long day ahead.

Around an hour after arrival, we were briefed on the rules of the day’s proceedings. Once this was over, the draw-ups began. This was where a random grid was created informing all teams of which rooms they were allocated to, what position they were, and who their adjudicator should be. Finally, everyone was given the motion

Do you know that…

British Parliamentary debate style is a common format of debating in academic settings. There are two sides called the Government (or ‘Proposition’) and Opposition. 

There are four teams around the debating table: two for Opening and Closing Government, two for Opening and Closing Opposition.

The motion is what the four teams debate about.

Off we were, heading up to the fourth floor where we would have 15 minutes to prepare our arguments on our first topic: 

This house believes the media should not report on the private lives of politicians.” 

The preparation time went by very fast and the debate came as quickly as a flash. Paired up with two students from another school, we were in unfamiliar territory. Besides the confidence in public speaking and the manner to deliver our speeches effectively, we got to know some precise facts and current news, locally and nationally. Despite some reservation at the beginning of our speech, we did however run head on to tackle the topic. 

At the end of each round we were asked to leave the room for the judges to deliberate the results. We moved to the other side of the corridor where handshakes were exchanged and it was time to socialise with all of our opponents. We found it fascinating to realise we were the youngest debaters sitting at the debating table. We felt very proud indeed!

Around fifteen minutes later, we were sent back into the room where we received our scores. Unfortunately, we did not come first but we had made a good effort. Despite our defeat, we were more determined than ever to push ourselves to our maximum potential!

Shortly after round two, we were all invited to enjoy some sandwiches for lunch. 

Following our lunch break we were given our positions and the third motion which was:

“This house would allow the military to go on strike.” 

Another tricky topic, but we had good ideas. 

Round four came and we were told it would be a closed round, which meant we would not be informed of our rankings after the debate. We pushed as hard as we could, made good points and backed up our fellow team members, and managed to take fourth place (as determined after the event).

Some things I have personally learnt from the day are that in order to do well, you need to fulfil your role in the team, communicate during preparation time, and make two or three points followed by a summary. 

All in all, it was a great day. Now all I have left to say is, this house believes that you should remember this blog!

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Betty Bus visits Year 7 pupils

On Tuesday 31st October, The Betty Bus came to Whitley Academy. 

The Betty Bus was visited during the day by our Year 7 pupils, to help create a generation of girls and boys in Coventry who are truly at ease talking about periods and how they affect girls.

On board, our pupils got involved with digital activities, including augmented reality, touch screen activities, and quizzes; before moving on to group work to discuss how periods affect girls physically as well as emotionally. 

Alongside this, the boys took part in a lesson to understand how girls may be affected during their periods.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The resonance of the evergreen Chinese parasol tree

Written by Eve and Ciaran - student reporters

On Wednesday 18th of October, we set off to the meet the Lord Mayor of Coventry.

It was a typical autumn afternoon, with lots of cloud, wind, and of course, rain drops.

1:10 PM

After a brief introduction, we had a cup of tea with the Lord Mayor Councillor Tony Skipper. Present in the Lord Mayor’s office were Mr John Hartley, Miss Emiko Urata (teacher from our partner school Kamokita in Hiroshima, Japan) and her two students (Shusuki and Shino), Mrs Nguyen (our teacher), and both of us, Eve and Ciaran the student reporters.

During this time we talked about the strong link between the two cities, Coventry and Hiroshima. Miss Urata is from the Coventry Hiroshima Society which is based in Hiroshima and has 60 members.

Did you know that:

On 6th August 1945, the American bomber Enola Gay dropped a five-ton atomic bomb (named Little Boy) over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

On the night of 14th November 1940, the Luftwaffe attacked Coventry. Known as ‘Operation Moonlight Sonata’, over 400 bombers attacked Coventry that night and in the early morning of 15th November 1940.

Here are some questions we posed to the Lord Mayor;-

What is the meaning of the Coat of Arms?

"It is an emblem that signifies the City".

How are you going to obtain Coventry the title: City of Culture?

"Well, we are in the top five cities for the competition. In two days time we are going to receive a visit from the City of Culture judges. Hopefully it’s a fruitful day as we are putting forward proposals in many areas of the City; therefore having a better chance".

What is your biggest challenge as Lord Mayor?

"I don't have any political power and yet, I still have to attend maybe four or five events a day. And most of those events need some sort of speech or lecture".

What is your guilty pleasure?

"Anything involving real ale and live music".

Do you enjoy travelling?

"I like arriving however not the actual travelling segment".

We asked the Lord Mayor a more personal question:

Do you have any pets and what are they called?

"Nelson, Deedee and ginger. I’m a cat man, definitely not a dog person.”

The Lord Mayor unfortunately then had to leave us in the company of Mr John Hartley as he had to attend another function. We thanked the Lord Mayor for his precious time to talk to us and take us around the Council House.

A Conversation with Mr John Hartley

For your information Mr Hartley was the person who has enabled the two schools Whitley Academy and Kamokita to partner up with each other five years ago.

Together with Miss Urata, Mr Hartley verbally took us to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where the Chinese Parasol Tree still stands strong today. 

We were amazed to realise that the tree survived the atomic bomb, even though it was approximately 1300 metres away from the explosion. It was since taken to grow in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Nowadays the seeds of the Tree are distributed by the Mayor of Hiroshima to many peace organisations around the world.

Do you know that…

Plants in Hiroshima suffered damage only in the portions exposed above ground, while portions underground were not directly damaged by the atomic bomb.

We asked Mr Hartley: Why are you passionate about the links between Coventry and Hiroshima?
He took us back to the 1950s.

"In 1953 in England every young man at the age of 18 or over had to perform military duties but could not fight on the front lines. They were transported to many different places around the world and were fighting for British territories".

Mr Hartley was taken to Japan and lived in Kure near the prefecture (equivalent to a British county) of Hiroshima. He was part of the British and Commonwealth Forces who formed part of the United Nations army which helped the South Koreans. His uniform bared the United Nations emblem.

Whilst in Japan he met a Japanese boy who was 2 years older than him called Jose and became friends with him. Jose worked as a civilian in his camp called “Cassels Camp”. The Korean War was finished around 1956.

Jose and John are still friends and have regular contact through letters and telephone calls. He is now 84 years old and the friendship is 64 years old. Wow!

When Mr Hartley returned to Coventry he went to work for Glass Coventry Limited. 

John is eternally grateful to the people of Hiroshima, especially his friend Jose. This is why he feels the need to create such a strong bond between Coventry and Hiroshima.

So all in all it was an afternoon with many things to take in,  meeting the Lord Mayor of Coventry, but also an ex-veteran of the British Army. We’ll take this experience with us for the rest of our lives. Many new seeds of inspiration have been planted in our minds and now that you’ve read this, you can plant these seeds in your minds as well.

Thank you for reading our blog.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Upgrades to the school entrance system

During the summer break we took the opportunity to upgrade our site entrance system and thereby increasing security of the site and students. 

The electronic opening gates include an intercom system so as visitors and delivery drivers are required to fully introduce themselves to reception before gaining access on site. 

There are also peak times when vehicles are denied access to allow students to arrive and leave school safely via the pedestrian gate. Vehicles are also denied access at break and lunch to allow students to fully use the grassed areas with reduced risk. 

There is offsite parking within close proximity and a pedestrian gate can be used should visitors arrive during these peak times.

Students requiring site exit during the school day now have to use the intercom to be approved to leave the premises. Post-16 however can use their ID badge to enter and leave site as required. 

If you are a visitor to the school we appreciate your assistance and understanding around our new entrance system.

iPad proves popular as curriculum resource

A new curriculum resource was introduced during the summer term of thirty iPads for use by students in a class-led setting. 

All teachers across all teaching departments have the availability of some or all of the iPads for use in lessons, and usage has soared since launch, with learning now enveloping a new technology. 

One teacher’s feedback so far;-

“It has completely re-energised my love for teaching and engages the students in a way I’ve rarely experienced”. 

We are currently looking at growing the number available in school as well as constantly exploring new apps and uses that the iPads could bring into the classroom.

Monday, 30 October 2017

A visit from Ian Taylor (Alumni)

Written by Ciaran & Duncan - Year 9 student reporters 

On Tuesday 10th October 2017, we received the visit of Mr. Ian Taylor, who was a pupil at our school (Whitley Abbey School) back in the years 1956-1963.

Later on we realised that Mr Ian Taylor was an MP (Member of Parliament) for 23 years until 2010. He was also the Minister for Science and Technology at the Department of Trade and Industry for four years from 1994-1997. We all were amazed to listen to the inspiring jobs Mr Taylor has done over the years.

In his talk, the audience were the lucky Year 9, 10 and Post 16 students. The topic of the talk was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

The first slide was a picture of Jonathan Ive.

Ian explained that Jonathan Ive is a British designer, and is now responsible for Apple products including iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. From his humble beginning, in 1988, Jonathan was awarded with two 'RSA Student Design Awards'. Sitting in the audience we felt overwhelmed with pride, as being Whitley Academy, we are part of the 'RSA Academies'. For your information, 'RSA' stands for the Royal Society of the Arts.

Afterwards, Ian shared with us the email he received from Professor Brian Cox. It was about what inspired Brian to become a scientist and how important the STEM subjects should be to the students.

It was then fascinating to get to know that the technology used by the McLaren Formula One for its drivers have been trialled at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. It is for monitoring the young patients’ heart rate, breathing rate, and oxygen levels so that early warning signs of problems could be recognised. Wow!

We then listened as Ian explained about the Lunar Mission One, which is a mission to dig 100m into the moon's surface. After filling our minds with so many interesting facts and information, Ian went on to answer some questions our students had on their minds.


Q    Who is the most influential person you have ever met?
A    Helen Sharman as she was not only the first English person in space but also the first female in space.

Q    What has been your favourite job so far?
A    Being the Minister for Science of the UK. 

Q    What do you think the next step is for science?
A    I believe that we need to find a new anti-biotic as viruses are now becoming immune to them.

Q    What got you interested in science?
A    The fact that we could go to space and explore it.

Q    When will the first self-driving cars be on the roads?
A    Hopefully within the next 5 years. They will be complicated; however, and will need a lot of technology- not only in the cars but on the roads as well. They will be interesting definitely a  technological advancement.

Q    What subject did you like apart from Science?
A    I liked History and Politics. I also joined the Drama group. But I realised that I was no Tom Cruise (or whoever the hero of the time was). I did realise from this that I liked to project my thoughts though.

Q    What's your opinion on commercial space travel?
A    It will come. You would have to be very rich and probably rather stupid to invest in such a thing but there will be those ready to go for it. Richard Branson already has 3 flights booked for when Virgin Galactic is a working branch of his company!

Mr Ian Taylor ended his talk by saying that he wasn’t trying to get us to be scientists but to work with Science. It is an important part of life and by the year 2022, the UK alone requires 2,000,000 more scientists.

We still vividly remember his words: 

“Scientists don’t just work in a lab or a reserve. They work in everyday jobs such as: teachers, engineers, farmers, technicians and so many more.” 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

British alpine skier Anna Turney wows pupils on visit

Written by Holly, Year 8 student reporter

On Wednesday 27th September, Anna Turney visited Whitley Academy for a talk to our young pupils. We all knew it would be a day we would remember for a long time!


Anna started with a short introduction about her younger years, before the serious accident on the slopes of Yamagata in Japan in 2006. She grew up in Northampton, and when she was young, a popular snow dome was built. Anna had the opportunity to snowboard and enjoyed it massively.

However, the 2006 accident left her paralysed from the waist down. One day a friend of hers showed Anna a picture of a paralysed person skiing. She promised herself, no matter what, she would have a go at it. Anna wanted to prove that something bad might happen to anyone, nevertheless, it could result in new positive direction for that person’s life.

Then after one whole year, she was finally allowed to ski again and she did, on the anniversary of the crash. She stayed true to her word! 

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts"Dan Gable

After the shaky start of mono-skiing, Anna’s determination was known further afield, and she was invited to join the British Disabled Ski Team. In this new capacity of working with the best people in Great Britain, there were moments she doubted her ability, but she carried on. 

Thanks to the support of her coach, who continuously assured her that she had lots of potential, Anna put herself back on track for the next Paralympic games. It was ONLY two and a half years away!

"To be a good athlete, you need to train both your mind and your body."Anna Turney

In the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics she managed a sixth place in the slalom. It was fascinating to hear from Anna that in the two hours break awaiting the second run (there were two runs altogether), she phoned her brother and was advised  to push harder. Hence she did! Wow!

From her fascinating talk, we were then taken to the giant dining halls of the Paralympic Games: it was amazing to witness the massive cheering from everyone there when a winner came in (in various ways) with the medal proudly hanging round their neck.

She then went on to tell us about how she had achieved thirty-one European and World Cup medals!

In the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Anna qualified for the Sochi Games despite the fact she had to fight for her place in the Games. It’s her determination that has helped her all the way.

It was after this 2014 Paralympic Games that she realised the importance of setting one’s own BIG goals as well as SMALL goals and work towards them.

Anna shared with us how she has built up her support network, which has enabled her to achieve the unthinkable so far. Some of us might not naturally have a good support network, we can still build our support network from people working around us: our teachers, our school staff, and our friends.

Some other inspirational ideas we learned from Anna:

There are things you can’t control (In her case they were: what if she did not do well enough, how the press would report about her performances, if snow felt too heavily, what if her kits broke etc.). Do not worry about them. However, worry about things you can control (she could control how she would breathe whilst competing or control what she focused on).

We asked Anna if she ever had moments to doubt yourself.

“Yes of course. There are always moments of doubt as I tried to do better. Think about some ‘personal truce’ about yourself. It could be anything, for instance, ‘I am friendly’, ‘ I am dynamic’, ‘I am strong’. Have them displayed around you. It’s easy to forget good stuff about yourself.”

A Conversation with Anna

The second part of her visit was the conversation between Anna and the Year 7, 8 and 9 student reporters. 

We asked her questions about her childhood, teenage years and how she got to where she was now. Anna was very at ease to respond to our questions which resulted in more and more questions from us. 

We realised that Anna’s upbringing was just as ordinary as ours, being very close to both of her parents, she had rivalries between herself and her brothers (who later was her rock when she was recovering from the serious accident). 

There was a moment the whole audience shared their laughter with Anna when she was asked about her first ever ‘crush’ in her teenage years. The response circulated around a much older boy student called 'JT' who was in sixth form, whom she thought was gorgeous. In her giggling, Anna asked us to move on to another topic. We did!

The day ended with a very nice lunch in the School Conference. We all were very lucky to spend more time to be around Anna and reflected our thoughts on the day.

“Really good. I felt her story came across really well and she linked it to potential issues/struggles that students may face whilst at school.”Mr. Abbot

“Really enjoyed it. I found it inspirational and students were really engaged.”Miss Oakman

From Anna’s personal story, many of us have found it relates to our personal lives. She took us onto a journey starting with the spinal injuries to the sweet memories when she was a teenager in school (being silly in lessons, imitating birds’ singing whilst the English teacher was in the classroom). We all listened attentively to all of her advice.

I personally keep on thinking about her words that we should try not to worry, especially things we can’t control as it has been her weakness to worry too much.

Our MASSIVE THANKS to Anna for giving us all such an inspiring talk; and also to the national charity Speakers for Schools, for giving us the opportunity to meet and talk to Anna.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Monday, 2 October 2017

KS3 pupils commended at Celebration Evening

Written by Ellis, Year 8 student reporter

On Thursday the 28th of September, Whitley Academy hosted a Celebration Evening for Key Stage 3 pupils (new Year 8 and 9 this academic year).

6:00PM - The event started.

The Auditorium was packed with supporting parents, children and students. As the celebration started Mr Rex (our Principal) introduced the agenda of the evening.

The evening started with a great speech from Miss Rachel Sandby-Thomas, the current Registrar of Warwick University. She told the audience about her academic journey, including university days at St. Catharine’s College in Cambridge. 

Her background was in law. The audience was amazed to learn that Rachel used to work as an advisory lawyer for HM Revenue and Customs and other big government organisations. Wow! She also shared with us her passion in working with young people aiming to make a difference in their lives.

It’s now time for the rewards!

Mr Skelton read them out one by one, subject by subject. The room was filled with quietness as the first names were read out, then it was led by a massive round of applause to congratulate the winners. 

After the Year 8 rewards came the spectacular dance performed by Molly, Year 11 student. Molly used her whole body to depict the story line of the chosen music so well that she received massive applause from the audience.

Now it’s time for the second part of the evening.

The crowd re-gained the excitement and carried on clapping until the last name was read out. For Year 9 there was more subjects; hence the list of student nominees was longer. Every student got rewarded a £10 voucher and a stunningly designed certificate.

At the end of the very nice evening, it was time for refreshments! 

In the Canteen next door, the beautifully designed biscuits, frosted cakes, and fruit were on display for human consumption. It was much more than mouth-watering!

The refreshments were definitely the best because of the scrumptious chocolate cake and super relaxing oranges.

My excitement was out of this world but my Mum’s was even bigger as she kept smiling and cheering me throughout the evening.

Attending the Celebration Evening has made me realised even more what the school motto means to us all: ‘Be the best you can be’.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Whitley hosts European Languages Day

Written by Holly and Deborah, Year 8 student reporters

On Tuesday 26 September, Whitley Academy hosted 'European Languages Day' for Year 7, a day designed to introduce new language and culture to our pupils.

At the beginning of the day, we decided to visit Miss Williamson's class. Pupils were matching up countries to their capital cities, everybody was raising their hands eagerly to answer questions. 

In Mr Haxby’s classroom, pupils were matching celebrities to the languages they could speak. Of course the focus was about European languages.

In Mr Purslow’s lesson, an interesting short clip about the European Union and its countries were shown to pupils.

Then we paid a short visit to Miss Williamson's class again to witness an engaging group discussion between the teacher and the whole class.

The reflection of the Day…

Some pupils were asked what they thought, most said it was interesting, great and fun. Others said it was different and helped them find out about new cultures. One said they loved their big new school, Whitley Academy, a lot.

Miss Williamson and Mr Haxby commented that students engaged in new activities and enjoyed learning about different cultures. Also there were lots of great activities to participate in and discuss.

And then it was the end of the day!

Thank you for reading our blog.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

‒Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A morning of sport for Year 11

Written by Melissa, Year 9 student reporter

On Friday 22nd September 2017, AP Racing (a local engineering company) along with Wasps Community and Vibe, visited Whitley Academy to run engineering based activities through sports for our Year 11 pupils.

It was a rather chilly morning, as our breath was visible whist we spoke. It was a day of autumnal equinox in Coventry after all.

The Year 11 boys were outside on our rugby pitch learning some rugby skills and trying some strength building activities. The girls were in the gym doing some Zumba. For your information, Zumba is an aerobic fitness programme featuring body movements usually accompanied by backing music. When the music was on, everyone followed the instructor's words and started moving.

Back to the boys, who were working with the Wasps Community team and Paul Sackey (ex England and Harlequins professional).

All students looked very smart in their PE kits and football boots. Everyone showed their eagerness, listening to the professionals for the best tactics in playing rugby. It was fascinating to see how competitive each Year 11 boy was when it was time for the ‘test of strength’. 

Laughter was everywhere, and more amazingly, above the sky the sun was shining beautifully. 

Slowly I realised that the aim of the morning was to show Year 11 pupils how a simple activity could reduce their stress, especially with mock exams creeping around the corner, and after that their GCSE exams.

After break time, the next group of Year 11s were to have their session.

One instructor told me;

“I really enjoy helping the Year 11 students, especially overcoming the stress of exams. Zumba helps to release that negative energy.”

The rugby session had exactly the same purpose, making sure students enjoyed something physically competitive, focusing on team work. The coaches were very tough, shouting as if the students were taking part in a real rugby match. 

Overall, I felt the students:

  • Enjoyed physical activities to help de-stress.
  • Enjoyed taking time away from normal lessons amidst the stress of exams.
  • Improve their mental health and strength without them realising.

Mrs Morgan, our Vice Principal, shared her thoughts: 

“I think it’s great for smaller local businesses to engage with us as a school and ensure students are exposed to different career opportunities. It’s also great to encourage older students to continue to participate in sports.”

Thank you to AP Racing, VIBE fitness and Wasps Community rugby team for the amazing morning!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Parents and pupils visit for Open Evening

Written by Chase and Melissa, student reporters

On Thursday 14th September, Whitley Academy welcomed parents and pupils into the school for Open Evening.

Starting at 6pm, Mr Rex the Principal welcomed our visitors, and talked about what Whitley Academy had achieved over the years, especially the GCSE and A-level results in the last academic year 2016-2017.

Mr Downing, the Chair of Governors, shared his experience as a parent of his three children and how he felt secure to send his children to our school. He was very down to earth and the audience listened attentively to his short stories.

Afterwards, Miss Bloom (our Vice-Principal) talked about the school’s expectations for new Year 7 pupils and a variety of enrichment activities students could take part in. Sitting amongst the audience were the student reporters (the new Year 7 pupils are welcome to join the student reporters as early as they wish) who got the mention in Miss Bloom’s talk. They surely felt very proud of their hard work.

Then parents (and of course future Whitley Academy pupils) were invited to explore the school.

Walking around the school you could see each department had a room full of activities and books from the finest of our students.

Miss Allen and Mrs Stanbrook lead a classroom about our RSA 8 programme. It was largely to do with charities.

The English and Maths departments prepared games about the subjects so visitors could get a feel for some Whitley learning. The Science department was up to some shocking experiments. Mr Eborall was demonstrating the amazing Van der Graaf electrostatic generator. For your information, it creates static electricity and, if you want to have a go at it, it does make your hair stand up! 

Many children gathered around the generator having fun giving their parents an electric shock! There were also plenty of other scientific activities around the room.

In Geography, Miss Ward was leading an activity to match the food to their origins. In History, Miss Wright had an activity to design your own crest for your family. How cool!

All the Opening Minds classrooms had different team building games. This was to make sure the visitors could get an understanding of our Opening Minds curriculum. 

In the Learning Resource Centre, Mrs Nguyen and the student reporters were hosting a series of activities and explaining how hard the student reporters work. Some of the reporters enjoyed playing the giant tower block games with the visiting children.

In Catering, Miss Stones and the other staff members were showcasing the students’ cooking, and an amazing lentil curry.

On the third floor in Drama department, Mr Samuels got super creative with an interactive production. Everyone who got involved, evolved the showcase into something completely creative in their own way!

In Arts, Miss Bradshaw was showcasing the Whitley Arts programme. This also included the journey from Year 7 to 11 and how the students’ works have been evolved and improved over the years. We all loved it!

Walking along the corridors of different floors you could see the smiley faces of parents and the laughter of the children around. Everyone must have shared a fantastic time with a part of Whitley in their hearts.

Our MASSIVE THANKS to all of our dedicated staff and teachers who have spent countless hours to stay behind to help make this Open Evening “THE BEST IT COULD BE”!  

Friday, 25 August 2017

Congratulations to Year 11 students on completing more terminal exams than ever before

Congratulations to all our Year 11 students who have completed more terminal exams than ever before. In English 68% achieved level 4 or above and in Maths 64%. Significant numbers of students achieved 7-9 (Grade A/A* equivalents) in both subjects.

There were some fantastic individual results with 12 students getting 5 A*/A or more.

Julia Lubiszewska achieved  a 9 in Maths, an 8 in English Literature, A*’s in core Science and Additional Science, an A* in Further Maths, and an A in Art.

Katie Yuan achieved the best ever results by a Whitley Academy Student, with 9’s in English Language and Literature, a 9 in Maths, a A^ (higher than A*) in further maths, and A*’s in all her other subjects apart from French which was a A. She also achieved full marks in Art.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Excellent A-Level results for students in 2017

Year 13 results

There were some excellent results in Year 13 this year. 97% of all grades were passes. 74% of grades were C or above. The average grade rose this year to a C+. There were particularly good results in some of the Applied courses with most Art and Sport students achieving a Distinction or Distinction Plus. Charlotte Richmond achieved 2 A grades at A level, and Natalie Hill Achieved 1 A* and 2 A grades. 100% of our Year 13 students have a positive destination and pathway beyond Post 16.

27% A* - B
74% A* - C
Average grade for all entries C+

Year 12 results

There were fewer entries for AS this year due to the start of new specifications, however a third of all entries were graded at a B or above. And Chirag Virchande and Charlotte Gater continued where they had left off in Year 11 achieving A grades in all their subjects.

We are very proud of all our students who have worked so hard to achieve their results. A huge well done!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A day of 'Transitions' at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Written by Ethan, Year 10 Student Reporter

The background of the project was that three schools in the RSA Family of Academies were given a written script, and each school performed their own version of this script on consecutive nights.

The script focused on what it meant to be part of a family of academies, the impact this has on teachers and students, with some reflection on the education industry as a whole. The students received the completed script less than a month ago, and so they have worked very hard to produce and learn a performance in a very short time.

8:42 AM
On Friday 14th July, we left Coventry for Birmingham. The journey was short and smooth via Virgin Train. The weather was very windy and cool, but the sun was soon gliding over the clouds. Walking through the streets of Birmingham, we saw mesmerising landscapes and witnessed a lot of modelled bears unusually scattered around. Then we walked around the astonishing theatre (the REP) to find the Stage door. This made us feel as if we were real actors.

9:30 AM 
After a short wait we were greeted by Daniel Tyler - the Head of the Birmingham REP. He then took us to a small theatre for the rehearsals. Later on we realised we were based in a theatre called The Door with its capacity of 140 seats. We were also amazed to learn that the REP has a long history, dating back to the year 1913. Wow!

Rehearsing was a very detailed and precise process. We did not have enough time to memorise the script. We tried our best during the past three weeks. It was now time to work through the script together using the stage lighting, projection and the sound system. The whole day rehearsal had helped us to remember and improve our lines.

Clive, the Senior Sound Technician, stayed with us throughout the morning to check all the sound clips whilst we were doing our rehearsal. His job was to ensure the sound clips and the visual effects go precisely with the scenes of the play.

Not far from where Clive was sitting was Ruth, the REP Stage Manager. Ruth was sitting casually on the steps and went through all the scenes and the scripts with us very carefully.

Mrs Nguyen was in the audience seat. She slowly realised that a big part of the script was about the BBC Student Reporters and her commitment with BBC School Report during the past 10 years. Ten years, such an exciting journey for her and her student reporter team. This ‘Transitions’ play has accurately reflected what has happened back at Whitley Academy.

11:40 AM
We were taken to the dressing rooms and got changed. Then we practised some more, practice makes perfect after all.

After a quick lunch we got back to rehearsal. Mr Samuels talked to us all to make sure we knew how to project our voices to the far end of the theatre. We also discussed with him where our confidence fell short. This enabled us feel better for the real show, also improving our projection and emotions in our voice.

After  a long day of rehearsals we all went out for a nice, refreshing walk around the Birmingham Centenary Square. We then followed the flow of people going through the shiny Symphony Hall, Bridge Street, and finally spent some of our precious time at Brindley Place where you could sit for hours watching the live Wimbledon tennis matches on show. 

We all took some lovely photos including some funny ones of Abbie teaching Mr Samuels how to do a dance called ‘Floss'.

After the walk, we went back to The REP and had some dinner and a couple of students were interviewed by a staff member from the RSA. We were asked questions about the performance and how it linked towards real life at school. 

The nerves were really building up. Our parents and grandparents were there in the audience.

We heard the massive applause from the audience. Such a relief!

The following is our reflection of the Day at the Birmingham Rep.

"At the start of the day I began to feel nervous. As we rehearsed more and more, I started to feel exited as well as the rest of the group" - Abbie.

"I have performed before in a theatre in Leamington so I am quite familiar with performing. It is not easy to remember the script but hopefully I will remember my parts when it is the performance time" - Max.

"So far the day has been great. I have been able to remember my lines and not get brain stuck. All of us have felt nervous a lot. A part of the play was about the experience as a Whitley Academy student reporter. I myself have been a student reporter for 3 years, I have been to the London Houses of Parliament and some other amazing places. I love taking the risk and pushing myself as far as I can. That’s the reason why I am here today"- Jade.

"From the start of getting involved in the play I have worked with people that normally I don’t really work with and don’t really speak to. We share everything together and we are a strong team" - Morgan.

"Coming here has boosted my confidence in Performing Arts. It’s made me realise who I really am. Naturally I am a very shy girl. It’s only in Performing Arts that I could express myself as the person I want to be" - Holly.

My own thoughts were that this day made me feel like a proper actor. The experience has made me so confident about performing in front of people and I want to go to drama school. Tonight was the special night for me and it really boosted my confidence to find out that my Grandad, who doesn’t really go out, was coming to watch my performance! I have made him very proud. 

Thanks Grandad!