Welcome to my first principal’s blog since becoming acting principal at Holgate.

January 2020 sees some distinct changes in the overall academy culture. The expectation that students and staff maintain the highest standards of manners, determination and teamwork fits alongside an inclusive philosophy focused on achievement for all.

Recognising achievement

Since the beginning of term, I have already recognised the efforts of two students who are well deserving of Principal Awards for exceptional effort in terms of determination. Well done Jayden C (year 11) and Reece S (year 10). Both students have been invited to the principal’s office to receive their awards and I am now expecting some great progress from both in end of year exams.

I am also delighted to recognise the elite standard of a whole class in Miss Burridge’s Y7 Drama class. They are a leading the way as model students in all three core values, displaying great manners, hard work and a desire to be helpful to each other and their teacher.

Behaviour, participation and achievement

Together with asking staff to focus on a new behaviour system that places emphasis on conversations between staff and students, I have challenged our staff to make participation and achievement in lessons as easy as possible. As a maths teacher with over 20 years’ experience, there are two dreaded but familiar phrases; ‘I can’t do it’ and ‘I don’t know what to do’. By making the main knowledge or skill being taught as simple as possible our teaching staff will expect all students to be able to participate and make progress.

To deepen understanding and challenge students to reach higher levels of competency students should employ deep thinking styles like describing and explaining whatever has been presented to them but also a broader picture. This approach will lead to independent thinking skills as demanded by employers, included in the new GCSE requirements and will provide open ended challenge.

Parental support

Finally, I have been impressed by the standard of support from parents both in terms of supporting their own children, but also in consideration of the other students who attend Holgate with their children every day. Thinking about others is key to the teamwork I am expecting and will set our academy apart from other academies and schools. The strength of our academy is the people and the community spirit, and my final phrase is one I will use over and over again, and one that relates back to everyone being part of an amazing education community where commitment is everything:

“We are Holgate”

Mr Pennington
Acting Principal