Head Teacher’s Half Termly Letter

Dear Parents/Carers

As we approach the end of this half term it is hard to believe that we have been back six weeks already this year. The time seems to have gone so quickly. We came back to see the total completion of our £800,000 refurbishment of the windows and curtain walling in the Geography, History, MFL, Business, Main Hall and Art areas of the Academy. This was as a result of a very successful ‘Condition Improvement Fund’ bid Joseph Swan Academy submitted in December 2017 and was awarded in April 2018. Work started in July 2018 and was completed in December 2018. We were one of the very few schools in the country to be awarded such a substantial sum of money. In addition we have had new blinds put into these rooms and will be having some areas recarpeted over February half term. Due to careful budgeting as an Academy, we will also be having new flooring in some areas of Science, Business and Maths over half term. We, Joseph Swan Academy, submitted two additional bids in December 2018 for a second phase of window improvements. We await to see if we are successful this year.

We have focused on continuing to improve the lesson delivery across the Academy throughout the Autumn Term and this half term. We were very pleased with the Ofsted Inspection which took place on the 30th November and in the report which followed. You may remember I wrote to you with a detailed update regarding this but would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind words and emails regarding this. We certainly are going in the right direction for further improvement and have continued to focus on this each day.

This half term has seen four pleasing sets of Year Group examinations for Years 11, 12, 13 and 10. We also had very positive attendance and feedback form our Progress Evenings for Years 9, 10 and Year 11. We have also been presented with a National Citizen Service Gold Award which we are very proud of. This is in recognition of all the hard work our Year 11 (2017-2018) completed in a volunteering and citizenship capacity last year. We have launched this programme with our current Year 11s and look forward to continued success with this during this year. Newcastle United (NUFC) continue with their excellent partnership work with Joseph Swan Academy. Our NUFC Enterprise Group are now regional winners and represent the North East in the National Finals next month in a national competition. This is something we are very proud of as we are of the absolute majority of our students.

All in all this has been a very positive half term. We look forward to next half term starting with Year 9 Examinations which begin on the 25th February 2019 and Year 11 Examinations which begin on the 4th March 2019. We have a Year 12 and Year 13 Progress Evening on the 7th March 2019 and are putting final touches to the planning for a Shine Concert on Wednesday 27th March 2019. Two ‘Shine Award Evenings’ will also take place next half term on Wednesday 13th March 2019 and Wednesday 20th March 2019. Further details will follow in regard to these events.

Next half term will be a busy one but one in which we will continue to demonstrate our commitment, motivation, energy and vigour. Thank you as always for your support in everything we do. I am proud to announce that we are full for next year’s Year 7 on first choices alone with many parents appealing to get their child into the Academy. This is very positive news indeed for students, staff, parents and the local community.

We continue to strive each and every day to ensure Joseph Swan Academy is truly where ‘Everyone Can Shine’.

Can I wish you a pleasant, happy and healthy half term break. We return on Monday 25th February 2019. I would, as always, ask all parents to ensure that your son/daughter returns wearing full Academy uniform, has their full equipment for learning with them and is ready and eager to learn.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher

Please note progress is being made regarding Joseph Swan Academy joining the Emmanuel Schools Foundation – the proposed date of this is the 1st April 2019. I look forward to updating you next half term regarding developments with this.

Key Joseph Swan Academy Dates

Date Event Times
Thursday 7th March 2019 Year 12 & 13 Progress Evening 4pm – 7pm
Wednesday 13th March 2019 Shine Award Evening 6pm
Wednesday 20th March 2019 Shine Award Evening 6pm
Wednesday 27th March 2019 Shine Concert 6.30pm
Friday 5th April 2019 Academy Training Day All Day
Monday 8th April – Monday 22nd April 2019 Easter Holidays
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 First Day of Summer Term 8.30am

Equipment for Learning

All students are required to bring a black and a green pen, a pencil, a rubber, a ruler, a small pack of coloured pencils, a glue stick in a pencil case in a school bag to the Academy each and every day as part of their preparation for learning.

Half Term Holidays

Dear Parent/Carer

Just a reminder that the Academy will be closed for Half Term Holidays from
Monday 18th February 2019 until Friday 22nd February 2019 to students.

Please note there are revision sessions running for Year 11. Parents, Carers and students will be informed of these on a separate letter.

We look forward to welcoming our students back on Monday 25th February 2019 in full Academy uniform and ready for learning.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher

Update on Key Dates, Time and Events

Dear Parent/Carer

Can I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a very healthy and Happy 2019.

Just a reminder that on Friday 21st December we hope the entire Academy will join us in our now traditional ‘Christmas Top (Jumper or T shirt) Day’. Students and staff are all encouraged to join in with this event. Students and staff will be able to wear ‘normal clothes’ for this day. A donation (suggested 50p) will be made for our charitable collection for Save the Children and Joseph Swan Academy charities.

As you will know we end our term this year on Friday 21st December at 12 noon. If the finishing time is a concern please do contact the Academy’s Administration Manager, Mrs A Atkinson via andreaatkinson@josephswan.org.uk or 0191 4422004. The scholars’ buses will not be running in the afternoon on this day but public buses will run with a variety of opportunities for the students from 12 noon.

As we come to the end of this the term can I, as always, thank you for all your support. This term has been a very busy one and included a positive Ofsted Inspection on the 30th November, please see ‘Positive news from Ofsted letter’ for additional information. We also had the news regarding our potential linkage with Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) which looks very exciting. More information to follow on this. We have had record breaking attendances from Parents/Carers to our Academy Progress evenings and our Remembrance Concert. We have also had great support for our charitable collections for the Royal British Legion, the Gateshead Foodbank, the Food Co-operative and ‘Shelter’. During this Autumn Term we have also continued to focus on improving attainment and achievement for all our students.

As you can see from the following table next half term will be a busy time for all of us.

Spring Term Key Dates:

Monday 7th January 2019 to Friday 11th January 2019 Year 11 Trial Examinations
Tuesday 8th January to Thursday 10th January 2019
and Monday 14th January to Wednesday 16th January 2019
Year 12 & 13 Controlled Assessments (selected students)
Wednesday 9th January and Friday 1st February 2019 Year 11 BTEC Examinations (selected students)
Friday 11th January to Friday 25th January 2019 Year 12 & 13 BTEC Examinations (selected students)
Monday 14th January to Friday 18th January 2019 Year 12 & 13 Trial Examinations
Monday 21st January to Friday 25th January 2019 Year 10 Trial Examinations
Thursday 31st January 2019 from 4pm to 7pm
(separate invitation letter to follow)
Year 11 Progress Evening for Parents/Carers
Friday 25th January 2019 Holocaust Memorial SMSC Day
Thursday 7th February 2019 from 4pm to 7pm Year 9 Progress Evening for Parents/Carers
Monday 11th February 2019 Year 10 Tutor Evening
Friday 15th February 2019 Heart to Heart SMSC Day
Monday 18th February to Friday 22nd February 2019 Half Term Holiday

We look forward to working closely with you in 2019. Please do have a wonderful Christmas and very best wishes for 2019.

We would like our students, your children, fully rested and ready for ‘energetic’ learning when they return. The Spring Term will begin at 8.30am on Monday 7th January 2019 when we look forward to welcoming our students back.

With very festive wishes

Yours faithfully

Miss H E Scott
Head Teacher

Provisional term dates for the Academic Year 2019-2020:

Autumn Term Starts Monday 2nd September 2019
Autumn Half Term Monday 21st October 2019 – Friday 25th October 2019
Autumn Term Finishes Friday 20th December 2019
Spring Term Starts Monday 6th January 2020
Spring Half Term Monday 17th February 2020 – Friday 21st February 2020
Spring Term Finishes Friday 3rd April 2020
Summer Term Starts Monday 20th April 2020
Summer Half Term Monday 25th May 2020 – Friday 29th May 2020
Summer Term Finishes Friday 17th July 2020
Academy Training Days To be confirmed

Positive news from Ofsted for Joseph Swan Academy

Dear Parent/Carer

Positive news from Ofsted for Joseph Swan Academy

Joseph Swan Academy had an Ofsted Section 8 monitoring visit on Friday 30th November 2018. As with all Section 8 Inspections key judgements are made. These judgements focus on the following questions;

a) Are Leaders and Managers taking effective action?
b) Is the Academy’s action plan fit for purpose?
c) Is the Joseph Swan Academy Trust’s Statement of Action fit for purpose?

I am very pleased to report to all our Parents/Carers and students that in this Inspection the results to the three key judgements were all positive with the answer to each question, I am proud to say, being ‘Yes’.

I believe that this absolutely shows the determination, drive and vigour the Academy Staff and Governors have had since the April Inspection (which was published in July 2018). We approached the actions we needed to take with honesty, transparency and focus with absolutely no room for complacency.

During this Inspection, meetings were held with myself, members of the senior team, the Governing Body, staff and students. The Academy’s website was reviewed as well as a wide range of documentation including students’ work. Some lessons were also visited. The Academy’s Post Ofsted Action Plan was also reviewed and evaluated rigorously.

Within the Inspection the Quality of Leadership and Management was deemed to be improving. This focused on the changes to the Governing Body since the last Inspection. This included the personnel and the knowledge, skills and understanding of the Governors. The Inspection recognised that astute appointments had been made to the Governing Body and external expertise and advice was sought to ensure Governors had a stronger understanding of their role. There is still work to do but a full and far reaching training programme is in place to ensure this area of Academy life fully meets all expectations.

The Post Ofsted Action Plan was deemed as being ‘thorough’. The Inspection findings state that ‘improvement plans and proposed actions are relevant, clear and specific’. ‘Timings are appropriate and it is clear by whom, when and how progress will be monitored’. The Inspection Report Letter states that ‘staff say that Leaders hold them to account more stringently than they did previously. This is because the Head Teacher has amended, clarified job descriptions and responsibilities of senior leaders’. The Inspection also recognised that new appointments made by the Head Teacher enabled her to restructure the senior leadership team.

In regard to Teaching, Learning and Assessment ‘strategies to improve this area are beginning to pay dividends. ‘Leaders’ actions were viewed positively regarding schemes of work, review and evaluation and checks to improve the accuracy of teachers’ assessment. Work in Mathematics is ongoing and will remain a priority for the Academy. This includes an appointment of a Lead Practitioner and an additional member of the Mathematics Team. These posts will start in January.

The Inspection Report Letter comments positively on how the Academy is using additional funding to support disadvantaged students. It states that ‘Leaders acted swiftly to improve this aspect of the Academy’s work’. Regular training of staff helps support the substantial number of disadvantaged students within the Academy. Disadvantaged students are now making more progress than before the previous Inspection.

The Academy places high importance on good attendance. When students are absent from the Academy they miss out on learning. The focus of this Inspection was to look at the attendance of disadvantaged students. This has been a priority since the last Inspection. Inspection findings show that attendance has improved for some disadvantaged students but we still have work to do in this area. We will therefore continue to focus on this.

Behaviour was highlighted as a strength in the last Inspection and this Inspection Report Letter states that ‘Leaders have acted to reinforce their expectations in this regard’. The Inspection findings state that Fixed Term and Permanent Exclusions are used appropriately at Joseph Swan Academy.

Overall this is a positive report from Ofsted with the following judgements being made;

a) Leaders and Managers are taking effective action
b) The Academy’s action plan is fit for purpose
c) The Joseph Swan Academy Trust’s statement of action is fit for purpose

Can I take this opportunity to thank Parents/Carers for your support especially over the last few months. There is no doubt that this Inspection recognised the ethos of Joseph Swan Academy and showed an understanding of the hard work, motivation and commitment made by the Governing Body, staff and students since the last inspection. The judgements show that Joseph Swan Academy is moving in the right direction. For me that is a very positive message to give to all of our Parents/ Carers, students, staff and Governors. There is no complacency, there is still work to do, but we know what we are doing and are moving in the right direction.

In addition our potential links with Emmanuel Schools Foundation will build on these firm foundations we have created over the past few months.

We will continue to approach all challenges with fortitude, honesty, energy and commitment now and in the future.

I finish as I started. ‘Positive news from Ofsted for Joseph Swan Academy’. Now that is a great Christmas present to us all.

Yours faithfully

Miss H E Scott
Head Teacher

Exciting Times for Joseph Swan Academy

Dear Parent/Carer

I would very positively like to announce that after consideration by the Regional Schools Commission and in principle Joseph Swan Academy will become part of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation in 2019.

This is a wonderful opportunity for all our students, staff and local community.  Please find further information on this very positive development for Joseph Swan Academy below.

Exciting Times for Joseph Swan Academy

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher 

Christmas Lunches

Dear Parent/Carer

It is nearly that time again when we all start to think about Christmas. Here at Joseph Swan Academy we have this firmly in our calendar with our traditional ‘Year Group family’ Christmas Lunches with all the Year Groups. This will follow our Year Group Academy Carol Service. Our Sixth Form will be having a special Christmas Brunch.

The cost for the lunches/brunch will be £3 this year for those students who do not receive free school meals. This will include a full Christmas lunch/brunch, drinks and rewards.

Payments of £3 for the Christmas Lunch/Brunch can be paid by your child to the Finance Team in the Academy Gym at break time on the following dates:

  • Monday 3rd December – Year 7
  • Tuesday 4th December – Year 10
  • Wednesday 5th December – Year 9
  • Thursday 6th December – Year 8
  • Friday 7th December – Year 11 and Sixth Form

Thank you for your support with this matter. If you have any queries/questions please do not hesitate to get in touch via Mrs A Atkinson, Academy Administration Manager at andreaatkinson@josephswan.org.uk or telephone 0191 4422004.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher

6th December Academy Progress Evening

Dear Parent/Carer

We invite you to our Joseph Swan Academy Progress Evening for Year 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13, which will take place on Thursday 6th December 2018 from 4pm – 7pm.

During this evening we will give you the opportunity to discuss your son/daughter’s achievements with their tutor.  A progress report will be issued at this event and important targets will be set for the forthcoming term.  It is important to attend this event to hear about the progress your child has made.

Appointments for Tutors

We will be running an appointment based system for the evening.  Please select the two most convenient time slots. A specific time will be allocated by your child’s tutor and a sticker will be placed in their planner by Friday 30th November to confirm this.

Appointments will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so please return your preferences on the reply slip as soon as possible, by no later than Wednesday 28th November 2018.

We look forward to seeing you and sharing the successes of our students during this evening.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher

Year 10 Progress Evening

Dear Parent/Carer

I would like to invite you to our Year 10 Progress Evening which will take place on
Thursday 22nd November 2018 between the hours of 4pm – 7pm at Joseph Swan Academy. This event will be an appointment based event with staff from each department located on the Academy ‘Street’.

This Progress Evening is a real opportunity for you to speak to your son/daughter’s subject teachers. It is important that you see key staff to discuss the progress your son/daughter is making in the first term of Year 10.

The Year 10 Team will be on hand for additional advice and support throughout the evening.

Please discuss the evening with your son/daughter and ask them to make appointments with the teachers you would like to see. The appointments will be between 4pm – 7pm. Please indicate if you need later appointments for your son/daughter. Note appointments will be approximately 5-10 minutes in length. You will have the opportunity to see your son/daughter’s books/folders during the evening.

Please do contact the Year Team if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday 22nd November 2018.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher

Colours of Remembrance Day

Dear Parent /Carer

Tomorrow is our ‘Colours of Remembrance’ day in the Academy. Students can wear red/black clothing to the Academy for a small donation for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Students are allowed to wear the following red/black clothes:

  • Hooded Tops
  • Black Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Tracksuit Bottoms
  • Trainers Shoes
  • ¾ length shorts
  • Skirts (these must be at least the same length as an Academy skirt)
  • Dresses (these must be at least the same length as an Academy skirt)

Students are not allowed to wear the following clothes:

  • Cropped Tops
  • Vest Tops
  • Hats
  • Short skirts
  • Costumes
  • Items with inappropriate wording or images

We look forward to seeing many of our students participating in this tomorrow.

Yours faithfully

Miss H E Scott
Head Teacher

Remembrance Events at Joseph Swan Academy

Dear Parent/Carer

Due to the success, student engagement and educational value of our Remembrance Respect Day in 2017, this has been even further developed for 2018.

On Wednesday 7th November our Concert for Remembrance will take place in the Academy. The Academy Band, the Band and Bugles of Durham ACF and choirs from Kells Lane Primary School, Harlow Green Primary School, Oakfield Junior School and Kelvin Grove Primary School will be involved. Tickets will be £4 from the Academy Reception. This is always an exceptionally poignant evening.

On Thursday 8th November it will be our Colours of Remembrance Day with students and staff wearing Red and Black for a small donation. Year Teams will also be having events linked with Remembrance during Period 1 focusing on the commemoration of 100 years since the end of the Great War. Some students will also be participating in a Silence for Remembrance during registration and Period 1. In addition students who would like to be involved with their Year Group and can for a small donation be involved in a ‘Run for Remembrance’ during their allocated Year Group period on Thursday 8th November 2018.

Friday 9th November is our Remembrance SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development) Day.
Students will see the work of the Royal British Legion and other welfare organisations. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in additional sessions such as to see military vehicles from past and present, an Anderson shelter exhibition, a Hurricane Hawker MkII, Flying Flea and a Spitfire MK805. There will also be a Battle of Britain exhibition. Students can participate in army climbing activities and undertake a physical training session delivered by the Royal Marines. In addition, we have sessions with the Royal Fusiliers Regiment, the Military Intelligence Team, the Royal Navy, the Army, the British Legion Riders, the Royal Artillery and have input into a Remembrance Art installation. In addition we will have workshops focused on the white and purple poppy, the Peace Pledge and Armistice Day.

Most importantly, students will have the opportunity to plant a dedicated cross/faith symbol in our memorial area within the Academy grounds.

This is a very important day for our Academy and I would like all of our students to participate. I do hope you support us with this. This day will finish with an all Academy Remembrance Service at 2.35pm.

The staff car park will be open to the public from 12.15pm to 1pm to view the military vehicles. If you would like to see these please email andreaatkinson@josephswan.org.uk or telephone 0191 4422004 to book your place.

I do understand, however, that some parents may wish to withdraw their sons/daughters from the day for a number of different reasons. If you wish to do this, please email the Academy Administration Manager, Mrs Atkinson, at andreaatkinson@josephswan.org.uk and we will organise alternative arrangements.

I thank you in advance for your continued support.

Yours faithfully

Miss H. E. Scott
Head Teacher