Governor changes

Holbrook Academy has a new Chair of Governors. Tim Fenton, who has been Vice Chair for the past year, was elected at a meeting on Wednesday 2nd October. Adrian Marr was elected Vice Chair.

Tim Fenton has had two children at the Academy. He has lived in Chelmondiston for twenty years. He was a journalist and now works as a publishing consultant. Adrian Marr also has two children at the Academy. He lives in East Bergholt and works for the NHS.

Mr Fenton said: “I am grateful to my fellow Governors for their show of confidence. I will do my best to live up to it.

“Jane Gould, my predecessor, did a great job in very difficult circumstances. We are now making good progress but have plenty more to do if we are going to fulfil our potential.”

Jane Gould stepped down as a Governor at the end of last term as did the Reverend Rodney Freeman and Jana Brazill.

Following an open request for nominations, two new parent governors have joined the Board. They are Louise Ratliff of Harkstead and Ferial Rolfe of Holbrook. Martin Slattery of Tattingstone, who is a former college principal with a grandchild at the Academy, joined as a Community Governor at the end of last term.

Parents wanting to contact Governors can do so via the Academy.

Sign up and sail

Chelmondiston Primary pupils sailing with Neptune
Chelmondiston Primary pupils sailing with Neptune

Sailing must be one of the most popular sports in our area. There are numerous sailing clubs on both Rivers Orwell and Stour and a very active centre at Alton Water. If you’ve ever thought you could be the next Sir Ben Ainslie or just want to give it a try, come along to the taster session we’ve organised with Neptune Sailing at Woolverstone. It’s on Thursday 26th September straight after school. Interested students should complete a permission slip available from the Academy Office. If demand is sufficient, we plan to run weekly sessions next summer offering students the chance to work towards RYA qualifications.


Maths tops the class of 2013

Holbrook Academy students again outperformed the national average in this year’s GCSEs. Overall, 70% achieved a minimum of five A* – C grades. In Maths, 18% achieved a top A* or A grade and 80% got a C grade or better. Both numbers are up on last year.

Incoming Principal, Dr Simon Letman, said: “I’m encouraged by these results. They are in line with the good progress identified by Ofsted inspectors in May. Maths was particularly pleasing, with a lot of hard work put in by students and staff. But we still have some way to go. I have concerns with aspects of the gradings in English and we plan to take these up with the Exam Board”.

When complete, a full analysis of this year’s results will be made available on the Performance section of this website.

Ofsted says improvement is accelerating

The latest monitoring visit to the Academy has rated progress as ‘good’. The report, which is now available in full from the Ofsted website, says progress is good both for the whole of the period since the Academy was put into special measures and since the last inspection in March this year.

The inspector singled out for praise the creation of student ambassadors. Their enthusiasm, she suggested, had a made a real difference to the way the Academy is run. She said students were positive about the improvements in teaching, and parents were pleased with the improvements to the way homework was set and marked. She said the majority of students worked hard. For further improvement, she prioritised student attendance.

Jane Gould, Chair of Holbrook Academy Governors, said: “We are very pleased. Again, hard work on everyone’s part is paying off. We are not meeting our targets on student attendance partly because of a small number of persistent absentees. But we are working hard with them and their families in an attempt to resolve their issues. It is important that all parents and carers do all they can to make sure their children get as close as possible to 100% attendance.”

Student Ambassadors create welcome video

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A video offering information about the Academy aimed at prospective students, parents, carers and teachers thinking about applying to work at Holbrook has been produced by some of our Student Ambassadors. The ambassadors were chosen via a process of application and interview. More will be recruited soon.

Who Asks Us?

Parents, staff, fellow students and local business people saw the culmination of five months’ hard work on Tuesday 26 March when the ‘Who Asks Us?’ group presented a ‘Question Time’ style evening in the main hall. Back in the Autumn term, they began a project with education consultant, Jill Barton and Paul Press, a film maker from the Offshoot Foundation, to explore the complex issue of students, exam pressures and preparation for future employment.

During the course of the past 15 weeks, the students involved have been very busy making a film to highlight their own concerns over exam pressures and to carry out their own research into how local businesses perceive the value of GCSEs. This has meant learning skills of script writing, presenting to camera and then editing a large amount of material to end up with a polished 25 minute finished article.

The group decided that the best way to show this small film was to invite an audience to the Academy and then to hold a question and answer session to discuss the key issues in more detail. The distinguished panel was made up of Jane Gould (Holbrook Academy Chair of Governors), Ken MacDonald (DM Retail, Waitrose), Callum Frogley (Year 11 student), David Wood (local councillor), Alan Whittaker (Principal, Suffolk One) and the debate was chaired by Rachel Sloane.

None of the panel knew the questions in advance and a stimulating hour of debate followed the film with each panellist bringing their own particular slant to their responses. The evening concluded with a superb finger buffet prepared by academy catering students and Mrs Law. Highly professional, insightful and intelligently put together, the whole evening was a triumph on every level. Very well done to all involved.

Mr D Hall

Alton Water Run

Many students from Holbrook Academy took part in the sixth Alton Water run on Sunday 12th May 2013. Despite the generally unfavourable weather – especially the strong headwind – our athletes recorded some impressive times. Organised jointly with Stutton, Tattingstone and Holbrook Primary Schools, this is a significant fund-raiser for the academy and provides funding for enrichment-type activities beyond the curriculum. Last year’s race meant, for instance, that the Indoor Rowing Club was able to purchase its first Concept 2 rowing machine and the Space Race project grew from an embryonic idea to an early summer reality. In the 5km event, specifically aimed at students from the Academy, the first five male student finishers (with overall positions in brackets) were: Sol Meredith (2); Paul Wain (5); Jacob vaughan (7); Joe Thompson (11) and Alex Myers (14). The first five female student finishers were: Maisie Spuprling (54); Millie Vaughan (55); Annabelle Lupton (56); Clara Dragan (77) and Isabella Rom (79). Very well done!

Mr D Hall