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Newsletter 21

From the Headteacher

It has been a great first term for me at Churchill. Thanks to the students, staff and families who have made me feel so welcome. I have learned a lot and I am feeling very positive about moving the Academy forward. I found the "Meet the Headteacher" evenings particularly helpful in letting me know the views of parents and families - here's a summary of what came out of those meetings! 
  • 246 people signed the attendance registers across the four evenings
  • In the Keep, Grow, Change activity we received 291 "Keep" items, 229 "Grow" items, and 236 "Change" items. I take this to mean that families are overwhelmingly happy with the Academy but there is plenty to work on! 
  • Most popular in the "Keep" category were vertical tutoring and the house system, the quality of staff, the ethos and values of the Academy and the performing arts opportunities. These are all vital parts of what we do at Churchill and it's my mission to protect them!
  • Families advised us to improve communication, reports to parents, facilities, catering services and extra-curricular provision using the "Grow" category. These are all things we're working on! 
  • Finally, in the "Change" category families wanted us to enforce expectations around uniform, improve the buildings and facilities, develop homework and improve communication and reports to families. I'm on the case...
Thanks to everyone who came to the evenings and who has been in touch since. It's been great to hear from families who are supportive and involved in their children's education. Have a great half term! 
On one of my learning walks this week I found some amazing castles in History. Each fantastic model, picture or diagram was accompanied by a detailed research project. Impressive!

Geography Adventure 2017 - Sicily and The Aeolian Islands 

If your son or daughter is currently in Year 8, 9 or 10 and they plan to study Geography GCSE next year, they are eligible to apply for a place on the next Geography adventure, planned for Activities Week 2017.

All students in Year 8 and Geographers in Years 9 and 10 will have been given a letter about the trip and should also have seen a presentation explaining the exciting itinerary.  Both are on the website.

Bookings open at 9am on Saturday 13th February. To secure a place please pay a deposit of £100 via Parent Pay. Please contact the Finance Department prior to this date if you require assistance with this.

Please note that the booking process opens during half term. Once all places have been booked the item will close on Parent Pay. If all places have been booked and  you would then like to be added to a waiting list please email Mrs Amer at

Mrs Amer

Headteacher's Blog - In Production

I've written my blog this week about the importance, value and power of the school production - inspired by West Side Story! Read the blog here.

Parent Survey: Communication with the Academy

There is a short questionnaire on our website asking parents for their opinions about the Academy’s communication procedures and current forms of information sharing.   We would really appreciate as many responses as possible by Friday 26th February to inform our future protocols. 

The survey can be found on the website under Academy Surveys in the Quick Link menu found on the homepage.  Alternatively you can click on the link below which will take you straight to the survey.

Mrs McKay

Student Leadership: ASC Team improving our environment 

The Academy Skills Centre arm of the Student Leadership Team have been tasked with improving the Academy's environment.  They have been busy contacting local businesses to see if they can help out and we'd like to thank Chew Valley Trees for our first donation of some shrubs for the School.  Sainsbury's in Worle have also kindly offered to give us some bulbs for which we're very grateful.  We really appreciate this support and look forward to seeing the planting around the School in the coming months.

Mrs Carver-Cox

Youth Employment Service (YES) Newsletter

The Youth Employment Service produces a month Newsletter which is worth a read, so please do check it out: Issue 17 gives advice on Apprenticeships.

Year 11 Speaking Exams in French and Spanish
Week commencing 22nd February

After half term Year 11 French and Spanish students will sit their final GCSE Speaking examination  (15% of their final GCSE exam). Students are required to take part in a picture-based discussion and general conversation on the topic of Healthy Living. These assessments are 4-6 minutes long and will take place in lesson time in the new 6th form block. Students must attend the exam with a copy of the picture they wish to discuss and are allowed to refer to a note sheet during the exam with no more than 30 words and 5 pictures on it for support. Each student will be given an exam time by their subject teacher and should not be out of lessons for more than 20 minutes. Please encourage your linguists to practise their picture presentations and conversation questions at home out loud with a timer to check they are able to talk for at least 4 1/2 minutes!

Bonne chance! ¡Buena Suerte! 

Mrs Howe

Activities Week 5 Bookings

Please note that we have changed the booking time for Activities Week 5 bookings to 5am on Monday, 22nd February, rather than midnight on Sunday.  This is following feedback from several parents. We will continue with the 5am booking opening time in future years.

Mr Branch

Cross Country Success for Callum Smith

Many congratulations to Callum Smith (10HVR) who competed as part of the Avon Schools squad at the South West Schools Cross Country Championships on 5th February.  The weather conditions were horrendous and the organisers have said that Callum, and the other runners, had to cope with lying water, thick mud, heavy rain and strong winds as they raced round the course at Pittville Park in Cheltenham.  His strong performance means he's been selected to represent Avon at the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Nottingham on 5th March.  Well done Callum and good luck for the next one; hopefully the conditions will be better!

Churchill Academy Show Jumping Team

On Saturday 5th March, Chew Valley School are organising a Team Show Jumping competition at Hartley Wood Equestrian Centre in Clutton. The competition is open to School Teams, Pony Club Teams and individuals.  The ethos of this event is for a fun, welcoming and friendly day - a grassroots competition with classes suitable to a range of abilities.  If you have your own horse/suitable transport and would like to find out more information please speak to me in the PE Faculty.  There will be a meeting on Wednesday, 24th February at break time in the Gymnasium (next to the Hall) for anyone interested in taking part.

Mrs Moon

West Side Story, Weston Playhouse

Reports from the performances so far have been fantastic- take a look at the photos on the website - and I'm really looking forward to attending WSS this evening. A full review in the next Newsletter but in the meantime thank you and well done to all the students and staff for all your enthusiasm and commitment in putting the show together. Enjoy a well-earned rest over half term!

Year 8 Options

A reminder that our Year 8 Options process has begun. Year 8 attended an assembly last week which gave them an opportunity to ask questions and to look through the Options booklet. Thank you to all those parents who attended our Year 8 Parents Evening and we hope that this has started to get students really thinking about their strengths and what they need to focus upon to build a well-balanced timetable for themselves next year.  We are encouraging all students to choose options that are from a range across the curriculum and to choose subjects that they will enjoy.  For any further information or enquiries about Year 8 Options please contact your child’s Tutor, Head of House or Key dates are: 
  • 22nd February – students can begin to complete their options form on SMILE.
  • During March – students will be able to attend taster lessons for those subjects which they have not been taught in Year 7 or Year 8.
  • 23rd March – Options Evening 6.00-8.00pm.
  • 25th April – Deadline for Options form to be completed.
Mrs Dawes

Facebook Safety  

Students have been emailed this week warning them against 'Lucy Kelton'. This is an adult who is sharing inappropriate material with students on Facebook. We ask that you check your children's Facebook accounts to ensure that they have not become 'friends' with this individual or shared any other details. As ever, we thank you for your support.

Mrs McKay

Information & Reminders

  • Chartwell's Catering: Chartwell's are now producing a termly newsletter giving updates on catering events taking place in School. Click here for the current Newsletter.
  • Churchill Reading Day - Years 7-9 only - Wednesday, February 24th:  We are encouraging staff and students in Years 7 - 9 to dress up as their favourite book character for the day on 24th FebruaryAll subjects will have a reading focus, spanning from ‘wildlife journalism’ in Science, to ‘Reading around the World’ in MFL. There will be quizzes, competitions, fancy dress prizes, and of course, time to read, so please remind students to bring their reading book along! We have visiting authors coming in as well as book and cake sales and a Grand Harry Potter Quiz at lunchtime! It should be a great event. Any queries, please contact Reading Day organiser Mr Grimmett.
  • Revision - make it count! Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 are already in the thick of exam preparation, and counting down until the start of this year's public examinations. Here at the Academy we are putting together a comprehensive programme of revision preparation for students which is being delivered in each subject and also through our PSHE programme, with specialist sessions planned for Year 11 on 1st March. In the meantime, here are a few resources to keep you going: 
    • Our guide for parents and families: helping your child to revise
    • A Pinterest board of revision tips
    • Memrise especially for Languages
    • MyMaths - for Maths!
    • BBC Bitesize GCSE - all subjects
    • It's never too soon to start revising - little and often is the best way. And remember that breaks are just as important as revision: your brain gets tired too, so don't overdo it. It is important that students build time to relax and unwind into their study programme, making sure that their diet, water intake and sleep patterns are balanced too! This is not always an easy balance to achieve and sometimes young people can need additional support, encouragement or even some nagging to make sure that they keep in control of their exam preparations. Of course there will be one or two students who are not so well organised with their revision and may be reluctant to start – if you have any concerns that this might be your child and you would like some support with getting things going please do not hesitate to contact either your child’s Tutor, Head of House or a member of the senior staff.
  • Head Lice:  Unfortunately several cases of head lice/nits have been reported in school. We are therefore advising parents to check their child’s hair. Please see advice from NHS on:  Please can you continue to check your child’s hair over the next few weeks, regular checking and combing will hopefully put an end to this outbreak.
  • Vaccination:  The MenACWY vaccine is being offered to all Year 11 students on 10th March; a consent form and leaflet has been sent home. Please return consent forms by 6th March.
  • Sainsbury's Active Kids 2016: We're collecting the Active Kids vouchers again this year and have a box in Reception, so please pass them our way!

Diary Dates

12th  Term 3 ends
22nd Term 4 starts
23rd  KS3 Spelling Bee Competition Final, 3.40pm, Hall
24th  Year 13 Subject Academic Parents' Evening, Sixth Form, 4.30pm - 7pm

1st  PSHE Day:
          Year 7 Growth Mindset workshops
          Years 8-11 Addictions & Safety in the 21st Century
2nd  Year 12 Subject Academic Parents' Evening, Sixth Form, 4pm-7pm
4th  PTA Quiz, Academy Hall, 7-9.30pm 
7th  Iceland Trip: Parents Information evening, Sixth Form, 6.30-7.30pm
7th  Prayer Group Meeting, 7.30pm, Music Block
9th & 10th  Year 11 GCSE Drama Exam Performance, Academy Hall, 6.30pm
10th  MenACWY vaccine for Year 11 students
15th & 16th  Dance Their Socks Off, W-s-M Playhouse, 6.30-9.30pm
21st & 22nd  Spring Music Concert, Academy Hall, 7pm
23rd  Year 8 Options Evening
24th  DofE (New Starters) Parents’ Evening, Academy Hall, 6-8pm
25th  Good Friday- Bank Holiday - no School
28th  Easter Monday– Bank Holiday - no School
29th  Students back in School
31st  Year 10 BTEC Dance Showcase, Academy Hall, 6.30-8.30pm

1st  Term 4 ends
18th  Term 5 begins
Next week is Week 1
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