This has been a busy term with lots going on, what's new?

As we approach Christmas and the end of our first term as part of the new Multi Academy Trust, real working with Kingsbridge Community College and Our School Federation is beginning to happen. One thing that is clear from our early meetings and early work is there is a shared determination to ensure that this becomes a joint effort over the next 2 to 3 years and beyond, that leads to better standards for children and students in all six schools across the Trust.

We have seen staff from the different schools meeting up to talk about their work and strategies for improving what we do for the children in our communities. Last week we had our Certificates Evening where we presented the GCSE certificates to last year's Year 11 students. Our Guest of Honour was Roger Pope, Principal at Kingsbridge Community College and also the CEO of the new Trust. Roger shared some pearls of wisdom with parents and students about how to achieve success - and my secret that I am an avid Apprentice viewer!

This term we are having a major push on homelearning and reading. I am delighted to see the significant change this extra homelearning is having in terms of the work the students are doing and on the progress they are making because of this. The regular reading all children and students are doing is great to see, with one Year 11 student having already read more than 1,300,000 words!

You also, no doubt, have noticed that there is a much wider use of homelearning blogs by subject areas across the Academy and not just in the secondary phase. Indeed the greatest increase in the use of blogs is probably in Years 5 and 6, which is good to see.

The aim of the homelearning blogs is to allow students to share and see one another's work, to comment upon this and in so doing, better understand what is being learned and assessed. We are finding this type of homelearning better engages the children and students leading to faster and more effective progress.

In the primary assembly last week we put up our Christmas tree, to much excitement, followed by much mirth and laughter at the thought of the big fat man coming down the chimney coming in less than four weeks time. This makes me all the more aware of the build up to Christmas and the three weeks left until we break up.

Please do take some time to look at the Academy calendar on the website to make sure you don't miss the carol concerts that are taking place at St Saviour's and St Clement’s churches. In addition to this there is an Early Years and Foundation Unit Christmas play in the Newcomen Hall. More information about this will be on the website and sent out to parents through the newsletter and other means.

Today, as I write this, I can hear the band getting ready to go down to town to perform in the Candlelit celebrations that take place today and tomorrow, Saturday 29th.

I know how much effort children and staff put into making sure these are fun and celebratory events and I know, also, that they appreciate the support that you, their parents, carers and relatives, show for them through your attendance – thank you!

I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming weeks.

Nick Hindmarsh, Principal