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NSETC Student Wins at BTEC Awards

A student from the North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC) has been awarded BTEC Engineering Student of the Year at the 2017 BTEC Awards.

The BTEC Awards are national awards which invite tutors from across the country to nominate their students for a range of subject related awards. All these nominations are then slowly whittled down and the shortlisted finalists are put forwards to a judging panel who pick an overall winner for each category. The award ceremony was held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster on Thursday 6 July 2017.

Jack Healy, who studied the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering in partnership with Weston College, has overcome several barriers in order to successfully complete his course. Jack has dyspraxia and often finds it difficult to comprehend written text on first reading, take accurate notes or remember spoken information. He sometimes misunderstands instructions or ideas hidden within a text and will often misremember verbal directions.

Through the structure of his BTEC course, and the support of the staff and his own sheer determination to succeed, Jack is on course to achieve a minimum of a triple distinction grade, significantly above his target grade.

Jack managed to beat off national competition to win his award, which his tutors nominated him for. Winning this award has been a true testament to his hard work.

The evening turned into a double celebration when Jack was contacted by Rolls Royce during the ceremony and was offered a higher apprenticeship.

Darran George, Principal at NSETC, said: “We are incredibly proud of Jack’s achievement and it is very well deserved.

“By winning this award, Jack has set a fantastic example to current and future students that hard work really pays off, and no matter what barriers you are facing with the right support you can overcome them.”

The Benefits Of Academies

Although academisation has had its critics, we believe there are lots of benefits to being an academy. It offers more flexibility and a chance for schools to run in a way that will benefit their staff and students.

Some of the main pro’s of being an academy are:

  • Independence – academies are different from other schools as they are independently run, whereas state schools are under the control of the local authority (LA). This gives the academy more control and flexibility over how the school is run, for example financially and in deciding term dates/lengths. As a result of this, academies are able to put better focus on the bits that are important to their staff and students.
  • Finance – as academies are independent of the LA, they receive their funding from the government directly. They can decide where their money goes, which means they can put funding where they need it and don’t have to wait for it to be allocated to certain areas. As not every school is the same, and not every school will have the same needs, this is a much better solution. The staff and governing body know what is best for the school and can address those areas straight away.
  • Curriculum – being independent of the LA gives academies more flexibility over their curriculum. Not only will this be of great benefit to students, but also to teachers. They can identify the best way to teach their students and therefore adjust the curriculum they teach to reflect this. It often results in students being more engaged in their learning and therefore more likely to do well.
  • MATs – now, we may be a bit biased, but being part of a multi-academy trust (MAT) is often of huge benefit to academies, their staff and students. MATs provide support not just academically but also in other areas the school may not be equipped for, like finance and admin support. Another great thing about being part of a MAT is the ability to share with other schools. Academies can give each other advice and guidance on what works and perhaps doesn’t work well for them, and help each other deliver the best education that works for their students.

If you want to find out more about what academisation is, read our article on academies here.

Ground breaking Arkwright Scholarship success for students at St Katherine’s School

St Katherine’s School are celebrating the ground breaking achievements of four year 12 students who have been awarded the prestigious Arkwright Scholarship. David Oyns, the regional liaison officer for the Arkwright movement commented that St Katherine’s School is the first non selective school to enjoy this level of success in the South West during his time in the role.

Peter Blake, William Chinn, Isak Lowe and Remi Khalif have done tremendously well to secure these awards. The Arkwright Scholarships Trust is a registered charity that administers the most prestigious scholarship scheme of its type in the UK.  Oliver Bennett also got to the final interview round.

The Trust identify, inspire and nurture future leaders in Engineering, Computing and technical Design. Arkwright Engineering Scholarships are awarded through a rigorous selection process, to high-calibre students in year 11 across the UK. These Engineering Scholarships support students through their sixth form studies  and encourage students to pursue Engineering, Computing or technical Design at university or through a higher-level apprenticeship and to take up careers in the field.

Every Scholarship is sponsored by industrial companies, universities, charitable trusts, trade associations, professional engineering institutions, the Armed Services, Worshipful Companies, industry regulators or personal donors.

Well done to these fantastic young men who are a credit to St Katherine’s School.

‘Good’ Ofsted rating for Herons’ Moor Academy

A PRIMARY school in Weston-super-Mare has been recognised for its “good quality” education and its “family feel” by education watchdog Ofsted.

Herons’ Moor Academy, in Highlands Lane, Locking Castle, has retained its ‘good’ rating after an Ofsted inspection on Thursday 3rd March.

The report has been released today (Monday 11th April) and it commends the Academy for creating a “positive and supportive environment” for pupils, staff and parents.

The report highlights how well the Academy implemented a comprehensive new system to track pupils’ progress. The system has been used to significantly narrow the gap between pupils who are disadvantaged and those who are not.

Herons’ Moor is a large primary academy but the report commends how Headteacher Julie Fox and her team have maintained its “family feel”.

The report adds: “Parents acknowledge the high-quality social and emotional care provided by the school.

“Everyone is valued and knows that they belong to a positive and supportive environment where there is mutual respect among all, regardless of their vulnerability, special educational needs, disability or ethnicity. As one parent explained, staff get to know each child ‘as a person and not a number or statistic’.”

The report highlights the strong and positive relationships between leaders and staff, and says: “Leaders and governors are extremely dedicated to the school and very ambitious for its future.”

Pupils’ behaviour was commended and pupils also said they feel very safe in the school.

The report says: “Pupils behave extremely well both in lessons and as they move around the building. They show high levels of concentration and are fully focused on their learning.”

Mrs Fox said: “We are delighted with this report as it highlights what is unique and important at Herons’ Moor. It recognises the achievements of our fantastic pupils.”

Herons’ Moor Academy is part of the Inspirational Futures Trust, a multi-academy trust sponsored by the Weston College Group.

The report says: “Good use is made of specialist facilities at local colleges. For example, pupils learn to use specialist scientific equipment at the nearby enterprise college and make good use of their six times tables when they learn how to lay bricks professionally at the local further education college.”

Weston College Principal and Chief Executive Dr Paul Phillips OBE, said: “I am delighted by this latest Ofsted report, the Academy is clearly thriving and I’d like to congratulate Julie Fox and her team.

“Our partnership with Herons’ Moor has gone from strength to strength.

“Herons’ Moor has benefitted from the use of the state-of-the-art facilities and excellent teaching and learning opportunities and Weston College learners have benefitted from high-quality work placements.

“We champion the learner first approach and there is a real synergy between all of our organisations.”

Herons’ Moor also runs a nursery which has sessions twice a day, from 8.50-11.50am and 12.10-3.10pm. The nursery has spaces for children who will be aged three in September. Registration forms are available in the Academy’s front office.

Inspirational Futures Trust
Weston College Group