Principal’s Blog (March to August 2020)

21 August 2020: Results Day #2

Well, it has been quite a week!

First came the announcement that GCSE results would be based on Centre Assessed Grades rather than an algorithm.

Then, having spent most of Wednesday printing out and putting in envelopes letters to students with their results, we were told at 5pm the BTEC ones could not be given out. Sometimes, you cannot make it up.

I would like to thank the dedicated team who were in for 7am on Thursday to do it all again, ensuring we were ready for students’ arrivals.

It was worth the effort to see their smiling faces. It is important Year 11 are not remembered as the Covid-19 group, but as brilliant, individual young people who will go on to do great things.

I was delighted 88% of them turned up at the right time to receive their results. It said a lot about them.

While results day had to be different to past years because of Covid-19, it was lovely to see them again. It was a “proud headteacher day” and I am so pleased we handed the grades out in person rather than via email.

Congratulations to those hard-working students who received the results their efforts deserved. I also recognise some were disappointed and we will support them in their next steps.

While the BTEC decision was frustrating, it is important students receive the right grades. We will, of course, let students know these grades as soon as we get them.

In the end, students can be confident their GCSE grades are what they would have received had they sat exams.

We employed a robust process of determining and moderating our Centre Assessed Grades. No individual member of staff submitted grades on their own. It was a team effort and I signed them off. As a result, the grades are a fair and accurate reflection of candidates’ efforts over the past two years.

A huge ‘well done’ to Year 11. We believed in you and are immensely proud of what you have achieved.

We wish you all the best for the future and, while the ending was not what any of us had planned or wanted, we hope you have fond memories of your time at The Bulwell. We look forward to hearing about all the wonderful things you will achieve in the future.

My staff and I are now focused on the next challenge, the phased return to a full school in less than two weeks’ time.

13 August 2020: Results Day #1

I hope you are enjoying a deserved summer break and staying safe and well.

I would like to send many congratulations to our Year 13s who achieved some amazing results in their BTECS. They all passed their level 3s in Business, Health & Social Care and Sport with 76% of all grades Distinction* or Distinction, a 9% increase on 12 months ago.

Photos (click to enlarge):
Sport graduates with Mr Howarth and Mrs Dean; Business graduates with Miss Cooper;
Health & Social Care graduates with Mrs Lee

The students worked hard over the last two years and their efforts throughout that time have really paid off. We are extremely proud of each and every one of them. They leave us with all our best wishes for amazing futures, be that in the world of work, as an apprentice or as a university student.

We will miss them all and look forward to keeping in touch through our alumni programme, finding out how they are doing and giving them the chance to inspire, educate and motivate current students.

We are now preparing, as much as we can, for Results Day #2 on 20 August when Year 11s and ourselves will discover GCSE results.

There is always uncertainty surrounding results but, obviously, this year that feeling has been enhanced by the ongoing situation around coronavirus. We all know Covid-19 has made a huge impact on education since March.

Only this week, the Government made late changes to A-level results. With some staff back in school, we are keeping a close eye on any updates on GCSEs and will share information with parents and staff next week.

In the absence of exams, we assessed our students and recommended fair GCSE grades. Next Thursday’s results are, in that respect, out of our hands. Our priority will be to support our students and their families as appropriate once the results are known.

Hopefully, our students will be happy and receive the grades their efforts deserve. But if we feel students have been treated unfairly, we will have no hesitation appealing.

In the meantime, I would say to students waiting for results please do not worry. It is the strangest of times but you are not on your own. We are in this together.

Please continue to enjoy the break.

20 July 2020: The end of a busy term!

The end of term is in sight at last and I wanted to say a huge “thank you” to everybody who has helped us get this far down the road.

It has been a fantastic effort from staff, students, parents and the wider community. I am also grateful for the support from our sponsor Creative Education Trust.

We were reflecting on what has been achieved during lockdown to keep our families engaged and ensure our students are safe and accessing education.

The students have been fantastic throughout and I would like to thank them for all the work completed.

At times it has been fraught, but we have got through this by working together. We should all feel proud of what has been achieved. I know I am.

Packs are being posted today to all our students outlining the plan for September. Every year group is different.

It includes details of what gate they should use, who to contact, what the school day will look like, the equipment we will supply, how the classrooms will look, which toilets to use and how they should move around school.

I did not think I would be writing that four months ago!

It will be different in September, but we cannot wait to see the whole school return, staff and students.

Our promise is that we will deliver the best possible education in the safest environment possible.

In other matters, congratulations to our students who did so well in the Trust’s photography competition which attracted 75 entries from eight schools and was judged by professional photographers.

Freya (Year 7) was commended and Sam (Year 11), Lily, Georgia and Bethany (all Year 9) were all shortlisted in the final 28 . Freya’s photograph appears in the final issue of the Trust’s ‘Still Connected‘ online magazine.

To view the students’ photographs, click the “play” button or click here to view the photos enlarged.

Could I also point parents to new resources to support your child’s mental wellbeing over the summer and as they return to school – provided by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families ‘Schools in Mind’ project.

You can download the #SelfcareSummer secondary pack from the Mental Health & Wellbeing page on our website.

It’s full of fun self-care activities and signposting info for further support if needed.

So that is it from me on this blog for a few weeks. I will be posting midway through the holidays with any updates.

As always, keep well, stay safe and have a well-deserved summer break.

13 July 2020

Staff have been performing a difficult balancing act – ploughing on with plans for next term while remaining focused on this. Parents have been doing likewise.

Year 6

We had a turnout of 70% at our Year 6 uniform day, which was tremendous. The pupils and parents were really positive and it was a nice environment. I know they will be proud to wear the uniform of The Bulwell Academy.

We encourage all Year 6 parents and students to explore the resources on the New Intake pages on our website.

The Resources include introductions to staff, introduction to Year 7 subjects plus activities and competitions to try out.

Years 7 to 13

For parents of those already at the school, it is a case of ‘keep going’ – there are only two weeks of term remaining.

I am no different to anybody else and am looking forward to a proper break at the end of a difficult term but we have a lot of work to do before then.

Our basic plan for next year is in place but we are continuing to improve it for the benefit of students and staff.

We appreciate your patience and ask you continue to bear with us.

Parents will receive a detailed letter well before the end of term so there is plenty of time to digest it and ask any questions before we close for the first time since March on 24 July.

Those details will, however, be subject to change because the Government is set to make further announcements during the summer. That is why this blog will be updated in mid August to keep everybody informed.

Years 10 and 12 continue to impress us. In fact, staff have been blown away by their attitude to the new way we do things to keep them and staff safe.

Year 9s were invited to attend one-to-one meetings last week. They have matured and grown, physically and emotionally. All who came in were keen to return in September and understand it will be different.

This week, Years 11 and 13 should look out for invitations too, and details of results days.

They need to be different this year and we will not be able to celebrate in the way we would want to do. Unfortunately, parents will not be allowed into school because of the social distancing restrictions.

For those still here, Miss Cooper has a Business ‘Resilience’ Challenge in her latest blog. Can you find competitively priced, environmentally friendly products for a hotel chain within a budget? The deadline for entry is Wednesday.

Finally, Year 12, have a look at this website for details of Online Taster Days:

As always, keep well and stay safe and please, if you have any concerns, give us a call or send an email.

6 July 2020

September Re-opening

I am delighted to say we will be back together as a school in September.

I welcome the Government’s announcement last week while, at the same time, recognising we remain in the middle of a pandemic and the most difficult period of my teaching career.

School won’t be the same as it was, but this is a step in the right direction. We have faced, and continue to face, challenges together as a school community – students, staff and parents.

I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved and, as I have said before, we will emerge from this stronger. We cannot wait for September.

In the meantime, and having read the 35-plus pages of Government guidance released on Thursday, we have a huge amount of work to do.

Rest assured, our priority – the safety of our students and staff – has not changed. We will not compromise on that.

We are working with our sponsors Creative Education Trust in response to the guidance and will inform parents once we have formulated our plans. Please bear with us – it is complicated!

Good Attendance (Y10/Y12)

The return of Year 10s and Year 12s to school before the end of term continues to go incredibly well. Attendance has been at 95% for those we expected back in Year 10 and 98% for Year 12. The students have been phenomenal and excited to be back. They have been keen to learn and have clearly missed us as much as we have missed them.

This week, we are looking forward to welcoming back our Year 9s for their one-to-one meetings.

We are listening to parents’ concerns. They are understandably worried about how their child catches up.

Please be reassured that we will support every child and their family, not just in this period but in the future. That is what we do.

Community Matters

I have mentioned about ties with our community being strengthened during lockdown. This is illustrated by the Academy’s support of vulnerable families, providing hot meals on a weekly basis – cooked by our kitchen staff – and delivering ‘Feel Good Packs’ to around 100 homes with a variety of arts, literacy and sports fun from local and national partners.

We have also continued to support The Bestwood and Bulwell Foodbank through money raised from our #sillyvideochallenge.

Have a look at this fantastic video about The Toy Library in Bulwell which highlights our involvement.

Toy Library

🌈 When people work together amazing things happen 🙌Huge thanks to Right Track Social Enterprise and The Toy Library and Bestwood and Bulwell Foodbank for everything you’ve been doing during #COVID19🙌 #ThankYou #Community If you’d like to help others please volunteer through Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service #NottinghamTogether

Posted by My Nottingham on Thursday, 25 June 2020

Finally, issue five of Creative Education Trust’s “Connected” magazine can be viewed below.

As always, keep well and stay safe and please, if you have any concerns, give us a call or send an email.

29 June 2020

Farewell Year 11

It is strange to think we should have been saying a formal goodbye to our Year 11s last week. Exams should have finished and the only attendance needed should have been to their celebration Prom.

It is a great shame how their school years have ended. We continue to think about them and, of course, look forward to welcoming many back into our Sixth Form in September.

A huge amount of thought (and considerable expense) may have already gone into the Prom so I am pleased that it has been provisionally rearranged in October. Hopefully, Covid-19 will not get in the way again.

For those not returning in September, we wish you health, happiness and success in the future and hope you will always remember your time at The Bulwell Academy with fondness.

We await further guidance about results day in August and will communicate as soon as we know.

Excellent Attendance for Year 10 and 12

Year 10s maintained their 90% attendance at one-to-one meetings with staff last week while we had 100% attendance among Year 12s, with their lessons starting.

Well done to the students and parents for supporting these meetings. They have continued to give positive feedback about the welcome received from staff.

Hopefully, it will mean an equally impressive attendance for Year 10 lessons which start today in small groups with a maximum of eight in a room.

The attitudes of Year 10s have been lovely. One spoke to me about how boring it had been learning on her own for 15 weeks without being able to go out. She has a better appreciation of what school could lead to and was determined to work hard. That is a real positive out of this situation.

Year 9 One-to-One Meetings

On the success of the Year 10 meetings, we have invited Year 9s to similar one-to-ones, during week commencing 6 July. The aim is to ease any anxieties and help us plan so we can hit the ground running as they start their GCSE courses.

Moving Forward

The Government has said it wants all students back in September. We are waiting on a plan to see how it will be done and will let parents know when we receive the guidance.

It continues to be important that, when not in the Academy, all year groups continue to study at home.

Miss Cooper continues to set Business challenges for Years 7 to 9 on a weekly basis. Complete the tasks on Miss Cooper’s Business Blog page to receive your reward points.

New Intake 2020

For those entering the Academy in September, there is an online video introducing a few friendly faces: Year Manager, Mr Chambers; Director of Learning, Miss Kelly; and Assistant Principal for Transition & 6th Form, Mr Cook. Further information for our new intake is available by clicking on the New Intake button on the home page of the website.

Keep well and stay safe and please, if you have any concerns, give us a call or send an email.

22 June 2020

It has been a terrific week for our returning Year 10s and 12s. Over 90% of those invited attended their one-to-one meetings with staff – a phenomenal response.

We had some turn up who were not expected and others arriving early, not wanting to miss their slot.

Staff found the students being really honest about academic issues and their mental health and wellbeing.

Children have understandable anxieties about their futures and want to come back to school.

We have had staff debriefs at the end of every day and, where appropriate, teachers and heads of department have been calling home to reassure anybody struggling.

We are listening and responding to students’ concerns and needs.

Some said they were having trouble sleeping. Miss Cooper’s guide for “How to Get Good Sleep” has been added to the Mental Health and Wellbeing page (click to enlarge).

Thank you to those students who have attended the meetings and to their parents / carers for their support and encouragement. We have had lots of positive comments about the meetings and the welcome students received. It has taken a lot of work to get where we are, and the staff really appreciate this feedback.

We continue this week with more one to one meetings and some small group sessions for Year 10, with lessons with a maximum of eight students in a classroom, starting next Monday 29 June.

Year 12 lessons start this week. We can’t wait to welcome them into the building again. The four days a week they are not in school, we expect them to continue to learn from home.

We are looking to repeat the one-to-one meetings with Year 9 before the end of term. This will be done without compromising their safety, nor that of Year 10s, staff and others in school.

We are aiming to send invitations to Year 9s shortly and we hope for a similar success story to that of Year 10. It is just unfortunate we cannot do the same for every year group, but I know parents understand the issues around safety and capacity.

On a lighter note, we can all see things slowly returning as the lockdown restrictions are eased and, if you are a football fan like me, at least there has been something else to discuss over the past few days.

Hopefully, for those who know which team I support, I will still want to talk about football tomorrow!

Keep well and stay safe and, please, if you have any concerns, give us a call or send an email.

15 June 2020: A new day

The day’s arrived when we start to welcome back more students. All the staff are really looking forward to seeing Years 10 and 12 from today. We have, of course, been open every day of lockdown for those entitled to a place by the Government.

We have had a great response to our plan for one-on-ones this week with 75% of Year 10s coming in and 80% of Year 12s. There has been a lot of work by staff to get to this point and a video about what to expect when coming to school can be seen below.

I am really pleased parents / carers are supporting us and they know we will continue to work with them and their children going forward.

A lot of parents are wondering what is happening in the summer and into September. The simple answer is we do not know. When we do, we will produce a plan and involve parents, just as we have done for this week.

What I can say is that all students will not return together on one day in September. We will support individual families and work with them when the time comes. Please don’t worry – we are here to support you and we will get through this stronger together.

Learning has not and must not stop and it is important students keep completing their work whether online or on paper. The amount of work being submitted has disappointingly dropped off recently.

From today we will be contacting students to ensure they are completing work and submitting it to their teachers. Please contact staff if they have any issues with the work being set.

The most satisfying part of the job is rewarding students and we have done this virtually again. Our Summer Term Achievement Assemblies can be watched in full by logging on to Class Charts. Have you received an award?

A plug too for the Creative Writing Competition, open to all year groups including our Year 6s joining in September.

Entries by 20 July to: (extended to 24 August for Year 6), There will be book prizes for all year groups. The theme is POWER, and the creative writing opportunities are ENDLESS!

The next issue of Miss Marriott’s #TechnologyNewreel can be viewed below. Thank you to everyone who has been getting creative in the kitchen. Keep sharing your pictures with us!

Finally, a word for our Year 11s – Class of 2020 – whose last day would have been approaching. I have written to you all as this would not have been the end to school you were expecting or deserve. We are proud of you and wish you the best of luck with the next chapter in your lives.

Everybody, keep well and stay safe and please, if you have any concerns, give us a call or send an email.

8 June 2020: Looking Forward

There is beginning to be some light at the end of this long tunnel. We are really looking forward to slowly welcoming back Years 10 and 12 from Monday 15 June. Parents and carers will have received a letter outlining the plans. Thank you for the excellent, positive response to the survey asking if children would be attending.

It is understandable parents need reassuring. The safety of our students and staff remains our number one priority and we have put in place a host of measures to protect both. We will be publishing photographs and a video of the Academy and classrooms to enable parents and students to see the extensive work that has made our environment safe.

No visitors will be allowed in school and students will be met at Reception for next week’s individual meetings. The video will show exactly how we will meet them and what we will expect of them.

We really would like every student in Years 10 and 12 to attend their one to one sessions. They are an opportunity to find out how they have been during lockdown and consider the support needed moving forward.

Just to reiterate, we will not be doing anything that puts your child at risk. I have staff to consider and my own family. We will not be doing anything that puts anyone in danger.

We will be following up the individual meetings with small group sessions from 22 June and, for Year 10, limited lessons, with a maximum of eight students in a classroom from 29 June.

Year 10 and 12 students will be invited in one day a week and expected to continue to learn from home the for the remaining four days.

It is not ideal, but we are sticking to the Government’s guidelines and doing what is safe for our school community. More information will follow later this week and next.

I have also written to parents of children in Years 7, 8 and 9. It is frustrating we will not see these children until September at the earliest. We will continue to keep in touch and, again, appreciate parents’ support with their learning.

On other matters, I have recorded a message for our new Year 6 intake to reassure them about transition. They have certainly not been forgotten.

Please share with family and friends who have children coming to Bulwell in September and encourage them to follow us on social media as there will be more information to follow.

I would also like to highlight the latest issue of Still Connected from our sponsors the Creative Education Trust – with articles on lockdown, remote teaching and young writers’ work.

In the meantime, keep well and stay safe and please, if you have any concerns, give us a call or send an email.

1 June 2020

Back to School

It might have been half term last week, but staff have continued to be busy.

The Academy remained open to those children whom the government has said are entitled to a place.

Now, we are busy planning for accommodating more students from 15 June. We are really looking forward to welcoming Year 10s and 12s back to the Academy but it is taking a lot of thought and work around how we are going to do it.

What we are not going to do is compromise on the safety of our students or staff. So, please bear with us, and we will be informing parents and carers about how we propose to start welcoming back students over the next few days.

Nothing changes in the short term for Years 7, 8 and 9. Unfortunately, we do not anticipate seeing those year groups in school before September.

Your continued support with online learning is, therefore, crucial – and that applies to Years 10 and 12 too.

For those unable to access work online, work packs have been posted home. We had an issue over address labels – apologies to the small numbers affected – but that has been rectified and everybody will have their packs in the next day or two.

Parents and carers have been amazing over the past 10 weeks, supporting your children and the Academy. We need you to keep going, just like over half term when some of you continued to send in work.

Talking of last week, I enjoyed seeing Team Purple’s antics in Mr Elland’s very funny video.

Just to reiterate, Year 10 and 12 will hear from us over the coming days about their return in the week commencing 15th June.

In the meantime, as always, keep well and stay safe.

25 May 2020

Assuring a Safe Return

At last night’s government briefing, it was announced that, in addition to those currently in school and entitled to a place, Years 10 and 12 may return for some face to face contact from the 15 June. All other years will remain learning from home.

The Government decision remains subject to its five tests being met and more information will be announced at the update on Thursday. Whatever is announced, students, parents and staff can be assured their safety is our paramount concern. We will not be doing anything as an academy which compromises that.

To help us plan for any return of Year 10 and 12, we will be sending out a short survey or calling families from next week. We are trying to gauge numbers of who would or may return. We will then put a plan in place and will share with all parents, once finalised.

We will be posting new work packs out later this week ready for students to start next week. Those accessing the packs online will be able to do so from Monday.

I would again like to thank parents and carers for the support of their children and the Academy over the past half term. We could not have come this far with the home learning without it.

Times are tough but, as I have said before, we will get through it and be much stronger as a school community when we do. You are all certainly not forgotten even though you remain out of sight. Evidence can be seen on our busy social media pages.

The third of our weekly shout-outs, celebrating students’ work during lockdown, can be found below. Thank you to Miss Kelly for pulling it together.

I enjoyed the check in with the PE team with lots of ideas and encouragement to support your physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown.

Once you have done some exercise, you might be tempted to try Mrs Frost’s delicious-looking chocolate cake! It is part of our latest #BeHerLead newsletter, which focuses on #mentalhealthawareness.

No photo description available.

I am grateful to those who made the effort for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’. Colleagues received moving letters, cards and artwork.

Our staff team, whether in the academy or at home, are working incredibly hard and it was lovely to see those efforts are appreciated.

It may be Bank Holiday but the Academy is open today for those children entitled to a place. I am grateful to the staff volunteers for supporting those children in school this half-term.

As always, keep well, stay safe and I hope you are enjoying the break and the lovely weather again.

18 May 2020

‘Thank You’

I am grateful for everything our staff have been doing during this difficult time – and I know our students and parents are too.

A chance to show that appreciation comes on Wednesday when it is national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’.

Teachers are no different to anybody else in that they are feeling quite isolated. I know they would really appreciate a ‘thank you’. You could make your teacher a postcard and send it by email or send it to us on Instagram via direct message if you would like your ‘Thank You’ to be shared.

You could also record a video message. There are lots of ideas here: A big ‘thank you’ from me in advance for doing so.

We are now in the final week of a long and strange half term. It is not easy for anybody, but we have to stay positive and keep going. One more week of work and then students and the majority of staff can take a deserved break.

I say the ‘majority’ as I am grateful to those who have volunteered to keep the school open next week and look after those children entitled to a place.

The Government guidelines issued last week have offered some clarification. Potentially, we may see Years 10 and 12 in July, but Years 7 to 9 probably won’t return until September. However, the situation is changing daily so watch this space.

This week we will be busy producing new work booklets ready for students to start the week after half term and we are already planning for students’ returns, be it in July or later in the year.

We have had more lovely comments via Facebook for the work we are doing in the community. We really appreciate them. They certainly brighten some of the darker days.

I just have another couple of recommendations for home learning.

Mr Barlow’s new challenge to students is to re-create the movie / TV inspired posters featured on his Graphic Design Blog. There have already been some amazing entries.

Miss Critchley, as part of our Be Her Lead motivational programme for women, challenges students to make face masks. The new Be Her Lead newsletter can be found on the same page, along with a challenge to have a go at creating your own Lockdown Mood Board

As always, keep well and stay safe. Enjoy half-term next week!

11 May 2020

There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel

We heard from the Prime Minister on Sunday about a possible return to school for Years 10 and 12 before the end of term. But there is no date – it might not be until July – and nothing is definite.

It also appears that Years 7 to 9 will not be returning until September, which clearly has big implications for students, their families, and staff. However, again nothing is definite.

What I would say to all of our students is please do not worry. Your safety, and that of staff, is our number one priority.

For those not returning to school soon, we will continue to support you and your online / at home learning going forward.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank our year managers and pastoral teams for keeping in touch with all students on a regular basis. It continues to be a tremendous effort and has been appreciated by students and parents. It is a vital part of our support mechanism.

Students have responded on the academic front but also with more fun challenges, as a quick glance at our social media shows. I have loved seeing the photographs of the bunting you made for the 75th anniversary of VE day and what you did to celebrate the day. The video below celebrates your designs and there are more pictures on our social media pages.

Head to our YouTube channel for more videos including: online tutorials; newsreels showing students’ excellent work; and messages from staff, including a rather appropriate one shared on VE Day (see below).

If you have not contributed what you can to our Foodbank fundraiser, please go to Mr Bannister’s very funny Chitty Chitty Bang Bang video as part of our Lockdown Challenges 2020. A smile is guaranteed and, hopefully, it will help boost the total.

To donate, go to:

Finally, we are putting together a weekly ‘shout out’ to highlight excellent work. Students have been rewarded ClassCharts points and have also been emailed a Rewards Postcard.

As always, keep well and stay safe.

4 May 2020

“We are here to support you”

It is tough being on lockdown – for students, parents and staff. We must keep reminding ourselves why we are doing it and keep going.

It is important everybody knows they are not alone. If students or parents / carers need to chat about any issue, staff are here for them. Please pick up the phone and talk to us on the usual number or email us.

Thank you to everybody for the fabulous response to the home learning booklets that were sent out last week and to those continuing to log in regularly online. Students are wanting to do more and parents are being really supportive. The response is much appreciated by the staff.

The Microsoft contact forms filled in on a Monday are working well. It is lovely to hear what students are up to and please keep sharing your rainbows and other pictures.

As an optional activity this week, Mrs Brettell and Miss Smalley would like students to design and make VE Day 75 bunting ready to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday.

The instructions,  along with designs to inspire you, can be found here:…/20…/05/VE-day-poster.pdf

We have worked hard to ensure students were rewarded for their achievements during the Spring Term.

All students can now log into ClassCharts or Teams to watch the virtual rewards assemblies for their Year Group.

Thank you to Miss Kelly for creating the visuals and the virtual postcards and to Ms Broomfield for the caricatures.

Mine made me smile!

We have launched our Lockdown Challenges to raise £500 for the Bestwood and Bulwell Foodbank. The first was Miss Bird’s #SillyVideoChallenge which has got us off to a great start with plenty of interaction from students and staff.

To donate, go to:

Finally, Year 11s can apply online for Sixth Form in September, with courses in Business, Health & Social Care and Sport. Find out more here:

As always, keep well and stay safe.

27 April 2020

All the small things…

I was struck by a video created by Year 8 last week. They were asked to come up with one word they are thankful for.

Year 8 Director of Learning – Miss Kelly – said the photos sent to her brought tears to her eyes – and there was something in mine too at the end of the video.

Family, friends, and food were popular responses. It occurred to me that the small things have become the big ones. We appreciate them so much more.

The video is one of a steady stream being produced by staff and students on our YouTube channel and being shared with the Bulwell community via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The videos demonstrate the creativity that is happening at both home and school.

We have had a positive first week back after the Easter ‘break’ and have listened to feedback from staff, students and parents.

200-plus paper packs have been posted out and, for those able to access online, work has been set via the new HOME LEARNING page on the website and via ClassCharts.

We have set out clear expectations for Home Learning

All students are asked to complete a brief Microsoft form first thing on a Monday. We want to know they are okay and staff will follow up any concerns. Regular phone calls will continue.

Staff will respond and reward excellent work with Positive Points in ClassCharts.

Daily expectations for Years 7, 8 and 9:

  • 30 minutes numeracy, set via MyMaths by teachers each Monday
  • 30 minutes English / literacy
  • 30 minutes Science
  • At least 15 minutes reading a book/magazine of their choice
  • A minimum of one or two activities daily from the Key Stage 3 Challenge Passport.

Daily expectations for Year 10:

  • A minimum of 2 -3 hours work using the Road to Year 11 resources provided by all subjects
  • Work from the Key Stage 4 Challenge Passport, as well as English, Maths and Science booklets as additional work for those who wish to do extra.
Generic "get in touch" icon - Graphic Design Stack Exchange

Please get in touch about any concerns and, as always, keep well and stay safe.

20 April 2020

Back to the new ‘normal’

It has been the strangest Easter holiday of my life, but we are living through extra-ordinary times.

The academy will remain closed for at least the next three weeks, except for those children whom the Government has said are entitled to a place. I wish there wasn’t speculation in the media about when we might open again. It is just that, speculation, written by people who do not understand the issues around social distancing in schools.

All we can do is follow the Government’s guidelines and, in that sense, we are planning for the next three weeks.

All staff are back at work, some remotely and others coming into school on a rota. May I just say another public ‘thank you’ to colleagues who volunteered over the holidays.

Teachers will be setting work through the same online platforms as before. I’m grateful to all parents and carers for their ongoing support with their children’s learning. I know it’s not easy.

If you can keep your children in a routine, that would be great but don’t worry if you can’t. You know your child best. If they’re having a tough day, then back off. Let them watch a film or do something away from schoolwork. And if they want to pick it back up again at 7pm then let them.

I know you will do the best you can for your children. We will be in contact with as many students, parents and carers as possible this week to ensure all is well.

One thing that keeps resonating with me is the sense of a fantastic community around The Bulwell Academy. Further evidence of this comes from Year 10’s #TeamPurple. If you haven’t watched their video yet – more than 2000 have! – have a tissue at the ready. Thank you to Mr Elland for this special project over Easter.

As always, keep well and stay safe.

13 April 2020

An unusual Bank Holiday

It might be Easter Monday – but the Academy remains open.

I am grateful to the staff who have volunteered to come in, ensuring those children whom the Government has said are entitled to a place have one.

And students and staff have been very busy. They should be very proud of what they’ve achieved in the community garden. It looks totally different. Some of the children have even helped build a wall that will mean a flower bed can be put in. Well done!

With different staff in, the students have been doing a variety of things. Some have been read to in the library, others have played badminton. All have enjoyed their daily exercise, walking around the field. The common theme is that the children have been superb.

In other matters, parents and carers of all Year 11 students have been sent a letter about GCSE results. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) has made it clear schools are legally bound not to discuss potential grades. The final grades will be awarded by the exam boards, not the school. Please do not ask teachers as they won’t be able to say anything.

If you are stuck for things to do over the holidays, please go to our Facebook page / You Tube channel. There you will find Easter activities from Miss Hemsley, food tech tutorials from Miss Marriott – including dicing an onion! – how to make a fantastic art journal by Miss Smalley and motivational messages from Mr Lowther. Who would have known that we have some real stars of the small screen in our midst?!

As always, I hope pupils, staff and our wider Bulwell Academy community keep well and stay safe during this crisis.

6 April 2020

Time to reflect

Little did I know a few weeks ago I’d be writing this on the first day of the Easter holidays. The Academy’s open throughout the break – including Good Friday and Easter Monday – for those children whom the Government has said are entitled to a place.

Everything has happened so quickly and I hope the holidays will give a chance to reflect on what we have achieved together in a very short space of time. Students, parents/carers and staff deserve a huge ‘well done’.

We have all had to develop patience – more difficult for some than others – and understanding.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from the community. I would like to thank everybody who has posted Facebook comments or sent emails to individual members of staff as well as myself, thanking us for what we are doing. You didn’t have to but it does mean a lot. You are inspiring us to do more for your children.

Parents and carers are doing a fantastic job and it is humbling to see how the community is pulling together.

We are in choppy and uncharted waters and all we can do is steer the best possible course, never losing sight of the education and well-being of our children and staff.

We won’t get everything right but we will do our best.

Parents/carers, please remember if you have any issues, in the first instance please contact your child’s year manager or their class teacher via email.

My email, for feedback or anything else, is

I hope you and your families keep well and stay safe.

30 March 2020

Welcome to the first of a series of weekly blogs

What a strange time we’re all living through. We’re having to readjust to the impact the coronavirus is having on our everyday lives. We could not have known only two short weeks ago that the Academy would be closed indefinitely.

I want to thank the staff team who’ve worked tirelessly to get our virtual academy up and running. Parents and carers have appreciated what has been achieved in a very short space of time, and myself and the team are very grateful for the positive feedback.

While our academy community might be separated physically, it’s important we use the technology to talk to and support each other. I’m encouraged about how open the communication is between students and staff.

My tip for successful home learning is to get into a routine and stick with it. Please don’t get stressed. We don’t expect students to stay looking at a screen for hours on end. Reward yourself with a cup of tea or walk in the garden!

I am also wondering about Easter holidays. The Academy will remain open for those children, whom the government have said are entitled to a place. However, for those of you with children still at home on lockdown, would parents/carers like us to set special projects to keep children in their routine?

Please let me know any ideas or suggestions and send any further feedback to

Most importantly, I hope you and your families keep well and stay safe. We will get through this.

27 March 2020

The end of a tough week: School Closure Week 1

A video message from the Principal’s office in an eerily quiet school