Bertie , a tortoise currently quietly residing in county Durham, has risen to great fame according to the news this week. The reason? He has achieved a world record! For Bertie has the athletic promise of Mo Farrar and managed to cover 5.48m in 19.59 seconds, smashing the previous best time, which stood since 1977. To quote his owner, Janine Calzini, ‘He’s just like a real life Usain Bolt!’.
It seems to me that everyone is pursuing a record something or other be it land speed, long distance run or flight to Mars and whilst I very much doubt that Bertie ever actually intended to break any records when he set off in search of lettuce, ambition fuels many a marvellous journey. It certainly inspires ours!
The exciting school improvement journey that we are on at High Hazels Academy is guided by the ambition we hold for all of our young people. It is that they will receive the very best primary education: one rich in memorable experience and filled with great teaching. They deserve nothing less!
In seeking to bring out the best in everyone, we aim to equip our pupils with powerful knowledge so that they are exceptionally well prepared for their learning journey – here across this primary academy, at secondary phase and beyond.
Above all other aspects of this work, nothing is more important than that the children become skilled communicators. Our teachers therefore carefully plan a range of opportunities for pupils to become articulate and confident speakers, fluent readers and competent writers.
Numeracy is a life skill that supports all aspects of learning and so we focus on the development of excellent mathematical knowledge and understanding . Numerate young people who can reason, problem solve and apply their skills in a range of contexts grow into adults who can function responsibly and contribute widely to the community.
We aim to deliver education with character. To do so we have built a broad, balanced and purposeful curriculum enhanced by a good range of high quality first hand experiences and a range of extra curricular activities. This allows all children to contribute widely in and beyond the school. A fantastic range of sport, music, visits and visitors, social functions and enterprise projects are offered to every child here . These encourage the children to step out of their comfort zone ,experience challenge, build up resilience and have fun along the way.
We are growing the leaders of the future. The determination to develop leadership at every level encourages the children to take responsibility for themselves and others. One example of this is our school council where classroom reps debate and discuss real issues and manage a small budget too!
The children here at High Hazels enjoy competition and so we have introduced a number of ways in which they can compete against themselves and others. Sports, learning, behaviour, punctuality and so on can all become competitive and the children get really enthusiastic if there is personal challenge, recognition and the possibility of a certificate ,prize or sticker!
You see we are building the habit of continuous improvement. To do this we are committed to listening and responding thoughtfully to what our children and families tell us about their experience here. Leaders, teachers and governors then work together to carefully evaluate the impact of our work on outcomes for the children. This means that we also have to bravely take stock of what works and what doesn’t- striving to make sensible investments in resource and to spend every penny wisely.
The best in everyone, powerful knowledge, education with character, leadership at every level and continuous improvement are key drivers of United learning’s ‘Framework for Excellence’. It has helped to guide the direction of travel for our academy and set ambitious parameters against which we can monitor our progress on the way.
Unlike Bertie the tortoise, we probably won’t appear in any book of records, but the quality and impact of the ambitions we are determined to achieve will leave a far more valuable legacy. I am confident that they will transform this academy into an outstanding provision for the children and families of Darnall- one we can all be proud to belong to!