Adventure Learning Academies Trust

Category: News

Top 10 tips to help teachers use data effectively

An interesting article in the Guardian yesterday – with input from our education technology partner The Knowledge Network – read it here.

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Instructional Round – hosted by Altarnun Primary School

Instructional rounds - Altarnun

From left to right – Ray Newberry, Claire McColville, Paul Baker, Prof David Hopkins and Dr Tim Cook.

Principals from across all of ALAT’s primary academies ascended on Altarnun Primary School yesterday for an Instructional Round led by internationally renowned author, scholar and ALAT’s Director of Education Professor David Hopkins.

Instructional rounds; a practice adapted to education from the field of medicine, embodies a specific set of ideas about how practitioners can work together to solve common problems and improve their practice. In the education context, it is designed to help schools support high-quality teaching and learning for all students. Instructional Rounds strategically connect schools within the Trust and builds a collaborative network of educators who learn from one another about improving teaching and learning.

Yesterday’s event included a combination of classroom walkthroughs, observations with discussion and feedback led by Prof Hopkins.

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It actually is Rocket Science for two of our Academies!

Pupils at Fowey River Academy and Gulval School are preparing to become space biologists and embark on a voyage of discovery by growing seeds that have been into space.

In September, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S where they will spend several months in microgravity before returning to Earth in March 2016. The seeds have been sent as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

Both Fowey River Academy and Gulval School will be one of up to 10,000 schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they will grow alongside seeds that haven’t been to space and measure the differences over seven weeks. The students won’t know which seed packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment will enable the students to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.

Miss Davies from Fowey River says: “We are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science. This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching our students to think more scientifically and share their findings with the whole school.”

Mrs Welch from Gulval says: “We are delighted that Gulval school have been chosen to receive these seeds from space and can not wait to get growing. This is a great opportunity for all our pupils to be involved with an international experiment that links to our new, adventurous and exciting curriculum.”

Rocket Science is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.

Follow the project on Twitter: @RHSSchools #RocketScience

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Friends, family and staff of Gulval School unite!

Friends, family and staff from Gulval School all came together as a united community this week to help improve the school’s outdoor space.

On Saturday friends, family and staff all come together to help bring the schools outdoor space to life. With over 30 people in attendance, there was plenty to do. From weeding, planting, building raised flower beds and painting. The foundations for the schools new poly tunnel were laid and along with a tyre play park too. An area of the playground has had a stage built along with seating.

Principal of Gulval School, Paul Baker, commented “I must say a huge thank you to everyone that helped on the day. It was by far one of the best community, team, family days I have ever experienced.  To see the looks on the children’s faces on Monday morning was such a great way to start our week, so many excited children and so many broad smiles.”

This recent effort is just stage one of Paul Bakers vision for the school’s outside space. There are plans for a chicken run, and the school is currently recruiting for student chicken farmers, the eggs the chickens lay will be sold at the school gate with all funds going back into the school. Joining the chickens will be a small animal park which will house rabbits and Guinea pigs, the park is currently being designed by Green Class.

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ALAT primary schools are celebrating improved SATs results

We’re delighted to celebrate with our primary schools this month after Gulval School, Liskeard Hillfort Primary School, Tywardreath School and Altarnun Primary School all announced improved SATs results.

For Gulval School, Key Stage 2 results are significantly above Cornwall and national averages in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and Maths in every measure including progress and attainment.

Paul Baker, Principal at Gulval School said: “We are absolutely delighted with these results and are incredibly proud of our pupils and staff who have all worked incredibly hard throughout the year. We have seen great improvements not only with our Year 6 results but also with our phonics results as well which are now above the national average. Our Key Stage 2 results are fantastic; we have seen improvements in every area however, I was particularly pleased that 90% of our pupils achieved a level 4 or above in Reading, Writing and Maths –11% above the national average. The future is looking incredibly bright for all our pupils.”

Altarnun Primary School also had a great round of continued improved SAT results in Key Stage 1 with pupils reaching 100% across the board in reading, writing and maths and continuing to do well in Phonics with 100% of children attaining the pass mark.

At Liskeard Hillfort Primary School, SATs results show the school is continuing to achieve results above the national average in many areas, especially Phonics. The school has seen increases across Maths, English and Writing as well as a greater number of Key Stage 2 pupils attain level 4 and 5 in Maths this year which the school attributes to the new Assertive Mentoring learning system which was put in place earlier in the year.

Tywardreath School also saw the school making leaps and bounds across the board, putting the school well on course to be above the national average.

Executive Principal Heidi Hoskin who joined the school in September said “We are absolutely delighted with these results and we are incredibly proud of our pupils and staff who have all worked tremendously hard throughout the year. The results are fantastic; we have seen our phonics improve dramatically from 61% to 87%. In Early Years and Foundation, 75% of our children are achieving a good level of development where the national average is 60%.”

In 2014, 82% of the children at Tywardreath School reached a combined level 4 on their SATs and 27% reached level 5. This year, 88% of children reached level 4 and 31% reached level 5. National comparison results will not be available until later in the summer. The school is also seeing continued improvements in Key Stage 1, especially in Reading.

Gary Kelly, Director of Schools at Bright Tribe said: “All of our primary schools have seen a lot of changes since converting to academies, as well as the implementation of a new curriculum and new learning systems such as Assertive Mentoring. Everyone has worked really hard and these results are a testament to our pupils and staff. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with our schools to embed these new systems and processes and improve these results even further next year.”

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Understanding SATs

If you’ve got a child in year 2 or year 6, you could well be hearing mutterings about SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests) at the school gate. Here’s our guide.

What are SATs?

All state primary pupils in England are tested at the end of Key Stage 1 (year 2) and Key Stage 2 (year 6). Many schools run ‘unofficial’ optional SATs in years 3 to 5 as well.
Year 6 children take their tests on set dates in mid-May. Results are then submitted to the school’s local authority and to parents by the end of the summer term.
Things work a little differently for year 2 children now – it used to be that their results were solely based on the tests but there’s been a move towards teachers making a general judgement (‘teacher assessment’). They will use the test scores to inform this, alongside other evidence, such as the understanding shown by pupils in their classwork. The tests can be given to children at any time during the year and they shouldn’t be particularly aware of what they’re used for or their significance – most schools will keep things very low key.

Which subjects are covered?

Year 6 children are tested in spelling, punctuation and grammar (known as the SPAG test), reading and maths (with both written and mental maths tests). Their writing is now assessed by the teacher rather than formally tested and as of 2013 there was also no science test. Year 2 children will be assessed for maths, reading, writing, speaking and listening and science but they are only tested for the first three of these areas.

Will I be told the results?

Yes, by law parents must be given their children’s results, broken down by subject, at the end of the summer term in years 2 and 6.
For year 2 children, schools have to provide the teacher’s assessment but do not have to give you the results of any written tests unless requested.

What sort of results will we be given?

You should get a report with SATs levels for each subject. At the end of year 2, the minimum expected level is a 2b – note this is not the national average as it is sometimes touted to be but a target standard. A 2c or 1a/b/c is below expectations, 2a is above expectations and a level 3 means your child is doing even better.

At the end of year 6, a level 4 is the minimum expected level, with a level 5 above expectations and a level 3 below expectations. This year, schools have the option of giving very able pupils level 6 papers.

Remember that for some children, a level 1 in year 2 or a level 3 in year 6 might still be a fantastic achievement.

For more information, also see the Parentdish guide to National Curriculum levels.


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ALAT Extraordinary Award winner

On Thursday the 18th of June, Fowey River Academy had their annual Celebration Evening. It was a night where the lower school’s achievements were recognised and celebrated in front of family members and other invited guests.

Making it’s debut, ALAT sponsored an award ‘The ALAT Extraordinary People Award’ for which there could be only one overall winner. The award recognises ‘a student who demonstrates one or more exceptional qualities such as: resilience and succeeding against the odds; helping others; outstanding progress; leadership’.

The award presented by the Fowey’s Principal, John Perry, went to Chloe Dobbs – congratulations! Chloe is an inspiration to fellow students and the perfect role model. Chloe has already taken her GCSE maths early and is currently spending her free time helping fellow peers to revise ahead of their up and coming GCSE exams.

As winner Chloe received a certificate, trophy and a £20 Amazon voucher.


Chloe Dobbs final



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The Height of Inspiration unveiled at Fowey River Academy

A new sculpture designed by students of Fowey River Academy has been unveiled at the Cornish school.

The brightly coloured installation which was created by nine students and local sculptor Richard Austin was unveiled in front of parents, governors, academy staff and the Mayor of Fowey this week.

Year 10 students’ on the alternative curriculum programme at the academy were given the opportunity to complete an 8 week programme of creative arts supported by local charity Reach Out: Project 180. Throughout the programme the students have worked towards creating a sculpture for the entrance of the school, which was finally unveiled this week in front of parents, governors, academy staff and representatives from the local community.

Based on designs created by students The Height of Inspiration stands an impressive 8 feet tall and represents all aspects of Fowey River Academy life.

  • The beams of light are different colours to represent each of the Academy’s Houses.
  • The flame represents a guiding light in the academy
  • The book represents learning
  • Learn, Grow, Prosper is the Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT) moto.
  • The ladder represents learning and climbing for the top
  • The hands represent friendship, community and partnership
  • The flying fish represents anyone can do and achieve anything
  • Finally, the boat represents adventure and Fowey’s nautical history.

Debi Annear, HLTA at the Academy, has said of the students and the project ‘‘I am extremely proud of all of the students and just like the name of the sculpture I find every one of them an inspiration. The finished sculpture has managed to encapsulate each student’s impression of the academy in an abstract and artistic way’.


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Gulval School spring into action to raise funds for Nepal

Gulval School pupils held a sponsored walk on Tuesday to collect money for Shelter Box, an organisation providing emergency aid to disaster zones.

The children walked the equivalent of 200 miles collectively and raised over £1,180.

Paul Baker, Principal at Gulval School, said: “Our school community was so moved by the tragic stories coming out of Nepal, involving families no different to us, that we decided to act. The children planned the sponsored event and we came together very quickly to raise in excess of £1,180. I was incredibly proud of the children involved with this event, they showed compassion and a real desire to work hard for others less fortunate than themselves, together they have made a difference to the lives of those caught up in this disaster.

Each Shelter Box is £590, the school have raised a grand total of £1,180 which is enough to send two boxes to Nepal.

In January of this year Gulval signed the International Charter to become Cornwall’s first Compassionate School, they were the first in Cornwall to do so. The school have certainly been living up to its status.

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Adventure Learning is celebrated at Cornish Academy

Pupils at Tywardreath School have enjoyed a day of adventurous activities as they celebrate being a part of Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT).

The school converted to academy status on 1st January 2015 and has tried to hold this event numerous times but has unfortunately been thwarted by bad weather conditions on previous occasions.

But at last the event was able to happen and what a day it was. The day was supported by Cornwall Outdoors who brought with them a 7 meter high climbing wall and archery equipment.

Of the event Heidi Hoskin the Principal at Tywardreath said “A fantastic day was had by all children experiencing and gaining confidence in new outdoor skills.  The children enjoyed the climbing tower and wall, archery, camp fire building and team building activities. Key Stage 1 children especially enjoyed team games involving water and getting very wet! The day was worth the third attempt with perfect weather conditions!”

This exciting programme of events represents the distinctive ethos of ALAT which places adventure, excitement and real-life experiences at the heart of the curriculum where all children can aim for excellence in achievement.

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