Adventure Learning Academies Trust

Category: News

Survival School comes to Gulval School

Children at Gulval School, Penzance are getting hands on with their learning this term. 2016 sees the new Survival School launch at Gulval School. It is a chance for the students to get immersed in real life learning.

Survival School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and classroom education. Gulval School are walking distance from a local wood which forms both the playground and classroom for the school.

The 12 week programme will see its students graduating with skills which will set them up for life such as resilience, determination, team work and collaborative learning. This is something that the school’s Principal, Paul Baker feels strongly about; “Our pupils will be learning to build shelters and lighting fires which is no mean feat without matches! The Survival School will encourage out pupils to evaluate perceived risks, explore and use their own initiate and drive their own learning and development. These are life skills which are needed in today’s society.”

At the end of the 12 week programme the students will be having their very own graduation in the woods where carers, parents and families will be invited to attend. There will also be representatives from the Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT) and Commando Joes.

Gulval are certainly putting the “adventure into learning”.

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Fowey River Academy Win Chance To Speak Astronaut Tim Peake

Students and staff of Fowey River Academy have been left feeling ‘over the moon’ after hearing news that they have successfully won the opportunity to speak to Major Tim Peake live.

 A group of Year 9 Astronomy students, led by teacher Laura Davies, signed up to take part in the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency funded ‘I’m an Astronaut, Get me Out of Here’ school competition.

I’m an Astronaut is a free online activity that gives school students across the UK a chance to meet the team behind a human space mission.

The competition consisted of four rounds (Training, Launch, Orbit and Touchdown) and a final. In each round five members of the Astro Support Team: scientists, engineers, technicians and researchers, met and interacted with the school students. Each school must nominate one category to enter.

In each of the rounds, The Astro Support Team nominated one winning school. Fowey River Academy was the nominated successful school from the Launch category. As a winning school, Fowey will take part in the final live chat with Tim Peake when he returns from the ISS towards the summer.

Laura Davies said, “I am absolutely thrilled that my students have been a part of this initiative. It was incredibly exciting just to take part in the first chat with the four different scientists, now to think that they will be chatting to Tim himself is fantastic. They have followed his mission from the beginning, studying how he trained, and watching him blast off live. I cannot wait to see what questions they come up with.”

Principal Martin Dale, said that is has been such a great aspirational experience for all students involved. “This activity has introduced our students to the wide range of careers within the space industry from researchers, technicians and engineers and it’s hoped that this experience will inspire them.”

Final details of when the live chat will take place are yet to be released, but in the meantime congratulations Fowey River Academy.

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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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