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Headteacher’s end of term letter

19 December 2017

Dear Parents/Carers

The giant tree is up in the Forum and the Rotary Club Christmas shoe boxes, filled with your generous gifts, are gathering at the bottom. The combined parent, staff and student choir is rehearsing this afternoon, ready for our special end of term, whole school service in the Union Chapel next Thursday. It’s Christmas jumper day tomorrow in aid of Doctors Without Borders, this year’s charity chosen by the students. So it really does feel like Christmas is nearly here!

Christmas brings the end of term, and that also means that Paul Hollingum (the Executive Director of the Trust) is retiring. He was the founding Principal, appointed before the Academy was even built. He has nurtured the Academy and encouraged its growth; our ethos, our motto our approach to education all stem from him and I know that many of you will miss him as much as I know I will. I am delighted that Paul agreed to be the speaker at the Union Chapel service and I am sure he will have some final words of wisdom for us.

This term has been as busy as ever. We were delighted to welcome some great speakers to our Masterclass programme and, whatever your politics, the Masterclass with Jeremy Corbyn certainly created a huge buzz about the place. The Open Evenings this term, both for Year 7 places in 2018 and the Sixth Form, were also full of energy and excitement. Of course the biggest ‘sell’ on those evenings are the students who consistently make me very proud to be their Headteacher. The photography exhibition was also a lovely evening and we had a record number of competition entries from students, parents and staff. Thank you for getting involved in that annual community event. Congratulations to Matteo Mengardo who was the overall winner.

It has also been a term with some memorable student leadership moments. The hustings for Head Prefects in Year 11 were highly competitive and the standard of speeches, the composure and confidence of all who took part was impressive. Congratulations go to Busola Alagbe and Zac Pearl who were elected by their peers. Similarly congratulations to Year 12s Isabella Wolday-Myers who stood in the Islington Youth Council election and was successfully elected in a year with record numbers voting across the Borough.

Finally, I wanted to mention the return of the Good Schools Guide. They have written what I can only describe as an awesomely good review of the school following their visit in November, which included observations, meetings with staff and pupils and conversations with parents. The full report can be read here, or by clicking the GSG icon on the Secondary School’s homepage, but the summary says this:

Our view: A shining example of an excellent school. Parents and pupils are aware that they have picked the golden ticket if they can get an education here - the results are evidence of top quality teaching and the children’s involvement and happiness enhanced with the wide enrichment programme, whilst the pastoral care provides a tight safety net. If you want a top notch inclusive comprehensive education, this is the place to go.

Thank you for all your support as parents. Without your commitment to homework, support with good manners and behaviour and ensuring the children are in great uniform we wouldn’t have the lovely school that we do. I hope that you enjoy some special time with your children during the Christmas period and I look forward to seeing the pupils well rested in January when they return on Thursday 4 January 2018.

Yours faithfully

Ms V Linsley