Month: November 2019

Staff battle to be best baker raises over £1,000 for Children in Need

Staff at Thistley Hough Academy proved they had the right ingredients to rise to the challenge of generating hundreds of pounds for Children in Need.

Around 25 staff battled it out to be top baker for the national fundraising event, filling the Academy with the sweet smells of Victoria sponges, cheesecakes, carrot, lemon and chocolate cakes. They were judged by a panel of students and staff before being devoured in two charity cake sale events.

The Heads of Year team helped organise the week of Children in Need charity activities, which included a ‘wear your own jumper day’, a fundraising raffle, a ‘name the bear’ competition, and a ‘guess the number of sweets’ in a jar competition.

Evelyn Aboraah, Head of Year 7,  said: “We had an amazing response to Children in Need this year from everyone and in total the Academy has raised £1,048.

“I wasn’t sure how many staff would take part in the bake-off, but when it came to it everyone suddenly became really competitive and we had a great response! Our parents were also brilliant, with more than 35 coming along to our coffee and cake sale events.

“All of the bakes were judged by student representatives from each year group, together with Academy Principal Jayne Schofield and Assistant Principal Chris Dillon, who presented the winning baker with a bake-off apron.”

Winner of the staff bake-off was Head of Year Mrs Ellis-Austin with her delicious Victoria sponge, closely followed by a mouth-watering cheesecake produced by Widening Participation Project Co-ordinator Isabelle Howle.

Other winners were students Grace Leese and Sophie Bould who both guessed the number of sweets in the jar correctly, while the Pudsey Prize Raffle was won by student Sadie Wain-Chawner.

She added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported our events. This is the first year we’ve organised something like this and everyone really enjoyed it, while the amount we’ve raised is absolutely wonderful.”

Any parents or pupils interested in finding out more about Thistley Hough Academy can call to book in and tour the Academy by calling 01782 883500.

Thistley Hough Academy welcomes two new Vice Principals

Thistley Hough Academy welcomes the appointment of two Vice Principals to the senior leadership team.

Both are familiar faces at Thistley Hough Academy, as Mr Ian Brailsford moves from the role of Assistant Principal to Vice Principal in charge of students and pastoral care, while for Vice Principal Alexander Laney it marks a return to teaching in Stoke-on-Trent having originally trained at Thistley Hough Academy.

Ian originally joined Thistley Hough Academy in 2011 and has been integral to the new structure which involved moving from heads of house to heads of year. These heads of year will remain with a particular year group throughout their time at the Academy.

He said: “Although it’s a new position for me my goal remains the same, which is to make sure our students are getting the best possible educational provision in order to open doors and help them succeed in their future.

“Moving into this role allows me to have more of a strategic overview so I can help lead the direction of the Academy, however both Alexander and I are still very much available for parents and students.

“In terms of pastoral changes, we have returned to operating with five non-teaching heads of year, so every student has a direct pastoral link throughout their entire time at Thistley Hough Academy who is always available throughout the day.

“They are a constant point of contact which will also help to make the transition from primary to secondary school far easier, where they have been used to having one member of staff as contact to suddenly having 14 different teaching staff.

“It means we can have a far stronger relationship with our students and their parents as they will have a constant point of contact and building these relationships is key to achieving better outcomes.

“As part of that process we will also opening more channels for contact between the Academy and parents, and there will be more features online so parents can track the progress of their child.”

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Alexander was keen to return to teaching in Staffordshire to make a difference in his local community.

He said: “I trained as a teacher at Thistley Hough Academy, so when I saw this position I jumped at the chance to come back to Stoke-on-Trent as it was really important to me to return and give something back to the community.

“The Academy is a very different place to the school that I trained at 10 years ago and I am really excited to be part of the journey that the Academy is on.

“One of the main factors pulling me back to work in Stoke-on-Trent is that there is a desperate need to raise aspirations of students across the city. This shift will take time, as it’s both a cultural, and a generational shift in attitudes. However, in order for the school to succeed, it’s a challenge we must win.

“This role means I will be evaluating the quality of education we offer – what is being taught and how it is being taught – as if these are right then everything becomes easier. Education isn’t just about passing exams, it’s about going deeper than that, enabling our students to master a subject and fall in love with the joy of learning.

“Achieving an Ofsted rating of Outstanding isn’t the goal for me, as while the validation of external bodies is nice, I measure success in a different way. When our students understand that in coming to our academy, and working hard, they will be successful in securing a future that affords them real opportunities, and when our past students are coming back from University and apprenticeships to change the face of Stoke-on-Trent for the better, then we can say we have succeeded.”

Dear Parent/Carer


Important Information and Date Changes


As you are all aware, a general election has been called for 12 December 2019, and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections are scheduled for 07 May 2020.


The local authority will be using Thistley Hough Academy as a polling station on both dates and we must comply with the above Elections, as agreed in the People Act 1993 – Schedule 1 – Part 3, Regulation 22.   Therefore, in order to facilitate this, the following changes will be made to the Academy calendar to minimise the loss of education to just one day:


Dates THA Students THA Staff
11 December 2019 Open Open
12 December 2019 Closed Closed
 7 May 2019 Closed INSET
 24 June 2020 Open Open


Due to the amendments above we will also be altering the 06 January 2020 ‘Progress Day’ to become an INSET day, meaning that the Academy will be closed to students on this date, but open to all staff.  Students will still receive their reports prior to the Christmas break and members of the leadership team will be available the week beginning 06 January 2020, should any parents which to make an appointment.


Year 10 Parents’ Evening

As the Academy will be closed on 12 December, an additional amendment will need to be made with regard to the Year 10 Parents’ Evening, which was initially scheduled for this date. We will be setting an alternative date for early in the New Year, and will send out further correspondence as soon as this has been agreed.


Please can I ask for your continued support with regard to ensuring your child’s attendance at school.


Best wishes



Jayne Schofield


Mock exams – keep calm and do your best!

As Mock Exam season begins here at Thistley Hough it’s natural to feel nervous, so we’ve put together five top tips to help you perform at your best and make the most of this important ‘practice run’ before your actual exams.

  1. Create a plan before you start – when you’ve little time left to revise the key is to not go into a blind revision fury. Take a half hour to work out what topics you need to cover and allot chunks of time to each bit because this will save you time in the long run. Once you’ve worked what questions are likely to come up, jot down key notes on each area.
  2. Use memory tricks – mnemonics can help you to remember key facts and phrases (an example is Never Eat Shredded Wheat for the clockwise order of North, East, South and West) so create some to remember tricky points you struggle to recall or look online for GCSE mnemonics resources.
  3. Remember to take regular breaks and breaks between topics. As a very rough rule of thumb if you’ve been revising for less than 20 minutes your break should be 2 minutes or less, 20-30 minutes – 5 minutes break, 30-60 minutes – 5-10 minutes. If you’ve done a total of 3 or more hours of revision in one day you can award yourself a 45-60-minute break.
  4. Use different revision techniques – answering practice questions, write down notes from memory, make flash cards and revision guides. Some people are very visual learners, so if it helps you put information into spider diagrams, pie charts or watch online video tutorials.
  5. Revise in a designated place – sitting in front of the television with a revision guide won’t get information into your brain, so find a space where you can relax, free of distractions. If there isn’t one at home then look at using another place like your local library. If people know when and where you are working, they will be able to support you in the best possible way.

If you need more help and advice with your GCSE revision then do approach your teachers, form tutor or head of year – and Good Luck!

Leon Baptiste encourages students to have healthy relationships, healthy bodies and healthy minds

A unique learning event allowed our students to learn about all aspects of their physical and mental health, from tackling tough exercise circuits alongside GB gold medallist Leon Baptiste to staying safe online and making sensible eating choices.

The entire Academy was buzzing with activity as representatives from Stoke City FC, The Donna Louise Trust, Stoke-on-Trent College, Newcastle College and the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College to name a few, tackled topics from keeping safe online to healthy eating, sexual health and healthy relationships.

This action-packed active learning day builds on the knowledge students regularly receive through the Academy’s ongoing participation in the Whole Population Health Project which runs in partnership with the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Leon, who won gold medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, inspired students with his personal story of training, overcoming injury and reaching the top of his sport. He said: “I’ve been going into schools now for about 10 years helping to promote healthy and active lifestyles for Sports for Champions UK.

“The key thing to get across is that it’s all about doing a little physical activity every day and thinking about the eating and lifestyle choices you make.

“It’s also about developing their mental resilience, as I sustained a serious knee injury at 14 which ended my aspirations of continuing in football. Because of that I made the transition to athletics and then represented GB at the European Junior Championships.

“At 21 I had to have knee surgery and it took a while to get my confidence back and compete again, and it’s important for students to develop that mental determination and know that if they want something they have to work for it.

“They see people on TV and think what they’ve achieved looks easy, but there’s always a story of hard work behind them.”

The circuits completed alongside Leon raised more than £693 which will not only support British athletes with their training but also help improve the sports facilities offered at the Academy.

Any parents or pupils interested in finding out more about the facilities and enrichment opportunities we offer at our academy can call us on 01782 883500 to arrange a visit.