Author: Ian Brailsford

Weekly Newsletter- Attendance – Broken Weeks

Dear Parent/Carer


Attendance – Broken Weeks


At Thistley Hough Academy we are constantly striving to enable all our students to achieve their full potential.


Attendance is considered to be of such fundamental importance to a child’s education that when Ofsted inspect a school they look closely at levels of attendance and benchmark the school against national indicators.


Last year national average attendance for secondary age students was just below 95%. We aim to ensure that all students have 96% attendance as an absolute minimum, and actively encourage all students to aim for 100%.  Attendance of 96% allows for 7.5 day’s absence in any one year, a level of absence that would raise concern with most employers.


As sickness usually occurs in blocks over a continuous period we look closely at the number of weeks where a student is marked absent on one or more occasions. Students should not have more than one or two broken weeks in the course of the academic year.


It is possible for students with attendance above 95%, but who regularly miss a day here or there, to accrue sufficient absences by the end of summer, to finish with attendance well below the national average. For example, a student who takes 2 days off every half term would have 12 days absence by the end of the school year and attendance below 94%.


Broken weeks can lead to large amounts of learning being lost and ‘gaps’; but can also be an indication of other worries such as struggling in a subject, regularly not completing homework or even truancy.


If we become concerned about the number of broken weeks, even if attendance appears to be above average, we will write to you letting you know the number of broken weeks your child has accrued and offer the opportunity to discuss ways in which the Academy may be able to improve the pattern of attendance. Progress Leaders will be writing individually in the next couple of weeks. Notwithstanding, if having read this letter you have noticed a pattern, or have concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Academy’s Attendance Officer straight away.


Yours sincerely

P Hughes

Mr P Hughes

Assistant Principal – Inclusion

Weekly Newsletter – Road Safety on Thistley Hough

Dear Parents/Carers

Re: Road Safety on Thistley Hough

Further to my letter dated 05 January 2018, I write with deep concern that a number of our students are still not exercising caution when crossing the roads around the Academy on their journeys to and from school.

During form time yesterday, students were shown real footage of a student who was involved in an accident on Newcastle Lane. Whilst we appreciate that this footage was shocking, we believe it was necessary to highlight the importance of taking good care whilst crossing the road. During this dedicated form time, we reminded students to ensure that they do not use their mobile phones, headphones or other devices whilst crossing the road, and again impressed upon them the importance of taking the utmost care whilst crossing the road. We would urge that you continue to discuss the importance of this with your son/daughter at home.

Thistley Hough Academy is continuing to work closely with the Local Authority and Councillors to address ongoing concerns with regard to road safety around the Academy. The wellbeing of our students is paramount, and we are committed to ensuring that we do all we can to educate them with regard to keeping themselves safe when crossing the road. I am however, disappointed that a number of parents/carers are continuing to park on the pedestrian crossing and other restricted areas outside of the Academy. As advised in my previous correspondence, we have now started to photograph and pass on the registration plates, of any cars causing an obstruction, to the relevant authorities, and will continue to do this as part of our road safety campaign.

Whilst I am thankful to the majority of parents/carers who adhere to the restrictions in place, I again ask that parents/carers use the lower car park drop off zone to ensure that we are all doing all that we can to ensure the safety of your children.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely


Holly Hartley


Weekly Newsletter – THActive

Dear Parent /Carer


Our THActive programme for this term has now been finalised and we have many clubs and activities running at lunchtime and after school for students to join. Overleaf is the Spring Term timetable.

Attending extra-curricular activities gives students the opportunity to meet new people, make friends, try new skills, relax and have fun! Research shows that students who regularly attend extra-curricular activities are more engaged in learning and make more progress in lessons than students who do not.

We expect every student to attend at least two clubs or activities a week with the exception of Year 11 students, who we expect to attend at least one. Please actively encourage your son or daughter to take part in the THActive programme.

Can I also inform both students and parents that at the end of the school day everyone is welcome to attend any one of the clubs and can complete homework in the mezzanine. However if they are not attending a club they need to leave the school site and not walk around the Academy.

Yours sincerely

Darren Sanders

Assistant Principal

Weekly Newsletter – Road Safety on Thistley Hough

Dear Parents/Carers

Re: Road Safety on Thistley Hough

On the second day of the term, I feel compelled to write to you again to express my very grave concerns with regards to parking on Thistley Hough.

Yesterday, on the first day of term for students yesterday, I was informed by a local resident that a minor collision had occurred as a result of congestion and parking on Thistley Hough. Thankfully nobody was injured in this incident, however a number of local residents report that they were verbally abused by the parent/carer involved in the collision. Clearly this is not acceptable behaviour, and I am greatly saddened that the Academy is being represented in this way.

On numerous occasions we have written out to parents/cares to implore them to use the lower car park and drop-off zone. There is ample space in this area in which students can be dropped off and safely picked up. I would urge you again to ensure that you use this facility if it is necessary to drop-off/collect your children in your vehicle. Thistley Hough is simply not large enough to cope with the volume of traffic and the number of parents/carers dropping off and collecting their children on this road. Myself and the governing body remain deeply concerned of the serious health and safety risks posed by such large volumes of traffic on this road. This risk can be dramatically reduced by parents/carers using the lower car park.

As I am sure you are aware there is a pedestrian crossing for the use of students on Thistley Hough itself. On a daily basis, parents/carers and taxi drivers continue to park on this pedestrian crossing. I often ask drivers to move their vehicles when parked illegally on this crossing. As a result of yesterday’s incident and our continued concerns for student safety, I will now be photographing all registration plates and taxi licence plates and forwarding them on to the relevant authorities in the hope that this leads to changes in behaviour in order to positively impact on student safety.

In addition, next week I will be meeting again with local residents to discuss their concerns in order to see if any further action can be taken. We continue to work with the local council, cabinet members and other relevant stakeholders to continue to drive improvements to student safety around the roads to and from our academy. Clearly parental/carer support in this matter is vital. For the majority of parents/carers who park responsibly on the lower car park, I wish to thank you for your support in this matter.

I am frustrated that this issue is ongoing. Please be assured that our absolute priority is the health, safety and well-being of your children.

Yours sincerely


Holly Hartley


Weekly Newsletter – Health Morning

Dear Parent/Carer

Health Morning


On Tuesday 5th December, we will be holding the first of our PSHCE mornings of the year at the Academy to launch our Health Initiative. On Tuesday, Students in Year 7 to 10 will be working with a range of healthcare providers including the NHS and School Health to look at several health issues including Hydration, Sleep and Oral hygiene.


Each of these has been carefully chosen as small changes in lifestyle can reduce the likelihood of developing significant and potentially life-threatening illnesses in later life for example, Heart disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Kidney disorders.


Students will also be given the opportunity to talk to front-line staff in the NHS about potential career pathways, and the skills required for particular roles.


Year 11 students will be receiving their second presentation from Elevate on preparing for GCSE Examinations in the Summer and beginning to complete their Post-16 applications supported by the colleges. Feedback from the students after the first Elevate presentation in September was overwhelmingly positive, with many students commenting on just how useful the session was.


All of these sessions will take place between 8.40am and 12.20pm and it is vital that all students attend the Academy as normal. Timetabled lessons will resume form 12.20pm (Period 4).


May I also take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support of Thistley Hough Academy.


Yours sincerely


Caty Reid

Acting Principal

Newsletter – Information and Standards

Dear Parent/Carer

RE: Information and Standards

In order to ensure that we maintain our high standards at Thistley Hough Academy, we are introducing Standards Cards. This is a credit card sized card which will be carried by all students in their top blazer pocket. If a student’s uniform does not meet our high expectations

  • shirt untucked, blazer sleeves rolled up, they will be asked for their card, which the member of staff will If a student receives four signatures for infringements in a half term, they will be placed into an after school detention for 30 minutes on the same day. A text will be sent home to let parents/carers know that their son or daughter has received a detention.


We are also a no chewing gum school. Students who chew gum in school will be asked to dispose of it and also have their Standards Card signed.


Failure by students to carry their Standards Card will result in an automatic 30-minute detention. They will then be issued with a new card.


Please may I take this opportunity to remind you of the Thistley Hough uniform, which we expect to see students in, and the basic equipment we expect every student to have in school each day.


Basic Equipment

  • Black or blue ballpoint pen
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Reading book
  • Standards card

* Full PE kit must be brought to all PE lessons.

Academy Uniform

  • Purple blazer with school badge
  • Plain white shirt with stiff collar and a top button
  • School tie – this must be clean and free of graffiti
  • Grey school trousers (not leggings, tight fitted trousers or jeans)
  • Grey ‘A’ line school skirt – knee

length (tight fitted skirts are not acceptable)

  • Skirts must not be rolled up at the
  • A plain grey or purple Dupatta may be worn (tassels and embroidery are not acceptable). Headscarves must be plain
  • Plain black tights or black or white ankle
  • Plain black leather/leather looking shoes (not platforms, boots, trainers or any sports/fashion branded footwear. Canvas shoes or pumps are not allowed). Ankle boots maybe worn under trousers, but are not allowed with a
  • Extreme hair styles, unnatural dyed hair colours and facial piercings are not


Dates for the diary


Date Event Further details
Thursday 7th December 2017 Year 11 Parents’ Evening Please note this is a change of date.
Tuesday 19th December 2017 Christmas Jumper day


Academy closes at 2pm for the Christmas holidays

Staff and students can wear their Christmas Jumper over their school uniform. In exchange, we are asking for a food donation to the local

Food Bank

Wednesday 3rd January 2018 Staff INSET Day Students do not need to attend
Thursday 4th January 2018 School reopens to students


Year 11 mock examinations begin.

All students MUST attend.
Wednesday 7th February 2018 Year 10 Parents’ evening
Friday 16th February 2018 Academy finishes at 3.15pm for the half term holiday
Monday 26th February 2018 All students return


May I also take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support of Thistley Hough Academy.


Yours sincerely



Caty Reid

Acting Principal

Year 7 Team-building – Change of Venue

Dear Parent/Carer

Year 7 Team-building – Change of Venue

I have received information this week from Entrust that a decision has been made to alter the trip venue. The students will now be going to Standon Bowers. This is due in part to the time of the year and the accommodation for the students. I have attached a copy of what the students will be doing whilst they are at Standon Bowers, this includes their arrival times and departure times.

The students have been separated into two parties by form as per my previously letter.

The following forms will be going to Standon Bowers Monday – Wednesday






The following forms will be going to Standon Bowers Wednesday – Friday





All students on the day of their departure need to be in school normal time. Should you require an additional information about the alteration of venue or any other queries please do not hesitate to contact me on the main school number.


Yours sincerely

Mrs C Turvey

Head of Year 7

Weekly Newsletter – Data Assessments and Reports

Dear Parent/carer

Data, Assessments and Reports

As our children continue to develop here at Thistley Hough Academy, it is important that we keep you up to date with how your child is doing personally. The news is filled with information about “attainment” and “progress”, with stories of how schools and students alike are judged on these two measures. Einstein once said “Everything should be as simple as possible; but not simpler”; with this in mind we will take this opportunity to explain a little about how your child is assessed and monitored at Thistley Hough Academy.

Your child’s teachers will be assessing them throughout every lesson: this could be how willing they are to answer a difficult question, considering the words they use in an answer or their responses to a particular task. Regularly teachers will take workbooks and other portfolios of work in for marking where, using our STEP procedure, students have the opportunity to respond and develop because of their individual feedback. Of course, at key points students will complete more formal assessments or tests, and indeed later in the Academy students in years 10 and 11 will complete “mock exams”, leading to the real thing in the Summer of year 11.

There are four points during the year that we will deliberately collect assessment information from teachers about your child: November, January, March and June/July. We collect information on how well your child is doing in each subject (their attainment) and how well they are responding to the learning experience (their attitude to learning, or AtL). Both of these pieces of information are sent home in our school reports. These reports will contain key information relating to attendance, and information about key staff to contact. The main body will look a little like this:

Your child’s attainment is colour coded against their target for that point in the year, using a colour scale from “significantly below” to “significantly above”


An AtL of 1 is exceptional, but he majority of students should receive at least a 2 from each subject. 3s and 4s may indicate issues around classwork, homework, behaviour and other factors, so it is worth contacting the class teacher to discuss these if they appear. Further to this, we hold Parent’s consultation evenings across the calendar for different year groups, where you will have the opportunity to discuss your child in more detail with their teachers:

Year Group Parents Evening Date(s)
7 Wednesday 20th June 2018
8 Wednesday 9th May 2018
9* Wednesday 14th March 2018
10 Wednesday 7th February 2018
11 Wednesday 6th December 2017

Wednesday 28th February 2018

Please be aware that for year 9, Wednesday 14th March 2018 is also planned to be “Options Evening” to help students choose their GCSE and BTEC subjects going forward.


For year 11, there are some key dates to be aware of relating to formal, external examinations. These exams cannot be rearranged for any reason, and so it is essential that students involved are punctual in attending them; we ask for your support in ensuring that medical appointments and holidays are particularly avoided in the run up to these dates, and during the exam periods themselves:

BTEC Child Development – 10th January 2018

BTEC Travel and Tourism – 11th January 2018

Year 11 Mock Exams – throughout January 2018

First “real” summer exam – Monday 14th May 2018

 We will continue to keep you up-to-date with key dates and guidance on how to support your child throughout the year; but of course, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Who to contact for further information?

For information about: Who to contact
Your child’s overall school performance Their Head of Year and/or Form Tutor
Your child’s performance in a subject The subject teacher, in the first instance
Examinations Mrs. Sarah McGregor, Exams


Data and Assessment in general Mr. David Fenney, Assistant Principal, Director of Assessment and Data

Yours sincerely


Caty Reid

Acting Principal

Weekly Newsletter – Information

Dear Parent/carer

RE: Information

I would like to thank all the students and staff for their dedication and hard work in what has been a very busy beginning to the academic year and wish everyone a safe and restful break.  Please see below some helpful and important information to reflect upon.


Reading is an important part of life at Thistley Hough Academy, but why is reading important?

  • Evidence suggests that those who read for enjoyment every day perform better in exams than those who do not. Reading helps students to develop a broader vocabulary, meaning that their ability to communicate grows as their reading exposure
  • Reading can make our students (and us) more empathetic. Being able to recognise and understand other people’s emotions is a crucial skill, whilst also allowing us to develop a better understanding of other
  • Reading builds neural pathways in the brain so that general knowledge is increased. Reading is exercise for your brain. It’s not just that your brain processes words and meaning while looking at text; reading actually changes your brain’s
  • Reading also encourages
  • Reading sparks the imagination, opening up a mind to new ideas and

Please encourage your child to read every day.


Please can all parents be aware of the following:

Police have warned parents of a new dangerous craze on Facebook which encourages children to go missing for 48 hours. This is all part of a new 48-hour challenge and it is leaving many parents extremely worried. This new Facebook game has led to children as young as 14 being reported missing by their parents – after they have taken part in the Facebook 48-hour challenge. In a sick twist, the missing children will gain more points and the higher they score the more they get mentioned on Facebook in a bid to find them. This then results in the frantic parents searching for their children, asking Facebook friends to help – adding to the “game”.

This new game which has really taken off in Northern Ireland and is set to hit the rest of the UK is a copycat of the Game of 72 which swept through Western Europe a few years ago. The craze saw many children dare one another to vanish without a trace for up to three days. As a result, the police are warning parents across the country to keep an eye on what their child is doing while on Facebook. Should you wish to discuss this any further please contact Mr Sanders at the Academy.

Upcoming Dates

Monday 23rd – 27th October – Half term

Monday 30th October – School reopens at 8.40am

Thursday 2nd November – Awards evening (further details to follow)


Yours sincerely


Caty Reid

Acting Principal

Weekly Newsletter – Attendance

29 September 2017


Dear Parents/Carers




At Thistley Hough Academy we are constantly striving to enable all our students to achieve their full potential.


Research shows that there is a direct link between academic achievement and regular attendance to school.  With this in mind, we want to enlist your support in ensuring your child realises their full ability level, by encouraging them to attend school on a regular basis.


It is a minimum expectation that students’ attendance is at least 98% over the academic year.  The importance of this can be seen in the table below:


Student attendance % Number of day absent per average week Number of full days absence per academic year Number of weeks absent per academic year
98% 4
90% 0.5 19 4 weeks
80% 1 38 8 weeks (this exceeds half a term)


Sometimes students become ill and have to have time off school, but, please could you ensure if this is the case, it is only in serious cases of illness.  Similarly, good attendance can be ensured by making any doctors, dentist or other appointments at a time outside normal school hours and we would request that you do this wherever possible.


The Academy will recognise excellent attendance with regular rewards to encourage our students to strive for 100% attendance.


Should you have any concerns regarding your child’s attendance, please contact the Academy directly, in order that we can best support you and your child.


Yours sincerely



Mrs C Reid

Acting Principal