Induction Week 2020-21

What a week! From Line-Up Legends to Summer Challenge Superstars, Ark Academy’s new Year 7 really impressed in their first week as they got to know the school and each other. On Monday and Tuesday, they showed their maturity and focus as they learnt all about the school expectations and rules, asking sensible questions and always listening intently.

Wednesday and Thursday gave a chance to participate in some sports fun, and as always the PE department were looking for their keen new sports stars, those giving 100% and enjoying every minute.

Friday was all about celebration of Excellence, and pupils showed some excellent Summer Challenge presentations, introducing themselves and their interests to their new classmates. Especially impressive were the follow-up questions and answers! Congratulations to all of the new members of the Ark Academy Secondary community, especially our first Tutees of the Week! We cannot wait to see what you do this year and beyond…

 

Year 9 had an excellent induction day on Friday – they all returned looking very smartly dressed and excited to see one another again. Throughout each session they listened diligently and responded with a mature, responsible attitude towards the new set up of Ark Academy. During their Form Time challenge, every student tried their very best with excellent participation and Civitas towards their peers as they tried to solve Mrs Needham’s assault course challenge. As their Head of Year it was lovely to welcome every student back to Ark Academy and if their application and attitude reflects Induction day then we certainly have a very positive year ahead.

 

Year 10 made a fantastic start as they returned to school ready to start their GCSEs. Year 10 induction included big chunks of learning how we can all work together to ensure school is a safe place where we can focus on our learning. There was also plenty of time for reflecting on how they want to approach this new season and ensure they can be focussed on their goals. I was really impressed to hear how many of them showed such keen engagement with interview skills. Year 10 have made such a wonderful impression and it’s just the beginning!

 

Despite a few tired heads by the end of the two days it was fantastic to have Year 11 back and engaged for their induction week at the beginning of the new academic year. After such a long period off it was a real pleasure to witness the genuine appreciation and gratitude Y11 displayed on their return to school. Although there was a huge amount of new and important information to take in it is fair to say that the students rose to the occasion.

They listened and participated brilliantly throughout sessions and continued to show the same high levels of professionalism and maturity we saw towards the end of the previous academic year. The students were clearly glad to be back with their teachers and peers with lots of insightful questions and discussion taking place throughout each day. Particular highlights included the quiz, live assemblies and outdoor teambuilding where the students were able to learn about all the new rules/expectations and demonstrate a wide range of skills including debating, teamwork and their own general knowledge. By the end of the two days the students were understandably tired and ready for the weekend. However as demonstrated by their own verbal feedback they “felt much more confident and happy” about starting lessons the following week. One student stated that he “wasn’t sure what to expect and felt nervous about coming back after corona” but that these two days had helped put his “mind at ease.”

It is now about putting the knowledge and information gained from these two important days into actions. Many have started to do this already with a real calm, positive and purposeful approach to their learning in their first few lessons. Obviously there is a lot of hard work ahead but the start they have already made has been extremely impressive.

 

We welcomed our new Year 12 cohort with a fun-filled 5 days of sessions and activities. We challenged our students with finding more innovative ways to submerge themselves into the culture and ethos of our sixth form- and they sure did rise to it! Our forms this year are named after 6 well-known, award-winning activists therefore, we thought it only fitting that theme for the week focused on activism within the community. The sessions, many held virtual as well as interactive team building sessions, heavily focusing not only on what our famous form activists have done, but how we as a sixth form can start to make a change.

The Year 12s worked together to create team videos, partake in a virtual panel discussion on climate change, compete to be the champions of our whole school obstacle course and battled it out in the ultimate virtual quiz. A particular highlight for both staff and students was a session named ‘the change I want to see’, in which students were given time to research a small difference they wish to work towards within their lifetime and present this back to the class. Our new students approached this task with maturity, passion and respect for one another leaving us all feeling a sense of pride.

The week was rounded off with a treasure hunt around the local area. All students completed the treasure hunt within the time limit, some running the entire course and finishing within a record 40minutes! Overall, our year 12 students and tutors did a fantastic job at filling our sixth form building with laughter, energy and civitas! Well done Year 12- I cannot wait to see what incredible achievements this next year has in store for us!

 

With Year 13 coming back into school for three days, the sixth form team decided to give each day a theme, reminiscent of Discovery Week which students missed out on during lockdown.

Day one was all about life beyond Ark Academy. Fifteen alumni came in to visit and share their university and apprenticeship experiences, with alumni being paired up and sent off to Q+A sessions in form rooms. Whilst not being able to gather students together in the hall, the intimacy allowed our year 13 students confidence to ask questions and receive detailed responses.

Day two shifted the focus towards activism – with students learning the best way to get your voice heard, exploring the climate crisis and taking part in an online panel with four professionals from the world of sustainability. Wrapping things up on Friday, form tutors led subject masterclasses where students were asked to explore topics they might not normally learn about in school. Mr Dineen’s ‘What is everything’ physics talk and Mr Balal’s lectures on reading outside of school were particularly engaging. Students finished the day by registering for UCAS and getting one final progression push before lessons kicked off.