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Headteacher's bulletin

Christmas edition

22nd December 2023

Dear Parents and Carers,

As we break up for Christmas, I would like to celebrate all our students have achieved this term! This is a bumper edition so that you can see for yourselves all the hard work put in and all the fun had!

Our 100% Attendance Stars still feature on our corridor display and this week has seen more Student Stars nominated by Heads of Year for their hard work and involvement in school life, for a celebratory “Hot Chocolate Friday” with the Headteacher! This term the Festive Market raised much needed funds for school thanks to the dedication and time given by ACPA (THANK YOU!) and our Christmas Concert marked the season and final week with a bang (thank you Mr Madden and Mr Wilson!).

There is no better week in school than Christmas Week and as we head off into the glitter and tinsel I would like to thank you for ensuring your child regularly demonstrates Respect, Responsibility and Readiness for learning on a daily basis.

My first term as CEO of the Trust has seen us working more collaboratively with Reddish Vale High School (RVHS) on joint Quality Assurance reviews and also a joint Student Council meeting where the Trust values were discussed. Students from both schools (hosted at RVHS) worked together to come up with ideas on how the values could be celebrated.

Mr Keegan writes: "On Wednesday 6th December, students participated in a joint Student Council meeting with our partner school, Reddish Vale High School in Stockport. This meeting provided a wonderful opportunity for both schools to discuss our Trust Values: Ambition, Inclusive, Aspiration, Community and Belief and the ways in which we can work together across the Trust to celebrate these. The meeting also provided an opportunity for students to discuss the issues facing our young people and enlist the support of our partners in order to make a real difference on the issues that matter the most to them.  The meeting was very productive, and the council agreed on the following ways to embed the Trust Values this year:

Trust Value

Agreed actions

Ambition: we instil a lifelong love of learning and nurture skills and talents.

To hold an inter-school style Olympic Games in the summer term where both schools can compete.

Inclusive: we welcome and respect people from all backgrounds, valuing and celebrating diversity.

To ensure that both schools are represented at culture and diversity days.

Aspiration: we want people to be the best that they can be, and for everyone to achieve their potential.

An annual award for the Trust, presented to a student at each school every year for this value.

Community: we develop local and global citizens of the future, always committed to working in partnership.

A nominated Trust Charity serving both communities (Stockport and Trafford) to fund-raise for this year.

Belief: we encourage everyone to believe in themselves and their futures, providing opportunities to excel.

Elect two Trust Ambassadors in each school to work on embedding the trust values.

The Joint Council will meet twice a year and we are looking forward to welcoming Reddish Vale to Altrincham College in the summer term as we host the next meeting."

Important Messages:

Attendance

I have been very disappointed with the attendance of some of our students this term due to the number of holidays families are taking in term time. I would like to stress that family visits/holidays will not be authorised and fines will be issued.

The impact this will ultimately have on student learning (and the pastoral/social side of school life) means it is very difficult for students to fully ‘catch-up’ on learning missed, no matter how ‘bright’ a student may be or how good their attendance has been previously. This also adds to the workload of our staff when trying to support your child by plugging gaps caused by them missing school.

Holidays in term time may be cheaper, but exam results stay with them for life and appear on CVs and application forms for many, many years.

Please support your child’s education and give school attendance the importance it deserves to secure the best futures for all our young people.

ParentPay accounts

From January, we will no longer be issuing IOU slips to students who do not have enough money on their ParentPay accounts. Please ensure your child’s account has sufficient funds to purchase food and drinks each day.

Water is provided free of charge every day and Breakfast Club also offers free toast.

If you are struggling to pay for your child’s meals, please email the school office who will support you. Thank you.

Cyber Aware - FOR PARENTS

The Cyber Aware campaign launched in November to promote safe online behaviour during the pre-holiday season. It encourages two protective measures: using strong passwords with three random words and activating two-step verification. The campaign also promotes secure payment methods for online transactions.  You can find out more here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home

You said, we did…

Following the recent parent/carer voice survey, please find some feedback below:

You said…

We did…

There are ongoing problems with certain school buses not running to time and also being overcrowded.

Met with TFGM who have reviewed the 771 service and information has been shared with parents already. The 773 service for the return home journey is also being discussed with TfGM. They will run the same service as the morning if there are enough students wanting it. A survey is currently underway.

Would love the school canteen to offer kosher and halal food.

We have exciting building plans coming up that include the redevelopment of the school kitchens and canteen.  We are factoring these requests into our plans to see what is achievable.

You would like more information on what your child/ward is studying (sharing of curriculum content) so you can support them at home.

Refreshed long term plans have been added to the school website and these will be updated through the year where it is appropriate to do so.  We have also introduced a ‘Study Skills’ evening, allowing the opportunity for parents/carers of Yr11 students to gain insight into the details around GCSE English, Maths and Science.

You would like to be able to contact subject staff directly.

All staff emails can be found on the school website and we encourage parents/carers to contact subject staff/form tutors directly in the first instance.  Even though they are very busy with lesson delivery and preparation, all staff have been reminded that a timely response to any enquiry is important.

Inclusive:

Human Rights Day

On 29th November, the Year 9 Religion, Philosophy and Ethics Day was developed to enhance student understanding of some of the critical issues facing humans every day in countries all over the world. All humans deserve to have their rights protected and the Year 9 students were lucky enough to participate in workshops about: Amnesty International, gender equality, how the Holocaust impacted young people, Humanist responses to Human Rights and survivor testimony from a communist who opposed the Nazi regime.  Thank you, Mrs Acharya for organising such a thought-provoking event.

 Watch ACTV’s exclusive video about the Human Rights Day here!

Holocaust Talk

To coincide with this year’s Remembrance Day, we welcomed a very special guest to school - Tomi, a Hungarian Jewish holocaust survivor.  The talk was organized by A Level History student Steph, who is an ambassador for the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ charity, and was attended by our Y10 GCSE History students.

Tomi talked about his personal experience of hiding in a safe house with his mum in Nazi-occupied Hungary during WWII. We heard how, by the end of the war, most of his relatives, including his father, had perished. Tomi left the students with an important message to consider: how it was bullying behaviour that led to one of humanity’s worst atrocities, and how important it is to support anyone who is being picked on because they are different.

 Our roving reporters from ACTV, Billy and Ewan, interviewed Tomi, which you can watch here:

Anti-bullying week success!

During w/c Monday 13th November, we held multiple activities to inform students on, “how banter can go too far” including, ‘Odd Socks Day’, a bake sale, assemblies and form time resources.   

Altrincham College came together as a united school - so much so that we raised over £750 for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which is a RECORD BREAKING amount raised for this cause!  This shows us that as a community we are diverse, and we celebrate and accept our differences together. All of this could not be done without the help of the Anti-bullying and Wellbeing Team (Billy C, Stephen J, Victor E, Alyssa T, Florence D, Jake M and Holly W), who are a credit to the school.

Ambition:

WORK EXPERIENCE 2024: Years 10 & 12

Year 12 dates: Monday 15th & Tuesday 16th April

Year 10 dates: Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th May

Students in these year groups have the opportunity to take place in a two-day work experience programme next year.  They are encouraged to organise their own placements with companies or organisations which match their career ambitions or interests.

If your workplace can provide a placement for any of our students, please complete this form: https://forms.office.com/e/rzzxzSuUaR

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far!  Any queries can be addressed to workexperience@altrinchamcollege.com

Barcelona trip

On October 20th, Mr Gillan, Ms Licciardi and Mrs Casey joined our intrepid explorers at Manchester Airport. Dawn was breaking and despite the bleary eyes we were ready for adventure… and boy did we have one!

This was the first international residential since the pandemic and we definitely did it in style.  

After a very pleasant flight and an afternoon settling in we were rudely interrupted by the sprinkler system. After being flushed (literally) out of the hostel by a group of errant tourists from a German school, we grabbed our soggy belongings and made our way to the fancy new hostel.  The new accommodation overlooked the Sagrada Familia and the next day we awoke early and refreshed, ready to begin our adventure around the beautiful city of Barcelona.

The first stop was Las Ramblas where students enjoyed an afternoon of shopping and sight-seeing. Attractions along Las Ramblas included live performances, human statue art, the Christopher Columbus Monument and La Boqueria Market. In the evening, we had a beautiful meal in a typical Tapas restaurant in the charming Gothic Quarter, ‘Barri Gòtic.’

Over the next few days we walked the length and breadth of the city, taking in all the sights including Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà (La Pedrera) Parc de Montjuïc & Magic Fountain.

Students Sydney & Noah said: “One of the highlights was when the Year 13s went on an evening trip to watch FC Barcelona vs Sevilla at Estadio Olympico!  We also enjoyed a walk to the Gothic Quarter where we took in the sights and embraced Spanish culture when trying a delicious authentic paella ‘al freso.’  It was a fantastic trip that we will never forget.  Thank you to Mrs Casey, Miss Licciardi and Mr Gillan."

Art talk: Phoebe Darcy Coleman from "Our Cherub" 

On Wednesday 8th November we had the privilege of welcoming Phoebe Darcy Coleman - a UWE Bristol Graduate and local freelance textile artist who specialises in clay making and stitch.  Fashion, Textile and Art students were able to watch a presentation and discuss Phoebe’s final collection and entrepreneurial skills used in setting up her own company ‘Our Cherub’ where she hand-makes ceramic handbags inspired by dog breeds. Students then took part in a clay and stitch workshop where they were able to explore using this media and combine it with their textiles skills. We would like to thank Phoebe as we all had an amazing time! - Mrs Clarke.

Construction work experience – up on the school roof!

Jake O, Y10: During school, myself and two other students were taken to the construction site in the school grounds. When we arrived, we were given a safety briefing by the construction manager, and we were introduced to the builders and electricians on the site. We asked them questions about their jobs, what they do on a daily basis and about salaries in the industry.  On the second trip, we were invited up onto the school roof, where we learnt how to weld down a material to the roof to increase the warmth in the building.  In conclusion to the overall experience, we were given very valuable information and learnt what it would be like to have a job like that in the future.”

Sixth Form Physiotherapy careers talk

Our sixth form Sports students attended a careers talk with Jack, MD of Chews Health in Timperley, a clinic which specialises in pain and injury.  Jack talked about how his education led to a career in physiotherapy, and the skills and qualities required to work in this field.  Thank you, Jack, for inspiring the next generation of physios and sports therapists!

If you are interested in providing a careers talk for our students then we would be delighted to welcome new employers. Please reach out to us at: careers@altrinchamcollege.com

University of Manchester ‘Stroke’ workshop

Thank you to Dr Puello from the University of Manchester who visited our sixth form recently to deliver a healthcare workshop on strokes. A Level Biologists were introduced to a patient’s journey through their interaction with an optometrist, pharmacist and nurse.  Following the workshop, students learnt about the wide range of healthcare courses available at Manchester.

Barclays LifeSkills – Y10 money workshop

Year 10 students participated in a money workshop last month, which was hosted by Barclays Lifeskills.  Students were taught important life lessons in money management, including budgeting, knowing your credit score and understanding credit cards and interest rates.

Aspiration:

Preparing the way for a STEM future – brand-new GCSE courses!

Careers and opportunities where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical) skills and knowledge are required are on the rise and forecast to increase further over the coming years. Many jobs in the STEM sector have yet to be created due to the technological advancements happening at such speed.

This is an exciting time to be a student with your career ahead of you!   To prepare you for this ever-changing world, we are developing our curricular offer to allow you to gain first-hand experience of the engineering skills, technology and attitudes required for your futures. As part of the expansion of our school, a new engineering hub will be created featuring a workshop, CAD/CAM suite, electronics areas and robotics.

For 2024, GCSE Design and Technology will be launched, focusing on modern design and manufacturing techniques including 3D printing and 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design); electronics programming will also be introduced. This course links closely with mathematics/science and you will use your skills and knowledge from those subjects in real life applications. In September 2025, GCSE Engineering will be added to the school offer. This subject will further develop students who wish to pursue further study or careers in the engineering sector.

In March 2024, we will be holding a STEM week around the theme of TIME. There will be activities, competitions and presentations for students to inspire them about STEM pathways and careers as well as to develop their understanding of how the different subject areas are interrelated and to appreciate how STEM influences our daily lives. More information about this will be shared in the new year.

 

 

LAMDA exams

We are proud to offer students the opportunity to take LAMDA examinations in acting and speaking, verse and prose at Altrincham College.  LAMDA exams are the performance and communication equivalent of a music exam, and registration for the next cohort of exams opens in January.  Please contact: lamda@altrinchamcollege.com if you would like to register your child/ward for lessons.

AC students have a 100% pass rate of merit and above in their exams!  For a flavour of what to expect, below is an extract of Mikey D’s speech, which he delivered during his recent LAMDA public speaking exam:

“One key interest of mine is how the Conservative Party has mishandled the economy and lost touch with the people of the UK. Throughout the last number of years, the no longer ‘conservative’ party has done nothing but fumbled around and destroyed the economy. For example, when Liz Truss introduced her controversial mini-budget, this plunged the nation’s economy into an even worse catastrophe. As a member of the newer generations, I am worried about where this could lead to and what the future of our country might hold, which is why I am so interested.”

Belief:

Sports News:

Dance and Cheerleading

Our cheerleaders have made their performance debut at 'Trafford's Got Talent', performing alongside primary and secondary schools from across the local authority. The girls trained tirelessly on Monday nights to give, what was, an absolutely outstanding performance. They represented the school with pride and really showed Trafford that they do, indeed, have talent!

Our dancers have also been rehearsing for our Christmas concert. They've been challenged with a contemporary dance performance full of precision, energy and lifts galore! Each dancer performed with grace and flair at our Christmas concert and have shown incredible progress in their teamwork and dance technique this term.

Both clubs are continuing into the new year, with cheerleading on Monday led by Miss Roberts & Miss Gilmartin, and dance continuing on a Tuesday with Miss Matthews. All students are welcome to attend - we hope to see some new faces in the new year!" – Miss Matthews.

DofE

Our Year 10 Duke of Edinburgh group visited Awesome Climbing Walls in Stockport for a wonderful day full of fun and challenge.  Five 5 students successfully climbed to the top of the highest wall in England! Congratulations particularly to Harvey, Ted, Mason, Alfie and Felicity. 

The same students worked as a team to lead the Trafford Year 7 and 8 dodgeball competition hosted at AC.  They developed their decision making, communication and leadership skills to referee and organise students from six high schools.  The students were yet again a credit to themselves and the DofE programme at Altrincham College. - Mr Stephenson.

Basketball

The year 10 and 11 boys have trained hard this year, learning to set a zone defence and a zone break offensive play.  They beat North Cestrian 47-11 and were narrowly beaten by BTH 34-31. Jake G has been the stand out performer in both games so far! Students are looking forward to playing more fixtures after Christmas. - Mr Stephenson.

Girls’ football

The Year 8 girls football team have a successful start to their season, having beaten Wright Robinson and the Albion Academy in the Greater Manchester Schools Cup, which has allowed them to progress to the quarter-final against Sale Grammar in January. They continue their run in the Trafford Cup too which will be picked up after Christmas. – Mrs Holden.

Cross Country

22 pupils headed to the Trafford Schools cross-country event earlier this term to race against all the schools in Trafford. It was AC’s first visit in many years, so it was great to be part of it. They all ran extremely well and some highlights of the day were: Chloe M Y8 finishing in the top 20, and she was a year young. Matt H (pictured) finished 7th in year 7 and progressed to the next round individually. Jamie W Year 8 finished 11th overall, also as a year young. Well done to all involved! - Mr Jones and Miss Holden.

Football

Manchester United Event: 3rd out of 5th, MOM- Alfie E

Ten boys headed to the Cliff Training ground to take part in a round-robin tournament. AC students played excellently throughout and finished in 3rd place out of 5. The boys involved were: Thomas M, Alfie E, Alfie S, Matthew H, Albie L, Louie L, Ollie M, Ethan S, Callum T and Harry T. - Mr Jones.

Rugby

Our year 7s & 8s have continued to send big numbers down to Trafford MV every Wednesday throughout November and December. We continue to go from strength to strength each week as the students gain confidence. Particular highlights this term have come from regular players including Skye, Carlos, and two of our year 7s (Harry T & Joey) who have been selected to train/play for the Trafford team. More rugby festivals will take place after Christmas each Wednesday, and we are hoping we get a bit luckier with the weather in 2024! - Mr White.

Community:

'Dave Draws' on OUR walls!

By Tyler D, Year 11

A few weeks ago, Altrincham College welcomed local doodle artist ‘Dave Draws’ to create a beautiful mural across our hallway walls. This was a fantastic opportunity for our school to have a personalised display which students and staff alike can admire.  Dave, who uses posca pens to create his map-murals, has been involved in many high-profile projects, such as the recent Chanel Métiers d’art show.

The mural features school subjects, with symbols contributed by our students, as well as symbols that represent important elements of our school ethos, such as anti-bullying and student wellbeing.  Local landmarks in Timperley, Altrincham and Sale are also detailed throughout the mural, giving us a sense of familiarity and community.

It took Dave nine days to create six murals, which cover an entire corridor, and students and staff are delighted with the results.

Year 9 student Martha said: “The mural really makes our school look ten times livelier than it did before.”  Scarlett in Year 11 added, ““It’s strange to see where I live on the map and all the places I know. It feels really personal to me.”

 

Festive Market 2023

From AC Parents’ Association:

On Sunday, 26 November, we held our second Festive Market which was a huge success. 

Stalls from over 20 local businesses filled the main hall and sports hall, showcasing a range of hand-crafted goods, clothing and beauty products. 

It was great to see friends and family socialising whilst enjoying festive refreshments from the cafeteria.  There was also a fantastic raffle with over 30 lucky winners with all prizes donated by parents and local businesses, a sincere thanks to everyone who donated.

The event raised a huge £1,137 which is being added to the PA fund which will go towards resources that will enhance the educational experience of our students.

Keep your eyes peeled for news on exciting events happening in the spring and summer term!

To help us put on more of these events and to continue supporting the school, the PA requires more volunteers. You don’t need to be a full-time member; a small amount of time makes a huge difference.  If you'd like to get involved, please email acpa@altrinchamcollege.com

Christmas Concert

Our annual Christmas Concert took place on Tuesday 19th December, and was another fantastic celebration of the performing arts at Altrincham College.

The packed audience enjoyed a wonderfully varied selection of music, as well as dance, cheer-leading and musical theatre songs, by students from Years 7 to 11. There were performances by our bands, ensembles and enrichment clubs, showcasing the breadth and depth of performing arts talent across the whole school. 

Ninety students took to the stage this year, and were enthusiastically and appreciatively supported by the audience of family members, friends, and Altrincham College staff. KS3 Band Skills kicked the evening off with a mix of traditional Christmas carols and songs (including the first public performances for the Orchestra and Steel Pans Group), as well as a whole-band rendition of ‘Last Christmas’. The first half also featured Guitar Group, Dance Club, a beautiful vocal solo from Amie K, and yet another first performance - from our newest enrichment ensemble, choir!

After the interval, our cheerleaders got pulses racing again with their spectacular, energetic and sparkling routine, and this was followed by a medley of three songs from the cast and band of next term’s school production, School of Rock. These were performed with great energy and vigour, and left the audience excitedly anticipating the complete show at the end of next term! The second half also included two beautiful and contrasting solo performances: a dance from Amelia S, and a piano interlude by Adrian M. Towards the end of the concert, we heard accomplished and committed performances from our KS4 Music and Music Technology students, and they were joined at the very end of the evening by members of Altrincham College staff for a sing-along finale of Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas, Everybody’ – 50 years old this Christmas!! 

Thank you to all our performers, family and friends supporting in the audience, and the many staff involved - both artistically and logistically - for helping make this year’s Christmas Concert so successful and enjoyable! – Mr Madden

Drama events

This year we a have group of year 10 students undertaking the National Theatre’s Writing for Theatre program. On 6th December, the students had the opportunity to work with Becky Prestwich. The aim is to write a 20-minute play!  Becky Prestwich is a regular writer on Doctors and Casualty, as well as having written six Afternoon Dramas for BBC Radio 4. 

As part of this course, the students received a complimentary trip to The Lowry to watch 'Life of Pi.’  What an amazing show it was!

We look forward to welcoming Becky back in the new year when she will give 1:1 feedback to all the students involved. 

In other news, the cast of School of Rock are busy working on this year’s production. Please save the date! – Mrs Mrozinski

What I have learned this term:

Sixth Form:

Steph, Year 13: I participated in a school trip to visit Auschwitz in Year 12, and since then I have been working as an ambassador with the Holocaust Educational Trust.  The experience had such a profound effect on me that I wanted to invite a holocaust survivor to come to school and talk to younger students, which I arranged for Year 10 GCSE History students. 

I have also submitted my UCAS application this term. I have already received an offer from my first-choice university, which is Edge Hill, to study History. I really like the course and it will take me a step closer to my ambition of becoming a teacher.

 

Year 7: 

Jack H in 7.6:Since starting at AC I have enjoyed so many things. My favourite lessons are Drama, Food tech and Music. I have taken part in many extra-curricular activities, such as dance, band skills and the School of Rock production, which have all allowed me to make new friends. Merry Christmas!!”

Staff:

Mrs Hudson-Kirkham, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead:  

"I am leading on an initiative for Altrincham College to achieve a Gold Award for Schools in Raising Attainment with Wellbeing.

Research tells us that an anxious, angry or frightened mind will not learn effectively, and with over 100 000 referrals in ONE MONTH to a mental health service in England during 2022, we realised that Altrincham College should be at the forefront of enacting change.

Staff are undergoing a comprehensive training programme where we will be learning and discussing strategies and approaches to unlock academic achievement and accelerate progress.  We will learn from the latest neuroscientific research to reflect on current practice and implement new methods to ensure all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential and be happy."

Student Stars of the Month

Student Star of the Month nominations were for going over and above (for which their ‘reward’ was a hot chocolate with me!), chosen by members of staff. This half-term they were:

  • Year 7: Harjot S
  • Year 8: Gabriel J
  • Year 9: Opemipo D-A
  • Year 10: Asser A
  • Year 11: Daisy B
  • Year 12: Jano T
  • Year 13: Sydney E

And finally…

Staff had great fun when they surprised students at the school gate this week in Christmas fancy dress!  We hope this put a smile on our students’ faces and delivered some festive cheer.  Thanks to all the parents who beeped and waved when dropping their children off!

Dates for your diary:

Start of term:                                   Monday 8th January

University of Oxford visit:             Tuesday 11th January

Year 11 & 13 mock exams:             Monday 14th January – Wednesday 7th February

Intermediate Maths Challenge:    Wednesday 31st January

Year 9 options evening:                  Thursday 1st February

End of term:                                      Friday 9th February

Cultural and Diversity Day             Friday 22nd March

Thank you for your continued support of our school. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ms K Earle

Headteacher and CEO of the South Manchester Learning Trust