Thursday, 19 April 2012

RELEASING THE MAGIC: Hartsholme Academy!

I have been asking colleagues to share their stories of success and shout about those brilliant learning places where colleagues are 'releasing the magic'. I was therefore delighted to receive this e-mail from Sara Pearson who is a curriculum leader at Hartsholme Academy in Lincoln. Hartsholme Academy was  graded ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED in 2011, having ‘taken up the pursuit of excellence!’ The ethos of the school is built around three words; Respect, Empowerment and Belief and they have just moved into a new 4.5 million pound state-of–the-art school building.

"Dear Chris Edwards
I have been following you on twitter now for the past few months and am really delighted to see someone as passionate about education as we are here at Hartsholme Academy. I saw recently that you asked for people to email you regarding your “releasing the magic” blog looking at exciting ventures happening in schools and I thought I would take the time to email you regarding the school I work in as we are a futures thinking school that “releases the magic” on a weekly basis. I will begin by giving you some information regarding the school.

Hartsholme Academy is situated on an inner city council estate around a mile south of the cathedral city of Lincoln. The estate has a mixture of housing however over 70% of the population live in council or housing association housing. The school also services a high rise block of flats. Hartsholme is an academy. The trustees and governing body take a full and active role in shaping the strategic development of the school. The school has an early years foundation unit. The nursery is offering 15 hours provision a week; this provision is flexible. The nursery also offers full day care for those parents who require it.
Hartsholme Academy shares it site with a private company ‘4Children’, who offer a breakfast club afterschool club and a 2 to 3 yr old preschool provision.

In November 2007  Hartsholme was placed in Special Measures by Ofsted where the school then undertook a radical turn around. Staff members and the newly appointed Head teacher Carl Jarvis worked incredibly hard to ensure that the children of Hartsholme received the best possible learning experiences that would ready them for the world of work, the hard work paid off and the school reached satisfactory 2 years later  in the Summer of 2011 Hartsholme was awarded “Outstanding” by Ofsted, this is the fasted turn around that Ofsted have encountered and we are still striving to be the best in the educational field.
Hartsholme Academy has a truly inspirational ethos that is embedded amongst the staff and the pupils the three words that take pride of place in the heart of the school are Respect, Empowerment and Belief and these are the words that run through everything. Children are shown to respect one another and members of staff and the school, they are empowered to try new things and be the best they can be and are encouraged to believe in themselves and everyone around them.

To ensure that our children receive the best possible learning experiences we offer then some truly magical elements that enhance their learning. We have recently moved into a new build school that staff members had an input in designing the school has a radio station, interactive floor and interactive LCD screens in each class helping all children to access their learning, with technology in mind we also work with apple technology including I-Macs and I-Pads so children can access their learning outside the classroom. The school also supports the idea of a creative curriculum that develops children’s skills so that they can apply them across different contexts and subjects, we believe that children need to experience things first hand so that they can open themselves up to learn. Taking this on board we have developed an immersive learning style that encourages challenge based learning and allows children to learn through a context, for example if the children were learning about rainforests the classroom would be turned into a rainforest that term to enhance the children’s learning experiences, stimulating the children’s senses and immersing them in their learning. We also encourage children to take ownership of their learning when deciding how they want to learn the children of Hartsholme academy choose where they want to learn whether it’s on a gym ball, sat on the floor or in a quiet space in the corridor. Developing independent learners is key to us so from a young age children are shown how they can move their learning on and are involved in creating targets for themselves so as they move through the school children are aware of how they learn and what they need to do to move their own learning forward.

Ensuring children are ready for the world of work and next phase of their learning is a fundamental belief that we all share, this belief allowed the school to develop their own enterprise curriculum where children in  KS2  attend work on a Friday afternoon to develop skills that are needed to enter the world of work. Children have to apply for their jobs and are then interviewed, staff members then facilitate the children’s learning as they develop their businesses. Children attend jobs such as the radio station, bakery, cafĂ©, book shop, allotment and many more. This enterprise curriculum allows children to develop some of the key enterprise skills that can then be applied across different subjects and will allow the children to experience the world of work which will give them aspirations for the future.

As you can see there are so many magical elements that enhance the children’s learning and that have lead to the accelerated progress the children of Hartsholme make. To ensure that all these things happen effectively the school has got an effective leadership team that nurtures staff development and allows staff members to do what is right for the children in their class. The senior leadership team are always looking to the future and what can be done next to develop the practice here at Hartsholme so even though the school is outstanding we always want to stay one step ahead so the children receive the best possible education."

I hope you will agree with me when I say Hartsholme Academy is really “releasing the magic”  striving to provide children with the best possible learning experiences and environment that we can. If you would like to visit the school and see what we do I would be happy to show you around and discuss what we do here at Hartsholme further with you."


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