Welcome back to staff and students after what I hope has been a very enjoyable break. I have been delighted to welcome our new Year 7s, many new Year 12s and a number of new teachers (I will introduce them properly next week).
Record Breaking GCSE Results
Torquay Academy are celebrating another set of record breaking GCSE results this summer; 62% of students achieved 5 GCSE grades at C or above including English and Maths. These results are an 12% increase upon last year’s results which earned the school national accolades for achievement and progress.
Even more impressive are how the students have performed on the government’s new progress measures (they compare how a student progresses at the school compared to other students nationally). The progress 8 figure of 0.79 (value added 1,050) highlights how students at Torquay Academy are out performing their peers nationally at all grades in every subject.
“I am delighted for our students as they have worked so hard and shown such dedication to their academic studies. I am very privileged to work alongside such a dedicated group of teachers who have given up so much of their free time to provide additional support for their students. These results really do cap off a wonderful year for the school”.
The school’s vice chair of governors, Leo Critchlow, said “it has been wonderful to see so very many smiling faces after the students opened their GCSE results. Historically, this has been the school’s best ever year to-date and is a testament to the sustained hard work put in by the students, with great support from their parents, carers and Torquay Academy’s staff who have ensured our students can shine in probably their first major educational hurdle. We look forward to seeing the majority of them returning to the 6th form in September.”
See our Facebook page for more photographs.
Mind your language!
Growth Mindset advice for parents
Torquay Academy has recently set out on a path to become a ‘Growth Mindset School’ and over the past year, we have been laying the foundations of this journey. As a school, our mission this year is to instil in every student, teacher and parent the belief that the brain is like a muscle. It grows, develops and indeed becomes more intelligent through continuous effort, hard work and making mistakes.
Moreover, we will be instilling the belief that intelligence, and abilities, can be significantly developed through practice; an individual’s end point is not pre-determined – every student has limitless potential. A great video giving an overview to this concept (in one minute) can seen below:
There will be several ways that this message will be delivered over the next academic year at Torquay Academy including:
• Growth Mindset themed assemblies
• Weekly Reflection Activities (dedicated pages in the student planner).
• Student & Parent workshops
• Growth Mindset booklet for parents
• Poster displays in every form room on Growth Mindset language
• CPD for staff with regular meetings and integration of growth mindset concepts into lessons.
• Integrating GM principles into the school development plan
We have been inspired by the work of Carol Dweck, and her colleagues, with their research consistently showing that the most successful people in any industry share a similar ‘Growth Mindset’. One of the most important roles that adults can play in fostering a growth mindset is to ensure that the right language is used when success, or failure, is evaluated.
Dweck (2007) tested the use of praise on 400 students in a study in North America. Half were given growth mindset praise (and told their success was due to hard work) and the other half were given fixed mindset praise (they succeeded because they were intelligent. The results showed that the GM praise group took on more difficult challenges, persevered for far longer and, ultimately, achieved higher levels of success than the fixed mindset group.
Exclaiming that a young person is: “naturally smart” may make them feel good but actually encourages a FIXED mindset. They will start to believe that they have to look good in every situation and therefore may avoid a challenging science question (for example) for fear of failure. They have to believe that mistakes are good; indeed a necessity for learning and improved intelligence. A better phrase would be to say that the young person was successful due to their hard work, effort and resilience. “You kept going at that task even when it got really tough – fantastic effort!”
For more on these simple, yet incredibly powerful words and phrases, download the guide that has recently been created for parents: Watch your language…and grow your mind! Parents guide to praise:
Further information can also be found on the following web links:
Here at Torquay Academy, we are on a mission to ensure that this positive message embeds as fully as possible into the fabric of the school. Please support us on this journey by reading the advice in the accompanying booklet. This year will see the concept start, and you will see this grow even further at Torquay.
First Assembly of the Year
Gathering the school community together is something I always look forward to. We met for an assembly on Tuesday morning where I spoke about the wonderful results our students achieved in the summer and my expectations for the year. As you can see it is getting a little cramped in our hall now with 1,200 students plus staff gathered – there were just over 800 when I joined two and a half years ago.
European Day of Languages
The 26th of September is European Languages week. It is the opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity and look at what we have in common with our European neighbours and friends.
Students of the Week
Students of the week this week pictured with myself, Mrs Powell and Mr Withers are: Charlie Cuss, Cheyanne Haywood-Davis, Jessica O’Connor, Sarah Farrell, Lucy Sullivan
Head of Learning Area, Miss Pappin took on and conquered the Ironman Challenge in Switzerland during the summer. She completed the 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run in an incredible 14 and a half hours.