Spirit of optimism as the new term begins at Spalding Academy

Deputy head girl Wiktoria Grzes, head boy Reece Nicholson, head girl Ellis Taylor and deputy head boy Ryan Bassett with the house name competition poster. SG060916-115TW
Deputy head girl Wiktoria Grzes, head boy Reece Nicholson, head girl Ellis Taylor and deputy head boy Ryan Bassett with the house name competition poster. SG060916-115TW
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Spalding Academy pupils played an active role in devising some of the changes at their school, including a competition to name new houses.

Senior prefects then in Year 10 advertised the competition and made sure all pupils had a vote.

We will be relentless in our pursuit to ensure that all students achieve their full potential and have the greatest life chances they possibly can. I just want the kids to do their best and be successful – and we will celebrate that.

Head of school Will Scott

Houses will be known as Nova, Trinity, Peake, Holland, Johnson and McLaren – the houses will run “vertically”, with each having a mix of pupils from all years to promote camaraderie as well as inter-house competition.

The school’s Nicola Hall Rushton said: “The senior prefects of 2016-17 have created the first piece of Spalding Academy history and it is hoped that generations to come will still be working in the houses that they have designed.”

Every student now wears their house badge, purple, blue, orange, yellow, red or green.

Pupils wear smart blazers adorned with Spalding Academy emblem badges and different coloured ties according to their year group, green for Y7, blue for Y8, red for Y9, yellow for Y10 and purple for Y11.

Head of school Will Scott said there was a noticeable difference during the first week of term as the school focuses on raising its standards and boosting academic achievements.

He says the switch to South Lincolnshire Academies Trust (SLAT) has been a huge benefit both geographically, as Bourne is just 12 miles away, and academically because SLAT have tried and tested principles and practices in place, simple effective systems, that will help the Spalding school improve.

“For us it’s about a high standard in terms of uniform and behaviour,” said Mr Scott. “We want to create a positive, calm working environment for students, that is it in a nutshell.”

He said the school’s GCSE A*-C grade pass rate this year of a little over 33 per cent was slightly up on 2015, but that was still “not good enough” and the school is determined to do better.

“We will be relentless in our pursuit to ensure that all students achieve their full potential and have the greatest life chances they possibly can,” said Mr Scott. “I just want the kids to do their best and be successful – and we will celebrate that.”

Spalding Academy’s renewed focus on its rules and standards of uniform and behaviour have sparked discussion on social media, some negative – some positive.

But Mr Scott says all schools have rules and uniforms.

So far as the uniform is concerned, he says the school wants to be consistent and ensure “everyone is addressed in an appropriate way”.

He said: “It’s nothing new, is it? Every school is the same.”

“Some of the parents have been hugely supportive and they have made some really nice comments.”

• Spalding Academy will have an open evening from 5pm-8pm on October 6 so parents and carers can give feedback on changes at the school.

Meanwhile debates have been going on via social media with both good and bad reviews.

One parent claimed “schools are more interested in what you look like rather than whether you’re learning or not”, saying it doesn’t matter how you dress as long as you do your work.

She adds: “Sorry but school is for learning, not a prison!”

Another parent says: “All the comment about the new Spalding Academy rules are making my blood boil.”

The writer sent their son to Bourne Academy because “the standard of teaching was exemplary and the rules were adhered to at all times” and adds that sticking to rules teaches children respect, “which can only be a good thing when they go into the world of work”.

Another post said: “People moaning about rules on school uniforms are pathetic. Why bother having a school uniform if parents don’t keep to the rules?”

Some of the posts were from people who went to the former Gleed schools in the 1990s, before they merged to become Sir John Gleed School.

One says the dress code was strict in the 90s and had to be adhered to.

Another contributor talks about the Noughties, when Liz Shawhulme headed the then Gleed Girls’ Technology College, and says “she was strict on the rules to an extent but let us show our personalities when it came to make-up (as long as it wasn’t five inches thick) and she allowed black shoes of any kind”. The writer claims: “She (Ms Shawhulme) treated it more like an office than a prison.”

One writer describes sticking to the rules as a good life lesson while another advises: “Stick to the rules. Simple.”