Goffs Academy Newsletter
Message from the Principal
Dear Parents/Carers and Students,
I am writing at the end of a half-term during which the majority of students and staff have not been in the school building. We talk a lot about the idea of ‘community’ at Goffs. Although our community has not been able to gather together in person, it continues to exist; through the myriad interactions which happen each week – be that through telephone calls, live lessons, or assemblies.
That sense of community is vitally important, and I was reminded of that when I read through all the superb contributions to the newsletter.
We regularly talk to students about being Respectful, Resilient and Responsible. I firmly believe that these are not attributes which one is born with, but characteristics which can be learned and developed. One of the pleasures of working with young people, is witnessing such attributes develop, and being able to contribute to that.
The period of school closure has undoubtedly required students to demonstrate resilience, in adapting to a new way of learning, and of interacting. Teachers too, have shown resilience and adaptability, in moving rapidly to online teaching.
I am also encouraged by the extent to which students are taking responsibility for their learning, often going above and beyond what is expected of them. There are certainly lessons to be learned from this period, to take forward into the classroom, when we return.
I strongly hope that I will be writing to you after the half-term break, able to provide more details regarding when students can return to school. We all look forward to that. In the meantime, I hope students will enjoy a break from the routine of online learning over the half-term period. Within the restrictions, get outside and get active as much as you can.
Your teachers will be there to welcome you back into online lessons on Monday 22nd February, and we hope to see you in person as soon as possible, following that. Enjoy the newsletter.
House System Update
During the school closure period the students have been encouraged to get involved in various House competitions, which have been organised by a range of departments across the school. It has been fantastic to see students putting so much time and effort in to their entries, and to see how much they have enjoyed taking part.
For the majority of these competitions, we have been encouraging students to take time away from their screens and to get creative!
For the Art competition, we have seen students using their artistic skills to design an image that reflects their hopes and dreams. Some of the entries were particularly moving, as some of our students expressed their desire to be reunited with friends and family, which I know has been a particular wish for many of us throughout this challenging period.
For the Drama challenge we have had some highly creative re-enactments of famous images or film moments; students have transformed themselves into renowned characters such as the BFG, Harry Potter and even ET!
Our keen mathematicians entered a live maths challenge on Teams, where they solved maths questions with their fellow House members in separate breakout rooms. Congratulations to the Falcon competitors who finished in the top spot!
As the half term comes to an end we have also seen students completing some technology themed challenges and showcasing their skills in textiles, cookery and product design.
A huge thank you must go to all students who have participated and also to parents and carers who have supported them in completing their entries! Congratulations to the winners of the competitions who earned themselves R4s and R5s as a reward for their successes. All entries were rewarded with R3s for their efforts in participating.
Keep your eyes peeled for more House competitions being advertised after half term, with the main event being Goffs’ Got Talent, which will be held virtually this year! So if you are hiding a hidden talent, get practising over half term, as your video entries will be requested within the first week back.
Have a restful half term break.
Director of the House System
Mental Health & Personal Development Challenges 2021
Following the popularity of last year’s Personal Development Challenges, during this lockdown we decided that we would set some new ones for students to participate in. The updated challenges included elements linking to students' mental and physical health, and all provided opportunities to earn House points.
We have had many wonderful responses; students have demonstrated their amazing skills in completing some varied, fun and useful tasks.
These challenges ranged from making tasty treats and healthy dishes for the family, to creating origami boats, or learning to use the washing machine.
Please see below the names of some of the students who were recognised for their outstanding efforts with the challenges, and a collage of some of their work. A huge well done to them all!
· Daisy Kearns 7U
· Gia Sukhija 8L
· Grace Oyelade 7Q
· Gulzar Guvan 8Q
· Holly Williamson 7I
· Jessica Jones 8E
· Olivia Rama 8E
· Samuel Lawrence 7E
· Ruby Ball 7I
· Alexander Horvat 7Y
· Jaila Perry-Hutson 7T
· Georgiana Acceleanu 7Y
· Lucy Fortune 8T
All of these students will receive an R4 – 1000 House Points.
Please take a moment to look at the Mental Health & Personal Development Challenges section of the website, to see the enjoyable and helpful tasks that have been taking part in. We can’t wait to see what the students produce in the next round, so keep your eye on the website for more!
In the last newsletter, I made note that the first term was a period of much uncertainty, for young people in particular. This uncertainty has continued, and is a source of anxiety for many.
This half term, with all the students working at home, the need for a focus on student wellbeing has never been more important. As we approach a well-earned break, I would like to let you know about all the hard work that has been taking place during this term, involving both staff and students, to support student wellbeing.
Throughout this period, Krystle (School Youth Worker) and Jennie (Place2Be) have been working hard to continue individual meetings with students, to provide a source of support and consistency despite the school closure.
1. Children’s Mental Health Week 2021
Our focus this term, working closely with Place2Be, has been on raising awareness of the importance of mental health and student wellbeing.
Recently we recognised ‘Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Week (1st – 7th February 2021), the theme of which was 'expressing yourself'. We encouraged our students to consider ways in which they express who they are. When one considers expression, we looked to her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, who is the royal patron of Place2Be, who shares her thoughts on this theme, in the link below:
During the week, we set students a challenge of showing us how they express themselves in their own special way. Students chose their preferred media, whether that be a drawing, video, poem, music, dance or writing a short story.
We were overwhelmed with the variety and quality of the entries received. It was a very difficult task to choose the top three entries. After much deliberation, we decided on the entries below, which were particularly special.
All students who entered received House points for their efforts and contributions.
Priyanka Gahir 8L
2. Mental Health and Personal Development Challenges:
You might have been wondering during this term, as well as the end of the last academic year:
“Why is my daughter asking me to take a photo of her boiling an egg?” or “Why is my son asking me to take photos of him putting clothes in the washing machine?”
Well, all these challenges have seen set by the staff, to help students with their Personal Development, and to help to structure their time outside of timetabled lessons.
Following on from an assembly about leading a healthy lifestyle, we set students an additional challenge. The challenge was simple; create a night time routine to promote your mental health and wellbeing. Having a good routine in the evening is a great way to make sure that on the following day you are feeling rested, motivated, ready for the day ahead.
If you would like more information, then please follow the link to watch the assembly we ran with the students.
3. Next Half Term
Last year, our celebration of Pride brought about a superb response from the students.
The theme for LGBT History Month is: Body, Mind and Spirit. When we return from the holidays, we will be encouraging students to engage in reflection and discussion linking to LGBT History Month, and look forward to seeing their positive contributions.
Mr J. Lewis
Student Wellbeing Lead
Jack Kiamil continues the #clapadriver initiative on daily runs
Jack, Year 9, and his Dad, have continued an extremely impressive daily run which they started back in the first lockdown in March. They have amassed a staggering 1,700km during their runs, which is roughly the same distance as running to Sevilla from Goffs Academy!
Moreover, as part of their runs, they continuously clapped any delivery drivers, in particular the local Tesco and Sainsbury’s ones. Seeing Jack and his Dad clapping whilst running became such a typical part of the drivers' morning, that the two jogging enthusiasts made the local Sainsbury’s newsletter (attached). Jack and his Dad were subsequently invited to visit the local depot to see how the process works, as well as being given some vouchers and chocolates for their efforts.
Keep up the running, Jack. Hopefully you’ll inspire others to get out and get active in this current lockdown.
Maybe we have our very own Joe Wicks at Goffs Academy!
The Career Files – We Are All Scientists
Like science, but not sure that you are cut out to be a Doctor? Like animals, but you don’t think you will get the grades to be a Vet? Following on from the last edition of the newsletter, we are now going through potential careers in science, from K to P.
Kidney Transplant Coordinator Becoming a Kidney Transplant Coordinator is usually done as a specialisation for a trained nurse. They are vital in all aspects of kidney transplants, both liaising with the families involved and with teams locally and nationally. They are often one of the first contacts that a patient has with the team – maybe visiting a local dialysis group and also helping with post-transplant care. See 'Nursing' below for more information.
Lab Technicians are key to the success of any scientific laboratory. While the scientists get the headlines, their successes would not be possible without a team of skilled technicians working behind the scenes preparing experiments, maintaining lab supplies, collecting results and disposing of waste safely. As long as you have 4 good GCSEs as a minimum (although higher qualifications will help you stand out) you should be able to enter this career.
Motor Mechanic Are you good with your hands and fascinated by how things work? Dream of completing a pit stop for Ferrari at Silverstone? Maybe this could be the area for you to look into. You can complete an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as a Motor Vehicle Service and Maintenance Technician. This will usually take 2 to 3 years. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time at a college or training provider. You could train as a vehicle mechanic in the British Army. However, if you would like to do a degree, then the University of Hertfordshire have several courses along this line.
Nursing Entry requirements for nursing degree courses vary, because each university sets its own entry criteria, but you are likely to need at least two (usually three) A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3, plus supporting GCSEs including English, Maths and a Science (usually Biology or Human Biology). Once you have qualified then there are many opportunities to take your career in different directions – see Kidney Transplant Coordinator, above.
Optician If you have an eye for eyewear, a career as an Optician may be the right choice for you! Opticians help fit consumers for eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from Ophthalmologists and Optometrists. They also help those patients select a pair of lenses or contacts. To become an Optician, you'll need to register with the General Optical Council (GOC). To qualify, you'll have to gain a GOC approved qualification and pass the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) exams. The course usually takes 2-3 years and involves a combination of training and employment.
Pharmacist For many people with minor ailments the Pharmacist is the first port of call. They are able to offer advice that customers are needing and, of course, are responsible for dispensing medication. They are also invaluable helping the elderly understand medication instructions and in encouraging dosage adherence. Nearly all universities will require A-Level students to have studied Chemistry and at least one other science (Biology, Maths or Physics).
So, that’s the end of our third instalment of the Career Files. If there is a Science career that you would like to hear more about then email me at school (firstname.lastname@example.org), or follow @more2science on Twitter.
Teacher of Science
Art House Challenge
During last term, the Art department ran an art challenge based on the theme of ‘HOPES and DREAMS’. The aim of the challenge was for the Goffs Community to create art pieces based on their hopes and dreams for 2021. Some outstanding examples are shown below. Students were all awarded House points for their entries.
Teacher of Art & Photography
Art During Lockdown
In recent weeks, our KS3 students have been working through some mini-projects designed by their teachers.
Year 7 have been working on the theme of buildings. They have been exploring the work of Austrian graphic artist, Friedensriech Hundertwasser and the technique of mosaic, including the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s style of ‘trencadis’ mosaic. As part of the development of their own building designs, they have also been investigating religious symbols from around our world.
Year 8 have been working on the theme of viewpoints. Students have been exploring the theme of aerial viewpoint through the work of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. They have been building up pieces in his simplistic style, yet complicated process, using aerial viewpoints of rooms in their house.
Year 9 have been developing their knowledge on the topic of ‘portrait’. They have had the opportunity to take photographs using some photographic lighting techniques, creating drawings from these. Furthermore, they have been investigating the symbolism and anamorphic perspective of German artist Hans Holbein in his famous painting ‘The Ambassadors’.
Here are some of the pieces our students have been producing.
Head of Art & Photography
Drama House Competition
This half term we wanted to see how we could encourage students to move away from their screens and exercise their creativity. We thought that a ‘Ripley’s Re-Enactment Challenge’ would be a perfect way for students to stretch their creative muscles, and therefore ran this in conjunction with the House enrichment activities.
Entrants were asked to find a clip from their favourite films and re-create this image with the use of costume, family members - some older, some younger - and props they already had at home.
Both Miss Myers and I were thrilled with the fantastically innovative entries we had, although with the quality being so high, this made judging the competition a challenge for us!
After lots of consideration, we awarded the prizes as follows:
3rd place to Miley Bex (7I) for her re-enactment of ‘Jack Frost’.
2nd place to Callia Jordan (8F) for her re-enactment of ET.
1st place to Samuel Lawrence (7E) for his re-enactment of BFG.
Their work is showcased below.
We would like to thank everyone single person who entered and contributed to making this Drama House challenge so much fun, and such a success. We hope you enjoyed making the entries as much as we loved judging them.
Head of Drama
English Department News
The English department have been grateful and impressed with the way that students have embraced and adapted to the new challenges they are facing, demonstrating real resilience and independence in the way they’ve adjusted to virtual lessons.
Year 7s have been developing their imagination, creativity and writing skills through a new topic of ‘Backpacking Around the World’. Students have been writing holiday reviews, creating brochures of their favourite or chosen holiday destinations, and are now taking a tour of Africa.
Here is a selection of the wonderful pieces of work Year 7 have been producing this half term:
Year 8s have been studying Tales, Myths and Legends, and have thoroughly enjoyed reading famous Greek myths, as well as creating their own mythical creatures, describing their own original mythical settings, and have also continued to develop and improve their analytical skills, through their reading of famous tales from around the world.
Here are some more original mythical beasts, created by members of 8W/En2:
Year 9 have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of reading key extracts from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ alongside Love and Relationships poetry, helping them to develop analytical skills which will prove to be vital in the upcoming GCSE years. Some wonderful pieces of work have been produced by members of both year groups, demonstrating skills in writing about plot, characterisation, and the effect of these - all skills that will help them develop their academic writing, as well as appreciation of classic literary texts.
Years 10 and 11 have continued to demonstrate resilience, responsibility and a mature attitude to learning during lockdown.
The department are impressed with how well they have adapted to the challenges faced this year. Students have really revealed an inner strength, which we hope will enable them to thrive at school and beyond.
Year 10 have been studying Language Paper 1 – practising skills required for reading and writing.
Year 11 have recently been working hard on Language and Literature mocks, receiving and acting upon teacher feedback.
They have also been revisiting ‘A Christmas Carol’ ensuring they’re continually revising and continuing to practice skills required for GCSE Literature.
Some of our Year 12s did a splendid job of creating detailed, informative timelines for ‘The Great Gatsby'.
KS3 Reading List
Here at Goffs, we endeavour to promote a school-wide reading culture, in the hopes of enriching students’ learning and creativity. Reading is a vital skill in any walk of life, which enables students to be able to make the most out of their experience at school.
While in Years 7, 8 and 9, we encourage students to read a wide variety of books, and not to stick to one author, or one genre. That is one reason why this list is arranged in genre-based sections. As well as reading books, don’t forget that newspapers and good magazines are also excellent reading material. Such variety will help students become more confident with their reading; vital for GCSE study and beyond, as well as broadening students' knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live.
The following websites are recommended, and feature news and views about all types of books written for young people:
KS4 Reading List
Year 10 & Year 11:
A Christmas Carol
Power & Conflict Poetry
Other Recommended reading
Geography Department News
This half-term our Geographers have produced some excellent work when asked to complete independent tasks and work in groups, using resources provided by their teacher. We have been really impressed at how well students have adapted to remote learning and the enthusiasm they are putting into their work.
Year 7 have completed group tasks online using their investigative skills; looking at different sources of evidence to solve a mystery about ‘Why Khadijah can’t go to school’ in their ‘Africa – A Continent of Contrasts’ topic.
Year 8 have been learning about development, and have completed an independent learning task, researching their own charity, and explaining how that charity will help with tacking the Sustainable Development Goals.
Below are pictures showing Year 9 work during their Rivers topic, investigating the River Tees:
Year 12 have produced their own resources about different hazards, and then presented these to the rest of class.
ICT & Computing Department
I would like to share the work completed by one of our GCSE Computer Science students over the past two lockdowns. Isaac Bode spent the first lockdown coding a program known as Dijkstra’s Algorithm Visualiser. This program finds the shortest path between two nodes; the starting node and the destination node. The second program, which he made during the current lockdown, is a hangman game using Python programming language.
Isaac has written the article below to share his work and struggles at times. He mentions the importance of trying again, even if at first you do not succeed.
Dijkstra’s Algorithm Visualiser – March 2020:
This was an initial attempt to gauge my coding and problem-solving skills.
I started somewhat confidently but as the project progressed, I made additions to my initial plan to challenge myself more (an example being the addition of a more original, circle-based GUI – as shown).
I realised that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was – so I took a break and did some learning - and I returned with a renewed and improved knowledge of algorithms and programming!
However, even with that knowledge, the final product was somewhere between mediocre and average. I took a mental note of my mistakes (the main one being the lack of compartmentalisation, which resulted in the final product being disgustingly clunky - ~700 line of code program partially shown below) and I deemed the project as an entirety to have been a successful failure. In the sense that, though I achieved the goals of the project, I had realised that my execution was poor at best. But:
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
With this in mind, I applied my mental note of mistakes to my most recent project, and I was pleased with the outcome.
Hangman Project – January 2021
My aims for this project were to keep myself busy during lockdown, and also to see how much I had improved since my first project in 2020.
I was able to finish most of the project on the first day due to my increased knowledge and overall better approach towards the project.
I reminded myself of my mistakes which made the first project clunky, and I kept them at the forefront of my mind.
As a result, the final program was far more concise, easier to debug and understand (the entire main loop is visible below); I’m also proud to say it’s my best project… yet.
I’d like to thank Mrs Nessa, my Computer Science teacher, for giving me this opportunity to talk about my work.
Maths House Competition
Last week, the House Maths competition took place on Teams. I thoroughly enjoyed it - it was a wonderful experience, and opportunity to earn lots of House points!
Competitions like these throughout the school help improve our confidence. We get to work as a team with people from different year groups, and others that we wouldn’t usually work with.
At first, I wasn’t sure whether to enter or not but I’m extremely glad I did, as it was so much fun! I didn’t know what type of questions to expect, but I used my leadership skills to coordinate our team and we all worked hard and quickly at the same time. Although the questions were quite challenging, we each worked on separate questions so we could discuss our answers before the time was up.
After everyone had finished, I was chosen by my team to submit our answers via Microsoft Forms; we missed a few questions, but we tried our best! We congratulated each other and thanked Ms Belet before finding out the results the next day.
During ATM on Tuesday, the winners were announced and my house, Falcon, had won. Everyone did such a great job and our hard work had paid off!
I was quite nervous at the start, but in the end I really liked the competition, and I can’t wait to have more fun entering more competitions for my House.
Callia Jordan 8F
MFL Department News
This term has presented many challenges to us all, but I would like to emphasise how amazing the students have been in their language lessons. They have been actively engaged in the activities and have continued to develop all their essential language learning skills.
Over the last term, not only have students developed their learning through their engagement in lessons, but also by being actively responsible for their independent work.
Our students use Languagenut.com for French and Spanish, and ThisisLanguage.com for Italian, as platforms for extended learning to develop key vocabulary and grammar knowledge. It is outstanding to see how many students have independently completed additional tasks, to deepen their knowledge further.
Here are the results of outstanding student achievements, across the whole school:
The class with the highest number of points achieved is: 8W1/ SP
The students with the highest number of points achieved are:
· 1st Place: Boril Kanchev 8L
· 2nd Place: Larna Pattison 7I
· 3rd Place: Adam Barter 11U
The class with the highest number of points achieved is: 11C
The students with the highest number of points achieved are:
· 1st Place: Caitlin O'Brien 11C
· 2nd Place: Jessica Marlow 11B
· 3rd Place: Callum Everard 10C
Some of our Year 9 students are currently studying Italian, as part of their Personalised Curriculum. They have been working exceptionally hard especially Luca Cordaro 9I and Nicole Mighiu 9U, Luca Manzo-Lloyd 9L, Fabio Verde 9E, Joseph Agnello 9T and Annabel Christou 9U.
Our KS3 students have also taken part in curriculum enrichment projects to help them to develop and apply specific topic vocabulary and grammar, which they have been studying.
Below is an example of work done by Lakshna Nundah – 9A
Psychology Department News
During this half term, Year 9 and Year 12 students have been examining the topic of Social Influence.
Within this topic they have explored conformity to social groups, and the reasons why people conform. Students have also considered obedience – why we obey people in authority and why, in the past, people have obeyed unjust orders that harmed others.
This led to students applying their knowledge to real life examples to explain behaviour, such as the Holocaust and the Abu Ghraib prison (2004). More interestingly, studying obedience allowed students to explore one of the most classic psychological studies in history – Stanley Milgram’s ‘electric shock’ study (1963).
Milgram had a personal interest that motivated him to seek explanations for the appalling acts that were carried out during the Holocaust. Milgram came from a working-class, New York Jewish family who fled Europe for America and escaped the Holocaust. He wanted to know whether Germans had a different personality that led them to blindly obey and commit acts of murder without question, or whether people are generally more obedient than they would care to believe.
Year 9 students were tasked with writing an article on Milgram’s study for the Psychological Review magazine, where they were required to outline the procedure and results of the study, but to also outline the consequences of the study and the ethical issues that were broken as a result. Below is a link to Emily Hayford’s article that she wrote on Milgram’s study.
Head of Psychology