Culture Day

Smestow Academy is hosting our first Culture Day today, with pupils in all year groups having been invited to participate in wearing traditional dress and taking part in cultural performances.  Mrs Lampitt, our Chef has also created a special culture day menu in the cafe.  

Culture Day was organised as a result of pupil voice, with our children wanting to celebrate how diverse we are as a school.  Did you know that we have children from 33 different countries?!?!  

Staff and pupils are demonstrating our mutual respect and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs, which is one of the fundamental British values, but our Smestow values also shine through with making a difference every day, equality and respect for all and providing a welcoming and caring environment.

Over 130 pupils have arrived to school today in cultural dress and performances will take place at lunchtime in the dining hall.  Take a look at the photos to see what a great day we are having!

Maths Week

Last week the maths teachers wore maths tshirts to celebrate the end of Maths Week and Children in Need. The pupils engaged in fun puzzles throughout the week and there were some stunning entries for the art competition. The quality was so high that 3 winners were chosen: J Kaur Year 8, T Jones Year 8 and K Bailey Year 8. Well done to all pupils that entered and handed in futoshiki booklets and puzzles throughout the week.

Smestow Academy in the news!

A lovely article about the ongoing transformation at Smestow Academy🎉

“I visited ‘inadequate’ secondary school and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all

Smestow School in Wolverhampton is one of only a handful of secondary schools in the West Midlands with an ‘inadequate’ rating

“It feels like the grown ups are running the place again.” That’s the frank assessment of one long-serving teacher at Smestow Academy in Wolverhampton after a troubled few years which left it rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and in special measures.

In short, the school had hit rock bottom in 2022. “As soon as I got here, I wanted to leave,” one of the prefects revealed, so unpleasant was his experience. But what a difference a year makes.

Drafted in to ‘save’ the school were headteacher Ian Chamberlain and director of school improvement David Lowbridge-Ellis, a sort of education super team with a proven track record of turning around failing schools. They are part of the Matrix Academy Trust which now runs Smestow and it’s clear they have already delivered changes in a short space of time after what Mr Lowbridge-Ellis labelled a “disastrous” inspection report.

As I walked through the corridors, stuck my head into classrooms and spoke with polite and smiling pupils, it certainly didn’t feel like I was in what is, or at least was last time Ofsted was here, one of the worst schools in the West Midlands. Classes were quiet, children appeared to be listening, engaged and respectful of their teachers.

Gone was the “chaos” I’d been told previously went on here on a daily basis, when unruly and disrespectful kids disrupted lessons, caused trouble and strolled along corridors on their phones. None of this change, however, is visible to those outside.

Smestow, in the Castlecroft area of the city, is still rated as inadequate and will be until the next Ofsted inspection, likely to be up to three years away. It’s a source of frustration for teachers that the school will be stuck with a reputation they say doesn’t chime with what they see and do every day. They insist Smestow is no longer a bad school.

Safeguarding, behaviour and attendance were all major problems here before Mr Chamberlain’s arrival. Pupils and teachers I spoke to during my visit were open about how bad things used to be.

Prefect Riley Shayler says: “When I came here I wanted to leave. People were disrupting lessons all the time.” Fellow pupil Isabelle added: “People were on their phones, being antisocial to each other.”

Teachers also cited a lack of leadership and discipline as big problems under the previous regime. There had previously been nine headteachers in just five years, illustrating how the school had suffered a long period of instability and drift.

History teacher Helen Pinches says: “Year 11 pupils have had nine headteachers. When you see people coming and going and it’s a revolving door you don’t feel cared about. Five years ago I was ripping pages out of exercise books because they didn’t have any paper to write on.”

Staff say a big change has been the visibility of senior staff around the school. “At break times, lunch time and during lesson changes they are there and their presence is felt”, says teaching assistant Angela Flavell.

She’s been at Smestow for 20 years so can speak from experience of the changes that have been made. She adds: “We did go through rough times but I feel like we have gone back 20 years (to when things were better). We can feel that change.”

Simple changes include zero tolerance around misbehaving and disrupting lessons and introducing a culture of respect so that “the adult in the room is the boss”. Leaders say a small number of pupils had to be permanently removed because their persistent poor behaviour risked impacting the learning of others.

There is also a policy of no support or agency staff as leaders say some pupils are unlikely to behave for them, with familiar faces much more effective. Doors have been removed from entrances to toilets as a safeguarding measure following reports pupils would previously vape or mess around where they couldn’t be seen.

Staff and children I spoke to both said the same thing in that they now feel supported and part of one community, rather than a fractured society that previously existed. PE teacher and head of house Matthew Craig admits: “When the last trust went we were relieved.” So it’s frustrating for staff that the inadequate rating remains for now, at least until the next time Ofsted visit.

They feel it’s no longer an accurate reflection of their school. “It was a snapshot of what went on over two or three days three weeks into term,” says science teacher Sam Neish, who told how was about to leave before Mr Chamberlain’s arrival convinced her to ask for her resignation to be withdrawn. “We’ve got exceptional kids,” she asserts.

Mr Craig says: “Now we’re stuck with that rating.” Ms Pinches adds: “All the issues were not anything teachers on the ground had control over. There was not anything we could do about it. We had skeleton staff and classes of 34.”

“The problem was the management,” Mr Craig adds. Head of English Dawn Detton says: “I have worked in special measures schools throughout my career. This doesn’t feel like a special measures school.

“In special measures schools, it’s no exaggeration to say you are working in hell. It’s not like that here.

“The report does the children a disservice,” says assistant head of sixth form Chris Davies. The staff know it could be a while before Ofsted inspectors return and say until that point, the school is stuck with a rating it doesn’t deserve.

Head of French Purven Jandu concludes: “Everything is in place. We want that label to prove it.”

Read it on Birmingham Live

Children in Need

Staff and pupils at Smestow Academy have been raising funds for Children in Need today, with a staff and 6th form fancy dress, a cake sale and a basketball shootout at breaktime. A total of £227.22 has been raised.

All monies raised will be for BBC Children in Need, a charity which supports underprivileged children in the UK.

A huge thank you to everybody who has taken part and donated money to this worthwhile cause, and in turn, demonstrated our Smestow values of success achieved together, making a difference every day, equality and respect for all and providing a welcoming a caring environment.

Anti-Bullying Week Assemblies at Smestow Academy

This week, Miss Davey (Head of Dawley House) and the Anti-Bullying Reps have delivered assemblies to year groups that shared theme for this year which is “Make a Noise about Bullying”.  Our reps spoke confidently about what bullying is, the different perceptions of bullying which includes face-to-face, banter and online abuse.

Smestow Academy has a zero-tolerance to bullying and is a “telling school” – it is one of our smestow values.  If you are worried about yourself or somebody you know, please report this to a member of staff so that we can help.

Build a Brain – House Competition

Miss Whitehouse launched a psychological thriller of a House Competition which required pupils to Build a Brain using any materials! There were some extremely creative entries from pupils with some GCSE Psychology pupils using the knowledge learnt in lesson to produce well-written explanations of what each part of the Brain does. Pictured is runner up E. Wilkinson (10G1) with her entry and a selection of other wonderful entries.

Maths Week

Maths Week England began today and pupils have already been getting involved. Pupils completed a selection of Futoshiki puzzles during form time this morning and they will be completing a different puzzle during lunch time each day this week.

Today’s puzzle was all about socks. Look out for tomorrow’s puzzle all about the zoo.

Anti Bullying Week

Anti Bullying week takes part each year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Anti Bullying Alliance. This year’s theme is ‘Make A Noise About Bullying.’  This event will take place from Monday 13th to Friday 17th of November. All pupils will have an assembly on our theme ‘Make a Noise About Bullying’ from Miss Davey and the Anti Bulling reps. Collectively the school will acknowledge with Odd Socks Day on Thursday 16th November, where staff and pupils wear odd socks and in form time pupils will create their own ‘odd socks’ to celebrate all what makes us unique. Drama lessons will focus scenarios on the difference between ‘banter’ and ‘bullying’, the roles of perpetrators, victims and bystanders to raise awareness of bulling around them. 

This Anti Bulling Week, Smestow will come together to discuss what bullying means to us, how banter can turn into something more hurtful, and what we can do to stop bullying. In the words of the Anti Bullying Alliance ‘From the playground to Parliament, and from our phones to our homes, let’s make a noise about bullying.’

Maths Week

Maths Week England was set up in 2019 with the goal of ensuring that no children miss out on the opportunities that being a confident competent mathematician can give them. Set up by Andrew Jeffrey, Maths Week England aims to show pupils that maths is fun, relevant and, more importantly, available to everyone. This year the theme is “Three is the magic number” and will run throughout the activities from Monday 13th – Friday 18th November. Throughout the week there will be a variety of maths activities, problems and competitions to bring a little bit of fun to your lessons. You will be able to work alone and as a group to tackle problems you might not normally see in the classroom. 

Nrich, the specialists in rich mathematics, will be releasing video problems on Monday 13th November. Details will be shared via the school website and Smestow social media. You may submit solutions to Mrs Butler by the end of Tuesday. Nrich will publish some of the best solutions on their website!

What will we be doing to celebrate?

1. Form time puzzles – Monday

2. Puzzle competition in the maths corridor – see your maths teacher for an entry sheet

3. Puzzles and activities in maths lessons

4. A3 Art competition in Art lessons – Deadline Tuesday 14th November

5. Nrich video problems available on Smestow social media and the school website

6. MWE23 Date challenge – A tangram puzzle available from your form tutor

Transgender Awareness Week – 13-19th November 2023

At Smestow Academy, we are celebrating Transgender Awareness week, in the week beginning 20th November.  Pupils are invited to wear their rainbow laces as part of their Dance and PE kit that week.  The rainbow laces are a visual symbol to celebrate, uplift and honour our trans community.

There is no cost to pupils taking part in this event and we would encourage as many of you to get involved in upholding our smestow values of making a difference everyday and providing a welcoming and caring environment.  It is also another way in which we can celebrate our fundamental british value of individual liberty.

Contact Info

Smestow Academy
Windmill Crescent
Castlecroft, Wolverhampton
West Midlands

T: 01902539500

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm

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