Twickenham Academy

(31 Posts)
mebaasmum Wed 29-Sep-10 17:26:47

Hi Has anyone got children who started in year 7 this year. If so what is it like. Does the new system seem to be working??? We are of to look tonight but would like some inside info.

Thsnks

jackstarbright Wed 29-Sep-10 21:33:02

Mebaasmum - how did it go? I have friends with dc's at Hampton Academy (which is run on similar lines). Seems to be too early to tell how successful it'll be.

spler Thu 30-Sep-10 12:17:04

I have a DD who started this year.
I would say it's too early to tell how the new system will work in practice. There are so many changes for the school to absorb - lots of new teachers, the rebuild project - on top of the new Swedish system
My child is very happy there though and enthusiastic about going. There have been a few wobbles when she has been a bit scared of some of the more lairy kids in the older years but that seems to be normal for any child starting secondary.
The GCSE results this year (although nothing to do with the academisation)(is that a word?) were very encouraging. Quite a steep improvement curve over the last couple of years.
The head seems good.
Rebuild design looks great.
My DD has only 17 in her class grin and I heard they were keeping the numbers at this level for a few years to help manage the school during the rebuild.
It's very boy heavy because of Waldegrave Girls skewing the ratio - but you'll know that.
We're pretty content (although still on the waiting list for Waldegrave just in case blush )

mebaasmum Thu 30-Sep-10 15:01:50

Hi . Thanks for the replies. Ds liked the school which is good. The head and the new teachers all seemed very up beat and positive. I still have some concerns. I just wish we had a few more years so it could prove itself

jackstarbright Thu 30-Sep-10 19:13:15

mebaasmum - that sounds positive so far...

Do you think the Swedish method will suit your ds and his learning style? Is he likely to respond well to the autonomy and independent learning?

Spier's experience is interesting. There is a lot riding on the success of the school (and it's methodology). I expect the pupils will be given plenty of support in the first few years.

chickmum Tue 05-Oct-10 19:29:01

Hi there..my DS has just started year 7 at Twickenham Academy and seems to be enjoying it. I was adamant that we were not going there because of all the bad reports i had heard over the years but after losing the appeal for orleans park we had to face the fact it was going to be a reality! So far, my DS is enjoying lessons and eager to chose either 'silver or gold' levels for work completed. I think the swedish learning is a good thing, when you think about it, all it's doing is taking the pressure that teachers and parents put on their kids to achieve something that may be out of their reach and have replaced it with the 'step process' of which they work at their own pace and bronze, silver and gold levels, which in my day were basically called 'top,middle and bottom set' and we as the pupils did'nt get a say in which group we should be in. If this helps with low self esteem and helps to gain confidence, then i'm all for it. My only concern is the lairy behaviour of some of the older pupils, i think the teachers need to buck up their ideas and realise this needs to be addressed before it rubs off onto our very decent year 7s and they morph into the very same!!
i am watching this school like a hawk and will not hesitate to contact them if i think they are not keeping their promises and i urge all you other year 7 parents to do the same..united front!!

spler Thu 14-Oct-10 12:48:24

Hi again
Thought i'd pop back with an update. Am thinking of all the parents out there fretting as much as I was this time last year. My year 7 child has now been at the academy for 5 weeks and..
I am actually quite impressed with most of it.
We have had our 'goal setting' meeting where the tutor discussed what my DD should be aiming for in her GCSEs based on her reports and the tests they did on entry. She can now clearly see which 'steps' she needs to complete in each level so has very clear goals long term and short term. It seems to me to be a great way of motivating her. I should add though that she is a conscientious worker and very good at working alone. Might not suit everyone.

The school is as ugly and scruffy as ever but that at least should change in the next couple of years.
I haven't seen any evidence that the school has used the opportunity of having a new head/new system to crack down on misbehaviour and some of the stories about other pupil's behaviour are alarming.
The after school club options are a little uninspiring.
Communications are fine.
Teaching staff mostly sound great.
There is LOTS of homework and any worries I had about my DD not reaching her academic potential have been allayed.
I still pine for the leafy glades of Waldegrave but am more pleased that my DD is happily mixing with boys every day. She says she'd hate to go to a school with no boys so it's a comfort.
So. I am pretty happy with the place. I like Chick's suggestion that we all fight for the best for our children. Count me in!

mebaasmum Mon 18-Oct-10 18:17:38

Thanks for the feedback

Supermom76 Mon 22-Nov-10 21:52:24

Hello, I have just read your thread and was wondering if there was any update on Twickenham or Hampton academy?

spler Thu 25-Nov-10 11:30:43

A quick update!
We are more happy with the place than ever.
My DD is learning well and is very engaged with everything that's going on. She has met some great friends too.
She seems to get plenty of homework and I think it makes a great difference that it is left to the students whether they choose to go for a bronze, silver or gold level for each piece of work. Of course the more conscientious ones will aim high which is great as (like every other parent - I know!) I think she is very bright and I would otherwise worry about her 'coasting'.
Each major piece of work comes with 'success criteria' so she knows just what she needs to do to achieve.
The building project hasn't really started yet though. Could be chaos.
We STILL don't have a locker even though we're nearly at Christmas.
She hates going to the loo as it's apparently full of sweary, aggressive girls putting on their mascara! (She has been known to exaggerate)
There has been a bit of bullying that she's seen (from girls mostly) and there is constant swearing amongst the children.
Of her two closest friends one went to Waldegrave and is happy there, one to Heathlands and is not.

chickmum Thu 06-Jan-11 18:22:07

Hi, well, one term over with and i find myself telling people that TA is actually ok.(never thought i would say that!) My DS is happy there and likes most of the teachers, i constantly check his bag for homework etc, will raise lack of written work in books but hope answer will be it's on the portal, which once again, now the 'settling in' term is over with, i hope to see it being a little more active with 'targets' etc. There is a meeting on 18th jan for parents interested in learning more about the 'themed' curriculum and i'm hoping there will be time for Q/A on general stuff like the last meeting. i find the teachers helpful and communicative but you have to put yourself out there and take that deep breath by putting the 'blunt' questions to them. i think they prefer that, in primary school we tend to be more sensitive incase of retribution on our darling 'little' children, in secondary school, they grow up so quick they can handle a bit of slagging off by some 'warped' teachers. I still feel the more interest we as 'new' parents take, the more productive and healthy in all aspects the school will become. We have to remember there are loud mouth and foul mouthed, toilet mirror hogging louts in all schools, we are lucky..it's out on show for all to see and to be dealt with.

spler Fri 14-Jan-11 12:47:45

I'll be there on 18th - shall we wear carnations in our lapels so we can give each other a knowing look? grin
Still generally happy with TA and more importanyly my DD is too. Any complants she still has are about accommodation issues. Eg. There is not enough space to eat indoors on a wet day so she doesn't eat her lunch. She STILL doesn't have a locker!
I will be asking what resources they put into maintining the website and portal as it is such an integral part of the teaching and currently the website is not updated as it should be.
The tutorial system seems valuable. Unfortunately I don't know what they do in Secondaries generally these days so can only compare to my own school days and i know I would have loved that regular feedback and goal setting.

spler Fri 14-Jan-11 12:48:29

Apologies for all those typos blush

kslatts Sat 15-Jan-11 20:12:18

We have put Twickenham Academy down for dd in September, it's linked to her primary school so we are expecting her to get in.

Reading the posts on hear ara encouraging, friends whose dcs started September have generally been positive about the school.

spler Wed 19-Jan-11 13:40:16

Went last night to the Yr 7 evening and was very impressed with the plans. There is always that worry that these changes are being made during our children's time at the school and not already set up / troubleshooted and working BUT the plans do look great.
The principal was his usual upbeat self and there was a presentation about the new reading scheme which I am very happy about. It seems like a well thought out way to encourage teens to read instead of staring at screens all the time.
Loved the new learning space, met some excellent teachers who were all approachable and enthusiastic. All good really smile. Anyone else go?

kazzanne Mon 07-Mar-11 11:24:00

Have just read your thread - my DD has just missed out on Waldegrave and is starting TA in September - am feeling slightly better after reading your messages - any updates would be great - good or bad! Hoping good!

BayJay Wed 06-Apr-11 13:08:59

It's fantastic to see this thread on Twickenham Academy. My DS is only 7, but I'm hoping a yearly influx of more supportive and engaged parents like yourselves will help to continue the transformation.

All Richmond Borough parents need to be aware that the council is looking to make some significant changes to Secondary Schools over the coming years, which could impact the intake, and hence performance, of existing schools, so check out the thread: "New Secondaries for Richmond Borough" and join the debate. The council will listen to our views, but we can only engage in the process if we know what's going on.

bluerodeo Thu 29-Sep-11 22:05:50

this was just linked from another thread - thanks bayjay
interesting to read all the comments from those who didn't have TA a first choice or a choice at all. I like the model on paper - am going along to an open morning next week

Suzihaha Tue 04-Oct-11 13:00:14

I am also watching this with interest. DS1 is not yet 4 so I am hoping by the time he's old enough to go to secondary school, TA would have been transformed!

BayJay Sun 13-Nov-11 06:03:15

Here's something of interest. Twickenham Academy is proposing to open a 6th Form from September 2012!. You can take part in the consultation via their website.

BayJay Sun 13-Nov-11 06:38:34

Hampton Academy is also proposing to open a 6th form in 2012.

kslatts Wed 07-Dec-11 16:04:00

My dd started TA in September and so far it's going well. The first few days she absolutely loved, she then went through a period of about 3 weeks where she didn't seem as keen and I did start to become slightly concerned that she was having a few problems, but as it turned out it was just taking her a while to adjust and now she has settled in she is doing really well.

We had a goal setting meeting with her form tutor and based on her SATS results, feedback from primary school and tests taken at the start of term, they predict the grade she should acheive at GCSE and set relevant goals, this session was really useful and dd's form tutor really discussed each subject with dd and got her input. DD also meets her tutor once a week to discuss her progess and set goals for the coming week, each students chooses a day (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) to stay at school until 4pm for these sessions.

For the first half term, all children were in mixed ability groups and then they were split depending on ability. DD seems to like most of the teachers. i was surprised as DD doesn't seem to get that much homework, on average about 3 pieces a week, however my friends dd who also started in September gets a lot more. I did discuss this with dd and it turned out that she sometimes does her homework at lunchtime.

When a piece of work is set the children know the criteria for acheiving bronze, silver or gold which is good, dd will read through her work to ensure that she has included everything required. One thing that surprised me was that her first piece of project homework was to prepare a presentation, which dd then had to present to her class, she really worked hard on this and acheived a gold. It really boasted her confidence and I think presenting is a very good skill for children to learn.

The building work has started and doesn't seem to be causing any problems at the moment.

I thnk the portal is a good idea so parents can check on progress rather than waiting for an end of year report or a parent's evening, having said that I think it needs to be updated on a more regular basis.

chickmum Sat 14-Apr-12 21:41:40

My son is in yr 8 and I completely agree with kslatts, regarding the homework, I like the fact it is a continuation of the 'step' they are learning, so it's consistent and useful to what they are learning about at that time. The teachers are excellent at communicating with the parent, e mails/ phone calls are responded to efficiently. Goal setting appts are very thorough, I was initially worried as you do not see individual subject teachers but the form tutor discusses all subjects on the portal and subject teachers update the learning portal regularly ( occasionally an email prompts a quick update from a very busy teacher!) dealing with challenging behaviour is improving, let's remember all schools have good, bad and very bad kids in them...Mr Jones and his staff are working very hard to improve standards...and it seems to be working!

gegs73 Thu 27-Sep-12 10:17:43

Hi - just bumping this thread. I was wondering if you have any more updates on Twickenham Academy. Thanks.

gegs73 Thu 27-Sep-12 18:01:28

bump

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