Academy Principal, Marcus Wells
Marcus Wells

Welcome to the Westbury Academy website.

The only way that I can begin to summarise last year is through the latin saying ‘fortis in procella’. Which literally means ‘strength in adversity’. The onset of Covid and the myriad of issues that it has caused for everyone in society has resulted in the pupils and staff working even more creatively than usual to produce some fantastic outcomes. Of which there are too many to mention them all. Some of the key ones are as follows:

At Westbury we began an initiative for setting up aid for the animals in Australia that had been rendered homeless and parentless from the devastating bush fire out there. This snowballed into an international event that resulted in 20,000 followers on Facebook, 85 boxes weighing almost 1600kg. These contained thousands of thongs, pouches and bags plus hundreds of other items that rescuers requested that were shipped to Australia free of charge by Virgin and British Airways.  In recognition of the work that the NHS were performing we produced a range of artwork that was displayed at the City Hospital testing site to create a positive and supportive environment for parents and their children. For the Police pupils created paper cars to store Easter eggs in to give to their families.  The willingness and enthusiasm of our pupils to assist and offer support for others proves that they are a credit to themselves and positive contributors to society.

 To engage our pupils, especially in Keystage 4, we continue to evolve and introduce new subjects and qualifications to ensure the best outcomes for our pupils. Yet again we had a cohort of pupils that have taken a GCSE in Chemistry a year early (to allow them to access the GCSE Physics in year 11). This resulted in a number of pupils acquiring a GCSE in Physics this year for the first time ever. Great work. In fact, this year was overall the best for pupil outcomes – this was due to the hard work and commitment of both pupils and staff which resulted in robust grades in all of the subjects. Thus I was frustrated for them that they felt all of their hard work was not ‘put to the test’ as it would normally have been.

Even more frustrating for the Year 11’s especially was the fact that for the first time (as we had only introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award the previous year) a large number of them would have achieved a Silver Award. Due to the Expedition element being curtailed they were unable to complete the Award. Let’s hope that this year the present Year 11 can manage to wild camp in the Lake District as was intended previously!

At the height of the pandemic I was very pleasantly surprised as the number of pupils attending school continued to increase and pupils could feel that a sense of normality was permeating the environment. This has been crucial to ensure that their mental stability and emotional security is sustained during these exceptional times. Staffs commitment both with engaging the pupils in school – through the creation of a ‘unique’ curriculum –(for example in Keystage 2 pupils learnt how to use time lapse photography to make lego buildings be created before your very eyes!) And for engaging pupils not attending through home visits and the setting of work meant that we minimized the impact on the pupils on the best of our ability.

This year I hope that we can return to normality as soon as possible. Regardless of the constraints enforced upon us I am sure that both pupils and staff will continue to strive to ensure the best outcomes possible – whether it be academic or social. 

Nothing demonstrates to us how important we are as a school for our pupils than when an ex pupil ‘drops in’ and thanks us for what we have done in supporting them both academically and emotionally so that they can now function as a positive member of society who actively contributes to it. Sometimes it takes a while for our pupils to mature and ‘sort’ themselves out – but until that point in time the education we have given them, both in its widest sense and the qualifications that they have earned, gives them the basic foundations that they need in life to succeed. Even more pleasing in a different way is the amount of parent support both for events in schools and in their recognition of the staff workforce effort and the positive impact they have had and continue to have – this level of recognition and appreciation from parents of the work that has been performed especially over the pandemic has been amazing. So, Thank You.

September 2020

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