I pray you are in the best of health and Imaan. It gives me great pleasure to write to you as the new Executive Headteacher of Rochdale Islamic Academy. I join the Academy after having spent the last fourteen years working at senior management level in two different schools and having completed the NPQH- this has certified me as a qualified Headteacher.
I was certain (from my first impressions of the Academy), that RIA was the right choice for me as a Headteacher. I was immediately humbled by the warm welcome I received from the staff and governors. Having spent a number of days at the school with the teachers, I have been impressed by the teachers highly skilled and professional approaches to teaching and learning, their dedication and commitment to all the students.
Therefore, I am very proud to be the new Executive Headteacher of RIA and to henceforth. I believe the school has huge potential and I am determined to secure an outstanding future for the Academy. I have the very highest expectations of all staff and students and it is my firm intention to work together striving to raise standards in every area. Thus, enabling students to achieve their full potential.
Recent Ofsted Inspection
Many of you may be aware that the school has endured a turbulent period during the last 6 months. More recently, we had to prepare and register the Girls’ and Boys’ school separately. However, the school was re-visited by Ofsted towards the end of January; this was for both the registration and material change- two separate inspections took place.
I am delighted to inform you that both schools successfully passed the inspections. The report is now live and can be viewed at https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50146222. I must thank the staff and trustees for their support in this achievement. It is a positive start to my tenure and it will shape my future direction for the Academy.
Moving forward and as part of the drive to raising standards, I would first like to request your full support as parents/carers in ensuring your child attends school punctually every day. The government requirement is for pupils to be in school 95% of the time (minimum). I would like pupils to be in school 100% of the time and those pupils achieving this mark will be rewarded.
I kindly request that parents ensure their child is fully equipped every day and prepared for the school day in advance. In particular, I would like to see pupils wear their uniform with pride- at all times; both in school and on their journey to and from school.
Pupils must adhere to our school’s uniform policy, which includes: their Hijab being tied properly. The uniform (although it is an Abayah), pupils must wear black trousers underneath (not jeans or leggings). Trainer socks will no longer be permitted; pupils must wear socks which cover their feet and lower legs. including ankles. Footwear must be flat black shoes (trainers will not be allowed). The school full PE kits should be brought in for all PE lessons. Pupils falling short of these standards will be sanctioned in line with the new behaviour policy which will be shared with pupils at the start of term 2B.
Development of our school
Though change is not always welcomed, it can bring about positivity and shape the direction leading to success. With this mind, I wish to set the tone by sharing some of the changes and my aims for the next 12 months.
The Academy will break up for half term today (21st February 2020) and pupils will return to the school for new half term on Thursday 5th March 2020. The start of the new half term will bring with it a change in the school day timings, the school will commence at 8.30 am and end at 3.10 pm.
One of the main focus in term 2B will be ensuring the curriculum is scrutinised and adapted to assure it has the breadth and broadness required to ensure we provide pupils with every opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge in order to thrive.
Management system and Assessment
Thank you to those parents who assisted the Academy with their child’s SATs scores. This has assisted greatly in the new assessment flight plans, tracker and pupil targets. Once completed and the initial phase is implemented, I will be holding a workshop to share the new assessment framework with parents. The new assessment framework will allow us to provide you with three termly reports along with two meaningful Parent Review Days in the new academic year.
The Academy has invested in a School Information Management System with WCBS (School Kompanian). Once the initial set up has been completed, the system will allow us to centralise pupil information, attendance, behaviour, assessment and reports. The system will also allow communication with parents. It is therefore vital we have up-to-date e-mail addresses, please.
The new website is currently being developed and I anticipate will be ready to launch before the Easter holidays. Parents completed forms on review day, part of the form to allow your child’s photos to be taken during school and trips. Those of you were happy will pleased to know many pupils pictures will be displayed on the school website, newsletters and twitter to illustrate the school’s progress and development.
Parents Review Day and information sharing
It was lovely to meet so many of you on Parents Review Day and I appreciated your feedback and suggestions. One common theme was that of parents’ concern for the lack of information and communication from the school. To ensure parents are well informed along with the new website and twitter, parents will also receive a termly newsletter informing you all about all the updates and upcoming events. Parent workshops will be set up on a regular basis; in addition to this, I will be holding regular coffee mornings to have informal discussions. It will be a good opportunity for parents to share their views and suggestions. The first coffee morning will take place on: Tuesday 10th March from 9.30 am until 11.00 am. If you wish to attend please complete the slip below and return it to the school by Monday 9th March 2020.
Enrichment and extra-curricular activities
Enrichment and extra-curricular activities will also feature on my action plan for the coming term. I am a firm believer that learning should go beyond the classroom and develop students in all directions. Therefore, during the curriculum reviews, a detailed plan for trips, visitors and enrichment, (such as Martial Arts, Archery, Duke of Edinburgh Award and horse riding) will be embedded into the curriculum.
School’s Dining facility is now closed
I would like to apologise for the inconvenience that may have been caused due to closing the dining facility. It was a decision I was compelled to make in order to avoid the risking the health and safety of staff and pupils. I have since invited the Council and the health and environmental agency to audit the outer building; the recommendations made will be carried out. Once all work has been completed, the council will be given the contract to provide hot and freshly cooked healthy lunches with 2 options served by their staff. In the meantime, I will meet local food providers to discuss if they could provide lunches to the school. I will keep you updated with the progress for both areas.
Work Experience and careers
Students’ achievement results will, of course, remain high on the school’s agenda. Pupils achievement is fundamental in ensuring they have a successful transition on to the next phase of their education. To better prepare students the school will organise Work Experience for year 10 pupils in Term 3- there will also be a Careers Fair for years 9, 10 and 11 pupils. Local colleges, 6th form Colleges, training providers and universities will be invited; Parents will also be invited to visit the stalls with their child.
Year 11 GCSE Exams
Year 11 pupils are 3 months away from their GCSE exams! Booster lessons will be commencing after the holidays for a number of subjects. I would encourage you to support your child over the holiday in revisiting key areas and revising. I will be meeting year 11 pupils individually to discuss revision, mock grades and future plans.
Picking up and dropping off
I have been alarmed with the limited space available for cars to manoeuvre when pupils are being dropped off and picked up. More so as we also have a neighbouring school. This has been the reason for the time change at the start of the day. I intend to meet the local police and council to discuss speed zoning and limits, speed bumps being implemented, having a PCO to supervise the road and to explore other options. I will keep you updated with the progress of the meetings. In the meantime, I would request for drivers to drive sensibly and not stop right outside the school as this is dangerous and restricts other road users. The road does continue a few metres and is usually empty at the bottom making it safer to turn your vehicle around. Further, I would like to remind you that to avoid further risks parents are not allowed or bring vehicles into the school grounds. When being informed of this parents have been rude and disrespectful to the staff on duty. I would urge you to consider your manner towards staff, they serve the needs of your children and deserve nothing but the utmost respect and dignity.
Finally, it is my intention as the new Executive Headteacher to work with the trustees, governors, teachers and you as parents/carers; to build upon and develop the school into a truly outstanding educational establishment.
I look forward to meeting you all, over the coming year and to working in partnership with you to achieve a highly successful outcome for your child.
Ms M. Kauser.