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Carlton le Willows Academy

Nothing but the best

March 23

Welcome to our Parent Newsletter. The aim of this is to reflect our students’ journeys once they enter the school gates and how their curriculum reflects our Academy intent pillars of Ambition, Enrichment and Success.


Curriculum Spotlight on Drama 

Within the curriculum spotlight strand we wish to open the door to the classroom so parents can understand how it feels to be a learner at Carlton le Willows and engage with their child’s learning. This term Mrs Bullin, Head of Drama, would like you to know more about what happens in the Drama studio. 

This term in drama we have been focusing on the importance of feedback and how this is used effectively by our students to develop performance skills. As you can imagine in drama the development of key performance skills both vocal and physical is crucial, as the application of these skills is refined all the way up to A Level. 

Specifically, in KS3 drama we have been implementing the demonstrate and connect cycle. The idea of this cycle is to ensure that students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning, receive RAG rated feedback and then connect to this feedback to improve their work. We use the term RAG to ensure feedback is purposeful, the colours correlate to the learners understanding of the work and what they need to do to develop their work, Red= correction, Amber = consolidation, Green= extension. 

An example of this is in our Year 8 lessons, where students have been studying the play Blood Brothers, all students performed an extract from the play performing the roles of Mickey and Edward. The students created some outstanding work and received RAG rated teacher feedback focused on their vocal and physical skills to create a believable character. The following lesson students were given a specific rehearsal target in response to their feedback for example if a student received amber feedback last lesson, they were asked to focus on practicing body language to show character and also change the pitch of their voice to show the age of the character. This allows students to target specific skills they need to improve and develop to become more confident performers. Please do talk to your child about the work they have been creating in drama and how they feel the feedback has helped develop their performance work. 

Just like our KS3 students, our Year 11 students have been performing extracts from play texts. All Year 11 pupils have been working incredibly hard to rehearse in preparation for their examination which took place on Tuesday 21 February, we are incredibly proud of the work the students produced and their professionalism in front of the examiner was a credit to the school. To celebrate the success of the Year 11 pupils they were able to perform to an invited audience on 28 February and 2 March, the audience were blown away with the talent of dedication of the pupils, a massive well done to all! 


The Importance of Reading Regularly 

As we explained last month, we have been highlighting the necessity of regular reading to our students and have been testing their reading ages so we can provide appropriate intervention for them where needed. Although our dedicated library sessions take place during English lessons, it is important to understand that reading has an impact on a student's outcomes across all their subjects. The average GCSE paper has a reading age of 15 years and seven months. However, according to research, up to 20% of GCSE students have a reading age of 11 or under.  

Increasingly, as teachers we are focusing not just on tier three key words (vocabulary that is specific to a subject, for example respiration in science, or protagonist in English), but the tier two words that are used frequently, but may be more complex. When a student comes across these words in an exam without understanding what they mean, it may make it much harder for them to answer the question. Tier two vocabulary are more ambitious words such as ‘emerge,’ ‘analyse’ or ‘content’ that students are likely to come across in lessons but are not always used in everyday language. A good example is the difference between a tier one word such as ‘fly’ and a tier two word such as ‘soar’ that implies not just flying but flying extremely high and gracefully. These subtle differences can massively impact a student’s understanding of what they are reading, or what they are being asked to do. 

Strong literacy is crucial to a child’s success. A wide vocabulary leads to better comprehension, which in turn leads to better understanding of a topic. As a parent, you can encourage your child to read widely and regularly as this will improve both their vocabulary and their confidence when reading.  

Mrs Coutt’s Book of the Month and Book Group News 

A small group of year 8 students attended a BBA book event hosted by University of Nottingham Secondary Education PGCE department earlier this term. We looked at all six books nominated for the BBA award. Students were able to join in with activities led by the PGCE students on their chosen BBA book. 


The BBA book group also visited Arnold Hill Spencer Academy at the end of February to attend an author talk from Darren Simpson a local author, talking about his shortlisted BBA book Furthermoor. It was an informative and interactive event where students at the end were able to ask questions and have their books signed by the author. 


Furthermoor by Darren Simpson 


 In Darren Simpson’s novel Furthermoor, the real world is a hostile place for twelve-year-old Bren: his schooldays stalked by vicious bully, Shaun, and his family life fractured at home. Ever since his sister Evie died in an accident, Bren's only safe space is Furthermoor, an imagined world of mechanised trees and clockwork animals, where Evie is still alive. In Furthermoor, no one can hurt Bren... until the mysterious Featherly arrives. 

Bren is then forced to confront his deepest fears and decide if his place in the real world is worth fighting for. In reading this book you enter a world as vast and dark as your imagination. 


An unforgettable coming-of-age story about courage, friendship and finding your voice. 


Gallery of Excellence highlighting student work. 

Music exam week is always an exciting time as students perform their set lists to a live audience in our drama studio. 

Lexa, Tommy and Finley enjoyed playing to the crowd who came to see some of the performances after school. 




In English, students have been working on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Their ‘Drill’ task is a short silent task at the start of the lesson focusing on retrieving knowledge they have learned previously. Through explaining the lesson ‘Intent,’ students are introduced to ’Key words,’ building their knowledge of tier two vocabulary needed to discuss the scene they are reading. Students then ‘Connect’ this to prior learning, before beginning to ‘Practice’ applying this knowledge to a new task. 

Elsewhere in English, students often use ‘Revision Clocks’ to revise different topics. These are helpful because students work within a time frame, ensuring they can remember as much as possible. 


Geography students have been producing beautifully presented homework this term. 


In French, students are continuing to learn about various aspects of French culture.