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Principal's Blog

Richard Butler's Principal Blog

posted 30 Sep 2016, 06:38 by Miriam Wright   [ updated 18 Nov 2016, 08:07 ]

In response to parents at the recent parental meetings we will experiment with a Principal’s blog.

Friday 18 November

Well done to everyone who contributed to raising £575.35 for Children in Need. Many thanks to the Sixth Formers who organised all the events.

A Tale of Two Cities. Congratulations to our student performers and Mrs Cameron who are on stage at the Everyman Theatre in this performance. A trip as part of the Year 10 and Year 13 curriculum went yesterday to watch the play and thoroughly enjoyed it, with our performers and Mrs Cameron getting the loudest cheer!

Tuesday 15 November

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I was pleased to spend time with students identified by their Head of Year as ‘top’ students. These students consistently meet and exceed our expectations in all ways and are excellent role models

Y7: Tabitha Kirby, Millie Burrows, Amelia Wright, Riley Townsend and Nathan Travers.

Y9: Andrew Beale, Marcia Shore, Poppy Warren and Adam Birtwistle

On Wednesday we welcome Jonathan de Sausmarez, the Regional Director for the AET. Mr de Sausmarez is undertaking some evaluative work at the Academy to access the progress we are making.

We are proud of our Year 13 students who are part of the cast for A Tales of Two Cities in the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. They will be performing through until the weekend. Break a leg!

Children in Need - Sixth Form students have requested a non uniform day on Friday for this highly respected charity. They will be collecting money in the next few days, we hope to have collected money from all students who are wishing not to wear uniform by Thursday afternoon. The target for the charity drive is £550, which will be supplemented by several lunchtime activities in the Sports Hall, as well as the opportunity to throw wet sponges at volunteer teachers.

Thursday 10 November

Good news, back to full strength with teaching staff, bad news, rainy break time.

Year 11 Mock exams start tomorrow at 8.40am, students have been working hard towards this important marker in their GCSE or equivalent course.

Congratulations to Riley Westbury in Year 11, who returned from a services competition with a silver medal.

Message from Sixth Form Fundraising Committee.
We have several plans for fundraising on Friday 18th November for Children In Need. One of these will be a non-uniform day, costing £1, please can your child to bring in their £1 on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. A Sixth Form student will collect the money during tutor time.

On the day, there will also be ‘fairground’ style games, please encourage your daughter/son to bring some money on the day for the opportunity to win some prizes and throw sponges at the staff!

Wednesday 9 November

I was delighted to meet with our 6 top ranking Y8 students this morning. Not only did I find out a little bit more about them, I was also able to listen to their views about the school. Many chocolate biscuits were consumed!

Thanks to the staff and parent who supported the student following an accidental injury in PE requiring an ambulance to attend. We wish him well.

I am pleased to report that the situation due to staff illness seems to be improving. We are doing our best to cover for the short absences so that students are not overly disadvantaged. 

On Friday morning we will be observing the 2 minutes silence in remembrance of those lost. This will be preceded by a short presentation in all tutor groups explaining to students why this is so important. Please do talk to your children at home about this.

Message from Sixth Form Fundraising Committee.
We have several plans for fundraising on Friday 18th November for Children In Need. One of these will be a non-uniform day, costing £1, please can your child to bring in their £1 on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. A Sixth Form student will collect the money during tutor time.

On the day, there will also be ‘fairground’ style games, please encourage your daughter/son to bring some money on the day for the opportunity to win some prizes and throw sponges at the staff!

Tuesday 8 November

Chelsea’s Choice production for year 8 students, which focuses upon the sensitive issues of exploitation was very well received. Thanks to the fantastic visiting company.

Year 11 mock examinations start on Friday, we hope that parents/carers of year 11 students are supporting them in being focused in this important activity.

Winter bugs have descended on Millbrook staff and we are experiencing a higher level of absence than earlier in the term. Rest assured we are doing all we can to ensure that students continue to work with purpose in the absence of any regular teacher. 

Guys and Dolls rehearsals are going well with a high level of student involvement. Starting to look forward to the performances in February.

Wednesday 19 October

I think we are all relieved to have reached the end of term 1, we have all staff, students and parents, been very busy in our respective roles and I have no doubt that we are deserving of a few days respite. I was pleased to spend time with Year 11 students on the recommendation of Mr Foran to congratulate them on their ongoing hard work and achievement. I was particularly interested to learn of their post-16 plans.

Today we say farewell to Susie O’Sullivan, who has worked at the Academy as a Teaching Assistant. We wish her well in her graduate studies.

I have today written a newsletter to parents/carers which will be available through Parentmail and the Academy website in the next day or so.

I look forward to welcoming back students and staff on Monday 31st October.

Tuesday 18 October

Well done to the Roald Dahl competition winners. They will be awarded their prizes by their tutors and I will congratulate them personally in the new term. The prizes range from a set of Roald Dahl books to Roald Dahl mugs. Thank you to Miss Clarke for coordinating this competition and prizes.

I am looking forward to meeting year 11 students in tutor time tomorrow on the recommendation of Mr Foran to congratulate them on their ongoing hard work and achievement.

Well done to our year 8 students who attracted such positive comments in accessing the Assist programme at Nature in Art.

We have launched our Social Time Charter this week to help the students take increasing responsibility for regulating their conduct at break and lunchtime.

Attendance and application from our older students has been pleasing in their Business, Health & Fitness and English formal assessments.

Friday 14 October

Year 7’s had a great trip to Goodrich Castle today and returned cold, tired but happy. They will sleep well tonight.

The students in year 13 who are applying for university are working really hard and one application has been sent to UCAS already. This is the earliest we have ever sent forms off - the deadline is mid-January! We hope to send off at least two more before we break up for half term.

Good first week with our examinations for year 11 students, these continue for some into next week.

Thanks to the fire service for providing a really enjoyable course for some of our year 8 students and for helping them understand and manage personal risk.

Thursday 13 October

Well done to year 10 boy’s rugby team who won away at Archway with a score of 32-22 after extra time. They now progress to the third round.

We were proud of Year 9, 10 and 11 students who engaged very well with local businesses and educational providers at the Careers Fair yesterday. Well done Mrs Henry for organising such a good event.

I am looking forward to spending time tomorrow with our top performing students in year 10.

Good luck to the year 11 students who are taking their mock exam for IGCSE English tomorrow.

Wednesday 12 October


Good news in that the Police had already identified the individual who posted the message regarding clowns. She/he was dealt with by the police and the incident is closed.

Thanks to the parents who have notified the Academy regarding the note on Facebook last evening regarding a clown threat. Please be reassured that the site is secure and that we have a strong adult presence at all times. Whilst the Facebook note is almost certainly meaningless, I have advised the Police as a precaution.

Tuesday 11 October 

Congratulations to the Catering team who were awarded top marks today by the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) who made a no notice visit. Keep up the good work Kirsty and the team.

Our best wishes go to Jo Acland (Head of English) who has possibly broken her arm following a fall yesterday. Miss Acland is very resilient and hopes to be back in the next few days!

Well done to the young carers who handed over today a cheque for £365 to Gloucestershire Young Carers.

Best of luck to our year 8 students who are involved in a project with the fire service tomorrow.

Monday 10 October

Another day with 100% staff attendance, this means out students get a good deal.

Plans are in place for the Goodrich Castle trip. It sounds like year 7 are going to have a great day on Friday.

We are looking forward to hosting a Careers Fair on Wednesday for Years 9, 10 and 11. We have 25 local businesses and educational providers here to advise and support our students. Thanks in advance to them all.

I was pleased to visit Cheltenham Town Football Club as well as their training ground this afternoon. We have an association with them at post 16 level and it was good to see the young footballers in training.

Friday 7 October

The Department for Education visit went well yesterday, our visitors acknowledged the improvements we are making. There remains a long journey in front of us!

Principal Interviews

I have been informed that Principal interviews that were scheduled for next week have been postponed. I will update with any further information as I receive it.

The resources and useful websites for homework will be published on the website on Monday, I hope this will help parents/carers in supporting their children.

The Exams and Controlled Assessment calendar will be published on the website next week, although it may be subject to updates and minor changes, I hope it will help both students and their supporters in being organised.

Congratulations to Year 10 boys who progressed in the Natwest Cup, disappointingly they had a walk over. The opposition obviously heard how good they are!

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday 6 October

Today we have a visit from the Department of Education with 2 representatives, Louise Soden and Jo Hampton. Later in the day they will be joined by the Regional Commissioner for Schools, Rebecca Clarke. They are visiting to see how the Academy is progressing.

Homework Resources and Useful websites are currently being collated following the parents meetings, we hope to distribute this either tomorrow or early next week.

The re zoning of the Academy site at break times and lunch times seems to be going quite well and thanks to students who have responded positively. This is intended to help us better monitor the students at these times so that we know they are safe and well cared for.

Good luck to Year 10 boys in their Natwest Cup fixture against Newent this evening.

Monday 3 October

Day 1 of our new zoning at break time and lunch time seems to have gone smoothly. Thanks to the students for responding well to this.

Welcome to Alistair Mackenzie who will continue the maternity leave cover for Jennie Breeden in English.

Another busy day in preparing for our Open Evening tomorrow, looks like lots of our students have volunteered. 

Friday 30 September

I have asked subject leaders to provide links to homework resources, which should be published on the website on Friday 7 October.

The examination outcomes for 2016 have now been published on the Academy’s website.

Free School Meals. Canteen Manager has expressed some concern that students entitled to a free school meal don’t always spend their allowance wisely and often purchase drinks and snacks rather than a meal. Please can parents advise their children about trying to maintain some balance in their diet.

This week we have told the students about the new zoning arrangements for break times and lunchtimes. This is so that we can better supervise so they are well cared for. I expect next week maybe a bit bumpy as both students and staff adjust to this.

Prepared to Learn

posted 3 May 2016, 03:56 by Miriam Wright

It was so good to see so many parents at our 'Prepared to Learn' information evenings. We are clearly agreed that students are here to learn and their learning should never be disrupted. The first week of 'Prepared to Learn' went well, students and staff reported that lessons flowed better and more learning took place. We will continue to monitor this.

Year 10 are back from work experience and I look forward to hearing how they got on, having spent a week in the work place. I am confident they will quickly slot into 'Prepared to Learn'.

Millbrook's Performing Arts Department

posted 15 Apr 2016, 03:16 by Miriam Wright   [ updated 15 Apr 2016, 03:32 ]

Great news! Millbrook's Performing Arts Department has been shortlisted for Drama Department of the year in the prestigious TES Teaching Awards. Mrs Cameron and Mrs Henry will be attending the awards ceremony in London in June.

It is a great honour to have made the short list and is excellent testament to the Departments work within Millbrook Academy and the wider community.

Amazing audition wows UCLAN

posted 10 Mar 2016, 02:06 by   [ updated 14 Mar 2016, 01:51 ]

I was absolutely delighted to hear that after attending an audition at UCLAN, Millie Sanyama was offered a place there and then to study a BA in Acting. 

Places are seldom offered directly after an audition so we are very proud of Millie.

During her time at Millbrook Academy Millie has been involved in many of the school productions including West Side Story, Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd.

Celebrating Talent at Millbrook

posted 15 Feb 2016, 06:13 by   [ updated 15 Feb 2016, 10:59 ]

Friday 12 February was a superb day at Millbrook.  In the afternoon we saw the premiere of the song written and produced by a group of Year 8 and 9 students. Having written and rehearsed it, the video and sound recording was carried out at Postlip Hall in Winchcombe.  A large audience of parents, friend and family, The Rotary Club and the local Parish Council were visibly moved as they watched the film. The song was incredible and showcased some excellent future talent.  

Friday evening saw the final performance of ‘West Side Story.’  The show was a sell out, with many audience members returning as they had enjoyed it so much on previous nights. It was lovely to see Year 7 singing and dancing alongside Year 13.  By Friday night I was running out of adjectives to say how good the performance was, we have some very talented students at Millbrook.  They have been rehearsing since September and it showed, the show was highly professional and my thanks must go to the students, Mrs Cameron, Mrs Henry and Ms Hutton who gave freely of their time to make a truly memorable production.  

To watch the video of the students performing their song please click here

A busy week at MBA!

posted 8 Feb 2016, 01:23 by

Last week was a busy week!

We …

  •          introduced a one way system on the top corridor of the main block. Students have been fantastic and are cooperating with this.
  •         listened to students who have asked for the ‘return of the planner’ and we hope to have some good news on that after half term.
  •         spent time looking into lockers, where we can put them etc. and are optimistic that all students will have access to a locker in the summer term.
  •         launched a trial of Mathletics for some students.
  •        saw improvements in school uniform and students being equipped for lessons. This remains a focus from us.

Thank you to all students who behave respectfully towards staff and allow learning to happen. We will continue with our zero tolerance approach towards students who do not meet expectations.

Post Ofsted Parent Forum

posted 22 Jan 2016, 03:33 by   [ updated 26 Jan 2016, 00:02 ]

It was heart warming to meet and hear so many supportive parents at last nights Parents' Forum. As was said, school improvement is not a five minute task, but we have already made inroads. 

I look forward to your continued support and value your good wishes. 

iGCSE English Exam Success

posted 19 Jan 2016, 04:26 by   [ updated 19 Jan 2016, 04:27 ]

Results days are always exciting and I was delighted to walk into school today to be confronted by a beaming Miss Acland. 

Having taken the examination in November 2015, 69% of Year 11 secured A*-C grades for their iGCSE English Language. This is a significant improvement from last year’s results and all credit to the English department and students both of whom worked really hard to achieve these results. 

This is a real boost for the student’s confidence and a great platform for the summer examinations.

MBA Welcomes New Principal Lesley Moule.

posted 7 Jan 2016, 08:52 by   [ updated 12 Feb 2016, 01:37 ]

I have really enjoyed my first week at Millbrook. The staff and students have been most welcoming. Through year group assemblies I have managed to speak to all the students. In the assemblies I set a challenge to each year group; be better than the year group that preceded you. That is, I want current Year 7 to have more ePraise points, better attendance, better attainment, fewer red cards and fewer lates than current Year 8. Year 8 have to achieve better than current Year 9, Year 9 better than last years Year 9 and so on.  I will keep the year groups updated on how they are progressing. I also spoke to the students about Lewis Hamilton. When he accepted an award he thanked the 1300 people who enable him to be world champion; the mechanics, the data analysts, the nutritionists etc. I reminded the students that they are not alone in facing their challenges; Millbrook is lucky in having such an extensive support network. I wish you all a Happy New year.

Christmas 2015

posted 16 Dec 2015, 04:00 by

My final website blog as Interim Principal of Millbrook Academy is a simple one. It is one of a huge thank you to all members of the Academy community; for making me welcome and working with me to make this a good place to be and learn.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year that is enriching and fulfilling.

Roger Gilbert

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