Welcome Year 7

Our new Year 7 students are settling in to academy life and approaching their new classes with lots of passion and enthusiasm.

Head of Year 7, Miss Kerr said: “I am very impressed with the way that our new Year 7 students have started the academy. I have loved hearing positive feedback I have received from teaching staff about how well they are doing in lessons. Collectively our Year 7 students have already earned over 600 merits for meeting the academy values and expectations. Many Year 7 students have already tried out our after school clubs, especially homework club and we are all very excited for the Derwentwater residential.”

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Electronic Products – Year 7 have started to design and make an electronic nerve tester, they have learnt about different electronic components and analysed existing hand held products.

Geography -Students have been looking at what geography means and what we study. They have also looked at examples of physical and human geography.

Food and Nutrition – students have been exploring fruits and creating fruit salad recipes to create next lesson, to encourage us to eat at least five a day. The skills they will be mastering will be peeling, slicing, dicing and using the claw grip and bridge grip during the practical lessons.

French – Year 7 have been busy learning greetings and introductions, we have had fun asking each other how we are and what our names are, we also learnt how to spell our names out in French.  We have a fabulous groups of linguists in Year 7 this year.

History – Year 7 have had a really positive start in history and their their teachers have been impressed with how focused they have been.

Science – Students have been looking at safety and practical skills. So, they have lit Bunsen burners and practised planning an experiment. They have also carried out their first practical, where they investigated whether salty water boils faster than pure water. They behaved superbly and were a credit to themselves.

Art – Year 7 fine art have been looking at Leonardo Da Vinci and learning how to draw ‘The Vitruvian Man’. They have been focusing on achieving accurate shape and proportion, linking it to their home learning summer task.

Photography – Year 7 photography have started their ‘Creative Landscapes’ topic. They have discussed the course and some of the photographers they are going to study this term. They then created their title pages out of found objects that reflect nature and photographed it to be printed out for their front covers.

P.E – In PE we have been taking part in gymnastics, football, rugby and netball. Fixtures begin this week and the PE department can’t wait for extra curricular activities to begin. The timetable will be added on the website.

Music – Year 7 have made a fantastic start to their music lessons, with everyone learning the ukulele this half term. They have already learnt two chords, c and f and have been playing the song ‘Just a little bit’.

English – Year 7 have been learning about the conventions of detective and spy fiction and some students have written the openings to their own detective story in their ‘Big Write’ time.

Personal Development – Students have been spending time getting to know their peers with some communication challenges and games. They have also been looking at the challenges they might face in secondary school and how they might overcome them. They have also been sharing their summer human body project with some impressive models created.

Religious Studies – Year 7 have been working on identity and who they are both on the inside and outside. They have enjoyed sharing their ideas and showcasing their personalities.





Academy Featured in Sellafield Magazine

West Lakes Academy features in two articles in the latest issue of the Sellafield Magazine. 

The academy’s English department recently worked with the stakeholder relations team to offer Year 8 students the chance to take part in a creative writing exercise. Students were asked to write an article about ‘what they didn’t know about Sellafield’ and the results can be found on page 70.

A write up about the academy’s recent Ofsted report is also featured and can be found on page 74.


Exam Results 2017

West Lakes Academy is celebrating another year of record breaking exam results.

A staggering 71% of students gained five or more A*-C and equivalent grades including English and mathematics, an increase from 64% in 2016, continuing the academy’s outstanding improvement over the past eight years.

Almost half of students achieved a strong pass of grade 5 or higher in English and mathematics, with a 4 the new grade set by the government as a standard pass.

The grades across eight key subjects have also improved from 2016, with the academy achieving an Attainment 8 score of 51.08 compared to last year’s score of 46.5 (using the equivalent methods of calculation.)

The academy also performed exceptionally well at Key Stage 5. The average grade at A Level has increased from a C to a B and this would place the academy in the top 25% nationally. The progress made in applied general subjects has also greatly improved. The academy’s progress score of +0.80 for applied general subjects has increased from +0.35 the previous year and this would maintain the academy’s position in the top 10% nationally for vocational qualifications.

Principal, Jonathan Johnson commented:

“We have had another record breaking year with improvements across all headline measures. This has continued our annual rise in results; we just keep getting better. I am delighted for the students and their families who have seized the opportunity to have their lives changed by learning at West Lakes Academy. I would like to pay tribute to my staff, the governors and sponsors who are a blessing to the community we serve. It is a humbling privilege to lead and work them.”

Students compete in national engineering final

A team of students from West Lakes Academy recently competed in the national final of The Engineering Education Scheme in London.

The Engineering Education Scheme in England is a programme which links teams of four Year 12 students and their teacher with local companies to work on real scientific, engineering and technological problems. The scheme provides the students with an in-depth experience of STEM subjects that will enable them to make informed decisions about their future studies and career.

During a six month programme students gain experience working on a project set by a local company. The project enables them to take part in a site visit, work with professional and graduate engineers and take part in a three day university based workshop.

The West Lakes Academy team: Keiron Hodgson, Sam Nugent, Faris Redza and Amber Whyte have worked with Ian Wills and Nick Kennovin from the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) on a project entitled ‘Container Grout Curing Process’.

The team travelled to the IET building in London to compete against three teams from across the UK. The team presented their project and final solution in a formal presentation and written technical report and were subject to two hours of questioning from a panel of judges.

West Lakes Academy science teacher, Dr Sandie Dixon commented: “The EES team presented their engineering project in the prestigious (Institute of Engineering Technology) IET building in Savoy Place in London earlier this week. They had a gruelling day presenting, answering questions to a panel of judges (some of whom kept returning just to check facts). They then had to man their display stand and were questioned by members of the EES and the public. To get to this National Future Industrial Leaders Award event they had to win the Northern EES heat in Newcastle and then win through the North West Contribution to Business Awards in Sheffield. The project started almost a year ago (only four out of the original 200 teams that took part made it this far). Amazing students and I am so proud of them all. LLWR ( our industrial partners ) informed them at the event that their project reduced the time scales of the decommissioning of Bradwell nuclear power station by accelerating the waste disposal programme leading to a £60million saving to the British economy!”

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Academy awarded national teaching school status

The principal and staff at West Lakes Academy have been selected for top roles supporting schools in challenging circumstances and training new teachers.

West Lakes Academy principal and chief executive, Jonathan Johnson is one of more than 75 headteachers to be appointed to the role of national leader of education in the latest recruitment round. National leaders of education along with staff in their school – appointed as national support schools – use their knowledge and experience to provide additional leadership capability in other schools in need of support.

The type of support provided is flexible and tailored to meet the needs of each individual school. National leaders of education also have responsibility for developing the next generation of NLEs and national support schools.

West Lakes Academy is also one of over 65 schools that has been selected to become a national teaching school in the latest recruitment round, taking a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession.

Introduced in 2011, teaching schools are excellent schools that work with partner schools in an alliance to provide high quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career. They raise standards through supporting other schools, especially those in challenging circumstances, and ensure that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful headteachers.

Jonathan Johnson, principal and chief executive of West Lakes Academy, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded teaching school status. Becoming a teaching school not only recognises the skills of our staff, the support of our governors and sponsors, our innovative practice and our commitment to working collaboratively with colleagues, it also allows us the opportunity to continue to shape professional development opportunities whilst enhancing teaching and learning for all students. This is an exciting journey for West Lakes Academy and we are once again we are very proud of this fantastic achievement.”

Roger Pope, chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), said:

“I’d like to congratulate West Lakes Academy and Jonathan Johnson on being appointed as a teaching school and a national leader of education. They should be very proud of this achievement. Teaching schools and national leaders of education are at the heart of school improvement. They’re supporting other schools, attracting and training the best new teachers and developing the next generation of leaders. At NCTL, we want to do all we can to support their work.”

Successful headteachers have been invited to attend a national induction event.

Students celebrate 2017 GCSE results

West Lakes Academy staff and students are celebrating the 2017 GCSE results.

The academy is thrilled to announce a number of outstanding individual performances with high grades being achieved across the wide range of GCSE and equivalent qualifications.

  • Natasha Whyte: grade 9 in English Language and Maths, grade 7 in English Literature, A* in Biology, Performing Arts, Physics Spanish, A in Chemistry and RE, Distinction* in Health and Social Care and PE, Distinction in ICT
  • James Hryb: grade 9 in English Language and Maths, A* in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, RE and Spanish, B in performing Arts, 6 in English Literature, Distinction* in Engineering, Distinction in ICT
  • Beth Walker: grade 9 in English Language and English Literature, grade 8 in Maths, A* in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Performing Arts, Textiles, A in History, B in French and RE, Distinction in ICT
  • Katie St Barbe: grade 8 in English Literature, grade 7 in English Language and Maths, A* in Art, Biology and Geography, A in Chemistry and Physics, B in RE and Spanish, Distinction in PE
  • Adam Baker: grade 9 in English Language, English Literature and Maths, A* in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French, Performing Arts and RE, A in History, Distinction* in Engineering, Distinction in ICT
  • Sarah Umar: grade 9 in Maths and English Literature, grade 8 in English Language, A* in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French and RE, A in History, Distinction* in Business Studies, Distinction in ICT
  • Dominic Jackson: grade 9 in Maths, grade 8 in English Literature, grade 6 in English Language, A* in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French, History, Photography, A in RE, Distinction* in Engineering, Distinction in ICT


West Lakes Academy Principal, Jonathan Johnson was keen to congratulate the students, he said: “Our staff provide children world-class opportunities, giving them the platform to make their life extraordinary. There’s nothing more special than days like today when our students receive the reward for their achievements and resilience in making sure every special moment of every day counted. It is a humbling experience to witness.”

Earlier this year the Cumbria Association of Secondary Headteachers (CASH) invited the county’s schools to delay the publication of this year’s results, due to significant changes to GCSE and A Level grading. Many schools across the county have signed up, including West Lakes Academy who will publish their headline figures in September.

Mr Johnson said:“Cumbrian schools are proud to serve our children, their families and the communities they come from. This year there are more changes than ever to the grading system, grade boundaries and performance measures. With the most significant change coming in English and mathematics we are making sure that collectively and individually we have accurate data to share with the media, the public and other stakeholders who are as keen as we are to celebrate the successes of our children and to congratulate all of our school staff.”

Mr Johnson added:“As always there are a number of queries over re-marks and grade boundaries and so, once these have been completed we will issue our headline data. Our students, the children of our wonderful county and schools are also more than the sum of their grades and so today we want to celebrate the individuals who have shone for all sorts of reasons.”

Students receiving their GCSE results today who would like further information on West Lakes Academy Sixth Form Centre should contact Barry Simpson on 01946 820356 or via email: contactus@westlakesacademy.org.uk.

More photos can be found on our Facebook page. 


WLA students celebrate A Level results

West Lakes Academy staff and students are celebrating the 2017 A Level results.

The academy is thrilled to announce a number of outstanding individual performances with high grades being achieved across the wide range of A Levels and equivalent qualifications.

  • Head Girl, Emily Taylor has achieved A*, A, A grades and is off to Edinburgh University to study Medicine and Biological Chemistry.
  • Head Boy, Tom Bold has achieved A*, A, A grades and will study Mathematics at Newcastle University.
  • Charlotte Jackson has been offered a degree level apprenticeship with Gen2 after she achieved A, A, A grades.
  • Katy Alderson has achieved A*, A, A grades and will study Economics and Geography at Leeds University.
  • Lucy Brock has achieved A*, A*, A grades and will study Natural Sciences at Lancaster University.
  • Catherine Lobb has achieved A*, A*, A grades and will study Natural Sciences at Leeds University.
  • Matthew Mace has achieved distinction*, double distinction* and a distinction and will study Sports Therapy at Durham University.
  • Alex Hulse has achieved distinction*, distinction*, distinction* and a distinction and will study Sports Therapy at Edge Hill University.

Barry Simpson, assistant principal and head of sixth form at West Lakes Academy commented:

“It is a pleasure to see so many ecstatic students receiving what can only be described as another set of fantastic results for themselves and also West Lakes Academy. These students have dedicated themselves to two years of intensive study and this effort has culminated in some exceptional individual performances The most important thing about these results however is that they have provided a pathway not only for our students to further their education as far afield as London or Edinburgh but to also begin higher and advanced level apprenticeships within the local area and to begin to return the benefit of their studies to the local area and industries.”

Earlier this year the Cumbria Association of Secondary Headteachers (CASH) invited the county’s schools to delay the publication of this year’s results, due to significant changes to GCSE and A Level grading. Many schools across the county have signed up, including West Lakes Academy who will publish their headline figures in September.

Jonathan Johnson, principal of West Lakes Academy said:

“The continued hard work of the students and the inspirational teaching of our colleagues has been rewarded with the performance of our students. The 2017 results underline the seven-year commitment to study in our hard-working schools. There are many changes to A-level course content and we are making sure that collectively and individually our schools are able to share accurate information with the media, the public and other stakeholders who are as keen as we are to celebrate the successes of our children and to congratulate all of our school staff.

As always there are a number of queries over re-marks and grade boundaries and so, once that has been completed we will issue our headline data. For now, it is essential we focus on the real stars of today; the students.”

Please visit our Facebook page for more photos from the A Level results day.  


Project Control and Management Sessions

Year 10 students recently took part in a series of project control and management taster sessions with Jacobs Engineering.

Jacobs’ senior project manager, Dave Martin visited the academy to deliver an assembly to Year 10 about the range of career opportunities within project control and management. Following on from this, Year 10 were then given the opportunity to attend one of three taster events with Jacobs at West Lakes Science Park.

Students were asked to apply for a place in writing to Mrs Brown, she said, “The response was very good so we had three separate groups attend over the course of July. The students took part in a group activity which involved the planning, estimating, costing and risk factors of a project.  The project was a family trip to Florida with a really strict specification.”

The members of the winning teams were presented with a £10 Amazon voucher. The winners on day one were Jake Bonney, Jackson Law and Jason Tweedie.  On day two, Sam Appleby, Rebecca Hunter and Travis Short made up the winning team. On day three the winners were Mia Lightroot, Natasha Spedding and Jade Richardson.

Mrs Brown added, “The students have all gained a lot from the sessions, with many taking contact details to try and arrange work experience. The students were also keen to speak to the presenters, asking them how they got to where they are now, what qualifications and GCSE grades they would need. I feel it has given them a valuable insight into a potential career.  I can’t thank Jacobs, Dave Martin and his team enough, including ex WLA student Ellen Wildig for this fantastic opportunity that we have been given.  It is hoped that we can roll this out to future Year 10 groups.”

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Summer Term Parent Newsletter

Click the thumbnail image below to access the parent newsletter:

SMSC Day 2017

Personal development takes place at academy

Students at West Lakes Academy recently took part in SMSC Day – spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness – to aid personal development. They worked in tutor groups on a range of fun and informative activities focused on important issues and life skills.

Alongside LGBT issues and British identity, the sessions covered alcohol awareness, stress management and first aid.

Ms Walter said, “As diversity and identity evolves, students need to be educated allowing them to develop their own informed choices and opinions. The day also provides the opportunity for our students to learn new knowledge and skills with the support of many providers including the Fire Service, First Responders, Police and The Proud Trust, which will hopefully support them throughout their lives making them more resilient, informed and more able to cope in the challenges they face in the future.”

Community first responder volunteers worked with Year 8 students to show a variety of accident and emergency practices and procedures. These included learning the recovery position, CPR and training on how to use a defibrillator.

While pupils in year 12 looked at life skills which would equip them for life after school – either at university or entering the world of work.

Life skill activities included a food challenge, cooking healthy meals on a budget, money management, fire safety and car and road safety as our students approach the age in which they can drive.

The academy’s media studies students have created a special edition student newspaper and a video report about the event.

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