West Lakes Academy Students Celebrate A Level Results

West Lakes Academy students, parents and staff are celebrating the 2018 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, Lettie Wareing, has achieved A*, A*, A grades and is considering studying Psychology at Lancaster University
  • Head Boy, Joseph Mellen, has achieved A*, B, B grades and will study Dentistry at Newcastle University
  • Deputy Head Girl, Amber Whyte, has achieved A*, A*, A* grades and will study Medicine at University of Edinburgh
  • Juliet Patrick has achieved A*, A*, A grades and will study The History of Art at Cambridge University
  • Brandon Stevens has achieved A, A, A and is going to study Medicine and Surgery at Newcastle University
  • Conor Tyson has achieved A*, A, B grades and is considering studying Natural Sciences
  • Aoife Bannon has achieved 4 A grades and is off to Queen’s University Belfast to study Medicine
  • Laura Mariannou has achieved distinction*, A*, A, A and is considering studying Acting at several universities

Barry Simpson, Assistant Principal and Director of Sixth Form at West Lakes Academy, commented:

‘We are delighted to see all of our students receiving their outstanding A level and vocational results today. This is another year of incredible results which takes our students attainment and the Academy’s ability to deliver top class results ever forwards.

The effort and level of commitment that has been put in by students, their parents, carers and their teachers could not be higher and the fact that every student has achieved amazing success speaks volumes about commitment and effort being the key to unlocking access to the highest of aspirations.

Students will use their results to study a huge range of subjects across the entire United Kingdom at some of the highest internationally regarded universities. Their results have also allowed them to be successful in obtaining places on higher and advanced level apprenticeships within the local area, enabling some of our brightest learners to remain within the local region for the foreseeable future.’

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 2018 results underline their 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.”

Anyone wishing for more information on West Lakes Academy, including its sixth form, should contact: contactus@westlakesacademy.org.uk

West Lakes Academy Student Awards Evening 2018!

Parents and carers, students, staff and governors joined together on Tuesday 17 July 2018 at the annual awards event to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our students over the past year.

Over 250 guests attended the prestigious annual event, which honours students for a range of achievements including: academic achievement, student leadership, overcoming adversity and involvement in extracurricular activities.

The event had a ‘circus’ theme with the ceremony held in a marquee in the academy grounds. Flowers, balloons and circus décor adorned the marquee and guests were treated to a circus themed treats served by the student hospitality team. The academy’s talented piano player, Year 10 student Joseph Alderson, played for guests alongside our academy choir and guests were treated to a showcase of dancing for our outstanding performing arts students. There was also had an exceptional performance from our magician Matthew Garrett. On arrival to the academy an art exhibition of students’ work was on display and there was also the chance for guests to watch a screening of our recent Rock Challenge winning performance.

During the ceremony a talk was given by guest speaker and former student Thomas Heslop, who is aiming to start a masters in the new year. Tom spoke to the students about making the most of the opportunities on offer at the academy and how to achieve your goals.

Notable winners from the evening include Hollie Morton O’Fee (Year 12) who picked up three awards for excellence in art, Head of Year award and top student in Year 12. Beth Walker (Year 12) was awarded the Zenith Award for the top student, chosen by the Principal. Elouise Weaver (Year 9) was presented with the Apollo Award for ‘Learner of the Year’ for making outstanding progress across all of her subjects.

The event was led by Melissa Relph, Assistant Principal who commented, “The event was joint effort from across the academy community. Staff and students came together, working hard for weeks to make sure that the event was a huge success. We have been inundated with feedback from parents and students about how special the event was and how much they enjoyed themselves. Congratulations to every one of the students who received an award and well done to all of our performers.”

Beth Walker winner of the Principal’s Zenith Award with Mr Jonathan Johnson

Students performance of a song from The Greatest Showman

West Lakes Academy win second place in the Rock Challenge national dance competition

A talented team of students has scooped second place in the finals of the national dance competition. Students and staff from West Lakes Academy in Egremont are celebrating after their success at the Be Your Best Rock Challenge National Final on July 14 2018.

Out of over 300 schools, including 20,000 participants, the WLA group were awarded the second place position – continuing their title as reining Northern Premier Champions! Nine schools from across the whole of the UK had won through their qualifying events. The national final took place at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. In addition to West Lakes Academy they came from Dorset, Buckinghamshire, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kinross-shire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Aberdeenshire

The team’s performance was called Strike. Protest. Revolt. Red October.

‘In 1917 Russia the people of Russia were struggling to survive – brought to their knees by starvation and ignorance of the monarchy. Workers forced to strike. Thousands protested – met with a shower of bullets that only fuelled their anger. Will they be able to force change and end a 300 year dynasty? Or will they die in this bid to survive?’

Rock Challenge lead teacher Jenny Whitaker said she was extremely proud of the pupils.

“I don’t think we would have won if we hadn’t had so much support from parents, staff, people within the community and the dedication of the students,” she said

Speaking after the finals, she added: “We are absolutely thrilled with our National Final success. To compete in the National Final was enough but to come away with second place was the icing on the cake for our 2018 journey. We cannot thank everyone enough for their support all year and also their well wishes and congratulations”

The school also received awards of excellence in: soundtrack, entertainment, visual enhancement, performance skill, concept, set design and function, costuming

The performance was extremely strong and evocative, utilising amazing set choices that fluidly and professionally moved around the stage, creating the backdrop for dramatic performance from the streets of St Petersburg to a recreation of the storming of the Royal Palace. Judges stated that the piece was ‘incredible’ and that they really enjoyed it. They also praised the clear passion within the piece including performers, set and costume. ‘Emotions were clearly high throughout this educated and mature piece all the way through to its empowered finale’

Beth Walker, Year 12 student and main character of the event, said:

‘My highlight of the whole day was probably within these first nerve-wracking minutes– the team found a collaborative voice and channelled our passion and enthusiasm as one person started to sing ‘From Now On’ from the hit film ‘The Greatest Showman’. Before I knew it the entire team, including stage crew, were singing together as a team. After this, everyone was united and ready to smash the rehearsal– and we most certainly did! The standard was so extremely high and we knew that this was going to be a tough competition! Everyone was silent until…”West Lakes Academy!” was called. There was a roar of screams– everyone hugged and cried as were awarded 2nd place at The Rock Challenge National Final! It honestly felt like a dream come true!! I could not be prouder of the team and all of our hard work over these past 9 months!’


West Lakes Academy are U14 Cricket County Champions

WLA were crowned the Under14 Cricket County Champions in dramatic fashion on Thursday 12th of July; this is the first time since the old Wyndham School won the trophy forty years ago.

Here is the full match report:

Playing at Keswick Cricket Club, WLA lost the toss and were put in to bat by Nelson Thomlinson. We made a fast start, with openers Matthew Harrison and Olly Wilford putting on 73 for the first wicket. Matthew fell, caught at cover for 43. Olly steadied the ship, played a captain’s innings to make 46 and was only out in the very last over. He was ably supported by Ewan Campbell, who made 15, and the big hitting Lewis Baker who scored 20 not out. Oldham took 3 wickets for 17 runs for Nelson Thomlinson. WLA finished with an impressive 157 for 6.

Then the rain came, for nearly an hour and as a consequence it was agreed that the overs should be reduced and Duckworth Lewis used to calculate the total.

Nelson Thomlinson were set a winning target of 105, with it being agreed that 104 would be a tie.

The innings commenced, NTS started brightly but were pegged back by a quick and aggressive spell of bowling from Matthew Harrison who took 1 wicket for the loss of 14 runs in his 3 overs. Lewis Hunter also bowled a tidy spell; 3 overs for 20 runs. Captain Olly Wilford managed the field well. The Nelson Thomlinson Captain, Johnstone finished 54 not out, a superb knock in the circumstances.

NTS needed 11 to win off the final over; Greg Wilson from WLA bowled it. NTS almost made it, finishing with a 2 off the final ball and scoring 10 to tie the scores.

Following a further discussion led by the umpire, a super over was to be bowled. This is a single over for each team, with the highest score winning.

WLA won the toss and elected to field. Matthew Harrison bowled the over. The scoring was 2 from the first ball, 1 from the second. The third ball was a wicket, the middle stump knocked from the ground. 1 was scored from the fourth ball. Nothing from the fifth. Wicket from the sixth, caught behind by the keeper, Wilford. Total: 4 runs for 2 wickets.

WLA needed 5 to win. First ball was a wide, so 1 scored. Second ball was edged by Harrison, past the keeper, WLA scampered 3. Wilford on strike and he calmly as ever nudged the ball into a gap and ran 1. Scored 5 from three balls.

West Lakes Academy crowned U14 Cricket County Champions.

A huge thanks to those who have supported the team throughout: Egremont Cricket Club for hosting our matches, Keswick Cricket Club for hosting the final. Chris Allason for all his hard work in running the competitions. The two umpires; Mr Johnstone and Mr Houghton. Finally, David Stubbings, our volunteer umpire, minibus driver and scorer.

Team in full: Olly Wilford, Matthew Harrison, Jamie Martin, Lewis Hunter, Ewan Campbell, Greg Wilson, Lewis Baker, Ben Blythe, James Messenger, Edward Clough, Josh Pennington, Owen O’Neil, Jack Pollard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Student council magazine- Collaborare

Introducing our student council magazine Collaborare all content was chosen and written by the student council. Enjoy!

Collaborare Magazine 

Year 11 Prom

West Lakes Academy’s prom took place at The Red Admiral in Gosforth, with 147 guests in attendance to celebrate the end of year 11 and the end of their exams. The evening started with students arriving in an array of different vintage cars and tractors. The atmosphere was electric with hundreds of students, friends, family, staff and the general public congregating at the academy to see the students on their way.

The prom committee demonstrated amazing teamwork thought-out the year to ensure the prom would be something they would be proud of. The elegant woodland theme they had envisaged, really did come to life all around the marquee.

From the very beginning the students were up dancing and didn’t stop until the end, all thanks to DJ Paul Seath. A special awards ceremony was held during the evening where the students were awarded for their special talents and achievements. Toby Corrie was awarded ‘Prom King’ and Mia Lightfoot ‘Prom Queen’, and the best dressed girl and boy went to Tara Doran and Jake McBride. The night was captured by former student and photographer, Ailsa Cowen.

Head of Year 11, Holly Donaldson commented, “The evening was stunning from beginning to end. It was an absolute delight to see the students celebrating the night away. They all looked stunning and to see them looking all grown up was emotional. It really was a fabulous night”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Great Cumbria Litter Pick

We were delighted to be invited by Egremont Town Council to this summer’s litter pick.  It is an absolute pleasure to support our local community and share the skills of our amazing students.  WLA was among a number of local organisations supporting the pick and we were overwhelmed by messages of support from the Egremont towns people and the very generous offer of money to fund ice creams.  

Well done to our community litter pickers – Alex Cormack, Lily Pringle, Annabel Hryb, Scartlett Graham, Thanisha Sharma and Ms Tuck




Saturday 30th June- Rock Challenge Northern Premier Final

On Friday 29th June a team of over 100 students, staff and volunteers travelled to Grimsby for the Northern Premier Final of Rock Challenge 2018. Staying over in Hull that night ready for our jam packed day of rehearsals and show preparation. Saturday morning arrived and team WLA enjoyed a hearty breakfast together in the hotel, the energy and excitement was brewing.

We arrived at Grimsby auditorium and we were greeted by the staff checking security measures were securely in place. As we entered the main auditorium the sound of hundreds of screaming students echoed all around. The music was blaring and team WLA were eager to join in.

The rehearsals began and we could tell the standard was going to be high. Everyone was very supportive of each school and cheered and clapped throughout. Then it was our turn, nearly every seat in the auditorium was full and we definitely had something to prove as the previous year’s winners. Our first rehearsal was good but we knew we could do better. After a little pep talk and some small adjustments to set, we were ready to rock! 8 minutes passed, the passion and drive from all of team WLA was amazing and we absolutely smashed it!

We were performing 3rd in the show that evening so we then had to work on hair, make up and costume until the very last minute.

We all anxiously lined up ready to enter the stage as our stage crew set up in their allotted time.

Olivia Stagg in year 12 was chosen as our co-host and introduced our performance in a professional and mature manner.

The lights then came up and the performance started.

It was 8 minutes of pure commitment from all performers, stage crew, lighting and video directors. What we had worked so hard towards for the past 9 months was finally being seen by such a large audience and it couldn’t have gone any better. We received fantastic feedback from the judges commenting on our costumes, drama and set design and function.

Now it was time to await the results. Tthe whole auditorium went silent as hundreds of staff and students listened and watched.

We received a number of awards- stage crew, entertainment, concept, costume in character, set design and function, performance skill, drama, visual enhancement, choreography and stage use. Additionally we won Performer’s Choice, an award which is chosen by the other schools. They then announced 5th and 4th place. The top 3 schools would go to Rotherham and compete in the National Final that only happens every three years. 3rd place was announced and then 2nd. We held our breath and wished to hear our name being called. And the winner of the Northern Premier Final 2018 is……WEST LAKES ACADEMY!! The whole team went wild, celebrating together for at least 10 minutes. We couldn’t believe it that all our hard work had paid off. The other schools were absolutely outstanding and the result could have gone either way. When our students reps returned to the sports hall with the winning trophy the sheer happiness from all of team WLA was priceless. Everyone was truly proud of what we had achieved together.

Now we have to get back to work to make sure our performance is National Final ready for Saturday 14th July. No matter what the outcome is, 2018 has been another successful year for team WLA and we are already looking forward to expanding the team in September welcoming our new year 7 students.

Last but not least we would like to say a massive thank you EVERYONE involved in ANY way that has helped us this year. We could not do it without everyone’s continued support.

Mrs Whitaker has commented :“The students involved in Rock Challenge at West Lakes Academy are totally unique. Every year I see them go from the audition stages back in September to performing at Grimsby and they somehow leave me speechless. They turn up to rehearsal every week with smiles on their faces and ready to take any challenge we throw at them. As always I was immensely proud on Saturday, not just from what they did on stage but the support they give to other schools especially Whitehaven Academy and St Benedict’s is a joy to see. I say it every single year but being able to work with such inspirational students is the best job in the world. Now we just need to keep it up for the National Final….BRING IT ON!!!”

WLA’s Business Manager overjoyed to receive MBE

Stephen Lester – was recently presented with an exceptional award for his dedication to education and he could not be more delighted.


An award like this is only given to those who show the most outstanding service to their community, so it is no surprise that our business manager, Stephen Lester, was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2018.


Mr Lester said that he did not receive the news until mid-May, a week after the letter had been delivered to his old address, where he lived 2 years ago. When he received a phone call from the Cabinet Office, he was very confused – he told me his thoughts at the time: “What have I got to do with the Cabinet Office?” When finding out the good news, Mr Lester was “really chuffed. It was so unexpected and such a surprise.”


Upon receiving the news, he could not tell anyone straight away – “I was walking around the academy smiling all day and no one knew why.” He could, however, tell his close family who he said were very proud of him. They had told him “no one in the family has ever received something like this.”


Mr Lester made the decision to completely change his career 11 years ago, and over a decade of dedication to being a managing director has clearly paid off – he worked in two other schools before he began working at West Lakes Academy, three years ago, and the academy has surely grown and improved in the past few years, which could not have happened without his work in the school.


Mr Lester is also involved in the Education and Skills Funding Agency Academies Finance and Assurance Steering Group, which looks into improving the systems and procedures of academies all over the country and delivering benefits to the Department for Education. As well as this, he is chairman of one of three sub groups under the steering group. He was nominated for the award by a fellow member of the Department for Education.


Mr Lester says he will find out the date and venue for receiving his award as well as who will present it to him in a couple of months. In July or August, he will travel there to accept the award where he is allowed to bring 3 guests – his wife and two children.


West Lakes Academy’s Principal, Mr Johnson said: ‘He’s such a humble and unassuming chap but a tremendous asset to the education system across the entire country and we’re all delighted that he works at West Lakes Academy! I am honoured to work so closely with him.’


Everyone at the academy – both staff and students alike – is extremely proud of our Business Manager for this tremendous achievement.


Written by,

Emily Cockbain

Social Media Influencer


West Lakes Academy pupils shout ‘This is me!’

On Monday May 14 2018 at morning break students and teachers brought the academy to life with a surprise flash mob using the hit song, ‘This is me’ from the iconic show The Greatest Showman.

The flash mob began with a small group of students declaring ‘This is me’ to the camera, leading in to an impressive vocal performance from two Year 9 boys – Rhys Roberts and Haydan Small. It continued with over fifty students dancing, filling the main entrance of the academy. The choreography was inspired by the film and was led by Post-16 students Hannah Burgess, Hannah Coulthard and Beth Walker.

The inspiring performance served to deliver a beautiful message to students, telling them to be confident and believe in themselves, especially those about to begin their exams. The video, which was released on the academy’s Facebook page, has been enthusiastically received by the wider Facebook community. At the time of writing, the post has received over 40k views, 750 shares and over 1,500 supportive and emotive comments. We are stunned by the response, exceedingly grateful and overwhelmed by all of the amazing feedback.

Beth Walker said ‘Leading up to the flash mob, everything was so exciting, especially as it was a huge secret. I think that it is so important to shed some positive light and just have fun, especially leading up to exam season! The reaction from both the academy and the community is overwhelming and I am so proud of the outcome!!’

Hannah Burgess: ‘Honestly, I was nervous originally. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to bring such a talent-infused routine together – but after six weeks it paid off. I am so proud and thankful to every student and staff member who participated and enjoyed being a part of the flash mob. It’s amazing how one group of individuals can come together over time to unite as a team and express how proud we are of ourselves and each other for being true to our identities. I’m also shocked about the amount of people who have seen, liked and shared our video across social media.’

Mrs Sunter, who coordinated the whole event, commented, ‘I am so proud of everyone who played their part, from those watching to those involved. The support of this positive message wouldn’t be possible without all of them. I completely feel full of pride and humbled to be part of team WLA.’