Silver CREST Awards

Three sixth form students have received the Silver Crest Award from The British Science Association for their work during a taster week organised by Cleator Moor based engineering company REACT.

The CREST award scheme is a UK program which recognises success and personal achievement in STEM project work (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

During the ‘Into Engineering’ week students worked on the theoretical exercise of decommissioning a radioactive vessel from a lab at Sellafield. In small groups the students had to design a solution and complete calculations to show how the vessels could be lifted remotely. They also had to find methods to efficiently cut up and stack the vessel once it had been removed.

To recognise the students hard work the Egremont academy held a special assembly for sixth form students Adam Aldridge, Kyle Stalker and Josh Wareing where the CREST awards were presented by Head of Science, Blake Hendren.

Anti Bullying Week

On Friday 21st November the Academy opened its doors to over 130 primary school students.  The students from local primary schools came to watch the Year 10 performing arts students perform pieces in support of Anti Bullying Week 2014.  This was part of their GCSE performing arts course.  The Year 10 students wanted to support Anti Bullying Week and promote the message that bullying will not be tolerated.  The audience loved the performances and laughed at all the right places.


Make Your Mark

Students at the Academy from Y7 to Y11 have recently been involved in the Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country. Students have voted for the issues that they would like to see debated in the Youth Parliament this month.  The top 3 issues identified by our students were:

Work Experience. We should have the chance to do at least a week’s placement, at a place of our choosing. We should have access to professionals who inspire us.

Bring back exam resits in Maths and English in English schools, and help us achieve our potential.

Euthanasia. With the assistance of a doctor and working within strict rules, terminally ill and extremely sick people should have the right to end their own life.

Young people were given their say in the House of Commons on the 14th November.  To find out the outcomes visit the website:

Letter from Downing Street

The Academy’s Year 7 students have received a letter from Prime Minister, David Cameron in response to their work on the ‘Send My Friend to School’ campaign.

In the summer term, all Year 7 students looked at the national ‘Send My Friend to School’ campaign which strives for all children around the world to be in education by 2015 with the focus this year on the lack of education for children with special educational needs. The students completed a mini research project and had the opportunity to write letters to local MP Jamie Reid explaining the importance of ‘education for all’ and asking for his support in helping drive the campaign to Parliament.

The letters from the students were posted to Jamie Reid who had forwarded them on to Downing Street. David Cameron tells the students in his response that he was ‘very impressed’ by the concern they have shown for the education of children in poor countries.

He adds, “I believe that investing in education is vital[…] that is why the British Government through our Department for International Development is working hard to create learning opportunities for all children  – including those with disabilities.”

The full letter from the Prime Minister to the students is available below.


PM’s letter: Click to Enlarge

Academy Bake Off Club

West Lakes Academy took on the ‘Great British Bake Off’ this week with the launch of our new after school baking club.

Almost fifty students have signed up to take part in the new club organised by the academy’s food technology department, with the aim to develop cookery skills and inspire young bakers.

Chocolate orange cupcakes were the aim for the first week and students were placed into teams of two to create their own interpretations. The group of Year 7 and 8 students took on a range of baking skills including creaming ingredients and piping buttercream. The contestants also had to be as accurate as possible when it came to weighing their ingredients to ensure that their sponge would be light and fluffy and wouldn’t have (in Mary Berry’s words) ‘a soggy bottom’.

Guest judges; geography teacher Mr Haslop and English teacher Miss Relph awarded points for presentation, taste and texture before announcing Year 7 students Nina Graffin and Aaron Kelly the first winners of the Bake Off Club for their delicious cupcake creations.

Food technology teacher Miss Lewthwaite has organised the new after school club, she commented, “The aim of the new Bake Off club is to inspire, enthuse and motivate students into becoming confident young bakers. Pupils will get hands on experience of designing, making and creating new exciting and innovative ideas. They will develop relationships with other keen bakers and will challenge themselves by following different recipes and using new ingredients that they don’t get the opportunity to use in lessons.

The first week was a huge success and I was impressed with the level of creativity and the high standard of products created. Many new friendships were formed and all participants had fun and enjoyed their experience.”




Year 7 Literacy Event

On Thursday 23rd October, around sixty year 7 students and parents attended a Literacy Support Event run by the Academy’s Literacy Co-ordinator, Mrs Ross. The event was a huge success and parents, students and staff all enjoyed the evening.
The session provided information regarding the importance of literacy and identified strategies that parents could use to support their children with their literacy development.
Literacy encompasses all aspects of reading, writing and speaking and how we communicate. So it seems obvious, that the more proficient we are in these skills, the more likely we are to succeed when an assessment requires us to use them.
After the initial introduction, parents and students participated in

Accelerated Reader

At the start of this academic year the Academy launched another year of Accelerated Reader.

The Academy joined the Accelerated Reader programme in 2010. Since then, it has had a major impact on creating a culture of reading with students and staff. Figures from the school library reveal that there have been over 1500 book loans since the start of this academic year.

Academy librarian, Mrs Wharton will be posting regular updates on the students’ progress each term. Post 16 students are also getting involved by acting as reading mentors to Year 7 and Year 8 students.

Accelerated Reader works first by assessing students’ reading ages through an on-line test known as a STAR reading test. Using the information generated by the software, teachers can help students select books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not too difficult to cause frustration.
When students finish reading their book, they complete a comprehension test. Students do a STAR reading test three or four times a year, to check on progress. Students read in tutor time as well as having an English lesson for reading in the library every fortnight, the scheme has been proven to produce an average of two years reading age growth in just one academic year.

The Academy is promoting reading for pleasure as it offers many long term benefits. In addition to raising literacy standards so that students can fully access the curriculum, it helps to improve concentration, relaxation and memory. It is hoped that the programme will help students develop a lifelong love of reading.
Students and parents can check to see if a book is on Accelerated Reading by going onto the webpage

IAA Awards Ceremony

Staff from West Lakes Academy in Egremont attended the Independent Academies’ Association’s ‘Annual Best Practice Awards’ in London on Thursday night, after being named a finalist for a national education award.

The IAA’s ‘Best Practice Awards’ aim to celebrate transformational, original and creative practice across the Academies Programme. West Lakes Academy’s innovative approaches and dedication to supporting and encouraging students who are under achieving or presenting challenging behaviour was highly commended by the judges. This meant that the Academy was shortlisted to the final three schools across the UK, for the ‘Inspired Approaches to Inclusion Award.’

Inclusion Manager, Claire Williamson and Behavioural Support Assistant Lesley Fell represented the Academy at the prestigious black tie awards dinner in London on Thursday evening. Claire commented, “We felt incredibly proud that our work in inclusion has been recognised and that we were able to represent West Lakes Academy at the IAA national awards ceremony.”

Lesley added, “We really enjoyed the evening, we had the chance to meet lots of inspiring educators from all other the country. It was really interesting to hear what other academies are doing to make their schools inclusive. Listening to music students from the renowned BRIT School perform was amazing; they are very talented young people.”

Assistant Principal, Guy Short is incredibly proud of Claire and Lesley’s achievement. He said, “We are thrilled that the hard work of the staff in our Inclusion Centre has been recognised nationally. Claire and Lesley are talented and dedicated professionals who always do their very best for the pupils they work with. The judges rightly recognised the expertise, care and attention to detail that goes into tailoring individual programmes that support the reintegration of pupils into mainstream education.

I was very pleased to hear that Claire and Lesley had been shortlisted for their work in the Inclusion Centre, as were the pupils themselves, who appreciate the time and effort put into helping them make the most of their time at the Academy.

Celebrating Students’ Success

Staff at West Lakes Academy are very proud of our students’ achievements, and we believe that their success is worth celebrating. Photographed are our current Year 12 students who achieved at least one A*/A grade at GCSE in August.

Living in a Material World

This week, Year 7,8 and 9 were treated to the National Science Museum’s Material World road show in association with the REACT Foundation. In the fast-paced and fact-packed show the outreach team from the National Science Museum dived into the weird world of materials, in which no jelly baby, Barbie doll or paint tin was safe! Staff helped to answer those all-important questions about materials, such as: What is the world around us made of? What’s the difference between elements, molecules and compounds? And just how do you make a jelly baby scream? Science teacher, Dr Dixon commented, “I would like to thank the REACT Foundation for bringing the London Science Museum’s shows to West Lakes Academy, as some of the children don’t get the chance to visit the museum in London. It is a fantastic opportunity to enhance the students’ enjoyment and knowledge of science and engineering and the presenters always make the shows exciting and interactive. The students enjoy talking about the show afterwards and what they have learned with their teachers and parents.”