Future Pathways Project

A group of 11 Year 9 students have successfully completed an eight week learning and development programme.

The Future Pathways programme is ran by Morgan Sindall, Inspira, Copeland Hub, Cumbria Constabulary and Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project and provides a variety of classroom and outdoor activities each week focusing on a different area of learning and development.

Each session in the eight-week programme helped enable the students to develop skills to support them in the next stage of their learning and through to the world of work. They were challenged to take part in activities that pushed then out of their comfort zones, help develop their critical thinking, engage in team work and enhance their social skills.

Head of Year 9, Mrs Brown said, “The group helped tidy Whitehaven harbour via kayaks, tried abseiling and made campfires as well as learning archery and other skills.

As part of the course they also had to take part in a community day.  As a group they chose to attend Castle Mount care home in Egremont.  They took part in lots of activities and games, helped to decorate cakes, chatted to the residents and tidied the gardens and garage.  One resident even said that meeting the students had restored their faith in the young people of today.”

Mrs Brown added, “The course culminated with the group giving a presentation to an audience of family and invited guests; a daunting prospect even for the most accomplished of speakers.  From the little group that first got together in early September, who said that they couldn’t speak in front of a group people, they delivered their presentations successfully and with confidence.

What a journey these students have been on!  It has been with pleasure and pride that I have watched them grow in confidence, independence and enhance their social skills.  They have been excellent ambassadors for us.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Well done: Cain Coan, Cian Jackson, Cain Tubman, Liam Beeley, Ty Hunter, Jake Close, Coby Wightman, Katey Quayle, Naomi Dobbin, Annimae Tinnion, Faith Curwen.




Financial Education Centre of Excellence

West Lakes Academy has been accredited as a centre of excellence of financial education.

The academy was awarded the accreditation by financial education charity, Young Money at their annual Centres of Excellence conference in Birmingham.

The event took place in November at The Vox Conference Centre and celebrated schools and colleges who are committing to developing and continuing excellence in financial education.

The overall aim of the Centres of Excellence programme is to support practical, effective and sustainable financial education for young people in schools. The schools will work for approximately one academic year to achieve the accreditation.

Head of personal development at the academy, Siobhain Walter attended the event, she said, “To see that our financial education has continued to develop is a great achievement. Financial education is always changing and developing especially in regards to payment types, credit, gambling and fraud it is essential that our students have knowledge of these areas to ensure that they are prepared to make their own fully informed decisions in the future and lead a financial stable life.

Since first achieving the status we have worked alongside the credit union at open evenings, ran a student credit union collection point and worked with financial companies to incorporate loan shark and gambling resources.”

Apprenticeship Day

Sixth Form students at West Lakes Academy have taken part in this year’s Apprenticeship Day organised by head of sixth form Rachel Denwood, to further their knowledge of alternative options to high education and how to be successful within an apprenticeship.

We had talks from Sellafield, Gen2, RWP Training and Atkins to inform the students about the programmes available to them, with previous students of the academy sharing their experiences.

Barry Simpson, head of sixth form, said, “This event gives students opportunities to meet with local and national providers of advanced level and degree level apprenticeships, so that students can develop an awareness of their potential future careers.”

Mr Simpson also expressed that, “It’s very rare we get this opportunity” at the start of the talk from Sellafield.

Mrs Denwood said, “I arrange the Apprenticeship Day every year to give the students the education and understanding they need to choose the future pathway which is best for them. We invite local businesses and apprenticeship providers in to present and meet with a number of our post 16 students to inspire and motivate them into applying for apprenticeships. It is fantastic when these companies bring in ex West Lakes Academy students  who are current apprentices to share their stories with our sixth formers.”

Year 12 student, Kate Farrer, attended this event and said, “Today was very helpful in informing us about opportunities available after sixth form, and broadening our awareness of companies in the area.”

Written by:

Social influencer leader: Emily Cockbain (Y13)

Social media leader: Elizabeth Wylie (Y13)

Year 7 Aspirations Day

Year 7 students met with local employers on Friday as part of our Year 7 Aspirations Day. Students were given the opportunity to learn about different areas of work and what it takes to work in that field.

Head of Year 7, Mrs Dunne said, “The aspirations event was organised by Al Wilson at the Centre for Leadership Performance. Twelve local employers came in to the academy and delivered four interactive and engaging sessions to our Year 7 students. It provided students with the opportunity to meet employers from a number of different sectors and discuss what inspired them to pursue their career, what their job entails and what challenges they’ve had to overcome along the way. The students were fantastic and were a real credit to the academy. They really appreciated the opportunity to meet our visitors and the feedback from the sessions was extremely positive. We look forward to welcoming our local prospective employers again next year.”

Leading Learning Conference

On 18th March 2019 West Lakes Academy will play host to an extremely exciting event: our Leading Learning Conference.

This conference will bring leading speakers from the world of education up to Cumbria to share their knowledge on what the evidence says about what works in education. Key themes covered over the course of the day will be:

  • Effective curriculum design
  • Closing the disadvantage gap
  • Challenging high prior attaining students
  • Workforce development

Speakers include:

  • Alex Quigley (EEF)
  • David Weston (TDT)
  • James Richardson (Research Schools)
  • Stephen Tierney

And more will be announced over the coming weeks.

Our conference is aimed at Head teachers and teachers responsible for leading learning across their settings. It is our aim is that as many schools as possible have access to this fabulous opportunity. To aid this, and due to support from EEF, we are able to offer tickets at only £120 for a pair or £70 each.

We hope that you are as excited as us about the Leading Learning Conference and will come and join us. For more information, visit www.westlakestsa.org.uk ,  drop us an email tsa@westlakesacademy.org.uk or call 01946 820356.



Head Boy and Head Girl 18/19

West Lakes Academy has one Head Boy and one Head Girl.  We also have one Deputy Head Boy and one Deputy Head Girl. They are nominated by staff to represent the academy and to work alongside teachers and students to help improve the school. This year’s students were selected due to overwhelming support from staff, who believe they are excellent role models, hard-working, driven and ambitious individuals who always give their time freely to support academy events.

Head Boy: Tom Harris
Head Girl: Olivia Stagg
Deputy Head Boy: Ross Wright
Deputy Head Girl: Beth Walker

L-R Beth Walker, Tom Harris, Olivia Stagg, Ross Wright





















                                 Head Boy – Tom Harris

What does your role as Head Boy involve?

Most importantly it’s being a role model for the younger students with regard to the behaviour and academic aspirations of WLA. Practically it means I’ve taken part in welcoming the new Year 7 students to help them settle in and feel part of the academy. I have also shared my knowledge of being in the 6th form at WLA with this year’s, Year 12 students to make their transition the smoothest it can be. Hopefully students at WLA will see me as someone else they can talk to about issues they may have at school.

What are your personal strengths?

I like to think I am friendly and approachable and I’m keen to help students get the most they can from their time at WLA.  In 6th form there is always lots of work to be done and I appreciate that to work effectively it is important to have good time management, I make sure I do enough study but also that I have time to spend doing sport and being with friends.

Describe your experience of West Lakes Academy?

Always positive! With regard to school work if I am struggling with a certain topic or need extra help I know that there is always the opportunity to go speak to my teachers and they will help me until I can grasp the topic. On a personal level the school is a friendly place with people to talk to with regards to concerns or problems.

What has been the highlight of your time at West Lakes Academy?

The big thing for me was achieving my GCSE results as I knew the importance of these for the future I want to pursue. I have also enjoyed playing sport at a county level and winning the rugby county cup on multiple occasions.

What are your plans and ambitions for the future?

I plan to go on to study a masters degree in chemistry at university and hopefully to go on to work in the pharmaceutical industry. The dream would be high-level research or practical applications of chemistry to benefit people.

As Head Boy, What kind of legacy would you like to leave at West Lakes Academy?

I hope I can have some effect in helping students appreciate how much they can get from WLA and help persuade them of the advantages of trying the best they can.  In years 10 and 11 I took part in the local charity Cumbria Rungwe Community Link (CRCL) which connects young people in Copeland with a rural community in Tanzania. This charity and the experience it allowed me to have means a lot to me and I sincerely hope that during my time as head boy I can promote CRCL and encourage more students to get involved.


Head Girl – Olivia Stagg

What does your role as Head Girl involve?

Being Head Girl is a very rewarding role, in terms of developing personal skills. The role does require the ability to give presentations and speeches to students, parents and staff, which can be very intimidating at times, but useful nonetheless. As Head Girl you also get to work with your amazing student leadership team to help  make relevant changes to sixth form and the academy to make it the best it can be and most beneficial for the students and staff.

What are your personal strengths?

For me, I consider my communication skills to be a personal strength. I am a very outgoing person which is essential for the role as it requires communication on a one to one basis as well as in front of crowds. Another one of my personal skills would be my empathy, this is helpful as it means I work well as a team member and I am able to be easily approached by any queries a person may have. I also value my leadership skills, I know when it is appropriate to gain control of a situation and how to evaluate the next steps needed. Resilience is a strength that I also possess and find very important, it is essential not only for my studies but also for the role, as things may not go to plan, it is key to keep putting yourself towards your aim until you see the results you want to see. I still have weaknesses, as everyone does, that I am attempting to develop in my role as Head Girl.

Describe your experience of West Lakes Academy?

Throughout my (almost) 7 years here at the academy I have managed to begin moulding myself into the person I want to be. The years have not been easy and I have often faced aspects of school life I did not think I would overcome, but the staff have aided me to not only improve, but to enjoy my time here. I think I have definitely grown as a person when I entered sixth form. Despite issues academically and personally, I have always been pushed to achieve my goals with maximum support from staff. You go through natural changes into adulthood and it has been amazing to self- reflect on mine and my peers growth as we have progressed through the school. It really is strange thinking one day I was starting in Year 7 and yet in a few months I will be leaving Year 13.

What has been the highlight of your time at West Lakes Academy?

I think for me, my highlights of my time here at West Lakes Academy have got to be the friendships formed and the skills I have gained. There are things I thought I would never achieved yet did and there are people I would never have thought I could talk to that I would now consider close friends. The academy has probably seen me at my worst and my best, but despite this they have helped me feel ready to move on to my next chapter.

What are your plans and ambitions for the future?

Since Year 8 I have always been sure I wanted to go into Law, I never second guessed it. Entering sixth form you start to realise that university is a very real and daunting factor that quickly approaches, much quicker than you think.  You start to question if your plans are really what you want to study for the next 3/4 years and kind of go into a crisis, which I certainly did. However after visiting universities and looking at the courses I was sure that Law was the right path for me. I am hoping to study at Durham or Manchester, but have also applied for Nottingham, Newcastle and Edge Hill. After university I hope to become a Criminal Barrister, but who knows what university might reveal to me.

As Head Girl, What kind of legacy would you like to leave at West Lakes Academy?

Legacy is a very ambitious word, one that intimidates me a bit to use. Leaving West Lakes Academy I just hope that people remember that you don’t have to be this perfect human being to be Head Girl/ Boy, you just have to have a passion for the role and a vision that you want to take the role in. That vision does not have to follow mine or anybody else’s, as long as you can share that vision with your team and the academy and see the positive benefits that will come as a result, you can make it. I really hope younger students see the determination that all of our student leaders share, and take that passion and determination into whatever it is they plan to do in the future.

Remembering World War I

Remembering World War I

Written by Year 13 PR prefects Elizabeth Wylie and Emily Cockbain


Today at West Lakes Academy, the Year 8 students have been learning about life during WW1. Our humanities student ambassadors have displayed their respect through dressing up as wartime women and men, and assisting Year 8 students in their lessons which focused on the war.

Our cadet students have shown their respect by wearing their uniforms, and the academy is bursting with red poppies – pinned to our uniforms, arranged on our walls and iced onto our biscuits.

The day started for the students with history, where they learned the Tommy’s Guide to Trenches. They were taught the daily trench routines, the horrible illnesses and diseases experienced by soldiers, and the weapons used during the war. At the same time, the geography department decided to take a ‘British Empire twist’ on the activities, allowing students to learn about troops from all over the world and the climate and landscape of the countries affected by the war. The students were told to pick a soldier from the war and learn about the hardship they faced at the time, and if they would be able to deal with this themselves.  

In the art department, the students have been making clay poppies to be displayed in the flower bed outside of the academy, which will be made into a public memorial along with the Tommy statue that WLA purchased for £750, this money being donated to several charities such as the British Legion and Help for Heroes. This will be inspired by the 2014 Tower of London display, and the gardeners will be planting real poppies ready to bloom in the summer. Mrs McMullen – who led this brilliant idea – says “it should be gorgeous.”

Meanwhile, in music, the students were hearing about the significance of the “Last Post”. They discovered why bugle calls were needed and how they are written using certain notes as alarms for soldiers. Following on from this, the students proceeded to create their own bugle calls on the keyboards.

Our PE department has been taken over by the cadets from WLA, and the Year 8 students are being taught military drills including how to stand to attention, turn on the spot, and follow army instructions by cadets. Mrs Purdham believes “they have been really brilliant.”

Using their mathematical skills, the Year 8s were put to the test when faced with some German codes to break after Mrs Rinaldi provided them with a cipher. The spirit of remembrance has been seen throughout the academy today and the students have understood the significance of the war and the impact it had on our society.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


WLA Celebrate Best Ever Results

Following the release of the DfE Performance Tables on the 16th October, West Lakes Academy is celebrating their best ever results. The academy achieved a progress 8 score of +0.51, the second highest in the County. ‘We are obviously delighted with these results which are down to the incredible hard work of our students, their families and our staff’ said Mr Jackson, Head of Academy.

‘This result means that for each and every student in our year 11, they achieved more than half a grade higher than their peers in every one of their GCSEs. Our motto is ‘changing lives through learning’ and that’s exactly what these result do for the young people of our community. What is also extremely pleasing is it places the academy in the top category of the performance tables, reserved only for the top 17% of schools nationally.’

The academy also celebrated record breaking results in their sixth form, being placed in the top 25% of post 16 providers nationally for their A Levels. Mr Simpson, Vice Principal and Director of Sixth Form commented ‘A Levels continue to be more challenging and stretching following their reforms last year so I’m delighted our students have responded to this extra level of challenge. All our students have successfully gone on to follow their chosen pathways, which include apprenticeships and universities, and this year saw our first entrant to Cambridge.’

Mr Johnson, CEO of West Lakes Multi Academy Trust added ‘On the back of being given permission by the DfE to train our own teachers, this tops off an incredible year for West Lakes Academy! We’re passionate about giving the young people of West Cumbria the best educational experience possible and these GCSEs and A Levels demonstrate our commitment to that.’


Year 11 fundraisers have raised £348.55 through fundraising events such as cake sales and photograph money. This was organised by the year 11 team, over years 8, 9 and 10 throughout the year.

A fantastic achievement for a wonderful cause.

Well done to everyone involved!