Barnes Wallis Academy Newsletter 28th March 2024

Message from the Executive Principal, Alastair O'Connor

Although this has been a short term it has been very busy with Year 11 mock exams, Year 10 assessments, Key stage 3 reading tests, preference evening for Year 9's, Parents' Evenings and many fixtures and events.

Next term sees the run up and start of our main exams which is a key time for our Year 11 students.

We would like to wish all our families a wonderful and much deserved Easter break and will see you on Monday the 15th April when students and staff return.


On Wednesday 20th March we hosted our Year 9 preference evening. All subject areas were represented with teachers on hand to answer any questions students and parents may have.

Miss Dunsford Head of School and the Heads of Faculty for English, maths and science presented and explained how their subjects were examined at GCSE.

All options subject teachers presented information regarding the content covered in their GCSE course. Many thanks to all who attended and for all staff for preparing and hosting a wonderful evening.

This term we have had another great community opportunity, once again supporting the Rotary activity event at Jubilee Park through our Interact club. Woodhall Spa rotary club invited local schools to raise money for their school’s chosen charities through Swimathon. Whilst students were asked to gain their own sponsorships, the rotary funded the day and provided all schools with Swimathon certificates, they also treated every student with a hot chocolate and a biscuit after they had completed their swim. Barnes Wallis Leaders were asked to support with counting the many laps the primary students managed to do.
Another fabulous day spent at RAF Cranwell and Affinity. Students spent the morning looking at the key differences between school and the workplace, pro’s & con’s of social media and how recruitment could help future career pathways. The afternoon was spent looking at the jets and learning about safety gear for rescue. Thanks to @JonEggingTrust once again for organising!

Service Families

At Barnes Wallis Academy we have many service children and want to support them best. As an Academy we receive additional funding for every pupil with a parent who: is serving in HM Forces or who has retired on a pension from the Ministry of Defence. Our funding and how we are currently using this is published on our website

If you are currently serving and have any suggestions on how to use this funding best, then we would like to hear from you.

Achievements this Term

Congratulations to Emily Gatens and Arabella Holt who took part in the DRET Rowing All Stars at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships on Friday 1st March at the Copper Box Arena, London.

Copper Box Arena London
Congratulations to the BWA cross country team who competed in the DRET Cross country cup hosted at Holyoaks shooting lodge. A great team performance with many athletes finishing in the top 10.

This spring students have been focusing on the sports of Netball and Rugby with over 30 fixtures this term. Congratulations to all those students that have made Academy teams. Please see some highlights from this term.

Congratulations to the U13 and U15 netball teams who took part in the DRET Small schools competition the former coming away as Champions.

As part of the BWA sports offer students have the opportunity to be selected to represent the Trust forming an elite squad named the ALL STARS. This is made up from the very best players across the 11 secondary schools. Congratulations to our three ALL STARS from BWA who took part in the DRET invitational Netball Tournament with the U13 girls picking up a Bronze medal.

This term has been a big one for our U13 and U15 Rugby players, competing in many fixtures. Highlights have been playing festivals across the DRET family of schools and in the De Aston Rugby Tournament. It was rewarding to see the last game of term being played at home with both the U13 and U15 team taking a win against a very competitive Thomas Middlecott side.
The PE faculty and the Leicester Tigers Rugby team provided a fantastic opportunity for many of our players with a full packed day of coaching by expert staff, meeting professional Leicester Tigers players followed by watching a live professional match.

As part of our ongoing careers programme Barnes Wallis Academy is committed in helping our students to make informed decisions at key times in their education. Over the last term we have given our pupils the opportunity to engage with employers, apprenticeship providers as well as areas of public service to provide career and post 16 advice.

To celebrate National Careers week pupils at Barnes Wallis spent time reflecting upon careers within their subject areas, this might be as a lesson starter or discussing the teacher’s own career journey.

During the week we also had a number of speakers come in and work with year groups. BAE Systems presented to our key stage 4 pupils with a focus upon apprenticeships and the opportunities that these have on offer. The BRE Group worked with our year 9 pupils. The BRE Group is an organisation which is at the cutting edge of building research and development and even has a link with our namesake, Barnes Wallis, as they built and tested the prototype models of the bouncing bomb. BRE required our year 9 pupils to become master builders and consider the needs and challenges of what goes into town planning. While at the end of the week the law firm Wilkin Chapman worked with our year 10 pupils, giving our pupils the opportunity to reflect upon the role of a solicitor or lawyer as well as discussing careers within the legal industry.

During this, our last week of term key stage 3 pupils have been involved with the Army Engagement Group. The Army Engagement Group (AEG) tours the country engaging with a wide variety of people to give them a greater understanding of the British Army; their role, what they do and how they contribute to society. The Army Youth Outreach Team have been working with our year 8 pupils, delivering interactive sessions with a focus upon team building and personal development. Pupils listened keenly to the careers presentation and were given some fantastic challenges, promoting communication and leadership skills.

We at Barnes Wallis were thrilled when one of our partner organisations, Jon Egging Trust, provided us with four tickets to go to see Professor Brian Cox deliver his worldwide show “Horizons-A 21st Century Space Odyssey” at Hull City Hall. Mr Pocklington took three Year 10 students along, all of whom enjoyed a fascinating insight into both the beginning and the end of our universe. The absolute highlight of the visit was the invitation at the interval to go backstage to meet Professor Brian Cox. Ten minutes of question and answers firing back and forth has meant that we now have three extremely motivated scientists amongst our students. A fantastic opportunity and we give huge thanks to JET. @JonEggingTrust
Techognition Day

Friday the 8th March saw the annual Techognition day. This is a national event that we have promoted for several years at Barnes Wallis Academy. It allows us to celebrate our wonderful technicians across the Academy. The tasks they complete are so varied and often go unnoticed by many as they work so diligently behind the scenes.

Our current technicians are Miss McNeall and Miss Anderson-Trickey whose day to day work across PE, Science, Food and Design and Technology ensures lessons can take place smoothly and efficiently. Their support allow us to deliver the most effective lessons to our students. They really are the unsung heroes and celebrate and highlight everything they do.

DRET Music Festival at the Albert Hall, Nottingham

Students represented Barnes Wallis at the annual DRET Music Festival this year. Students performed as part of a 100 piece Orchestra and a massed choir of 575 students! As a school, Barnes Wallis performed 'Lost in the Woods' Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

It was a fantastic, uplifting day of music making with high quality performances from our students!

Our Year 10 students have been busy looking at the topic of 'Light and Dark'. The bold contrasts between light and dark, known as chiaroscuro, in the hands of the famous Renaissance painters of the 17th and 18th-century, was not only a means for modeling, but was put to use as a vehicle to differentiate between the main figures and the background, creating the depth of the painting.

Out of School sporting stars

Jackson an esteemed Motorcross rider has been warm weather training in Spain, familiarising himself with different terrains and conditions ahead of the upcoming season. We look forward to seeing how well he does this year.

Isabel achieved her 1 Mile swimming award with an impressive 70 lengths of the pool. We are hoping to establish a strong swimming team ahead of the DRET summer cup. Students that are interested in competing for the school are asked to let Ms McGregor know.

Taylor took part in the British Powerlifting competition this term lifting an impressive 130kg which secured him both a personal best performance and also the national title. Well done Taylor an amazing performance.


At Barnes Wallis Academy we have a wonderful team of Learning Support Assistants. If you do have any concerns about your child or would like to discuss anything with us please contact the SEN Team via the office on

During the Easter Break it is World Autism Acceptance Week. We will be recognising this by taking part in some activities in school.

Please find below information on workshops and training available during the Easter break.

Kooth offers free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support and can be contacted via

Barnes Wallis is working hard to be in line with the National and Regional averages for attendance. There has been a fantastic effort from students, parents and staff and we will continue to celebrate and reward excellent attendance. We work closely with individual students and have supported them with their own reward challenges. It is great to see so many tutor groups having non-school uniform days.

90% attendance = half day missed every week. Over a school year this is 4 weeks and 100 lessons lost.

Over 5 years at 90% attendance is half a year of education lost.

17 missed school days means that you could drop a whole GCSE grade in all subjects

Encourage your child to attend school regularly. Set a regular bedtime and morning routine. Have school uniform and equipment ready the night before. Avoid medical appointments during the school day where possible.

Please speak to the Attendance Team if you have any concerns about attendance.

In the coming weeks we will be launching a spotlight on lateness. If your child is continually late for school the Attendance Team will be contacting you to arrange a parental meeting.

We will be introducing sanctions for lateness. All cases of lateness will be treated on an individual basis.

If you know your child is going to be late for school, please contact the Attendance Team or the office to let them know.

All students at Barnes Wallis are placed into one of four Houses, developing a sense of belonging and ensuring that their House ethos is understood and followed by all. Students meet daily with their tutors and weekly as their house, enjoying house competitions, sharing information, and monitoring attendance and progress. Congratulations to Spitfire for winning best attendance and also gaining the highest amount of reward points.

Congratulations Hurricane winning the Year 7 football tournament and Dakota for winning the languagenut homework competition.


Our school catering provider, Caterlink, offer a wide variety of foods and cater for a number of dietary requirements, ranging from vegetarian, gluten free alternatives, halal meals, etc.

After Easter there will be new Spring menus

If your child has any specific dietary requests, or any questions about the food on offer in our canteen, they can speak with Mr Kemp (Academy Operations Manager.)


Are you having a wardrobe spring clean or have previously worn prom clothes that you no longer need? Then we’d love them for our pre-loved prom shop.

Currently we have just a few dresses but we’d love more:

  • Dresses
  • Bags
  • Girls Shoes/sandals
  • Costume jewellery/accessories
  • Suits or jackets and trousers
  • Boys shoes
  • Ties

We would be very grateful for any donations. Please drop any suitable items into reception.

We are delighted to have provided this term 300+ students with a free pencil case equipped with our 5 A Day minimum expectations. At Barnes Wallis we are highly ambitious for the students that attend and that they are equipped for lessons and ready to learn.


The internet is embellished with advanced algorithms that learn our patterns and try to predict our wants and needs. That is highly helpful in some cases, however; it can make the online world difficult for children to navigate.

Content can be brought to children through pop up ads on websites and also ads as such as; Instagram, tik tok, snapchat and many other social media platforms.


There are now various ways that we can communicate online in real time as such as; instant message on apps through direct messages or even with a delay.

Young people often prefer to exchange quickfire messages which sometimes can cause distress due to the miscommunication as there are a lack of non-verbal cues as such as facial expression and tone of voice.


Social media can bring people together in many positive ways. However, it can sadly have a darker side where things can escalate very quickly and have harmful consequences such as cyber bullying, group chats with random users which are unkind and have inappropriate content.



It is impossible to keep up with every online change or new app. The best option to do is to make yourself aware of the fundamentals of how the internet operates, so you can understand how and why particular content reaches them.


If a child mentions a comment that has been directed to them via an online platform it may be a small thing to you however to a child it is the worst thing in the world and has a much bigger effect that we realise. In our evolved brains any perceived threat can get internalised whilst our body reacts as if we were in physical danger – raising our stress levels. It is always worth encouraging your child/children to be forthcoming about any online activity that is impacting them negatively.


Looking out for signs on children differs from child to child and not every child is going to react in the same way. But look out for any change in behaviour that is not normal for your child/children. If they seem to be checking their phone more, being secretive and they do not want usually to depart with their device or show you what they are doing online – this is cause for concern and could be a sign that they need some extra support.

Dates for the Diary

  • Eid-ul-Fitr - Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th April
  • Year 10 Parents' Evening - Wednesday 17th April
  • Royal Opera House Trip - Thursday 18th April
  • Junior Maths Challenge Thursday 25th April
  • Spring Cup - Tuesday 23rd April
  • Year 8 Parents' Evening - Wednesday 17th April
  • Main GCSE exam period starts 9th May
  • Personal Development Drop down day 17th May

Follow us on Instagram on barneswallisacademy and twitter @Barnes_Wallis_

Safeguarding over the Easter Break

When the Academy is closed there is always someone who can help you.

If you are concerned that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm, you should contact your local authority safeguarding partnership directly.

Please go to our website

for the relevant contact information if you have any welfare concerns.

In an emergency, call 999.

For any other queries, please contact us via

If you have a general enquiry during half term please contact the office on