Posts Tagged ‘Westminster Academy’

WA young volunteers awarded Highly Commended in Westminster Community awards

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Congratulations to Matinur Rahman and Andrea Santi who have had their volunteering achievements recognised by Westminster County Council at the Community Awards 2014.

At the awards ceremony in Paddington, Andrea, Year 12, was awarded Highly Commended in the Young Volunteer Award for her volunteering including on the Westbourne Forum, where her work helps to improve community cohesion and communication between young people and adults.

Matinur, Year 12, was in the top two in Westminster for the Sir Simon Milton Award for young people who have made ‘an outstanding contribution to the community by working with older people or disadvantaged young people’. He achieved Highly Commended for his role leading on the partnership between Open Age and Westminster Academy. Matinur was heaped with praise by Open Age and Lisa Milton from the Sir Simon Milton Foundation. The Foundation was so impressed, that even though he didn’t win, they have offered to make a donation to Open Age as a result of being inspired by Matinur. Matinur was also offered congratulations by Westminster’s new Lord Mayor, Cllr Audrey Lewis, and Cllr Steve Summers, who also gave him some tips on entering a career in politics.

Westminster Academy was delighted to see our friends and partner organisations also earning Highly Commended in the following categories for their hard work with WA and the community:

  • Bringing People Together Award – Michael Dibble, The Stowe Centre
  • Outstanding Organisation – Mosaic
  • Partnership Award – M&S and WA
  • Better City, Better Lives – Time for Paddington

Matinur said “It was a spectacular event and I was so proud to be there. I love volunteering with Open Age and am very thankful to them for supporting me.”

Student Review of the 2014 Westbourne Festival

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Co-ordinated by Westbourne Forum the annual Westbourne Festival took place on Sunday 22nd July, and Westminster Academy was very proud to support the event. We were lucky enough to enjoy glorious sunshine for the whole day, and it was a wonderful event for the local community.

There was live music (including Ionie Johnson, Zakri Zulkurnain and Joanna Charafeddine-Akar; all Year 12 students), several food stalls, lots of information stands and community groups, and even a zoo and a bouncy castle!

All the stall holders were extremely friendly, and the canal side venue created a very laid back and relaxed atmosphere. There were lots of families attending, and it was lovely to see people from such an incredibly diverse range of families mixing and sitting together on the grass.

I spent the day interviewing guests and stall holders with the WA Camera Crew, and every single person commented on what a great day it was, and how many friendly faces there were (even the ones painted to look like tigers!).

A big thank you has to go to the absolutely wonderful stewards (ten of which were WA students) for running the event so smoothly and ensuring that everyone was having a good time. And especially to those involved in the planning and organisation, particularly Sara and Geoff. Overall, it was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed being involved in it. Bring on 2015!

Noumeira Bettache

Year 12 student, Westminster Academy

Students prove IB values and international excellence on results day at Westminster Academy

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Westminster Academy student, Kevin De Wit, this week flew the flag for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) as he scored one of the best results in the world and Westminster Academy’s best ever IB score. Kevin’s total of 39 points smashed the world-average by ten points and is equivalent to more than 4 A*s. The score puts Kevin among the top 7% of IBDP graduates globally.

18 year old Kevin is currently back in his home country of Brazil, epitomizing the appeal of the IB: he was able to access his results instantly online and has now gained a qualification which is globally renowned, opening doors to any university in the world. Besides the international desirability of the IB, the IB Diploma Programme has long had a reputation for its academically challenging programme of study. This, the breadth of the curriculum, as well as the IB’s unique mission to develop young people as inquiring, active and compassionate lifelong learners, is what UK universities are now recognising as being more valuable than any other qualification in terms of preparing students both for university and for life. The increasing popularity of the IB at WA and the dedication of this year’s IBDP graduates is testament to this. Bruin Chan, who achieved 29 points, reflected on the experience; It was a real learning curve. It’s not so much about the grade you get but knowing what you’re capable of when you get your head down and concentrate. Then it’s a real plus that my grades were good!”.

Further success was achieved in the Academy’s International Baccalaureate Career-Related Certificate Programme (IBCC), in which Westminster Academy gained its first ever graduates, having been accredited to run the course in 2012. Dounia Rashid has been a student at the Academy since 2008 and was one of the first graduates of the IBCC at WA. She said “I’m very happy I achieved the IBCC, as I put in a lot of effort. I am now awaiting my A Level German result to add to my qualifications and am hoping to study Politics and German at Birkbeck in October before eventually going to work in the Middle East. I really enjoyed studying in the Sixth Form at Westminster Academy; it’s like a second home!”

IBCC students place great value on the variety and possibilities that the Career-related Certificate presents them with. Subjects from the rigorous IB Diploma Programme are combined with a vocational course to develop students who are both highly employable and well equipped for higher education success. Dounia points out “It involves a lot of independent work, so I really feel the IBCC has prepared me for university.”

Westminster Academy is a firm believer in the ethos of the IB, as well as its broad approach which encompasses critical and reflective thinking projects plus activities beyond the classroom to benefit the community. As such the Academy is developing its Key Stage 3 curriculum based on the IB model, culminating in a ‘WA Baccalaureate’ for successful students at the end of Year 8.

Principal, Ms Smita Bora said “As the only non fee paying IB school in the Tri-Borough and currently second in the Westminster Sixth Form state school league tables, I am proud that Westminster Academy students and teachers have continued our strong tradition of Sixth Form excellence.”

Westbourne Summer Festival 2014

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Westbourne Festival Summer 2013The Westbourne Summer Festival is back on Sunday 22nd of June 1pm – 5pm.

After last summer’s beach party, we are moving even closer to the water for this year’s day of fun.

Since Westbourne Green is currently occupied by the Thames Water’s works, the festival will be taking place next to the canal.

Local resident Sara Hamid has been appointed as a Events Coordinator by Paddington Development Trust, and will be very busy over the next months to ensure this year’s festival will be one to remember. Sarah will be working alongside local residents and community organization, as well as City West Homes.

Expect plenty of fun activities for the whole family, sport activities, bouncy castle, musical performances and plenty more!

Political sparring inspires Academy Council

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

In March, Westminster Academy was thrilled to host the first meeting between the sitting Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck, and the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party, Councillor Lindsey Hall. With election campaigns beginning to dominate the news, the opponents were invited to the Academy to engage in a question and answer session with the student council, raising awareness of the importance of voting as well as issues affecting Westminster and young people.

As members of Westminster Academy’s student council we carry the duty and responsibility, as well as desire, to represent our own views and those of our classmates on the Academy board, pursuing improvements that will help students and teachers to cooperate harmoniously in order for us to achieve the best of our capabilities. Therefore, to observe citizens who take it upon themselves to do the same in the community and nation they want to see prosper, debate their own views and political stances, was certainly a fascinating experience.

Karen Buck MP and Councillor Hall were both the perfect metonymic example of what happens at a much larger scale between the Conservatives and Labour at the House of Commons, rebutting each other with feisty energy and strong arguments.  Because we are the new generation emerging in this political environment, our questions involved our upcoming roles, what influences we can have and why we should vote for either party. The answers were as diverse as their political stances and I believe this ultimately helped to further direct us to become politically conscious individuals.

By Kevin De Wit, Year 13 (Academy Council Chair)

Furthering skills in TOK and enterprise at an evening with Vince Cable

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

IB and Vince CableEarlier in the year, Westminster Academy Year 11 and 12 students secured an exclusive opportunity to attend an evening with the Rt Hon Vince Cable MP.

The evening was hosted at Norton Rose, where students were taken to the top floor of the More London development beforehand for an impressive view of the Thames. The event itself was for leading entrepreneurs and business leaders, but WA was lucky enough to be invited to attend by community organisation, the Patchwork Foundation.  It began with an interview with Lord Rumi Verjee CBE, founder of Domino’s Pizza in the UK. Lord Verjee gave a fascinating insight into his experiences as a highly successful entrepreneur, after arriving in the UK as an immigrant twenty years ago.  Endorsing the importance of grit, Lord Verjee’s advice to students was ‘Don’t give up when you have setbacks’.

There followed an opportunity for questions with David Sheepshanks CBE DL and Usha Prashar CBE from Community Foundations and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable MP. This was a great chance for students interested in a career in politics to probe into this profession and confront issues affecting young people, such as the decision between university or apprenticeships.

The organisers were extremely impressed with the attitude and questions asked by WA students. Vince Cable said; “Students from Westminster Academy displayed great confidence and business understanding at tonight’s event and I hope this will inspire a new generation of young people to consider a career in entrepreneurship.” Students found the evening enjoyable and inspiring, as well as an excellent contribution to their studies in TOK (Theory of Knowledge) and business.

Update from Open Age Westbourne hub

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Open Age Westbourne HubThe monthly mobile help at Amberley has been replaced by an intergenerational computer and mobile phone workshop every Thursday from 3:30 till 5:30 at Westminster Academy. Members enjoy one-to-one help and instruction to suit their needs from Academy 6th form students.

To keep fresh and active in spring there is a new Ballroom Dancing class beginning on Friday the 14th February at 3pm at Paddington Arts. The Yoga class will now take place in Paddington Arts on Wednesdays at 2pm; the class focuses on maintaining and improving flexibility, strength and overall well-being.

The Film Club continues to run on the First Friday of each month. On March 7th will be the uplifting Great Exotic Marigold Hotel and on April 11th the recently released Le Weekend. Both will be screened on the big screen at Westminster Academy and both cost just £1, afterwards academy students and members enjoy film discussion over tea and biscuits. Invite your friends and neighbours for what is always an enjoyable Friday afternoon!

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Westminster Academy in top 1%

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Westminster Academy is celebrating outstanding results which put it among the top schools in the country for progress made, as published in the school performance tables. Almost 70% students are now achieving 5 A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths – up from 17% when the Academy opened in 2007 – and the Academy is equally delighted that the progress made by individual students since joining the Academy is significantly above the national average.

TES Secondary School of the YearWestminster Academy is ranked in the top 1% of academies nationally in terms of progress measures for English, Science and its Best 8 score including English and maths. In English, 87% of students are achieving expected progress compared with 69% nationally, with 57% of students achieving more than expected progress, compared with 30% nationally. Maths results are equally impressive.

Outstanding School Ofsted gradeAmong some of the outstanding GCSE or equivalent results in 2013 were those of Sarah Al-Saad, who achieved 5 A*, 5 As and 1 B as well as an A in her Arabic AS Level. Sarah is now applying her academic skills to the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at the Sixth Form at Westminster Academy, where in 2013, Westminster Academy students beat the IB world average for the third year running.

All Westminster Academy students gain university offers and to further inspire students, the Academy’s sponsors are offering three ‘Dangoor Challenge’ scholarships for the first three students to gain a university place at Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial College in August 2015.

Pupil Premium AwardPrincipal, Smita Bora, reminded the community that the exceptional progress made by students at the Academy was reflected in last year’s Outstanding Ofsted grading and the ‘golden year’ that followed. In 2013, the Academy was presented with three national awards: the IAA (Independent Academies Association) Honorary President’s Award for Academy Transformation, TES Secondary School of the Year and the Deputy Prime Minister’s Pupil Premium Award. In addition, Westminster Academy was the only school in Westminster to win a Mayor of London’s Gold Club award. Each accolade recognises the success of the Academy’s personalised curriculum and aspirational, inclusive vision to attain excellence for all students.

Westbourne kids learn why building design matters

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Westbourne kids learning why design matters.Children from Westminster Academy are participating in a unique pilot project. Vital Regeneration, the local charity who work with Westminster City Council on the housing renewal programme, have got together with internationally acclaimed architecture practice Farrells to create an exciting educational programme.

Over ten weekly workshops ‘Sustainable Design Matters’ sees local children team up with professional architects to create their own designs for a development site in the Westbourne Green masterplan – the space under the Westway at Royal Oak.

Working in teams, students liaise with ‘clients’, face challenges such as budget cuts and disputes with neighbours and consider how to communicate their proposals. Farrells host the pioneering workshops which emulate real-life building projects and introduce the importance of sustainable building design.

Each weekly session includes a speaker talking about topics such as ‘Community and Place’, participants then have a chance to translate these ideas into their own work.

The workshops also aim to inspire local young people to consider careers in architecture, design and professions related to London’s dynamic construction industry. Making this possible by increasing their understanding of the industry and the opportunities it offers, going beyond the idea that a job in construction implies labouring on a building site.

Christian Tilleray, Deputy Chief Executive of Vital Regeneration, says

“Young people have typically been under-represented as contributors to neighbourhood development plans, despite the fact that they inherit the results. Our job is to involve and inspire the next generation of participants and we are delighted to be collaborating with Farrells to this end.”