So here it is, 2021! It’s not been the start to the term that we were all expecting, or indeed hoping for with a return to Home Learning for most students. However, as usual our whole school community has risen to the challenge.

With the Summer exams being cancelled and the DfE and Ofqual working on a fair way to award grades, it’s essential that our exam classes continue to work hard and complete all work to put themselves in a strong position and so I’m going to focus on what our Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students have been learning this week, some in a classroom at school and many more in homes in surrounding settlements.

Getting 2021 off to a more positive start, in French, students have been writing their New Year’s Resolutions in French using the future tense of course!

With health and wellbeing at the fore, in Health and Social Care students have been analysing how our choices affect our lives in the short and long term. Thinking of physical health and fitness in PE, students have been looking at the long-term effects of exercise and injuries in sport with pictures of gruesome sports injuries! With solutions in mind, students have developed the knowledge of how to prevent and treat these injuries should they encounter them. Keeping healthy from within, Food Preparation and Nutrition students have started their coursework and have the choice of researching, planning and cooking from the three tasks set. The impact of mobile phone use on health, along with how robot arms are performing operations in hospitals, has been the focus for Computer Science students as they’ve begun to look at the legal, ethical and environmental impact of computers.

As our first winter snow is falling, GCSE geographers have been looking at the impact of extreme weather in the UK as part of a unit on natural hazards, focusing on the impact of storms. Staying with Humanities, in RE, students are beginning their independent study of the ethics of human relationships whilst in History, students are investigating the key question, ‘How did Hitler establish a dictatorship?’.

With an eye on times of greater freedom, Travel and Tourism students have been working on a tourist information guide for a UK destination. Where would you choose? Researching sources of finance available to large and small firms and identifying the advantages and drawbacks of each has been the focus of Business students. In Art, Craft and Design students have been starting to consider design ideas for their final piece based on the theme of Disguise, looking at artists to inspire their design choices.

In Maths, Year 10 students have been working on a range of topics with some students recapping earlier topics and others calculating averages and using data in a real-life context. Year 11 have been working on compound measures, estimation and accuracy, creating constructions and accurately drawing loci and exploring 3D shapes, looking at formal calculations for volume and surface of prisms, cylinders, cones and pyramids, with spheres to come next week.

In Science, all KS4 students have been plugging gaps in knowledge identified from the Progress exams whilst in Design Technology, some online revision has been taking place with students also getting to grips with their design ideas, adding labels and notes, ready to analyse against their specifications.

A-Level students have been completing their UCAS applications, identifying their Universities of choice and using their personal statements to demonstrate their wealth of skills and achievements. They’ve also shown their usual high level of initiative by creating Google Meet groups so that they can discuss their lessons virtually to keep connected during this period of home learning.

Geographers have been studying the main stores and flows of water in the world and how changes over time in one can have significant global consequences, along with pollution in urban areas and how it can be reduced. Biologists have been focusing on exam technique for longer answer questions from Unit 4. Taking full advantage of the National Theatre’s offer to provide schools free access to a range of their plays during the lockdown period, Year 13 English Literature students watched a love production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ starring Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois. Following that they will be revising the dramatic devices used by Tennessee Williams in the play.

Year 13 Psychologists have been studying psychological explanations for schizophrenia on Google Meet lessons and Year 12 have been learning about the behavioural approach. Year 13 Mathematicians have been looking at the normal distribution and working on trigonometric identities which they first met in Year 12. Historians have been researching 16th Century Spain for their Non-exam assessment.

So, whilst the school building may be closed for the majority of students, learning certainly isn’t. Thanks for your support with this. Take care.