Headteachers Blog

Headteacher’s Blog – 2nd December 2022

Students in Years 10 and 11 breathed a sigh of relief today as they neared the end of their Progress exams with the final ones on Monday. They’ve had an incredibly focused week and demonstrated a secure understanding of exam protocols. Teachers are now in a flurry of marking with the aim of using these exams to identify next steps for teaching to support students both in terms of building upon knowledge and exam technique. Students will be reflecting on the effectiveness of their revision and gaps in knowledge so that they can continue to improve as we move towards the Summer exams.

Around the rest of the school, our Key Stage 3 students have been continuing with enthusiasm across the curriculum. Year 7 Historians have begun learning about Castles in preparation for their Christmas project. Miss Whiles requests, ‘as Christmas deliveries ramp up this month, please save your children any cardboard boxes or interesting packaging they could use in their models’.  In English they’ve been continuing with their short stories and in Science they’ve been doing a variety of things with some groups looking at elements, mixtures and compounds including how to separate them whilst other groups have been using the microscopes to look at cells from all around the body and plants. In Food Tech, Christmas cakes are being decorated, in DT students are finishing their Alessi and Blockheads projects whilst, in Maths, they’ve been solving linear equations.

Year 8 Historians have been comparing soldiers and weapons in the English Civil War ready for executing the King. In IT they’ve been looking at types of computer malware and the damage they can do from botnets to trojan horses before looking at firewalls and other ways to protect devices. Christmas shortbread has been the focus in FT and child safety bands, ‘flashy bangles’ in DT. Mrs. Bauwens reports that ‘Year 8 Geographers have just finished the earth shattering topic ‘Rocks & Volcanoes’ and have completed an assessment to demonstrate what they have learnt this term.  As part of the unit pupils were asked to produce their own active volcano. The photograph shows just a few examples of the amazing work done.’ In RE, students have been deliberating whether citizens have a human right to dress as they please which will lead onto discussions about whether there should be limitations on wearing certain items of religious clothing in British society and, in English, they’ve been learning how to write compelling non-fiction stories about survival in the great wilderness.

Year 9 Mathematicians have been studying bearings, scales and constructions with a particular focus on how these can be applied in a real-life context. In English, they’ve been writing essays and creative pieces on Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black. In History students have been comparing interpretations of the Christmas Truce of 1914 discussing some of the issues of historical accuracy when an event is popularised for advertising. In FT Year 9 have been developing a Christmas challenge centre piece whilst in DT the focus has been MDF boxes and graphic design.

Feedback was the focus of my assemblies this week. It’s almost a year since our Ofsted visit and, as a school community, we’ve been working hard to make measurable progress on our priorities so, as part of our evaluation, students are being asked to complete a questionnaire on all aspects of school life. Your feedback is also critical to our evaluation so you’ll receive a letter next week with details of how you can fill in a similar parent/carer survey.

Events ahead include a Big Book Swap on Wednesday 7th December at break and lunchtime in the dining hall. Students will be able to purchase second-hand books for a small cost (£1-£3 per book). Alternatively, students can bring old books from home to donate and, if they do so, they will receive a token that they can exchange for any book(s) of their choice. If you would be happy to donate any books from home suitable for secondary school age students or younger then please drop them off at reception. The Readathon, where students have been setting their own reading challenge, is also running until the end of this term. All sponsor money needs to be collected and handed in by Friday 16th December.

And there’s Christmas in the air, with the Christmas Live Lounge next Tuesday 6th at 6.30 p.m. with festive songs from the pop choir, solo spots and a rock band performance. We’ll have the usual Christmas Quiz, mince pies, tea and coffee. As Mrs. Skilbeck says, ‘If you’ve never been before, it’s a lovely relaxed show!’. Entry is £3 or £2 for concessions. It would be lovely to see you there.

Students also have Christmas dinner on Thursday 8th December to look forward to.

Have a lovely weekend!