On Monday after school we held our first whole staff coaching session. The session was led by Assistant Head Donna Young and she trained staff on how to coach – which involves active listening and not providing strategies for colleagues, but asking really good questions. Staff will bring along “problems” to the sessions, for example lessons that they are trying to make more exciting or concepts that are difficult to teach and will explore new ideas which they were trial. It was a very positive first session and it was great to see all of our teachers discussing teaching and learning together.
We had our PTA meeting on Tuesday evening and it was very well attended. Richard Auffret did a presentation about our approaches with i-pads and how we are developing the scheme. The PTA received a preview of the next i-pad footage which is going out soon. The footage was really interesting, as Richard Kirkby had decided to just go and film i-pad usage over three lessons without announcing this to staff, so he could see actual usage rather than a pre-prepared film. It was great to see the film which focused on science lessons and to see such a variety of effective i-pad usage.
The PTA are busily preparing a number of fund-raising events for this year. The next one being a student quiz. The success of the PTA quizzes has prompted them to extend the idea to a student quiz and the PTA, with the House Competition Captains, are currently organising the first ever quiz for students which will run after school. A very exciting event and I’m sure tables will sell out just as quickly as they do for the parent night. I understand students were offered crisps and sweets as refreshments, but their preference has been for the cheese platters that are so popular at the parent quizzes; our students have very sophisticated tastes!
We were interviewing this week for three English teachers; always a very exciting time and we were fortunate to have a very strong field of applicants. We have appointed Sophie Wright, who has been training with us; Alexia Smith, who is returning to us having worked with us previously, and Lettie Buxton-Witt who has both primary and secondary experience and we feel will be a valuable addition to our continuing development of primary transition.
A great deal of sporting news this week with our first netball and football fixtures of the season taking place, involving approximately 180 students across Years 7-11. It was a successful start as all teams were able to win, except for one! Daniel Poole and Alex Milward, in Year 10, have progressed to the semi-final of the National under 15 Football Cup – representing the Cambridge District Schools’ team; they beat Bristol schools after extra time and penalties, so very well done to them. Girls’ rugby started in style this week for the first time at Chesterton. Girls from across Years 7-9 are being coached by representatives from Cambridge Rugby Club and this is happening every Monday evening after school until 4.45pm.
Dr Hutchinson and Mrs Pointon represented the school at the Cambridge FairTrade Fortnight event, this week. Dr Hutchinson told the Cambridge FairTrade Steering Group about the new Chesterton FairTrade uniforms; the group were really impressed that the school has taken this step towards making trade work better for farmers. As a result of the event, Mrs Pointon has made some really useful contacts and we hope that lots of new FairTrade events will happen in school as a result. This will include hearing from some inspirational presenters during assemblies and an opportunity for Year 7 students to visit the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, to handle artefacts from Chile and find out more about the fairly traded Chilean goods being sold in Cambridge.
In Y8 assembly this week Claire Terrington presented a group of Y8’s with their Bronze CREST Award for a project they undertook as part of Science Club last year. They did a project on the Iodine Clock Reaction, carried out some research, conducted experiments and then produced a group poster on their findings. They did all of the work themselves with just a little guidance from Miss Terrington. They will be working on their Silver CREST award in the summer term. The students are: Artemis Paterson, Lindsay Haughan, Anita Megarry, Luke Carlson & Le-An Hoang. Well done to them.
There have been some excellent tutor time challenges happening this week, focused on literacy. I was speaking with Nicola von Schreiber, the co-tutor for Cavendish 7, and she had been really impressed by the discussion generated when students were asked to look at multiple uses of scientific terms. There are some photos of the activities on our Facebook page.
Between December 9th and 15th 2013 some of our students took part in an Hour of Code, which was organised in conjunction with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. This included, as you would expect, one hour of computer programming. As a result of this hour of coding the school has been donated 5 Raspberry Pi’s. We will be looking at how these can be used by our school in the near future. The next hour of code will be held during March 3rd to 9th 2014 and Mr Williams is going to be working on this with KS3 students.
It was a delight to end my week by giving a talk to the ESOL group run by Sarah Adams. The group is for members of the community who have English as a second language and wish to develop their skills through conversation. Sarah has a thriving group and we are always keen to welcome members of the community into the school.