We had our first ever Teachmeet at Chesterton this week, organised by Dr Hutchinson and Alexandra Courtney. A Teachmeet is an after school event advertised to teachers on Facebook, Twitter etc, where teachers present for three minutes on exciting and creative ideas they are using in their classrooms. We had sixty teachers attend; we believe one of the largest audiences locally for an event like this. There was a superb atmosphere with colleagues from primary, secondary and FE sectors at the event. The ideas presented ranged from how to use music to enhance the learning experience, to how to build resilience amongst students. Collaborative events like this are always very powerful as they provide teachers with great ideas and an opportunity to discuss teaching and learning. We certainly hope to host more in the future.
At a staff meeting on Monday we launched with the staff our new weekly meeting structure. Every Monday Faculties will be meeting to work on developing their approaches to teaching and learning. There will be a cycle of meetings, starting after half-term, which includes during a five weekly rotation: Faculty Teaching and Learning Community – sharing good ideas; developing schemes of learning and coaching, where staff bring along planning or footage of lessons to explore how they can improve what they are delivering. We are really excited to have devoted this after school time to developing teaching and learning, which we know will support us on our journey to becoming outstanding.
I was fortunate this week to observe our Year 10 sports’ leaders delivering a lesson to Year 1 students at Arbury Primary school. The sports’ leader programme is an opportunity for students to gain a qualification which allows them to develop their leadership skills, by teaching and coaching younger students in different sports. I was incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm and care our Year 10 students demonstrated with the Year 1 students; the Year 1 students clearly loved having the older students to interact with. Our students have to plan the lessons and reflect on the strengths and areas for development of the lesson; it was great to hear them talking about teaching and they were very perceptive.
We had one of our enrichment days on Tuesday, with some great events happening. Year 7 students experienced their James Bond themed day and our Y11 students were involved in science enrichment: in biology they dissected owl pellets and learnt about closed loop systems, whilst in Physics the department borrowed some superb optics equipment from the University Physics department to see how telescopes work. Having dropped into that particular session I can comment on how engaged and focused the students were.
Also on the day we had some Year 8 students involved in work shadowing of parents and I have had some lovely comments back from parents about how much they enjoyed being able to do this activity with their children. Our Y10 students were involved in a health promoting PSE day which I know they found very useful and informative.
The Year 9 option taster sessions also ran on Enrichment Day, allowing students to get a flavour of their potential GCSE options. For example, in the Year 9 GCSE photography taster sessions students researched the work of photographer Man Ray, produced their own photograms in the dark room and presented their work on display pages. You can see the work they produced on our Facebook page.
If you do look at the photograms on Facebook, also have a look at the outcomes from an exciting experimental drawing workshop led this week by Shelia Ceccarelli from Access Art. Students explored ways of loosening up their drawings skills using materials such as graphite and charcoal to make large scale studies of vegetables.
Our next Enrichment Day is on March 21st with trips to the Natural History Museum and Tate Modern off site and on site a Jaguar Cars’ Day. It is great to be able to offer such varied experiences for students.
Nearly 50 students were issued with their DofE log in details this week and so have now officially started their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Next step is to finalise their skill, physical and volunteering sections. This is a really exciting development for students being led by Liz Askham. It is a superb opportunity for students to develop skills that will be useful for them throughout their lives.
Really exciting news for 38 Year 9 students who are embarking on a 12 week Enterprise Learning project in conjunction with Felixstowe Trade and Enterprise College, starting next week. Students will be using real money to set up a real world company and will be applying some of the skills they learn at school to the world of work. Successful students will achieve a nationally recognised Level 2 City & Guilds Certificate in Employment and Personal Development and a Commercial Overseas and Shipping Training Certificate. Look out for more details over the next few months, including information about when parents will be able to come in to school to buy some of the products they make!
The Britten Sinfonia are coming into deliver a workshop for Year 10 music pupils this coming Monday and the students will be attending a lunchtime concert of theirs next Tuesday; further details to follow and certainly something to look forward to. Yet another exciting event to look forward to next week!