Week ending January 31st
- We held two Head of Faculty development days this week, focused on learning and teaching as we continue our journey to becoming outstanding. The main focus of the meetings was looking at developing our schemes of work. Teachers use schemes of work to plan an overview of what students will be studying during the course of the year: to map out how skills are being developed and to ensure there are a variety of activities which will engage all learners. We are keen to develop our existing schemes of work so that they incorporate the use of i-pads; opportunities for some self-directed learning and allow for support and extension of students. We had a very interesting two days shaping a common format for the schemes of work and considering activities which will ensure lessons are outstanding. We are keen to develop our collaborative approaches to this form of planning; the Heads of Faculty found it helpful to share how they plan, it allowed us to see connections between what is happening in different subjects and also to share good ideas. This is a long term development that we will be working on for some time, as planning has to be thoughtful and considered. We do feel it is an important focus and one which will continue to enhance the experiences for students.
- We will be holding a similar day for Heads of House on Monday to review the work that has been happening with the house system. The Heads of House have been working well to establish the house system and also to shape their role looking at the whole child; focusing on links between the pastoral and academic lives of students. I have been particularly impressed with the mentoring work they have been doing with some Year 9 and Year 11 students and families to help support their progress at school.
- Many parents have commented to me about our current booking system for parents’ evenings, which involves students making appointments on behalf of their parents. We all appreciate that for some students this can work beautifully, whilst for others it has proved to be a little more of a challenge! For the Year 10 parents’ evening in March we will be trialling an on-line booking system, which has been used in some of our local primary schools. This will be a trial, but we are planning the implementation of this carefully as we hope it will be the approach that we will adopt. Information will be coming out about this nearer the time and how you can access appointments; please feel free to give us any feedback about how you find the new system.
- Our Year 11 Parents’ Evening was also this week. I hope that parents found the evening useful. We had considered carefully what key messages parents and students need at this point, with teachers carefully planning the comments they would make. We also had curriculum help sheets with revision guidance; parent booklets on how to support your child and information about forthcoming session for both parents and students. We hope this was all useful and if you feel there is anything further we could be doing please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- As always the Humanities department have organised some engaging events for our students. A party of 36 Year 9 pupils had the exciting opportunity to take part in two local events organised as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations. The first event was a film screening at the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge. The pupils watched a film about the saving of Jewish children from Nazi Germany just before WWII. This was followed by a lively discussion about the film and its content in which the pupils took a very active part. The second event, at Anglia Ruskin University, was a symposium led by Dr Sean Lang and Mike Levy, which further explored the issues raised in the morning session and, very interestingly, it also explored the role of Cambridge and its community in the Kindertransport programme. The pupils were a credit to themselves and our school and they enjoyed the day very much.
- Sporting news this week is: Year 9 boys qualified for the district basketball finals, when we hosted the preliminary tournament. Sportspeople of the month (on the PE noticeboard) are Daniel Poole and Alice Kindell, both in Year 10. Alice finished in the much-improved 12th position in the county cross country, whilst Dan is a regular in the successful county schools football team who have a national cup quarter final coming up soon so good luck to him.
- There have been lots of exciting developments in DT recently and we have had some very positive parent feedback. Year 7 are finishing off their projects leading into the ‘Great Chesterton Challenge’ in the summer and have produced some brilliant products. More details of this will follow during the year.
- Interesting fact for the week, since September we have sent a massive 19,820 good news slips; just goes to show what a great group of students we have in school.