Friday, 29 April 2016

29 April 2016

Well, was that snow at home time on Tuesday afternoon?  It was certainly cold and wet and not much fun for the students who were completing their RYA stage 1 sailing certificate at Portchester sailing club!  None the less they showed real determination and strength of character to see the session through especially when they ended up in the water as James Reilly Langley did while learning to gybe.

This week has also provided new opportunities for our students.  Thirty year 7 students went to Southampton University on Friday to have their first taste of university life as part of the organisation's "learn with us programme".  They had a tour of the campus, had to search for "treasure" in a scavenger hunt and reconstruct some of the buildings using lego.  The students I spoke to had a great time and are starting to think about how university might be the right path for them in the future.

At about the same time three year 10 students visited the Isle of Wight to meet His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex as part of the celebratory events for the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  The school is proud to be associated with the award because it fits so neatly into our motto of building character and shaping futures.  The award encourages young people to take on some new challenges and test themselves, all while having great fun.  Any students who wish to take part should talk to Miss Long or Mr Cooper.

Also this week every child in year 7 has had some training on how to make the best use of their i-pads.  The training was provided by professionals from Apple who introduced the students to some of the amazing things that can be done with the device.  One app that intrigued most of them was one that turned their scripts for short films into an auto cue; enabling their films to achieve a much more professional feel.  We know that lots of students make excellent use of the i-pads in lessons and when completing homework and we are keen that as many students as possible benefit from the scheme.  If you have any questions about i-pad use then please contact Mr James Webb at the school.

Many of our year 8 students have been working with visitors to the school in recent weeks. Our anti -smoking mentors are now fully trained and ready for action.  They are fully aware of the reasons not to smoke and have been set the task of engaging with five pupils each and convincing them not to start.  Given the health benefits of not smoking this is an important message and I wish them well in trying to have an impact on their peers.

There is also a group of 19 students working with local business men and women on the LEAP programme.  In developing their understanding of the skills you need to be successful in the work place e.g. time management they have recited a poem and performed a rap and many students are reporting how their confidence is growing.  We have been very impressed with their energy and enthusiasm.

I have been lucky enough to see some fantastic work in classrooms over the last week.  I was particularly impressed by Mr Bierton's year 7 geography class who had made some wonderful stop motion films to describe what they had learned about tectonics and also Mrs Nutland's year 8 English class who were creating their own physical models of the character Curly from Of mice and men by John Steinbeck.  Both sets of students could clearly describe how these physical activities were helping them learn more.  It really was excellent.

Congratulations to our latest Lexia "champions".  Mia Watson has achieved level 2 and Islam Abu Khalif level 4.  Well done both and keep up the hard work. 

Don't forget 11th May is year 8 parents evening and the chance this brings to discuss the option choices for the following academic year as well as receive the annual report.  The same opportunity awaits year 9 students and their parents on the 15th June.

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