"I'd hate to move to another school," was just one of the comments that really impressed our visitors from Challenge Partners this week who spent three days in school. Five senior leaders from other schools, including one lead inspector from OfSTED, thoroughly scrutinised the school's work and found many things to celebrate.
Some of the highlights included comments like:
"The children are incredibly keen to learn"
"The students are very positive and their behaviour is impressive."
"The students are incredibly supportive of each other."
Visiting lessons with Challenge Partners allowed us to see a lot of stunning work. Special mention this week goes to Coby Cliff and Chelsey Howard for their amazing maths presentation on 3D shapes, which was so good, Mrs Hubbard asked them to teach the class what they had learned. Well done to both who receive a Headteacher's positive referral.
Year 11 drama students had to overcome the nerve wracking experience of performing their exam pieces to an audience at the Theatre Festival on Thursday. There was a real variety on display from monologues to group pieces and the students had to coordinate all aspects of the production themselves. The two pieces I saw on child abduction and gender identity were hard hitting and thought provoking and performed with incredible maturity. The standard was exceptionally high and a testament to their hard work. Ms. Halls was thrilled.
On Thursday of this week, Year 11's from the class of 2016 returned to school to collect their GCSE certificates. It seems they are doing really well and have very clear ideas of what they want to do with their futures. "I am planning to go to a London business school", "I am loving my apprenticeship with a travel company”, "I am planning to travel to Japan once I have finished my degree" are just some of the things they had to share with us. They were the most successful year group in the school's history and we are very proud of all that they have achieved. Of course, for most, this is the beginning and not the end and it was wonderful to learn about the futures they have planned. Good luck to them all and please do keep in touch.
Thirty Year 11 students visited London this week on a combined history and geography trip. Visits to the Natural History Museum and the London Dungeon were combined with lunch in Covent Garden. The students learned a lot, were brilliantly behaved and enjoyed sights of our capital city.
Year 11's also gave a resounding thumbs up to Elevate Education who ran a seminar for them this morning called How to Ace Your Exams. The presenters were "really approachable" and provided some great practical tips for exam success that equipped our students with the confidence that they too could succeed. The key message was that success is 80% preparation, and completing at least practice papers for each subject will help massively.
A dozen students from Year 9 had their third visit to Southampton University this week as part of the Learn with Us Programme. They had a great time completing workshops in subjects like criminology and learned about employability skills. They are now well placed to think about university for the future.
Love him or loathe him, you can't deny the influence that Fidel Castro had on the twentieth century. Castro died last weekend at the age of 90 and his country has been in mourning this week. He was a ruthless dictator who locked up his enemies but improved education and health care for the people. He will be most remembered for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 - arguably the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear war. You can find out more about this event here.
It has been incredibly cold this week and this weather has been a reminder of the benefits of the new school where the doors and windows will be much more efficient at keeping in the heat! A number of students have responded to the weather by bringing hot drinks into school. This isn't surprising, but, unfortunately, cannot be allowed for health and safety reasons. Please remind your child that any hot drink must be finished before they enter school.
And finally, have you got your tickets for panto yet? Don't forget this week’s performance on Wednesday the 7th of December at 19:00. It promises to be great fun and I look forward to seeing you there.