What An Incredible Few Weeks!

This term is flying by and we are well and truly in the midst of winter as I look outside. Regardless, these past few weeks have been unbelievably busy and also very special.

We have had a Science Roadshow, a visit to see the shuttle that astronaut Tim Peake used in space, lots of explosions in the hall and are about to welcome the Tim Peake Samsung Space Descent VR Bus experience to school next week. There is a lot happening in school as we continue to broaden horizons for our students and give them experiences beyond the classroom that will stimulate their interest in things like science and engender in them increased ambition and a love of learning.

Along that theme we welcomed Sarah Vine to school a couple of weeks ago. Sarah is a top barrister in London and she is also a major contributor to the Speakers for Schools charity. Sarah came up from London specially to speak to our students about her life, her work and also to ensure that students understand that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard enough and believe in yourself. She spent four hours with us speaking to students who are thinking about a career in law, being interviewed for our school magazine and also just spending quality time with our young people. She loved our school, our students, our ethos and ambition. I found her to be a very inspirational lady and I know our staff and students did too.

Last week our students took part in a Shakespeare for Schools event at the Alhambra Theatre. A number of Year 7 and 8 students performed Macbeth to a live audience and they were amazing. I knew they had prepared well but nothing prepared me for the waves of emotion I felt watching them deliver a wonderful and modern version of Shakespeare’s famous play. It was very special for me to see our students completely out of their comfort zone, embrace the opportunity and makes us all proud. The memories of night will stay with me forever and are some of the most valuable of my teaching career. Thanks to all the students and also to Mr. Camp, Ms. Morgan, Ms. Knight and Ms. Ragan.

Our recent Student Self Review Day for Years 7, 8, and 9 alongside out Super Learning Day for Years 10 and 11 was a great success. I loved our younger students sat with their parents/carers and teachers presenting an overview of their progress this year and also agreeing next steps and targets. They prepared so well for the opportunity and yet again proved just how determined and aspirational they can be. Our Year 10 students took part in a ‘Job in a Day’ event. Essentially, they listened to various professionals talk about their careers, how to gain access to them and also complete preparations for interviews and writing CVs. These are such valuable experiences and I know a number of them now know what they want to do in the years ahead and what is expected of them to achieve those goals; wonderful stuff. Our Year 11 students took advantage of the day and spent their time engaged with English, Maths and Science staff preparing for their forthcoming mock exams and also utilizing the time to embed key learning. They were completely committed to their learning throughout the day and continue to demonstrate what a great cohort of young people they are.

And finally, we had a visit last Friday from Angleina Idun who is the Director for School Improvement from the SSAT (Schools, Students and Teachers Network). She travelled up with her colleague, Zeynep Koch, to see our school and understand for themselves the transformational journey we are on. She spoke at length with myself but, more importantly, spent time touring the school with students, visiting lessons and talking to various members of our school community. They really enjoyed their time with us and spoke with great warmth about our journey to become Outstanding, our incredible progress to date and the difference we are making to the lives of young people. Angelina spoke of the culture here and the environment we are championing in order to achieve our ambitious vision for our school. We know we have still such a long way to go but her words were very uplifting and well timed.

So, there you have it. It has really been busy and I hope you agree that we are all working together to provide quality experiences for our students; they deserve it!

Simon

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