Headteacher Blog - 1 AprilPosted on: 1st Apr
With the Easter break imminent, we have now marked a year since we entered the first lockdown and embarked on a series of incredible challenges. As a school community we have all pulled together, shown huge resilience in meeting those challenges head on, and in reflecting back now, I believe we have grown stronger as a school community as a result.
One of the key challenges was the transition to online learning, and I am delighted to say that the results of our recent student survey looking at all aspects of online learning has produced overwhelmingly positive feedback and I wanted to share this with you.
- Ninety-nine per cent of the 704 students who responded stated they had fully taken part in online learning, and in contrast to the first lockdown following staff training, students stated all lessons had a synchronous element.
- Eighty-three per cent stated the amount of work they had been set was manageable
- Eighty-seven per cent stated they spent four hours or more on schoolwork each day.
- Ninety per cent said they found it easy to get help from their teachers.
What is apparent from these results is that the quality of our remote learning minimised disruption to the students’ education. This is a testament to the commitment and hard work of my staff who really care about helping each student achieve their full potential. I would like to thank them for all their efforts.
With the clocks going forwards, lighter nights and hopefully an easing of lockdown restrictions, there is definitely a reason to be more optimistic about what the future might bring. However, it is still important that we all play our part to continue to keep everyone safe. Therefore, as outlined in my recent letter, we ask our students to continue testing twice a week during the Easter break and continue to follow the COVID controls.
This term we have received the results of the BTEC examinations that a number of our students sat in January. Our students have received some of our best ever results, which is especially significant given that these examinations were sat in the really challenging circumstances of the third lockdown. Some of our most notable performances were from the following students, each of whom received distinctions for both of the examinations they sat:
Charlotte A – Applied Science and Health and Social Care
Lucy B – Business Studies
Richard L – Business Studies and Creative Media
Tyler W – Creative Media and Health and Social Care
For parents of our Year 11 and 13 students, we have now published the schedule for awarding final grades this summer. A huge thank you to those of you who attended the recent parent forum where we discussed this, and for the subsequent positive feedback on the session that we have received. Assessments will be spread evenly over the coming weeks so that students have more time to prepare for them, and can better balance their revision. We have also taken great care to establish an internal process for awarding grades that is consistent, quality assured, and most importantly, fair. We believe that we are doing more and going further than many schools nationally with the approach we are taking, and as such students should feel confident that the grades they will receive in the summer will accurately reflect their abilities and efforts during this difficult year.
We are also very aware that a number of students are finding the situation that they are in daunting and are feeling increasingly anxious. We are here to support and listen to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or worried. We are in awe of how our students have handled themselves during the last year of upheaval and want them to know that we are here to help in any way we can.
In other news, our recent Comic Relief non-uniform day raised over £1,500, and prizes were awarded this week to the winners of the recent Digital Detox Day Geography competition. In a competition which showcased the creativity of our students, Yrs 9 and 13 were asked to make a model of a volcano or a volcano cake, and Yr 12s to produce a coast themed cake or model. Ms Pickard and her team were incredibly impressed with the attention to detail and there are a number of photos of the innovations for you to view on our website. Please click here to view. During lockdown our Maths Ambassadors produced a video to celebrate Pi Day 2021, an initiative inspired by Manchester University’s Dr Katie Steckles to engage students with maths and science. The video was created during lockdown, with students using their initiative to plan and produce short films each of which demonstrated a different way of calculating Pi. Students were highly creative using items such as nail varnish for their calculations and one student even got her pet cat involved! For more information on the project, please click here.
It is the time of the year where we appoint our new Head Boy and Head Girl and huge congratulations to Morgan and Rhea who are the successful candidates. The rigorous process involved a letter of application, a group task planning a charity event, a speech to the whole year, and an interview with Head of Sixth Form Mr Hogan and myself. We are looking for confident students who clearly understand the importance of the role, and will engage with the whole student body. In addition, they need to be ambassadors for the school and the sixth form, and be highly organised and motivated to get things done. Mr Hogan and I were impressed by the quality of all the candidates, and it was a hard decision to make. We are looking forward to working with Rhea, Morgan and all the student leaders, and seeing them make a fantastic contribution to the experiences of students across the whole school.
Sadly, we are saying goodbye to Mr Mullarkey, Assistant Headteacher. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his hard work and dedication and wish him all the best for the future.
Finally, I would like to leave you with this uplifting quote: “We are one day closer to everything being back to normal again. That’s a good thought to wake up to every morning”.
Have a lovely Easter and we look forward to welcoming you back to school on Monday, 19 April.