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Headteacher's Reflections on the First Half Term

Mr May's Reflections on the first half term

As we come towards the end of this first half term (where did it go?) I would like to reflect on some of our work and achievements to date. 

New staff 

I cannot say a big enough thank you to all our new members of staff who joined us in September. They have without exception hit the ground running and helped to take the school forwards with new ideas and positivity and have been wonderfully welcomed and supported by our existing staff.

Rewards and Celebrations

Planners and stamps Firstly, I would like to thank those parents who suggested that we revisited the use of planners at Bradfield during the last academic year. These are allowing us to make rewards visible to everyone in a way which is sustainable. All year groups are positive about their use and are using these as an additional motivation to work hard and achieve the best possible results. Tutors add these points into Bromcom on a weekly basis to allow us to track these and to enter those with more than twenty stamps in a week into a weekly prize draw. It has been great to see how these have been received both in school and at home enabling us to further that partnership to ensure that ‘all people thrive’ at Bradfield School. 

Achievement Evening At the end of September, we launched our inaugural Achievement Evening, which was glorious for attending students, parents/carers and staff alike. Students were firstly celebrated for their achievement in the last academic year in each subject area. Members of the Senior Leadership Team introduced each subject, with aptly chosen quotations to celebrate each one. Of course, all of us think that our own subject is the most important, but only I was actually correct in that Science wins that competition outright! We then applauded those students chosen by Heads of Years for their outstanding commitment to many areas of school life. It was wonderful to welcome back some of last year's Year 11 students, and we look forward to continuing this kind of celebration in the future. As one parent wrote in the next day: "It was so great to see all the children who consistently put in effort, work hard and behave well getting the recognition they deserved."

Y6 Open Evening It was rewarding to see so many Y6 students and their families at our Year 6 open evening early in October. Staff were praised for their warm and welcoming approaches, but I was most moved by the praise emailed in the next day for our brilliant student leaders acting as ambassadors for Bradfield, such as this lovely comment: “The students we met were so polite, confident and helpful, explaining all about their positive experiences at school." 

Capital Projects - already making a difference 

Security fence The fence now ensures that our students stay away from cars within the car park and that cars stay away from them. It means that we now better utilise the space at the front of school as a safe area for social times. We have already added some benches to this area and hope to add more soon. We thank all visitors for now using the pedestrian entrance which enables the office staff to remotely open the gate to allow people to come through to reception.

New Food Tech room Having two Food Technology rooms is allowing us to deliver the full curriculum to all Key Stage 3 students. With GCSE Food Technology continuing to be such a popular option we were restricted in the number of groups who could access this key area of our design technology offer. Students are now enjoying additional Food Technology lessons in Key Stage 3. I am always impressed with the pace at which our students work in Food Tech whilst maintaining such creativity and innovation. The wonderful aroma and display of items made is always a treat for anyone visiting this area. 

Positive images Whilst we are grateful to have such a wonderful building and surroundings at Bradfield, the inside of the building had many areas which were crying out for the positive images and inspirational quotes we now have on display. Colleagues were polled on which quotes they would like to see displayed around our school. We have started to use these as part of our assemblies to exemplify the attitudes we wish to see in all our young people taking aspiration from those on display. 

Looking ahead

Restorative Practice (RP) As a school we have been working hard to develop the ideas of restorative practice and conversations. We have two members of staff who have completed or are part-way through the RP and Trauma Informed diploma. Sheffield aims to be a Trauma Informed city with all schools within the city taking advantage of the training and support on offer. During our October training day, we focused on this important way of working with strategies to further implement this approach at Bradfield. All the evidence collected suggests that restorative conversations can help to rebuild the positive relationships we all need to be successful as individuals and groups of people. We are modifying our systems to allow this type of conversation to take place on a regular basis and will write to you later this week to outline these plans to you. These will take place between students, and between students and members of staff. 

Uniform, planners and equipment Next term, we will continue to focus on these three key areas, as, where students get this right, it means all of us can put all of the focus on students' learning. As ever, I thank you as parents and carers for doing all you can to ensure your child comes to school in the right uniform and with the right equipment. Our governors will be reviewing our uniform, particularly skirts, in the upcoming weeks, and, as a whole staff we will be looking for ways to praise those students who always come fully equipped and support and challenge all students to do so.

Communication In future, having listened to your feedback we aim to give more regular updates through our Bradfield Blog. Please continue to give your feedback on this and other aspects of communication as we take this area forwards under review with our local governing board.