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Headteacher’s Reflections on the Half Term

“Every[one] needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.” Dylan Wiliam

Year 11

And before we know it, we are in the Easter two-week break, which, for our Year 11s we know will be characterised with revision as well as much needed down time. The vast majority of our Year 11s, with their resilience, focus and determination, have continued to impress me and all our staff. From their conduct in the trial examinations following the February half term to the high numbers who came to Easter school last week, their commitment is clear to see, winning out over the disruptions experienced through the pandemic. I know you, as parents and carers, will continue to chivvy, challenge and cheer them on throughout these all-important last few months.

Parent / Carer Consultation

This has also been the half term in which I was delighted to further develop those all-important links with our wider community. On Tuesday 21st March, we welcomed a group of parents and carers into school to give their input and feedback on our Personal Development (PD) curriculum. This feedback was positive with meaningful discussions around the topics delivered in our Personal Development lessons. There were great suggestions for tackling the issues that our students face and how we can work together to enable our children to make informed decisions and choices in life.

Some key topics discussed included:

  • How can we effectively communicate up-coming topics and themes within the PD curriculum to parents and carers?
  • How can families access further information around mental health, well-being and sex and relationships?
  • How can we incorporate issues covered in PD lessons across school, such as ‘focus’ weeks in assemblies and tutor time?
  • How might PD topics be addressed in other subject areas?

There will be other opportunities to be involved in events such as this consultation evening; the issues raised will form part of a parental survey next term and I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Getting Better at Getting Better

As we keep moving forward on our school improvement journey, our focus is on how we continue to get better at what we deliver. The Maya Angelou quotation emblazoned on our bridge as you enter the school - “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” - really does encapsulate everything we are about as a school, both for our young people and our staff. This half term and looking ahead to our summer term, I am also reminded of the educationalist Dylan Wiliam’s quotation at the top of this post which actually reads “Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.” Our work with the Subject Leads and Year Leads – those key middle leaders at the heart of school improvement – will carry on gathering robust evidence of the impact of initiatives: not to change policies and practice, but to embed, evaluate and refine them, so that we keep seeking to improve our provision.

Just as we try to instil in our students, like the author William Faulkner once said: “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” Whilst I look forward to the valuable time to recoup and recharge our batteries over the Easter period, I am excited too at the prospect of the return, working with our staff, yourselves and our young people to keep on getting better at getting better.

Adrian May