Term 1 Progress Report
I am writing this blog this morning in what can only be described as very dreary conditions. I have been trying to find evidence today at the point of the Autumn Equinox of Keats’s ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, but have to confess that so far, I have failed.
It has been another busy week at Weald. We had this week an author’s visit by a former student who now lives in Australia and the English Department and students were very impressed by her presentation. There have been sporting fixtures, a rock-climbing trip, a Music Department trip to the Marlowe Theatre and a Duke of Edinburgh Information Evening. I want to thank all the staff who led these trips and all the students who participated and behaved so well on all of them.
I thought it was important this week to update you on where we have got to with working on some of our school improvement priorities.
In relation to reporting and parents and carers’ consultation evenings, I have received feedback from many of you in relation to what you really want to know about your child’s personal development and progress at school. Mr Fidock, who is the Assistant Headteacher responsible for Data and Reporting, has been leading a review into these aspects of our work with the support of Mrs Ricks, the Deputy Headteacher responsible for the Quality of Education and a team of staff who have volunteered to be on his working party. A link to a survey for parents and carers has been put into this week’s Bulletin that has been sent out. I would ask you please to complete the survey, as this will help to inform us further on what you would like to see as we make changes to our practice. We will notify you of the results of the survey in due course.
Following on from the best practice visit that Miss Hardman, one of the Assistant Headteachers responsible for Behaviour and Attitudes, and I made last week, we held a strategic planning meeting on Wednesday this week, with Mrs Swaffer, who also leads Behaviour and Attitudes and Mr Doyle, one of our trustees. Miss Hardman and I were very impressed by the transformational positive behaviour culture that we saw in evidence in the three hours we spent with the Headteacher at the local school we visited. I have always believed that positive behaviour cultures in schools thrive where there is a consistent set of shared values that everyone models based on mutual respect and a strong sense of community. Miss Hardman and Mrs Swaffer will be leading the strategic focus at our Senior Leadership Group meeting on Monday 26 September to share their plan with the wider team and agree next steps with their working party. Further updates on this will be shared with you very shortly as we review our Positive Behaviour Policy and you will be invited into school at both campuses during Term 2 to hear more about this.
This is the time of year when our Year 13 students are starting to plan their futures and for many of them, they are working hard on preparing their university applications ready to submit them via UCAS. Our early applicants who are applying to Oxbridge, Medicine, Veterinarian and Dentistry courses have to submit their applications by today, so that the school can process them by the set deadline. Every year, I am so impressed by the quality of the applications our students produce and the many curricular, super-curricular and extra-curricular examples they illustrate their personal statements with. I would like to thank all the Year 13 Form Teachers, Year 13 subject teachers, the Head of Sixth Form, Mr Richardson, Mrs Swaffer, Assistant Headteacher for Years 11 – 13 and our parents and carers for the support they are giving our Year 13s with their applications. I also wish to thank in advance our Heads of Department, who will be writing the individual references for the students that are sent with their applications to UCAS and Mrs Pring who will coordinate the process.
This week saw the last of our Parents and Carers’ Information Evenings with Year 10 at the Sevenoaks Campus and Year 9 at the Tonbridge Campus. Thank you to all of you who have given us feedback, either in person or in writing. We very much value hearing your views on their format. We will be carrying out a thorough evaluation of all thirteen meetings at SLG on Monday which will be used to inform our planning for next year’s events.
We also this week were able to invite in an External Educational Consultant who is working with the school during the autumn term to help us with our improvement journey and will be working with middle leaders, senior leaders and our trust board on this process. He visited the school on Thursday this week to carry out Deep Dives both the English and Maths Departments in the style that Ofsted do when they visit schools. I had the pleasure of being the very first teacher that was visited by him and my Head of Department, Mrs Creak, as they carried out a learning walk during period 1. Both Mr Cartwright, our Head of Maths and Mrs Creak, our Head of English, found the external evaluation process very valuable and were given some really forensic and supportive feedback on the strengths of their departments and some suggested next steps. The consultant was able to see in both subject areas that a fully embedded curriculum that is logically and progressively sequenced is being delivered. The consultant was so impressed by the students that he met during this work as he asked them about their educational experiences. He particularly highlighted their levels of articulacy and their ability to speak with authority on their learning. I had a very insightful meeting with the consultant at the end of the day and am looking forward to working again with him over the next few months.
I would like to wish you all a great weekend.
Mrs S.A. Clark