Headteacher’s Blog – Week 29

Crystal clear about Kingsway

Did you have a nice weekend?

I spent a lovely day on Saturday in town with my family enjoying a very late Christmas present! We were all treated to the Crystal Maze experience followed by afternoon tea.

I am thrilled to report that having accepted the mental challenges, I won both crystals for our team. Fortunately for me they were both mathematical puzzles and so I had the skills to solve the puzzle, but found myself flapping trying to solve them under the pressure of (a) time and (b) being humiliated in front of my family peering in from outside the room.

If you’ve not seen the 90’s TV show, the point of the game is to collect as many crystals as you can by undertaking mental, skill or physical challenges. Each challenge takes place in a room and you have 2 minutes to complete the challenge or you get locked in, meaning your team has one less player to collect the golden tokens in the crystal dome at the end of the game. Whilst we didn’t win all our crystals, we kept our team together until the end.

It was great fun and made me think about all the skills that we used in those couple of hours: teamwork, resilience, problem solving, stamina, creative thinking and many more. Skills that we require our students to exhibit each lesson and learning experience.

This is something we are passionate about at Kingsway - not just teaching our students knowledge and facts, but giving them the skills to set them apart in the future. Many skills are developed through wider curriculum opportunities and that is why we encourage all our students to take part in extra-curricular activities such as joining our sports teams, learning to play an instrument or contributing to the school council.

There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the wider life of school and develop the skills that are valued by employers and universities as equally as GCSE grades. This was reinforced to me last week when Frank Robinson, Director of Human Resources, at CDL (a large software provider to the Insurance industry) came to Kingsway. Frank came to discuss ways CDL can support the teaching of Computer Science and ICT to provide students with real-life scenarios the will encounter in industry. We are also looking to run a series of enrichment opportunities to be credited by CDL which will show employers that our students are "work ready" and have the skill set that employers want from their engineers and designers.

Later this week, we are being visited by Iain Grant. Iain is the Vice President of Airbus Pacific and an ex-Kingsway student. He has kindly offered to come and talk to our Science and Technology students and STEM cadets about his experience and the skills he has developed along the way. More information about his visit in next week’s blog.

With schools under continuing financial pressure to make less go further, many are reducing extra curricular opportunities for students as these can often be an expensive cost to school budgets. However, we believe that there are benefits that far outweigh the cost and that is why we continue to invest for example in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

This past weekend 40 year 10 students, supported by 10 members of staff, undertook their Duke of Edinburgh practise expedition in the Peak District. They were all excited as we made our way to the start location in Whaley Bridge. The students set off with enthusiasm and began to navigate their way around the countryside. ‘It’s a 50/50 chance we’re heading in the right direction’ was the best starting quote I heard. However, as the days progressed students were then able to improve their navigational skills and became much more accurate with their map reading skills... ‘We travel through the middle of two fields, until we reach the third field where we walk along the wall, until we come to a stile..’ (So much better!) Once we arrived at the campsite in Buxton, students dropped their bags and began to pitch tents, with some of them experiencing camping for the first time. Students also cooked their own meals on small stoves and although 2 lots of pasta were thrown across the fields, whilst trying to drain the water, the meals were a success! Students then navigated another 10km on the Saturday to their end location, back in Whaley Bridge.

Throughout the entire experience the students all showed the key attributes of leadership, teamwork, self-motivation, communication, confidence, consideration and the ability to learn - all of which employers are looking for. They were a pleasure to take out on the practise expedition and we’re hoping for the same (if not better) on their assessed expedition in July.

So I am crystal clear about why Kingsway is the best choice for the children in our community - because we care about them, because we teach them lots of stuff and because we help them to grow in to skilled young people, who will impress the best employers in the future.

Just for fun… here’s a problem like the I faced at the Crystal Maze.

By moving just 2 matchsticks can you make these 5 squares into 4?





Have a lovely week everyone

Mrs J. Lowe

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