Headteacher’s Blog – Week 19

13 going on 30!

Did I know what I wanted to do when I was 13?

Honestly? I had no idea. My only thought was something in catering because my Aunty taught in a catering college so I picked Home Economics (old fashioned food tech!). I also picked History because my grandparents worked and lived at Lyme Hall (another story!). But my choices weren’t based on career aspirations, instead on what was of interest to me at that age of 13.

Picking subjects you enjoy is a good first step. However, what also transpired for me at 13 was that hard work and success would open the doors to future career choices. I learnt this lesson quickly, so that by the time I was, 30 I had achieved the qualifications and skills to be a very happy Head of a Mathematics department.

Times haven’t really changed that much for our current Year 9 students. Hard work and a good attitude to learning remain the key to success at school. What is different is the government's ambition that 75% of all pupils should begin studying the full set of EBacc subjects by 2022. The EBacc is a combination of English, Maths, Science, a Humanity and a Modern Foreign Language. Last week, Ms Linnecor and staff held an Options Information Evening for students and parents to help guide them in their options choices for 2021 GCSEs and explain how we are working towards the government’s target but still offering students choice.

Thank you to all parents who came along; it was a very busy event. I hope that the evening, which was also attended by local colleges, was helpful as students consider their choices. The deadline for students to submit their option forms is the 25th February 2019 - the day we return from half term. Remember, we also have an amazing Careers Centre, ran by Mrs Flood, where students in any year can drop in at any break time Tuesday-Thursday to get some advice about careers, colleges, universities and apprenticeships.

Year 9 also got a taste of STEM based skills last week thanks to Mr Hammersley and Miss Khan. The two days were held in conjunction with one of Kingsway's longest working partnerships - N.G. Bailey, the largest independent family owned Engineering company in the UK. The students were involved in a variety of STEM problem solving activities such as "Build a Bridge", "Balloon Racers" and "Volcano Run". Throughout the day, the opportunities for STEM careers was also presented to the students. The event was a competition leading to interviews for the 12 Industrial Cadet places on the EDT G04Set 10 week award programme. It is fabulous that Mr Hammersley and Miss Khan have been inundated with applications from Year 9 and interviews will commence on Tuesday 29th of January, whereby the successful candidates will spend a day at the Daresbury Laboratories near Warrington, as they begin their journey into hopefully a STEM related career.

Other students who showed they are 13 going on 30 were the monthly merit total winners! Each month, these students work hard in lessons to achieve the highest merits for their house. On Friday, I had the great pleasure of finding them in their lessons to give them their certificates and badges. And the winners were…

Emma Boaler was our Year 7 Turing winner. Emma was in Art creating watercolour interpretations from the artist Adrienne Craddock.

Another winner was Year 10 Amy Berry in Rylands, who I found in English enjoying reading and watching J.B. Priestly's enigmatic morality play, 'An Inspector Calls'. Mrs Rowley explained that the class were exploring Marxist and Feminist theory within the play.

The winner for Whitworth was Emily Foster in Year 8. Emily was in Maths with Mrs Beattie, where the class were working on volume and surface area of 3D shapes, starting with cubes but leading onto triangular prisms that required pupils to recognise the need to use Pythagoras Theorem.

Pankhurst winner was Tanzeela Choudhury in Year 8, who was in English. Miss Cuttress sent me these pictures of her amazing written work.

Year 10 Lowry winner was Imogen West who was in geography working on understanding the causes of desertification, which is building knowledge to answer a GCSE exam question in preparation for an end of unit 'hot deserts' test.

Whilst in the Foxland Tower, I popped in to Miss Tunnell’s Year 8 English lesson, where the class were working on improving their persuasive writing. On Friday, they were redrafting a piece of persuasive writing where they had to argue their point of view on whether bullies should be excluded or allowed to stay in school. Miss Tunnell told me: “We have worked on improving vocabulary, sentence types and persuasive techniques such as rhetorical question, triplets and emotive vocabulary. Today they were applying individual targets to their writing, which will get a GCSE level.”

Well done to Callum Preston, Caden Thompson and Ellie Maddocks who confidently read out to me their pieces of persuasive writing.

Photos: Bethan Holmes and Ben Lennon

Finally, I went looking for Gaskell winner, Charlie Lund in Year 8. Charlie wasn’t in English with Ms Daley’s class, where they were responding to the teacher’s marking by redrafting their persuasive writing milestone, then highlighting their improvements. Instead, I found Charlie in the Library carrying out an assessment.

Charlie was being supervised by our Librarian Mr Carr who told me that Charlie was one of the first students to approach him in September to be a student librarian, and since then her enthusiasm has remained second to none. Mr Carr said: “She spends most of her breaks in our library, filing paperwork away, processing resource loans, tidying Mr Carr’s desk (!) and pretty much keeping me on my toes!

When it isn't her shift, she can usually be found quietly reading, and always with a huge smile on her face. A definite asset for the library.

Wow! What a snapshot of a typical day at Kingsway! Lots of great learning going on - learning for the foundations of an amazing future - whatever that may be!

Have a great week everyone,

Mrs J. Lowe

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