Headteacher’s Blog – Week 20

Not Quite a Typical Week!

Well, last week certainly wasn’t typical. The snow on Wednesday morning really caught me by surprise; I should read the met office reports more closely!

I read in the media that Heads across the country are being referred to as ‘Snowflakes’ for closing their schools this week. The decision to close is never an easy one. I got up at 4:45am and saw a thin white layer out of my window and proceeded to email staff that school would be open as normal and they should set off, allowing extra time for their journey.

By the time I was in my car at 6:00am there was really heavy snowfall, blanketing the roads on my journey to school. The snow was so heavy I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of me, and my usual 10 minute journey took half an hour.

Nonetheless, when i got to school, the premises team of Mr Cross and Mr Naughton had been in for an hour, gritting and shovelling paths to make the site safe for our students at staff. Unfortunately, as quick as they shovelled away the snow, came down just as fast. By 6:45am I began to worry if I’d made the call to remain open too soon.

By 7:30am, we had received numerous phone calls from staff who had set off to school but were in stand still traffic or were struggling to get out of their streets. Some had advised that they were going to walk or get public transport but they were unsure what time they would get in to school. We soon realised that we would not have enough staff on site to safely supervise our 1500 students. It was at this point that I made the difficult decision to close the school for the day.

Along with myself, there was a skeleton staff who had already made it in to school by that time and kindly offered to man the phones, stand on the gates and sit on reception.

Whilst the snow was indeed an inconvenience, it was also stunning. I took a break to walk around the site which was eerily quiet but breathtakingly beautiful.

Not sure where this fella came from...

Whilst the snow caused an unusual mid-week Wednesday, the rest of the week was just as unique.

On Monday, Mrs Heil and Mr Carr had the grand opening of our Broadway Reading Room. Shelves and books for the reading room were generously funded by The Kingsway Association and Shaun Holden (Chair) joined Mrs Wardle, Mrs Heil and Mr Carr – along with a group of students – for a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the space. It was a lovely event and marks an important step in Kingsway’s continuing commitment to being a reading school and promoting a lifelong love of reading for pleasure and upholding high literacy expectations for all. The Reading Room holds a modest but varied selection of fiction and non-fiction books, which are available for students and staff to borrow. Students can also request other books from the Library on Foxland, which will be brought over to Broadway Reading Room for them to collect. The Reading Room will initially be open every break 2 for students to use as a quiet reading and study space, with a view to potentially extending opening times in line with demand. It is a lovely, calm, quiet corner of the school and even within the first few days of its opening it has been well used by staff and students alike. Huge thanks again to The Kingsway Association for making it possible.

On Tuesday, Miss Daley and a group of year 11 students spent the morning at Meadowbank Primary School.. Our students revised for their GCSE English in the best way possible, by teaching the skills they have learned in English such as creative writing to two Year 6 classes. They even used a GCSE war poem as stimulus!

The primary children impressed Miss Daley by structuring a piece of extended writing to the standard that they will be expected to meet in secondary school. The year 11s were incredibly enthusiastic and mature and as a result of their teaching, the Year 6 pupils created some excellent work.

Other good news from last week was from Miss Pike, who accompanied Year 9 Rory Taylor to Belfast to take part in the National Trampolining Competition. Rory did exceptionally well getting through to the finals and came an impressive 5th. Well done Rory.

Finally, on Saturday myself and Miss Linnecor (Deputy Headteacher) came in to school to show the film ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ to Year 11 GCSE Film Studies students. Students need to be able to critique the production of the film and develop their analytical skills. The film is about a American student who decided to cut school for the day - the irony wasn’t lost on me!

Have a great week everyone!

Mrs J. Lowe

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