Headteacher’s Blog – Week 29

Spring into action.

Whilst in academic terms, we are in the summer term - seasonally we are still in Spring. With three quarters of our academic year under our belt we are keeping our foot on the pedal at Kingsway and squeezing as much learning and opportunity as we can in to the remaining 10 weeks.

We had the Kingsway Association meeting last week where the small but mighty group of committed parents who regularly attend approved a range of bids to enrich our students’ experience here:

  • Students will soon be wearing new Royal Blue aprons in Food technology to replace the old, worn ones. The Kingsway Association also kindly agreed to fund two larder fridges for students to store their ingredients and food products during the day. The old ones have lasted well - 15 years!
  • We will be adding to our Duke Of Edinburgh supplies thanks to funding for 18 large rucksacks. This will add to the stock of waterproof coats, trousers and boots, sleeping bags and roll mats that TKA previously paid for.
  • Mr Carr, our librarian, will be stocking both campuses with some new material thanks to TKA. There will be a copy of the most recent GCSE revision guides for every subject, copies of texts for our reading intervention groups, an expansion to the reluctant reader section in partnership with our SEN department and updated subject specific non-fiction books.
  • The PE department will enjoy the use of a portable PA system. This will be used to play the bleep test, and provide a microphone for PE staff to use.

You can get involved simply by completing the standing order form or coming along to the next meeting which will be on Monday 23rd September 2019 - this will be a special Cheese and Wine event to welcome new parents and new members to The Kingsway Association.

You can also support the school and TKA in other ways, such as: donating old books or revision guides for our library; providing sponsorship for PE kits; donating unused musical instruments or expedition kit (waterproofs, walking shoes, etc.). Any help is always gratefully received.

The exam fortnight for Year 7 & 8 runs from 13th to 24th May in preparation, Mrs Clarke and Dr Holdsworth held a revision evening to provide information to parents on how they can support their child in the run up. The key messages shared included:

  1. Exam fortnight is important as it will show student successes and prepares them for GCSE
  2. Preparation is very important so creating a revision plan and trialing a range of revision strategies is what students need to do.
  3. At times, students may feel stressed and some exams will go better than others, but there is support available in school if needed.

Students will be completing a revision timetable in form time. A copy of all resources shared at the revision evening can be found on KOL.

I would also encourage parents and carers to access BBC Bitesize. This is a great resource to help students and their families prepare for exams. There are top tips on coping with stress, planning time efficiently and different strategies to help students revise. It is a particularly useful resource for Year 11 students who are embarking on their GCSE examinations. It is also full of lots of subject specific materials. Effective revision is a skill in itself, and the more support students can get from home, the better. Try quizzing your child each night - or help create a revision timetable.

Last week was ‘Open Door Week’ for teachers. This event fostered a community where ideas and practices around teaching are openly shared amongst colleagues. Teachers were asked to try a new strategy which engages students and accelerates their progress in the lesson and invite colleagues to come and observe. It was a hugely successful week with lots of great teaching and learning shared across the school.

On Friday morning, Mrs Heard (School Business Manager) and myself met with a group of Year 9 resourced students who wanted to share with us their plans to improve recycling around the school.

Bethany acted as spokesperson for the group and asked that we invested in some recycling bins for plastic bottles. The students had given much thought to which bins they would like, how they will market their plan and also how they will ensure the plastic reaches the recycling unit. All the children were passionate about the damage that plastic was having on our environment and wanted to make a difference. It was very easy for Mrs Heard to agree to help the students source the bins.

L-R Zidaan, Miss Rothwell, Jake, Mrs Heard, Bethany, Asad and Mrs Archer

Mrs Lucas organised a Year 5 Mad Science Show after a successful 2018 show. This year, our Mad Scientist ‘Inquisitive Indie’ showed Year 5 pupils from Prospect Vale, Gatley, Outwood, Lum Head and Meadowbank a collection of cool science experiments - even their teachers got up on stage and risked getting wet!

Finally, last week was our inaugural Year 7 Venture Award trip. Led by Mr Wood, over 120 Year 7 students and staff went to Linnet Clough Scout Camp in Mellor, over the course of 3 days. Students took part in a 24 hour expedition as part of the brand new Venture Award. The award is run by BXM expeditions, a team of highly qualified instructors. As soon as the coach dropped students off, they walked into camp with all their equipment on their backs. On arrival in camp, they were welcomed and given their first task: pitching tents. With a little instruction and looming clouds, the students set to work on twenty three-person tents. Once complete, the students split into teams and with their instructors enjoyed a series of activities, first aid, slack lining, creating a fire, making a shelter, map reading and looking for food. After the evening meal, students were allowed time to sort their tents and then walked to the camp fire to roast marshmallows and wild food. Once dusk descended, students spent a night under canvas.

The following morning, teams completed more fun activities. After the hike out of camp and a coach ride back to Kingsway, the students completed their Venture booklet reflections. There were two groups over the 3 days. The weather for group 1 was quite good, just a little rain during the Thursday morning. However this wasn't the same for Group 2 (students from 7E, 7K, 7N, 7S & 7Y) who experienced torrential rain and hail at times! However, this did not stop the instructors or students running the same activities, although it did make creating a fire more of a challenge! The weather broke in the afternoon but returned overnight and throughout the following morning. The students handled it brilliantly. The instructors and Kingsway staff kept a constant watch over the students, putting interventions in place where students were cold, wet or hungry.

The response from students was overwhelmingly positive, despite the rain. All students learned invaluable skills and explored new and exciting experiences. As always, our students were fantastic. Here’s some photos from the week:

Have a great week everyone.

Mrs J. Lowe

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