Headteacher’s Blog – Week 2 & 3

Looking impressive!

Last week I had the pleasure of getting round many lessons to see how our students have started their approach to learning and progress. I was mightily impressed! There was lots going on - here are some examples:

  • In Mr Atherton’s and Mr Chohan’s Year 11 Chemistry lesson, students were learning about the differences between alkenes and alkanes and drawing the hydrocarbon chains for different types of alkenes and alkanes.
  • In Mr Weil’s Year 10 Geography lesson, students were learning about the properties of the oceanic and continetal crust.
  • In Mr William’s Year 7 RE lesson, students were sharing what they thought were myths and facts in religion.
  • In Mrs Gray’s and Mr Hinton’s Year 7 maths lesson, students were using ratio tables to solve problems.

There was some fabulous work in books, with a lot achieved already in just the first few lessons. Presentation of work is key to students demonstrating a positive attitude to learning. All staff have an expectation that students write in pen and draw in pencil, writing and underlining the date and title at the start of each lesson.

I have also been impressed with the vast majority of students who arrived for the start of the new school year in perfect uniform, looking incredibly smart. Our uniform is something that we are very proud of and staff are asked to actively ensure that students wear their uniform in line with our policies (please see the website for full details). As usual at the start of a new year, we have had a few students who have 'convinced' their family that sports branded footwear, such as Nike, is allowed. Pastoral teams are addressing this with individual students. We have also been alerted to the fact that one uniform supplier is selling a navy school skirt with an elasticated waistband with our school logo on. This is not our official school skirt however, we appreciate that some families have been led to believe differently by the supplier and we will be making an exception during this academic year. As I am sure you appreciate, the elasticated waist only sets to 'encourage' some girls to roll their skirts up! We ask that families continue to support the school by making sure that every day your child is dressed in full uniform and wearing it correctly.

I joined Mr Williams and Mrs Ives on Wednesday in the Year 11 assembly. Mr Williams shared the importance of a positive attitude to learning and self-belief in achieving GCSE success. He also introduced students to Cliff Young an Australian potato farmer who ‘just kept going’! It was truly inspirational. Year 11 were also inspired by the video of the class of 2019 at their Prom! Talk about dressing smartly - the students (and staff) looked like film stars! There was a hub-bub of excitement amongst Year 11. On the way out of the assembly there was talk of limousines, nail extensions, satin or silk and spray tans! the Prom is a well deserved treat for students at the end of a gruelling year. However - it is by invitation only and students MUST meet the criteria to be invited:

  • Attendance 95%+
  • No more than 5 lates per term
  • No more than one visit to the exclusion unit
  • A positive overall merit total
  • No exclusions

We had the highest number of year 11 students, ever, last year and I really hope the Class of 2020 can top that! We will be keeping students informed where they are at risk of not meeting the criteria, but ultimately, it is their responsibility!

Miss Cuttress delivered the first of our year group information evenings last week to parents and families of year 10 students. Whilst some parents and students were feeling a little overwhelmed and anxious about the next two years, getting GCSE ready, I was delighted to have many parents speak to me about how impressed they were about the work the school is doing to support their child and how pleased they are with Kingsway as a whole.

Finally, I will just mention the lockdown on Tuesday 10th September. I have written to all parents, with the information we have regarding the circumstances in calling a lockdown. My priority will always be the safety of our students, and whilst some parents may have been anxious, not being able to communicate with the school, this will not take precedence over students’ safety. I was incredibly impressed by the calm manner in which our students and staff responded. Whilst we hold an annual lockdown practice with staff, I am glad that we have now had an opportunity to go through the procedure with the full school community. Just a heads’ up that at some point this term we will also be carrying out our statutory fire drill practice - please don’t worry this is standard procedure every term.

There are so many amazing, committed, special people in the Kingsway community. Students and staff. 

One such student is Year 11 Zoe Hollingshead, who was one of the 38 million scouts and girl guides world wide, who were selected to join the 4000 scouts, who left the UK on the 20th of July to the 24th World Scout Jamboree (WSJ) at Summit Bechtel National Scouts of America camp in West Virginia, United States of America. The WSJ  is an event attended by over 45,000 young people from all over the globe to promote peace, mutual understanding and to develop leadership and life skills.

Here’s Zoe’s account of the trip: “It all started when I filled out an application form, along with another 450 scouts aged 13 to 16, in Greater Manchester. This process also entailed an interview and a series of training camps over 2-years. My journey began at Manchester Airport, where we joined 4 other UK units (160 scouts) in the same uniform, same bags and all on the same flight to New York. It then hit me, the scale of the event I was about to take part in. When we arrived in New York, along with 4,000 scouts from the UK, we stayed in Hofstra University campus ready to explore New York in 24 hours. 100 yellow school buses picked us up and took us into the heart of New York, while 4,000 identical looking bags travelled to the next destination- to West Virginia University and then onto The World Scout Jamboree.

152 nations attended the 10-day camp, which consisted of activities such as scuba diving, paddle boarding, mountain biking and so much more. In the evening there were themed concerts from foam parties to neon parties on stages. On the main stage, there were some amazing shows including, the cast of Disney from New York’s Broadway.

While I was there, I made friends with people from New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Japan and lots more. One of the most memorable people that I met while having my lunch was a girl called Adia from Saudia Arabia. She told me that she wasn’t allowed to go anywhere on site (11,400 acres) without a boy over the age of 16 being with her as her chaperone. This was one of the things that made me sit back and think how different the UK is to places like Saudia Arabia. It never even crossed my mind.

She also told me about how she was not allowed to do activities like mountain biking, climbing, clay pigeon shooting and the huge zip wire. However, the boys in her unit were allowed to do these activities. I found it shocking how the rules between men and women differ so greatly in her country. In our chat over lunch, it made me realise first hand how different people's lives are around the world and how important peace and making the world a better place is. While I was there, we also had dinner with the Japanese, played and won cricket against the Aussies and made memories to last a lifetime. 

152 counties, some at war some not, all together in one place celebrating the thing that makes us all the same. 

The 10 days flew by and it all came to an end with an emotional goodbye to the World Scout Jamboree. 

We continued our journey with the UK contingent to Washington DC for our second ‘big city’ experience. We stayed at The University of Maryland campus and went to a baseball game as well as exploring the capital city of the USA.

Our next stop after a jam-packed 2 weeks, was Calgary, Canada. We were hosted by another scout group who took us to the Rockies and Kneehill county, where we saw wild bears and swam in glacial lakes. After 6 flights, 3 weeks away from home and 39-degree heat, it was time to head home and say the emotional goodbye to the friends I made for a lifetime in the unforgettable summer of 2019!”

Dates for your diary:

  • Wednesday 2nd October 2019 5:00-7:30pm - Open Evening (students finish at 12:25pm)
  • Monday 14th October 2019 6:30pm - Year 7 Showcase (THEKIN)
  • Tuesday 15th October 2019 6:30pm - Year 7 Showcase (GSWAYC)

Have a lovely week,

Mrs J. Lowe

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