Headteacher’s Blog – Week 22

Not just GOOD news - great news!

Last week you will have received a letter, via your child, informing you that our Ofsted report has been published. You can view the full report below:

We were understandably delighted with many comments made in the report, which we feel really captured the essence of our school. Comments such as:

“Pupils can be themselves in this school community”

“Pupils are happy, confident and upbeat”

“Pupils are inspired by their learning”

“Pupils are provided with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful”

“Pupils get to learn things which will enrich their lives”

The inspectors visited lessons, talked to staff and students and looked at students’ work to come to a judgement that our school is a GOOD school which provides a GOOD quality of education.

How important is this judgement?

For me, the decisions I make as Headteacher are not for the benefit of Ofsted, but are for the benefit of every young person in our care. Every child, irrespective of background, is entitled to a good education that springboards them to a successful, happy future.

Nonetheless, we must pay regard to the research and guidance carried out by the Department of Education in relation to the curriculum experience our students receive. There has been much in the press about Ofsted’s lack of favour for schools who are quoted as narrowing their curriculum by reducing the number of subjects students study, particularly in Years 7 to 9.

However, schools are also expected to demonstrate how they are working towards achieving the government’s ambition is to see 75% of pupils studying the EBacc subject combination at GCSE by 2022, and 90% by 2025. This requires students to study a specific set of qualifications: English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and a Modern Foreign Language.

So how do schools meet both expectations? To offer a broad, rich curriculum and ensure high numbers of students achieve the EBacc? How do schools juggle this in a climate of real term cuts to budgets of around 8% and a teacher recruitment crisis?

At Kingsway, the answer is strong leadership and governance, passionate and committed staff and a relentless determination to do the best for every student.

It is therefore no wonder, I was a blubbering mess of tears of joy when the report arrived in my inbox. Thank goodness they saw what I know we are  - a really great school on a journey to outstanding!

One particular area of focus during our inspection was the opportunities we provide for students to enrich their experience and close the gap for those students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Here inspectors saw that staff considered carefully the wider curriculum and ensure there is something on offer for everyone.

Two such examples took place last week:

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before half term Year 8 students have visited St Mary's Church in Cheadle as part of their studies on Christianity. During the visits students have explored the features of a traditional church, the life of a church and what it means to be a Christian today. Mr Tither reports that the students represented the school well and as usual were a credit to us.  After half term, year 8 students will begin their studies on Islam. This will involve a similar trip to Cheadle Mosque in June.

The last Wednesday of half term marked the culmination of four months of hard work, research, drafting and redrafting for our Year 9 Scholars Program students. Having completed their 2000 word essays on Art In Public Spaces, they were honoured and celebrated with a full graduation ceremony at the University of Manchester, which the students and their parents greatly enjoyed. The experience gave them an invaluable insight into university life and how study methods can change as they move through their education. This was a huge challenge for the students as they had never written anything so lengthy (with full referencing required!) but all passed with some even gaining what their PhD tutor marked as a First class essay in her eyes. Well done Sameer Shafiq, Zak Hutchinson, Jean De Dieu Molomba, Thurman Abdalla, Macie Godfrey, Alec Nixon, Jessica Buckley, Jessica Fahey, Elise Maylett-Keane, Zayn Khan, Nina Berkovitch and Esme Hopkins-Powell.

Mrs Clarke, Mr Carr and parents looked on with pride.

Finally, Mrs Mackay shared some photos of the fantastic Year 7 medieval castles which students completed for homework. The focus of this unit is ‘changes over time’ and groundwork for Key Stage 4 where students study Kenilworth Castle in depth.

Dates for your diary

Date Event
Thursday 12th March Year 8 Parents' Evening
Thursday 26th March Year 7 Parents' Evening

Have a lovely week,

Mrs J. Lowe

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