Headteacher’s Blog – Week 1

There’s no place like home!

As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz: ‘there is no place like home’.

Returning to school this week made me realise that there really is no place like school when it is full of children. It was utterly brilliant to see all our staff and students back in school. Their first week focused on settling them back into the routines of our school and at the same time explaining the changes that have been made to keep them and the staff safe.

As you know, we have created year group bubbles at school so that students can operate pretty normally within their year groups. This is because we are unable to socially distance students from one another in classrooms, canteens and corridors and so instead we have altered our school timetable so that one year group does not come into contact with another from their arrival at the start of school, to them leaving at the end of the school day.

Staff will be moving around the school and across campus to ensure that students receive subject specialist teaching, focussed on assessing the stage they are at in their learning then filling  any learning gaps that have appeared during lockdown. In the classroom, teachers will be socially distanced from students at all times.

As a result of these measures, it is only necessary for students and staff to wear masks when they are in communal indoor spaces such as corridors, where safe social distancing between students and staff is more difficult to achieve.

I appreciate that this is not school as we knew it, but it is the best way I feel that we are able to provide a safe, quality education to your child. I am grateful to all our of parents and students, who have understood and followed these changes to our routines, allowing our staff to safely do the job that they love: teaching your children!

We have had a great start, your children have been amazing, as I knew they would be. Staff have been so impressed with their mature response to the adaptations to their routine in school. I am so proud of them.

We welcomed our new year 7 students on Thursday - the class of 2025! Gosh, that makes me feel old! They arrived to school as bright as a button and very quickly showed what terrific Kingsway learners they were. They followed a “Kickstart to Kingsway” programme covering “This is me”, “Getting to know you” and “Goal setting”, swiftly making new friends. I have a feeling that they will be the best year 7’s yet!

Year 7 and Year 8 students were also delighted to receive a personal message from Jo Gardiner, who was one of the semi-finalists in the last series of the BBC's 'Race Across the World' and local Stockport resident.  Jo welcomed the students back to school and talked about her adventures on the TV programme and challenged students to embrace challenges at the start of this academic year, we're certain that they will live up to this challenge and exhibit resilience, bravery and endeavour in their learning this year.

It was lovely to get some feedback from their parents:

‘My boy has had an amazing day. He's had that much fun that he got home and was in bed for 6pm.  Same tomorrow please!’

‘She has had an amazing first day at school today. She came home happy, made loads of new friends and has talked my socks off.  Here's to 5 years of high school!’

‘He has had the best day ever! I feel very reassured that I made the right choice with Kingsway!’

‘She has had an amazing day, even though she was really scared and she’s made two lovely friends already.’

‘I'd just like to say a 'massive thank you' to the staff at the Kingsway… I know other parents with children at different schools haven't had as much  information or support, so thank you!’

‘The staff have worked so hard. Thank you for making the transition for our children as smooth as it can be in these difficult times.’

‘It's been so tough for everyone to carry on, so for them to be really positive for us all is major hero work.’

‘You've worked so hard for all of us parents/carers and children over this pandemic! It's certainly cemented my choice of high school.’

‘Without doubt, no other school’s year 7s will feel as welcome as ours...amazing job.’

My thanks go to those parents who went to the trouble of sending these messages - they really spur us on. Thank you too, to the year 7 team of tutors and Mr Williams, Ms Ives, Mrs Jones and Mrs Wardle who made it all possible.

Kingsway also welcomed some new staff this year:

  • Miss Ashton (Teacher of MFL)
  • Miss Brennan (Teacher of Computing)
  • Miss Butler (Teacher of Technology)
  • Miss Cookson (Admin Apprentice)
  • Miss Dean (Teacher of Drama)
  • Miss Forber (Teacher of Art)
  • Mr Hurst (HLTA Science)
  • Mrs Jarvis (Receptionist/Admin)
  • Mrs Kilroy (Second in Science)
  • Mr Lomax (Teacher of Maths)
  • Ms Marley (HLTA Maths)
  • Miss McQuiston (Teacher of Dance)
  • Miss Stendall (Teacher of Art)
  • Miss Williamson (Teacher of English)

Mrs Dunn (teacher of Art) also welcomed a new baby boy this summer!

Of course, we also said goodbye this summer to the class of 2020 who had a most unusual (and stressful) exam results process. Along with them, I watched the news with increasing concern about the way in which their grades would be awarded. Eventually a decision was made to award the higher of the Centre Assessed Grade (CAG) and exam board awarded grade. Whilst these students did not have the opportunity to sit their exams and prove to themselves what they could have achieved, they were all worthy of their results this summer, with some outstanding performances including:

Amy W and Kirsten A who achieved grade 9s in every GCSE subject. Kirsten also achieved an A* in an AS equivalent Free Standing Maths Qualification.

Congratulations to the 17 students who along with Amy and Kirsten achieved straight grade 7s and above (the equivalent of an old GCSe grade A+):

Muhammed A, Ali H, Amy B, Oudi A, Hassan N, Ailyn F-G, Faye M, Pippa W, Sarah M, Madison F, Adam C, Connie G, Charlotte G and Jasmine H.

The students and many others worked really hard during their time at Kingsway to achieve these high grades. We are really proud of all our students and wish the class of 2020 all the best for their future

Every year, we see so many students achieve academic excellence and hear back from colleges how their success has continued. This year it was lovely to hear from Loreto, that out of their 22 Oxbridge successes, one was ex-Kingsway student Alice Poole who has been offered a place at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford to read Chemistry. The college wrote to inform us, crediting some of Alice’s success to the excellent teaching she received at Kingsway. Well done Alice.

In the pandemonium that was our last week of summer term, I forgot to celebrate some lockdown successes. Apologies, and here goes (better late than never)!

Well done to Masterchef winners:

  • Malaika Murin (Year 9) Turing - Chocolate Strawberry Fromage Entremet
  • Owen Rowbottom (Year 7) Rylands - Sunday roast with apple and rhubarb crumble.
  • Dan Exley (Year 8) Pankhurst - Pizzas plus Chilli and Chorizo Burger
  • Jess Buckley (Year 9) Lowry - Amazing Chocolate cake
  • Ruth Darby (Year 10) Rylands - Chocolate and vanilla cheesecake

… and football competition winner Cameron Shepherd.

I had the pleasure of awarding the new senior student team with their jumpers and ties on Friday. Congratulations to our new student leadership team of:

Girls

Head Girl - Tilly Earnshaw 11N

Deputies - Georgina Cavanagh 11W, Ruby McGowan 11K, Emma Payton 11A, Emma Redford 11C, Emma Young 11S

Boys

Head Boy - Will Parker 11H

Deputies - Nayl Ahmed 11N, Sid Clews 11G, Caleb Lyndon 11A, Lewis Shepherd 11N, Matty Shirt 11A

Finally, can I remind parents that due to some changes in our routines, to keep your children safe in their year group bubbles, they will find themselves spending more time outside at break and so will need a suitable outdoor coat. We have indoor spaces available for wet weather. The canteen arrangements also mean that students can purchase food and drink at one break only and so please send them in with a snack and a full water bottle, as our water fountains are currently not available for them to use. Thank you for your understanding and support - together we will keep our staff and students safe.

Dates For Your Diary

On the week commencing 14th September, we had calendared our Parent Information Evenings for each year group; due to the current restrictions, this will no longer be possible but instead RSLs and other key staff will produce video versions of all the information you need. We intend to make these available to all year groups on Friday 18th September via the school website. We will confirm these new arrangements by the end of this week.

Have a great week,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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