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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 24

Wonderful Women (and men)!

Friday 8th March was International Women’s Day and at Kingsway, (perhaps we should have called it Queensway for the day) our own Wonderful Women led on some events to help our girls celebrate women’s achievements and inspire them to achieve a balanced world in the future.

On Wednesday 6th March, Miss Cuttress and Miss Lavanini took ten of our Year 9 girls to an inspiring women's event at the Auto Trader UK offices in Manchester. They heard from some amazing women, who had reached the top of male dominated careers and were inspired by their stories, strength and resilience. The event also gave our students the opportunity to explore and discuss the representation of women in careers, schools and adverts; they discussed how a lack of female empowerment in these areas affected them. Miss Cuttress fed back: “It was a great journey of discovery for our young ladies who felt empowered; we all took the time to remember that gender should never be a barrier to human progress!

Also last week, Mrs Heil arranged for some students to spend the morning in an International Women's Day workshop, examining gender expectations and media messages, before exploring the profiles of inspiring women around the world and creating their own 'inspirational woman' profile. They used resources from The Female Lead to question and challenge ideas of gender discrimination in the workplace and scrutinised recent advertising campaigns to pick apart the gendered messages that they present and what impact these messages have on self-esteem and aspirations. They then worked together to re-write those messages into ones of positivity and empowerment, through discussion and drama, before writing a personal profile in which they acknowledged themselves to be inspirational young women. They finished the workshop by writing positive messages on flashcards that they could take away. The workshop was a huge success with all students participating enthusiastically. One student commented after the workshop: "It opened me a bit more."

Other wonderful women include our Safeguarding Team of Mrs Maxey and Miss Cropper, who make sure our students feel safe and always feel they have someone to talk to. Last week, with the help of Miss Carrigan, our safeguarding team delivered an incredible Risky Business week aimed to inform students how to protect themselves from all things ‘RISKY’.

A wide range of agencies were invited in to school throughout the week including: the Fire Service, Community Nurses, Anti Bullying Campaigners, Mental Health Teams, Cheadle Mosque, Mosaic and many more. There were some great presentations and rich discussions about a range of issues, including: Anti Social Behaviour, Stress Management, Bullying, Sexuality, Mental Health, Radicalisation, Racism, Drugs, Alcohol and other 'risky' behaviours through the use of fun workshops and assemblies.

One of the areas of focus was knife crime, which was delivered by the Youth Offending Service. Listening to the radio this Sunday morning, hearing that there has been 26 fatal knife crimes this year alone, it is a very scary reality in some areas of the country.  The increasing number of incidents where people of all ages, including young people, are carrying and using knives frightens me as I am sure it frightens all families. Whilst we cannot control the decisions that our young people make when they are out of school, we can certainly influence them to make safe decisions. We repeatedly highlight the need for them to be vigilant and informed about their own and others safety. We also share practical advice from the local authority and police:

  • Try not to walk the streets alone, particularly after dark.
  • Always stick with friends whenever possible.
  • Ensure your parents or guardians know where you are, who you are with and when you are likely to be home.
  • If you have a mobile phone, keep the battery charged and phone switched on at all times. You can also download and install an app (such as ‘Find My Friends’) to your smartphone to allow your location to be shared with family or friends.
  • Wherever possible, avoid poorly lit streets and parks.
  • Keep a phone number for a local, reputable taxi company saved in your phone.
  • If you feel unsafe for any reason, get to a safe location quickly and inform somebody you can trust.
  • If you feel in danger, dial 999 immediately and ask for “Police”

The Kingsway School has a culture of support and is committed to ensuring all our students feel safe and are informed about keeping themselves and others safe.

If at any time you are concerned about your child please contact their Pastoral Head of Year or Miss Cropper and Mrs Maxey for support and guidance.

More girls doing great things last month, were our February merit total winners:

  • Pankhurst: Ella-Grace Smith
  • Whitworth: Ailyn Fuguett-Gutierrez
  • Rylands: Amy Berry
  • Lowry: Imogen West
  • Gaskell: Charlie Lund
  • Turing: Emma Boaler

Come on boys… you can do it too!

One boy who has really impressed his English teacher, Miss Cuttress, is Ben Habershon in 8Y who produced an excellent piece of homework this week. The task was to explore why jealousy is the most intolerable sin in 'Othello' by William Shakespeare. Students were asked to present their ideas in any way they wished; Ben - along with his dad - recorded an excellent interview with William Shakespeare himself! He discussed how Iago's character is used as a tool to teach the audience about the destructive effects of jealousy. A brilliant effort - just listen. Well done Ben.

Finally, our Music men Mr Lawton and Mr Wood did their bit last week, by giving all of Year 7 the opportunity to visit the Bridgewater Hall and listen to the Hallé Orchestra perform as part of their annual Hallé for Youth concerts. Students were treated to a rich and varied programme of music based on 'Conflict and Resolution' including:  'Ride of The Valkyries' by Wagner; '1812 Overture' by Tchaikovsky; Holst's 'Mars' from his Planet Suite and 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars, written by John Williams. This fantastic opportunity was once again embraced by all students, and the school can now say that almost every student has seen a live orchestra perform (and not just any orchestra - a world renowned one), since we first started running the trips 5 years ago.

Have a great week everyone!


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 23

Growing Up!

On Friday last week, we received confirmation that 319 families have been offered a Year 7 place at Kingsway for September 2019. I would like to offer my warm welcome all new (and old) families to our Kingsway community!

If this is your first child to go to secondary school, you may have some worries about your little child going to big school. At secondary school, our students arrive as children and leave as young people. And how those five years fly by! We completely understand the worries that our families may be having about the transition from primary to secondary school, and want to reassure you we will do everything to make the process as smooth, enjoyable and stress free as possible.

You will have already had a welcome call/email and for those families, who may have missed the opportunity to attend our Open evening last year, there is a ‘meet the team’ event on Tuesday 26th March, at 4:30pm. More information is about this is available on-line. This is chance for those families who don’t really know much about our amazing school to meet myself and the team who will be supporting your child during their transition from primary to Kingsway.

On 4th July 2019, we will be holding our Year 6 Induction Day for children and parents. Year 6 children will come during the day to have a taster of the Kingsway experience, meet some of our senior student team and get to know their way around our school. In the evening, parents are invited to attend an information evening and meet their child’s form tutor and pastoral team.

If you have any worries or queries about the transition process for your child, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We have a dedicated transition team: Mrs Wardle (Deputy Headteacher), Mrs Dunn (Transition Lead Teacher) and Mrs Hadfield (Transition Learning Mentor). You can contact the team at: transition@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk.

Already growing up are our intrepid explorers, who have returned from a week skiing in France. This has been a great learning opportunity for students to not only learn a new skill, but also practice their use of the French language.

Here’s a report from Bethan Holmes in Year 8

“Last week, around 42 of us went on the school ski trip to Risoul, France and it was a very fun, relaxed and entertaining week.

Each day we had cereal, fruit, bread and french pastries for breakfast, followed by a 2 hour morning ski session, a variety of lunches, a 2 hour afternoon ski session then the evening activity, tea, freetime and bed. The food was almost always delicious and a few of us had varying dietary requirements so they provided us with different alternatives according to our needs; they ranged from risotto to strawberry and mango (with kiwi) sorbets!

During the ski sessions, we were split into 4 groups depending on our previous skiing experience and level. Each group was given their own instructor and the slopes were only a 1-2 minute walk away from the hotel. The weather was sunny and REALLY hot with thick, white snow covering the ground and distant mountains.

The evening activities were a trip to the village on Sunday, bingo on Monday, games night on Tuesday, crêpe night on Wednesday, a ‘Big Air’ skiing and snowboarding show on Thursday and luging on Friday. All of these activities were really fun and enjoyable.

At the end of the week, we were all playing in the snow and rolling and sliding down the hill; Mr. Duffy was given a giraffe onesie, by all of us together, and had to wear it when he was skiing on the last day! We also made him shout “I’m a giraffe!” while sliding down the hill on a mini sledge (still in his giraffe onesie, of course)!

I also discovered that Milka chocolate is amazing!!

Thank you to all the trip organisers, and especially the teachers who looked after us and helped make it such a good week!”

I was also absolutely delighted to have received an email on Monday morning from a teacher from Ryedale School in North Yorkshire: “We have just returned from an inspection visit to Risoul in France. During our half term we had the pleasure of sharing our time with a group of students and staff from your school. I would just like to say how impressed we were with the interaction between your students. Their behaviour was outstanding from when we first saw them at Manchester airport throughout the week. It was really lovely to see such a fabulous group of students. They are are a credit to your school and staff. We hope both students and staff enjoyed their week.

You may also be aware, that Kingsway hosts the Rising Stars Cheerleading Club on our Broadway campus. The club is hugely popular and people of all ages travel far and wide to attend after school and at the weekend. There are a number of Kingsway students in the club and last week some of them returned from competing at an International event in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Here’s a report from Faith Francis in Year 8:

I cheerlead for Rising Stars Cheerleaders and recently I was lucky enough to be selected to compete in Atlanta, Georgia at Cheersport Nationals 2019, after gruelling tryouts last year. I have been cheerleading since I was 6 years old and for every cheerleader, competing in America is their biggest dream.

We flew from Manchester Airport and stopped at Amsterdam Airport for a couple of hours before a 10 hour flight to Atlanta. It was a long flight but everyone was really excited.

Cheersport is held at Georgia World Congress Centre; it is that big we were walking 12 miles a day inside the building! It was a tough competition and there was 17 teams from across the world in my category. We competed over 2 days and I was so nervous. We came 7th place! We were all so proud as we had worked so hard. We also hit zero on both days, which means we didn’t drop any points or get any deductions.

It was an incredible experience and I was so lucky to be picked; representing your country at 12 years old is something I’m really proud of. When we were there, we trained at our sister team’s (Stingrays Allstars) gym, which was amazing and really big. I will continue to train hard with the hope that I will have the same opportunity next year.”

Following the presentation from The Challenge, provider of the NCS (National Citizen Service) last month, I was delighted to receive feedback from their account manager advising me that 67 year 11 students have signed up for their summer programme. This is higher than any other school in the borough. In their feedback, The Challenge team said “Shout out to The Kingsway School, who have gone above and beyond making sure that we are aware of any students who are struggling with the sign up process”. I hope all the students who have enrolled have a great experience, building their confidence and skills in appreciating, understanding and connecting with others.”

Finally, we had another round of merit total winners, for the month of January. Congratulations to:

  • Harry Darbyshire and Ella-Grace Sixsmith - Pankhurst
  • Emily Foster - Whitworth
  • Amy Berry - Rylands
  • Imogen West - Lowry
  • Charlie Lund - Gaskell
  • Emma Boaler - Turing

As you can see there are plenty of opportunities at The Kingsway School for students to grow and develop the skills they need for later life. Well done to all our students who have made me very proud this week.

Have a great week everyone!


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 22

Proud of who we are!

I hope all our families had a lovely half term break.

It was nice to enjoy the sunny spring days. I spent a few days in London with my daughter, Lizzie and friends. We were typical tourists: Hyde Park, Harrods, Westminster and Buckingham Palace to name a few.

Whilst jetting off to warmer climates is a very enjoyable way to spend a holiday, a trip to our capital was a poignant reminder of what a great country we have right on our doorstep.

Being proud of who we are was a key message given to our students before half term.

Mr Weil delivered assemblies on the theme of positive body image at the start of February. They focussed on the constant bombardment of all media platforms with countless ‘picture perfect’ images of celebrities. Mr Weil reminded students that each of these images are carefully selected from a bank of hundreds of possible raw images, then fed into the computer and manipulated to end up with something totally without compromise or fault – an image of perfection that is unachievable, almost ‘beyond real’. Students were asked to consider the notion that if you are always comparing yourself with perfect images of celebrities like these, you might feel ‘not good enough’, which of course is completely untrue. Nobody is perfect. This quest for a perfect body image is simply unattainable. The assemblies finished with the following quote “I am imperfect, and yet my imperfections, like any great work of art, are what make me a masterpiece” (Kelsey Silver).

February was also LGBT Awareness month. Our Safeguarding Lead, Ms Cropper delivered assemblies to all year groups on the importance of LGBT Awareness. Students were informed of the definition of LGBT; they heard student perspectives from students that identify as LGBT and have been signposted to support in school. Ms Cropper will be running an LGBT Club during Break One every Monday; students can express their interest in the group by emailing their Pastoral Head of Year or Ms Cropper. In her assemblies, Ms Cropper advised students of the support available to them in the community like The Proud Trust, a fantastic organisation who offer services outside of school both in Stockport and Manchester. Information sheets are available to students. Alternatively, if parents want to get in touch, please email: c.cropper@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Mr ABC (Mr Fraser) - Anti-Bullying Coordinator
mrabc@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Mr Fraser joined Ms Cropper to introduce himself to students as Mr ABC (The Kingsway School’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator). Below is a message from him:

“Hi there. I am Mr Fraser and as Mr ABC, my role is to tackle and reduce bullying in our school. I will be building a team of student anti-bullying ambassadors, who will provide one to one coaching for children that feel they are being bullied. I will also be working with the bullies in a restorative manner to help them recognise their behaviour and deal better with situations themselves.

I can be contacted through the Mr ABC email address and the Mr ABC phone number by text message. These can be obtained through the school website, pastoral heads of year and through form tutors.

My aim is simple, 0% bullying at Kingsway. 100% confidence and happiness in school for 100% of our children.”

There is nothing more important than students’ safety and well-being whilst in school. Bullying of any form is unacceptable. Unfortunately, I cannot say that we do not have bullying at Kingsway - but I can say that our pastoral team deal with it effectively. I know this is little comfort for those students and their families affected by bullying, but we do try our absolute best to support the victim and work with the perpetrator to change their behaviours and attitude. Our work on Anti-Bullying was recognised by the Diana Award in 2015 and we will continue to work with this organisation to eradicate bullying in our school. If your child has been affected by bullying at Kingsway, please contact their Pastoral Head of Year or Ms Cropper/Mr Fraser for support.

Mr. Fraser

School is hard work and being a teenager at school is harder still. With young people unhappy with their body image, questioning their sexuality or having their self-confidence knocked at the hands of bullies, there are many potential pitfalls in any teenager’s life.

The news recently reported on the tragic death of teenager Molly Russell, who took her own life in 2017, aged 14. Molly’s parents believe that social media is partly responsible for her death and as a result of their campaigning, social media organisation Instagram have made a pledge to remove any content that “promotes or glorifies self harm”. Many of us may consider social media the scourge of mankind, but love it or loathe it - it is all around us.

Also in the news over the past few months, has been the impact of mobile technology in schools, with many schools considering to move to a ban on mobile phones. At Kingsway, we have a zero tolerance to mobile devices - from the school gates in the morning to the school gates on their way home. I have no doubt that the benefits to mobiles in schools are far outweighed by the disadvantages. They are a huge distraction and a potential source of addiction. It is often through these devices that students mental health can be affected by social media comments and images.

At Kingsway, the well-being of our students is our highest priority. As well as being our Safeguarding Lead, Ms Cropper is also our school’s emotional well-being lead. In her role, Ms Cropper forms positive relationships with vulnerable students and their families to identify strategies and put a plan in place to support them with their mental health. Ms Cropper works closely with our school nurse, Ms Seedhouse to promote the emotional health of students in order to give them the resilience to help them cope with any challenges they may face. Her work is fundamental to the safe, happy and successful culture we have created here at Kingsway.

We pride ourselves on our acceptance of differences - the inclusive, rich and diverse nature of our school is what makes us special. It is who we are … and of that, we are very, very proud.

Have a great week everyone!


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 21

Pupil Power!

Following the feedback from pupils, we are delighted to announce that we are launching our newly designed PE kit. We have worked with our suppliers to provide a stylish, vibrant new kit which is comfortable, attractive and durable. Further details of this will be available shortly. From September, all kit that is purchased will need to meet the new design, however, we will phase out the current kit ensuring that parents do not have a huge expense of replacing all the PE kit for their children. Monkhouse have asked us to inform parents that they are clearing their current stock and have an offer of 50% discount at the moment. Please note that this offer is only available to current students and if your child is joining Year 7 in September, they will be expected to wear the new kit.

This week, I received two letters from the Chairman of Greater Manchester County Schools Football Association in relation to two amazingly talented Kingsway girls: Grace O’Shaughnessy (Year 11) & Holly Deering (Year 8). The girls have been selected to play for the GMCSFA under 16 and under 14 teams. I was delighted to have awarded them with their pin badges. In his letter the Chairman said: “The players that are selected for the squad have come through rigorous trials and have been selected not only for their footballing ability but also for reaching high standards of behaviour and attitude towards their coaches, officials and opponents”. Well done girls!

Currently, The Kingsway School is taking part in the 2019 elections for the UK Youth Parliament. Elections are completed on a form by form basis, where every student across the school has the opportunity to vote for one of the five UK Youth Parliament candidates for Stockport.

Last week, our Year Councils had the opportunity to meet two of the candidates, Kevin Linton and Libby Morris. All five candidates were offered the opportunity of speaking to the Year Councils and providing us with campaign videos.

Once the Council Members had met the candidates, they were asked to speak with their own forms to explain what the elections were for and who was standing. They also shared campaign videos and speeches. The vote closes on Wednesday 13th February and the Kingsway result will be forwarded to the elections officer.

On Thursday, Year 8 braved the rain and cold winds to visit Chester Zoo as part of their planned Science curriculum.  All Year 8 had work booklets to complete and were able to see nearly every animal at the Zoo. Even the jaguars and tigers came out to see them!  Upon returning to school, they chose an animal to research and are preparing a speech about it to present to the rest of their class. It was a cold but enjoyable experience for students and staff as so many of the animals came out to play!

Following our ‘snow bomb’ last week, I am keeping a closer eye on the weather forecast. It looks unlikely we will have more snow this year, however we rely on being able to quickly communicate with our families in such cases. When we send a text out to our 1500 families, a number bounce back as the numbers are no longer in use. Please, please, please ensure that we are informed of any changes to your contact details. We will be sending home Data Collection Sheets in the next few weeks for parents and carers to check, amend and return to school. Many thanks for your help with this.

Have a great week everyone!


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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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
Headteacher

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