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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 3

All that glitters...

Did you have a school prom? My school days certainly preceded the Prom;I think a school Disco was as near as we got. I’m not sure if missing out on all the glitz and glamour of the Prom was a good thing (I saved my parents a fortune) or a bad thing (I love a good party!). Love it or hate it, the Prom has successfully travelled across the Atlantic and is here to stay, for now. I was amazed to hear from some of our new year 7 students, that they too ended primary with their very own Prom!

On Friday I delivered an assembly to our current year 11 students, sharing with them the glittering experience that awaits them at the end of their GCSEs and setting out the criteria for them to be invited:

  • Good attendance (at least 93%)
  • Good punctuality (no more than 5 lates in a half term)
  • Good learning (positive merits)
  • Good behaviour (No exclusions and no more than one referral to the EU)

I made clear to our year 11 that they are responsible for keeping themselves on track for an invitation, because every year there are students who are not invited. This is most often for poor punctuality and whilst they are fully aware that they have been late to school too often, they still plead to be exempt from the criteria. Apart from of a very small number of students with medical needs, I do not make any exceptions. It’s not that I don’t want all 320 students at the Prom, I’d love them all to be there, but I must show respect to the vast majority of students who get it right every day, every week, every year. They work hard at school, they follow the rules and they deserve to be rewarded.

So, hopefully we’ll have more students than ever at the 2019 Prom, which will be again held at The Mere Resort, Knutsford on Friday 21st June 2019. It really is a beautiful event, full of glitter and sparkle...just how I like it!

The Prom isn’t the only glittering event on our calendar. On Wednesday 17th October 2018, we will be holding our annual Open Evening. An opportunity for families with children in years 4, 5 and 6 to come and have a look around our school before choosing a secondary school for their child. I had an easy choice to make when my daughter was at primary school, because our local secondary school was a good school and all her friends were going there - so I was happy to send her there.

At Open Evening, I want the parents of the children in our local community see that Kingsway, their local school, is a good school where we nurture talent and ability. It is also a school where students are challenged, are happy and develop ‘whole of life’ skills to succeed in their chosen careers.

I love this school, and am passionate about our staff, our students, their families and the communities we serve. I had the great pleasure of meeting the year 5 and 6 children and their families at Lum Head Primary last week, where I shared The Kingsway Promise … to provide great learning, to happy children who will have an exciting time here!

I am very much looking forward to meeting the children and families in our other cluster primary schools in the coming weeks.

Have a great week,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 2

Get to know us better

What summer? It is certainly becoming a dimmer memory as we slip comfortably back in to the routine of school life.

I thought I’d start by sharing with you what happens during our INSET days at the start of the academic year.

On Monday I launched our first INSET day with a warm welcome to new staff:

  • Mrs Archer (Resourced Centre Assistant)
  • Miss Bowers (Teacher of History)
  • Miss Burrows (Teacher of Maths)
  • Mr Carr (Librarian)
  • Ms Choudhury (Learning Support Assistant)
  • Mr Cook (Teacher of History)
  • Ms Crimmins (Learning Support Manager)
  • Mr Fraser (Resourced Centre Assistant)
  • Ms Hill (Learning Support Assistant)
  • Mr Lapidus (Maths Higher Level Teaching Assistant)
  • Miss Mullin (Teacher of English
  • Ms Ruane (Teacher of ICT & Business Studies)
  • Mr Sarkissian (Resourced Centre Assistant)

As well as presenting staff with an overview of our GCSE results, my key role on the first day is to deliver a presentation to all 200 staff to inspire them to push themselves to achieve even better in the year ahead.

This year I talked to staff about the importance of achieving consistency across our school to ensure our students achieve the highest standards in their work and conduct. In a large school like Kingsway, we will get the best out of our students if they are clear about our expectations of them and the boundaries in which they must behave. We have already seen a significant improvement in our students’ focus in lessons, behaviour around school and pride they have in their environment, their work and themselves.

Our next focus is to improve students’ attendance to school. Did you know, that the one single factor with the greatest impact on achievement is attendance?

Last year nearly 100 students had 100% attendance. Do you know that each week, every tutor group with 100% attendance receive a complimentary form breakfast on a Friday morning? Well done to 7I, 7E, 7A, 8A and 9C who last week achieved 100% attendance. Many of the other forms were very close but had just one student who took a day off. You can help your child’s form achieve the 100% breakfast by ensuring they get to school, on time every day. We know that sometimes students can wake up and feel unwell, however,many aches and pains often pass, so don't keep your child home "just in case". If their illness is not serious, please consider giving them some Calpol or Paracetamol and sending them in to school where they can be learning in class. We have two highly qualified ex-nurses at school who you can talk to about any medical issues. They will also get in touch with you if we feel your child needs to go home. Often, once in school, students will perk up and soon begin to feel better.

100% attendance to school isn’t just for a free breakfast, it is crucial if your child is not to miss any learning. Did you know that statistically, students with excellent attendance achieve better outcomes? The more a student is in the school, the more they increase their opportunity to fulfill their potential. Just one day off school can make the difference between a standard pass and a strong pass at GCSE.

Thank you for your valued support in improving attendance.

Please remember that medical appointments should be arranged before or after school hours. If this is not possible, you should arrange any appointments to avoid 8.30 am and 1.30pm, as this is when the student’s attendance is calculated. If a student has a medical appointment in the middle of the day, they are expected to attend school either side of the appointment.

Did you also know that Kingsway are members of both Gatley Village Partnership and Cheadle Village Partnership? I attend the Village Partnership meetings where dedicated members of our local community work tirelessly to improve the villages in which we live and work. The changes to the environment in both Cheadle and Gatley and the wealth of community events taking place over the past few years have been incredible and we are proud of our involvement. But like all community run initiatives, success relies on the willingness of volunteers to give of their time. Last week at the Gatley Village Partnership meeting, there was great discussion about some of the events the team would love to run, but these are hampered by a lack of volunteers to turn their vision into a reality. Wherever you live, you can help your community by getting involved – however small. We have offered to support GVP with litter picking and will be involved in the Christmas festivities in both Gatley and Cheadle.

Go on... See what difference you can make to you local community. For more information go to the community link on our website.

Have a great week.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 1

Welcome Back

Just where did those 6 weeks go? The sun, sea and little bit of Sangria seem a distant memory as I get back in to the rhythm of school life. Whilst I’m waking up to dark mornings rather than the bright sunny ones from last term, I’m glad to be back in a routine.

I am delighted to share with you the news that the Class of 2018 did really well in their GCSE results this summer, achieving our best ever results for the percentage of students achieving a grade 4 or higher in both English and Mathematics. Furthermore, the year group achieved over 80 grade 9s - the highest grade possible in these new, tougher reformed GCSEs. A great start to the new academic year.

I will miss the Class of 2018; they were a great bunch of students. But stepping to fill their void, are the class of 2023! It was a real delight to meet them and many of their families on their first day on Wednesday.

We call the first week for year 7 ‘Kickstart to Kingsway’ and fill it with activities to help them make new friends, find their way around our school and get to meet lots of staff. I always deliver a session to get to meet all our new starters in their first few days. What a delightful group they are. I have been so impressed with how well they have bonded as a year group and the new friendships that have quickly blossomed.

You can see what they’ve been up to below.

We would love to hear back from our new parents about your experience of the transition that your child has received. You can do this by dropping an email to transition@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk or by completing the Parent View questionnaire on the Ofsted website.

Mrs Heil had some great news on our return this September. Young Writers UK have awarded The Kingsway School with 5-Star Writing School status for services to literacy. A great reflection of the work we do to support students’ literacy skills and develop a love of reading for pleasure.

Of course, it has also been lovely to welcome back our older Kingsway students who all arrived last week as smart as a new pin.

We are hitting the ground running this September, with strict rules on punctuality to school and uniform. Students are expected to be in form or assembly by 8:30am. They need to make sure they arrive to school in plenty of time to get to their form room. As last year, students who are not in school on time, will receive a 20 minute detention after school.

I noticed a few breaches to our uniform policy last week in the form of girls’ skirts and shoes. Girls must wear the Kingsway badged skirt and wear it at full length (not rolled up)!

I am aware that over the summer some footwear manufacturers have aggressively been marketing a fashion trainer as a school shoe. Whilst they may initially appear to conform to the school guidance (eg black leather and are not sports branded), their style is too much like a trainer and does not meet the agreed policy which has the expectation of smart black, sturdy leather shoes. However, I am sympathetic that as a parent you will have spent a great deal of money and would have also been trying to get a good balance between the policy and a fashion shoe for your child. As such this footwear- and only this footwear, will be excused up until the end of the autumn term. During this time we will create clear guidance which will be shared with parents and students and will include visual representations of approved styles. We will also contact the main local suppliers of shoes and provide them with the information for future reference. Any other shoes that do not meet the policy such as trainers, sports branded, ankle, non-leather (inc canvas and suede), slipper shoes and ankle shoes/boots will continue not to be permitted.

Lastly, there’s been a lot on the news recently in relation to the use of mobile phones in schools. we have always been very clear with our policy - mobile phones are not allowed in school from the point of arrival to the school gates in the morning to leaving in the afternoon.

I am always grateful for the continued support of our parents with our policies for students.

Some advance notice that our Open evening takes place on Wednesday 17th October 2018 5pm. Please share the date with your friends and family with year 4, 5 and 6 children. In order to prepare the school for this event, we will be closing early on that day (12:00pm). I will write to remind you nearer the time.

Finally, I was thrilled when Mrs Griffiths shared with me a blog post by now Year 9 student Abigail Fung following her school trip to Paris. The trip was such a success that we are running it again next year with over 100 year 8 students.

Here’s Abigail’s blog:

Omg, I was so excited!  I was going to Paris with my friends! Departing at 2.30am was not my idea of fun but I was so excited, the tiredness didn’t even bother me! After the long yet fun journey to Paris, we finally arrived to be greeted at PGL Chateau de Grande Romaine by the cheerful and enthusiastic staff.

As soon as we got off the coach, we all thought the place was amazing! We checked out our rooms before going on a tour of the PGL centre. It was all very exciting.  They had a football pitches, basketball courts, a swimming pool, badminton courts and even a games room! I knew we were all going to have an awesome time. Following the tour and dinner, the PGL held lots of fun activities.  It was a great end to a lovely day.

The next day we went into the centre of Paris for a day trip. We visited the Eiffel tower first, where we could go up to the 2nd floor. It was awesome! It was even more magnificent than I ever imagined.  You literally could see the whole of Paris from there, it was breathtaking.

We then went on a river cruise down the Seine. It was particularly hilarious when we were all asked to pose for photos with other tourists throughout the whole journey. As we travelled through the streets of Paris, we drove past the Notre Dame, Arc du Triomphe and Sacre Coeur before we came to the Champs Elysees. I felt emotional because I have always wanted to go to Paris and the places we visited were so beautiful!  They were everything I had imagined them to be and more. My only regret was not having the chance to go inside the Notre Dame and seeing the beautiful colours of the glass windows.

Visiting Parc Astrix theme park was really exciting. It was great spending time with my friends having lots of fun. There was rides to suit everyone including massive rollercoasters to water rides and even a few shows. I am definitely not a roller-coaster person but it was really fun watching my friends who were all very excited.

It was a great holiday and I made lots of new friends, had lots of laughs, tried to speak French and even tried a few French delicacies including snails, which I am proud of!!! Adieu Paris pour le moment!

No wonder Paris is known as the City of Love!

A bientot!


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 42

All good things come to an end.

It always surprises me how quick time flies by in education. Maybe because we work in half termly chunks, or more likely because there’s so much going on and lots to do.

Last week was no exception.

We held our end of year celebration evenings to recognise the achievements of our students throughout the year. Awards were presented to to students who had:

  • achieved the acclaimed Kingsway Certificate
  • been nominated by the Heads of Departments for Effort and Achievement
  • completed the highest number of hours of enrichment during the year

We received some great feedback from our parents who agreed they were lovely evenings and were rightly proud of their child’s success at The Kingsway School.

Sadly we had to postpone the Year 9 Evening due to a clash with some football match! We will be re-arranging the evening early in the Autumn term.

Our year 8 students returned from Paris very late on Monday night. They were all a bit bleary-eyed on Tuesday morning, but buzzing from their experience. Mr Traynor and the staff on the trip were massively impressed with our students’ conduct throughout the trip. They were a credit to our school.

On Tuesday we welcomed our year 5 & 6 local primary students to take part in an intra-school Spelling Bee competition. The primary students were joined by their peers who are now Kingsway students in years 7 & 8. It was a heated competition with some tricky spellings (and a faulty buzzer!) but Outwood primary came out top with some very impressive spellings. Well done Outwood!

Also on Tuesday, we also hosted the EDT Go4Set Award ceremony and exhibition. EDT are a charity who create opportunities for students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & MAths). Kingsway had two teams (H2O and Ufikiaji) up against other high achieving schools in the North West, including Grammar schools. I am delighted to announce that our team ‘Ufikiaji’ won best overall project. What an incredibly proud moment for me and the STEM team at Kingsway.

On Wednesday, we had an Induction Day for our new teaching staff: Ms Burrows (Teacher of Maths), Ms Bowers (Teacher of History), Mr Cook (teacher of History), Ms Mullin (Teacher of English), Ms Ruane (Teacher of Business Studies). They are all really excited about starting at Kingsway and I am confident they will be a great addition to our superb team of teachers.

On Thursday, our Resourced Centre hosted a Garden Party for staff, students and their families. It was another warm day and so out came the floral table cloths, vintage teapots and scones. It was lovely to meet with the families of our current and new resourced students - events like this can help these families to make new friends because often their lives are too busy with their very special children.

On Friday, Mrs Marsh took 3 year 9 students to the Digital Advantage Graduation Awards ceremony at MMU. There were 20 teams involved in the competition to create a business App, mostly sixth form students. Three independent judges from business backgrounds selected 3 of the best Apps. I am delighted to tell you all that we did very well and came in third place. It was a very proud moment for our school and the students were excellent ambassadors for The Kingsway School.

Would you believe it? 52 days without rain and it finally came pouring down on Friday when our Duke of Edinburgh team left for their final expedition! Thank goodness the staff are well used to wet weather conditions and the rain did eventually subside to allow for a warm and successful expedition weekend. Miss Horsey did an exceptional job organising the event, supported by lots of staff, and with  only one sprained ankle to report, it was a huge success. Well done all.

And so we come to the final few days of another great year at Kingsway. I will be sending a letter home this week with the arrangements for the end of the academic year and the start of the next one.

I am particularly looking forward to our end of year celebration assembly on Friday, where the whole school comes together to celebrate students’ achievements. Please keep abreast of all that is going on at Kingsway via Facebook, Twitter and our website.

Thank you for reading my blogs - hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about all the amazing stuff that happens at Kingsway - a school with a lot to shout about!

Wishing you all a lovely summer. See you next year.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 41

Did you watch it?

I’m guessing many of you joined the rest of the nation and enjoyed watching England go through to the semi-finals of the world cup for the first time in 30 years.

I watched the second half through my fingers in the hope that we wouldn’t give away a goal or two. I could only imagine what it was like for the team manager, Gareth Southgate. Whilst the players on the pitch are doing what they have been trained and prepared to do, the manager must stand and watch and has very little control during those 90 minutes.

I know only too well that feeling at this time of year. We have done all we can for our year 11 students and can only stand by and wait for the GCSE results in August. It’s a nerve wracking time for the students, the staff and myself. We want so much for each student to have achieved their goals and gain the results that will springboard them to the next stage of their life. We also want success for our whole school community - it’s uplifting and an injection of positivity that gives us the desire to keep working hard for the next generation.

Maybe 2018 will be remembered for the hottest summer, England winning the world cup and Kingsway exceeding their best ever results! Here’s hoping… like the England football team, we’re certainly on our way!

Kingsway, however, is not an exam factory. We are a vibrant, colourful school with heart and soul. Here’s just some of the shining examples of our Kingsway spirit over the last week:

Last week was Induction week for our new Year 7 students and their parents. It was an absolute pleasure to have met them all. We always make sure the Year 6 students enjoy their induction day and leave feeling excited and confident about joining us in September. I am sure the class of 2023 will be great Kingsway students - they have certainly made a fantastic first impression.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Kingsway School went out in force to support their Houses in our Sports Day. It was another gorgeous afternoon and we enjoyed watching all the competitors race against one another to gain points towards the Kingsway Sports Cup as the spectators cheered on. We made sure there were plenty of places for students to sit in the shade and kept students hydrated throughout the afternoon. It was a wonderful afternoon. Mr Hulme Head of PE was very impressed: “In the searing conditions, our students truly rose to the occasion and produced some fantastic displays of athletic performance, sportsmanship and bravery”. The winner of the Kingsway Sports Cup will be announced at our end of year assembly, along with the winning house for the staff relay.

Later on Wednesday, Mrs Wilde and myself went out for dinner with our NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) and their subject mentors to celebrate them completing their first year as a teacher. The first year is hard work and can be challenging, but our NQTs have all passed with flying colours and should be super proud of how far they have progressed as skilled professionals. Well done to Ms Buckley, Ms Halligan, Ms Heard, Ms Hunt, Ms Sadati and Mr Shaw.

Our amazing resourced students won our hearts last week. On Friday, they represented Stockport at the Greater Manchester School Games at the Etihad stadium. We are so proud of all the resourced students who represented their school brilliantly on a blisteringly hot day.

I also received a special visit from Zayn Khan in 7C, who brought along his Year 7 textiles soft toy project - a cat teddy named Space cat. Well done Zayn.

Another textiles masterpiece was from Year 7 student, Ahnaf Khan. Ahnaf was set with the task of designing a stuffed toy and as a keen dinosaur enthusiast, he knew straight away what he wanted to create. He drew an extremely detailed design, which even included a thagomizer (the spikes found on the tail of a dinosaur). Ahnaf selected the colours he would like to use, cut out his design and began to assemble it using a very neat running stitch. As you can see, the end product is fantastic and Ahnaf is really proud of stuffed stegosaurus toy, named Steggy.

Our Year 8 trip to Paris left in the early hours of Friday morning. I didn’t manage to wave them off at 2am, but I do hope they have a wonderful time exploring this beautiful city. More news on their trip next week.

Finally, our school community send their congratulations to Mr & Mrs Tither who brought Alice Rose in to the world on Wednesday.

As always, it’s been another exciting, wonderful and colourful week at Kingsway. Have a lovely week everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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