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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 16

New beginnings!

Happy new year. I hope you all had a lovely festive break with your friends and family.

I had a wonderful two weeks with lots of firsts for me. For the first time in a while, I didn’t have to cook Christmas dinner; my sister took that responsibility and did a great job catering for our family of 23! Here we are between the melon and turkey!

I also did the Santa Park run at Bramhall Park for the first time and went to the Pantomime at Stockport Plaza with my nephews, which was hilarious. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family and friends and had a very relaxing break.

But I am ready to be back at work. I am missing the routine of each day and the pleasure in seeing education in action on a daily basis.

I am starting each day of 2019 by delivering assemblies to each year group. This year I have decided on another first - to talk to our students about the joy of teaching. Sadly, not enough young people are choosing a career in education and as such many schools are facing a recruitment crisis (to add to the financial crisis we are in)!

At Kingsway, we are very fortunate to have specialist teachers across our curriculum at Kingsway and welcome two new staff this week:

  • Mrs Bull - Teacher of Business and ICT
  • Mr Kier - Teacher of Technology

We also welcome back Mrs Lucas, who was Miss Parker-Marshall and got married before Christmas. Congratulations!

All of our teachers are passionate about two things: their subject and young people. What can be better than shaping young lives by doing what you love? As a mathematician, I know the great feeling when my students suddenly get that light-bulb moment when fractions make sense!

Whatever careers our students choose, we want them to enjoy every day of their working life. So this week I will be talking to our students about the importance of valuing every lesson, so that it counts towards what future career choice they want to make. Teacher, computer programmer, midwife or chef, a good education is the springboard to their future.

And it is a really GOOD education that they get here at Kingsway. In April 2013, Ofsted judged our school as GOOD and as we embark in to 2019, it is likely that we will have a further inspection this academic year. Again, we expect the judgement to be GOOD because as a fully inclusive comprehensive school, we provide a great education where students achieve results above the national average. But moreover, they leave us as well-rounded individuals as a result of the care, support, guidance and opportunities we provide.

There will of course be an opportunity for parents to contribute to the next Ofsted inspection and share with inspectors their views on the school. We take every opportunity to gather parents’ views on the school, including the recent review day where 500 parents responded to our questionnaire, where 99% of parents who commented felt that their child is well looked after at our school and 97% felt that their child is taught well.

Whilst happy with this feedback, we do also recognise the need to work more closely with parents in relation to the information they receive regarding their child’s progress in school as well as how the school deals with bullying. This will be something we will focus on this term.

The next Ofsted inspection will be my first as Headteacher at Kingsway - and yes, it does make me feel a little anxious. Not because I think it will go badly, but because my heart is in this school and I want the best outcome for all the children and staff who learn and work here. And whilst a good report is important for our school and community, it does not necessarily define what wonder takes place here every day.

Great kids, great teachers and a great educational experience!

Have a great week everyone,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 15

Twinkle, twinkle Kingsway stars!

I hope you are all getting into the festive spirit as Christmas quickly approaches! I love the build up: the Christmas songs on the radio on my way in to work; the party food in the supermarkets and the growing number of gifts in the spare room! This weekend, I went to Dunham Massey with my mum, sister, daughter, niece and nephew to see their Christmas Lights. Wow! It was fantastic and a really lovely start to our Christmas celebrations, despite the freezing temperatures! I would definitely recommend it!

And the stars at Dunham Massey weren’t the only ones twinkling…

Earlier this month, despite the pouring rain throughout the whole of the day, The Kingsway's Young Enterprise group kept the spirits high, selling products to the public at the Christmas markets in Manchester city centre. The group of of Year 10 students were promoting their business 'Beelieve' selling bee-related products, including necklaces, bracelets and a children's book, which they wrote and illustrated themselves. Although the footfall was low, as pedestrians were running to shelter, the team managed to make a small profit covering their costs for the day! A big well done to the following students who attended and the rest of the Young Enterprise team who will be setting up at the Trafford centre in the new year: Simona Miteva, Pippa Woods, Yasmeen Zara, Oudi Ahmed and Aroush Zia.

Throughout this term, a group of Year 10 students have been volunteering at the Wellspring Centre in Stockport. During numerous visits, the students have been completing a variety of tasks including kitchen duties, clothing and bedding, food packing and cleaning. The students have had the opportunity to see firsthand the work and necessity of a centre like the Wellspring in supporting members of our Stockport community. The students have been utterly fantastic and have demonstrated such sensitivity and care - they are credit to our school.

As we reach the end of our Autumn term, we will be sadly saying goodbye to Mr Hall (Technology Teacher) and Mr Dunbar (Business Manager) who are both moving on to new ventures. We wish them both well.

Just to finish, can I remind our parents & carers that students who have been wearing mock-trainers for school will need to ensure these are changed for the new year. Students will know if they currently have unsuitable footwear. Thank you for your cooperation with this.

And so all that is left for me to say is: “Merry Christmas and Happy new Year” to all our families, friends and local community.

Have a great holiday everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 14

The most wonderful time of the year!

I love Christmas - especially the run up to it! Though I have to admit, I’m a bit further behind with my preparations than I would normally like.

With just two weeks left in school, staff and students are continuing to work hard to squeeze every last drop out of each lesson.

Last week I had the joy again of awarding our monthly merit total winners with their certificates and badges. Here’s what was going on around school on Friday 7th December:

Gaskell Winner: Charlie Lund 8N
When I walked in to Charlie’s maths lesson, it took me a moment to spot her because all the class were scattered around the classroom with metre rulers against every wall & window! When I asked Charlie, she explained that the class had been challenged to calculate how many post it notes it would take to wallpaper the classroom! I haven’t yet been told the outcome - though my guess would be a lot!

Lowry Winner: Imogen West 9H
Imogen was in her Physics lesson period 5 on Friday and again all the class were actively involved in experiments. Imogen’s group were testing electrical conductivity as a solid, whilst another group were testing it as a liquid.

Pankhurst Winner: Ella-Grace Sixsmith 9E
Ella’s was in the same class as Imogen and her group was looking at the properties of ionic compounds by heating sodium chloride and testing whether it has a high or low melting point (I had to ask Miss Khan to help me explain this one!).

Turing Winner: Emma Boaler 7A
I found Emma in Mr William’s RE lesson, where there was much debate on theories of creation. Was the universe created by accident? Or on purpose? Students shared with me their thoughts on the Big Bang and God the creator. It was a really engaging lesson and I was so impressed with the standard of discussion from our 11 and 12 year olds.

Rylands Winner: Amy Berry 10A
I felt I had walked in to the Cote d’Azur when I went to find Amy. Miss Hunt had a lovely photograph of a beach scene on display and the entire conversation between students and teacher was in French. They were developing their vocabulary by describing the scene in front of them. Bravo!

Whitworth Winner: Emily Foster 8H
Three times monthly winner Emily was in Food Tech, working on her evaluation. I asked her to show me what she had made this lesson, and she kindly took her scone based pizza out of the oven. I left feeling pretty hungry!

Six fabulous merit total winners and amazing Kingsway learners. Well done guys!

More great news for Kingsway learners last week…

We were thrilled to have been informed that our project ‘Ufikiaji’, has been shortlisted as a finalist at The Big Bang Competition Finals! The Big Bang is a nationally renowned competition for the UK’s young scientists and engineers. Being shortlisted is a further recognition of our commitment and achievement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The Finals will take place at the NEC in Birmingham on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2019. At the Finals, our students will be judged by leading experts and there are over £20,000 worth of prizes and experiences to win. The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday 14 March! You can find out more about the event and to find out about previous winners by visiting the Big Bang Fair website.

Well done to Mr Hammersley and Miss Khan who have supported Team Ufikiaji: Fiona Sallaku, Pippa Woods, Aroush Zia, Thomas Bridley-Carter, Rowan Mcnally, Kirstin Attfield. The word Ufikiaji means derives from the word ‘accessibility’ in Swahili. Students said: “We chose this as our name because we are basing our project in our sister school Kenya and the native language spoken in Swahili.”

Further fabulous news came in last week from the regional round of the National Schools Trampolining competition, where Year 8 student Rory Taylor came second in the 7-9 years Elite section and qualifies to compete in Northern Ireland on 26th January 2019. We wish Rory the best of luck in the next round of the competition.

Well done also to the 7-9 girls intermediate team (Poppie Walters, Georgie Cavanagh, Maddy McCulley, Emily Foster and Faith Francis), who came third in the North West. More success came from the 7-8 Girl's Novice team who came fourth in the North West; Mia Carroll, Hannah Courtney, Emilia Taylor and Anabel Tinkler-Delgado. Finally, congratulations to Kate Rogers who came 22nd out of 32 in the Years 10-14 intermediate section.

Finally, for students who want to broaden their own horizons, we are extremely excited to be giving our Year 9, 10 and 11 students the opportunity to travel to Ecuador with Camps International during the summer of 2020. Students will be working on a range of sustainable and meaningful community and conservation projects before venturing to the coast and scuba diving their way towards their PADI Open Water Certificate. Parents and interested students are invited to attend our Parents Presentation Evening to find out more. This will be taking place in the New Year on Tuesday 5th February 2019 at 6:30pm in Foxland Hall, Foxland Campus.

Have a great week everyone,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 13

Christmas is coming! Well with the start of advent this weekend, Christmas is definitely on its way. Many of us will have our advent calendars and have begun to fill our diaries with festive dates.

This weekend included.

On Saturday, I went to Cheadle Village Victorian Christmas Markets to join Mr Wood and Mr Lawton and some of our students who were supporting the event.

Our students helped out on traditional Victorian stalls such as splat the rat and a coconut shy (where I won a coconut!). We also had three amazing singers perform in the church: Lucy, Lottie & Kitty. Our three Christmas angels sang an eclectic mix of songs beautifully, to rapturous applause.

Kitty is one of the many extraordinary students we have at Kingsway. As well as performing over the weekend, last week she presented assemblies to the whole school.  Kitty suffers from glaucoma (an eye disease which results in vision loss). Kitty says "I initially wanted to do this assembly to raise awareness about unseen disabilities.  I wanted students to know that they are not alone and I believe that by telling my story honestly and openly was the best way to do this. I cannot express how happy I am with the response to my assembly! Amazingly, I have achieved an even bigger impact than I set out to. I am so grateful for the amount of support I have received from staff and students.  I am so happy to hear that my assembly made a difference".

In her assembly Kitty not only spoke about her condition but also sang 'Rise Up' beautifully.  We are very, very proud of her.

On Sunday team Kingsway were out again, this time in Gatley Village supporting their Christmas Fair. Students helped out on stalls and in the church hall, making lanterns with younger children. Later on in the afternoon, our school choir joined local primary school choirs to perform at Bethany Church after the formal switching on of the lights.

We are certainly getting in to the Christmas spirit at Kingsway. Last week, Year 5 students from Etchells Primary, Cheadle Primary, Gatley Primary and Lum Head joined us for some festive cheer. Students painted ceramic baubles with penguins and snowmen whilst enjoying some Christmas music. We received a lovely email from Clare Forest, Chair of Gatley Village Partnership: “On behalf of GVP, a huge thank you to your students for their hard work and patience yesterday. They were a real credit to the school, their parents and - above all - themselves”.

Don’t forget to send in your contributions for our Bring & Buy stall at our Christmas Fayre at the end of term. As well as local charities, our Christmas Fayre also raises much needed funds for our sister school in Kolweny Kenya. Over the years, we have raised money for uniforms, books, trips, sanitary products for the girls and even university scholarships. Below is a recent report from Angela Rowley’s visit in October.

Last week we held our annual Careers’ Speed Dating event with over 30 employers attending from Scientists to Physiotherapists to Hairdressers. It is always very well attended by parents and Year 9 students who come with an opportunity to discover more about the careers that are available to our young people. A special well done to Mrs Flood who organised the event.

Finally, some great news for Kingsway - we have just been awarded the Bronze Young Carers award in recognition of the work we do to ensure our Young Carers don’t miss out in school. We are delighted and proud of all our young carers and the staff in the school who support them.

Have a great week everyone,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 11 & 12

Being a good example!

Apologies for consolidating two week’s blogs in to one… it’s been a busy time!

Let’s start with some great news about the achievements of some terrific Kingsway students. This week, I had the pleasure of awarding the monthly merit total winners with their shields and badges. Well done to:

  • Lowry: Imogen West 9H
  • Pankhurst: Tanzeela Choudhury 8C
  • Rylands: Charlotte Green 10T
  • Turing: Emma Boaler 7K
  • Whitworth: Emily Foster 8H (pictured)
  • Gaskell: Charlie Lund 8N

It is lovely to see so many students around school with a collection of lapel badges to reflect their contribution to enrichment, sport, student council and their outstanding achievements as Kingsway Learners.

After an overwhelming response from the Stemettes, Ms Khan and the girls set off for the Monster Confidence at Federation House in Manchester last week. The day began with the morning keynote by the incredible Clare Sudbery, who delivered an amazing talk about her journey, how she got into being a software consultant and her approach to embracing changes and continuous learning. Next up the attendees headed out to their four morning Monster Confidence sessions. Monster Confidence is all about being ready and rehearsed, so skilling up was a core part of the day. Sessions on CVs, Interviews and Presenting were delivered by Monster, alongside an Exhibition, Speed Mentoring sessions and Panel sessions.

They conducted mock interviews, answered questions on panels and also gave lightning talks throughout the day. The afternoon keynote was from Business Intelligence director Ffion Turner.

There were a formidable group of volunteers at this event and we’re so thankful for them spending quality time with our girls. From Imagineers to petroleum engineers, mathematicians to physicists and many more from all corners of STEM. A great example to our girls.

On Thursday 15th November 2018 we held our annual GCSE Presentation Evening for the class of 2018. It was a wonderful event, attended by many ex-students and their families. I was so proud to see how much they have matured and settled in to their new routines, since leaving us last summer. The event was hosted by our Chair of Governors, Mr O’Shaughnessy and we welcomed back our guest speaker Stacey Copeland. Stacey is a much loved friend at Kingsway and is an inspirational example to our young people. She has overcome barriers to achieve her goals and has recently celebrated being the first ever female British boxer to win the Commonwealth title. Stacey awarded our students with their GCSE certificates and gave a special award to Alice Poole for her outstanding achievement.

Last Friday was Review Day. This is an opportunity for students and parents to have individual meetings with form tutors about progress being made at school. Discussions include attendance, punctuality, behaviour and , attitude to learning and targets or target pathways in individual subjects. In addition, it offers the opportunity for students and parents to ask questions, raise any concerns or share important information with the school. Review Day appointments are also used to set specific targets for each student to focus on for the rest of the academic year. These targets are recorded in student planners and will be reviewed by form tutors throughout the year.

This week, the two Year 11 Food sets had their final practical exam. They needed to plan and prepare an afternoon tea. The results were outstanding with many students excelling in the 2 1/2 hour exam. A huge range of skills were demonstrated including making fresh bread, meringues, chocolate baskets and apple swans to name a few. The students will be rewarded with very good marks for the practical module which will go towards their overall level for their NCFE Level 2 course. Mrs Guess and I are very proud of all of them.

As the year 11 students begin their PPE (Pre-public examination) exams this week, the options process has also started for our year 9 students.

Students are asked to think carefully about what they would like to do at college or for a career. As well as getting information from their teachers, students can use our online careers website and the careers base, where Mrs Flood can give extra support.

To help our students and parents with these sometimes difficult decisions, we have a brilliant Careers Speed Dating event next week on Thursday 29th November 2018, where you can hear from a wealth of different employers about their career opportunities and receive advice.

Other key dates for your diaries are Options Evening (24th January 2019) and the Year 9 Parents’ Evening (7th February 2019). Please note the deadline for students to make their option decisions is 25th February 2019.

Sadly, some adults are not setting a good example to our students by not parking with care. At the heart of our school is our commitment to safeguard your child. Unfortunately, we are receiving complaints from our neighbours in relation to inconsiderate parking before and after school. This makes it difficult for our students who walk to school and limits their potential to cross roads safety when negotiating so many cars parked so close to the school campus. Additionally, it causes considerable frustration for local residents when attempting to leave their drives or legitimately park their cars next to their homes. My further concern are the fumes which are being released from cars when drivers are leaving their engines running whilst they wait for students.

Could I please ask parents to be as considerate as possible when dropping students off to school or collecting at the end of the day. It would be very much appreciated if parents could try their utmost to avoid Silverdale Road, Foxland Road, Broadway and High Grove Road. In an age where we are encouraging healthy lifestyles, it will not do our students any harm to walk that extra distance to a road where the traffic is less congested and your car is less likely to add to these already very busy and congested roads. Of course, if your child has any medical needs, that require you to park close to the school, please contact your Pastoral Head of Year so that we can help. Thank you for your support in this matter.

I would like to make our parents aware that we have begun a consultation to reduce our PAN (Pupil Admission Number) from 2020. Currently Kingsway is the largest secondary school in the borough, but with recent additional school places created in the local area, we have decided to reduce our PAN to keep our catchment of students closer within our local community. The consultation is open until 31 December 2018. Parents can share their views by following the link.

Finally, we are always wanting to improve ways in which our families can communicate with the school. We have introduced direct lines for our Pastoral Heads of Year, who are often your first point of contact.

A. Jones
Year 7
0161 495 2371

K. Davis
Year 8 - Broadway
0161 495 2385

T. Watson
Year 8 - Foxland
0161 495 2378

L. Lavanini
Year 9 - Broadway
0161 495 2387

G. James
Year 9 - Foxland
0161 495 2373

A. Ives
Year 10 - Broadway
0161 495 2389

J. Ward
Year 10 - Foxland
0161 495 2374

C. Francis
Year 11
0161 495 2372

If you don’t receive an answer straight away, please leave a message with your name and contact details and our Pastoral team will return your call as soon as possible.

Furthermore, all staff (pastoral and teaching) have email addresses, e.g. Miss Francis is c.francis@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk. However, please can I ask parents to direct their email to only one individual member of staff; sometimes responses slip through the net when two or more staff are emailed and it is unclear who should be responding. You may wish to cc in other staff to keep them informed of your communication.

I know it can be frustrating if you do not receive a satisfactory response from school, and we really want to avoid making our parents or carers unhappy. There is a complaints procedure online that parents can follow if after contacting the school, you remain unhappy with the outcome. We have also introduced a RESPECT charter to give guidance to staff and families.

As always I value your feedback. If you have any thoughts on how the school can improve its communication with parents, carers and families, please email me at: headteacher@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Have a great week everyone,


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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