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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 30

Let’s get physical

How do you keep fit?

I keep my steps up by walking the dog each morning and walking across our campuses throughout the day. Reaching 10,000 steps isn’t that difficult during a day at Kingsway! I’m sure many of our students also achieve this on a daily basis.

As you will be aware, we significantly reduced the need for students to move across campuses two years ago, particularly for our younger students. However, there has been some feedback from our senior students and student council that they would like the facility to cross the campuses freely at break times. This is mainly so they can see friends who are on the other campus, or maybe access a teacher or facility. To be honest, I’m a bit reluctant to move back to the old model as I don’t want learning time lost by students dawdling from one site to the other. However, I want our student body to feel they have a voice and as such I have said that I will allow them to trial this towards the end of the term. What do you think?

Walking from Foxland to Broadway isn’t the only exercise students get at Kingsway! All our students participate in a range of sports during practical PE lessons.

Last week, the PE department ran a trip to Hillside golf club for 21 students to be part of The British Masters golf tournament, hosted by Ryder Cup hero and top British golfer, Tommy Fleetwood. The British Masters is part of the European Tour and is held at a different golf course across the British Isles each year. The trip was aimed at Year 8 and 9 students considering taking PE as a GCSE option and allowed students to learn about hosting a major sporting event and the role of media in sports, as well as seeing the different practice methods professional athletes go through before competing professionally. It hopefully influenced the students to take up an interest in a different sport, such as golf.

The format of the day was “Pro-Am”, this was a more relaxed day than the intense competition days and allowed our students to witness the world’s top golfers play with celebrities. The students engaged in activities such as: closest to the pin, longest drive and chipping. I think every student walked away with a free baseball cap because they all managed to sink a 20 metre putt! The students then made their way down onto the golf course to watch the action. Host Tommy Fleetwood took time out from his round to talk to our students and to sign backpacks and wallets and pose for pictures. The students then hunted out some massive stars of the sporting world, grabbing pictures with England’s greatest ever wicket taker, cricketer Jimmy Anderson, as well as England team mate Stuart Broad. Next up was watching England footballers past and present with more pictures and autographs with Alan Shearer and England’s current number 1, Jordan Pickford. Overall, the day was a great success, with everyone wanting to do it all again next year! Thank you to Mr Howarth for organising such a great experience for our young people.

There are also opportunities for our families to get active in the community. I received a lovely email last week from The Gatley Village Partnership: “On behalf of GVP, thank you so much for allowing us to run our Sports Day at the school and to your staff for helping us on the day and beforehand. I have had many people tell me how much they and their children enjoyed the afternoon, which is lovely and would not otherwise have been possible this year without you kindly opening up the school for us."

Staff and students certainly experienced the elements on our practice expedition last week, starting in rain on the first expedition and ending in hail on the second expedition. Miss Horsey said: “The students were incredible - from cooking eggs for breakfast (having never cracked an egg on the side of a pan before) to excellent navigation in a field full of cows. In a rare stroke of luck, students were all able to pitch their tents in relatively dry conditions, however we all braved the rain during our walk across the Peak District.”

78 students completed their practice expedition successfully and now have the job of drying out their tents before starting to prepare for the assessed expedition in June.

Finally, I would like to wish the best of luck to our Year 11 students who begin their written GCSE examinations this week. I am proud of each and every one of them - good luck guys, you’ve got this!

Have a great week everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 29

Spring into action.

Whilst in academic terms, we are in the summer term - seasonally we are still in Spring. With three quarters of our academic year under our belt we are keeping our foot on the pedal at Kingsway and squeezing as much learning and opportunity as we can in to the remaining 10 weeks.

We had the Kingsway Association meeting last week where the small but mighty group of committed parents who regularly attend approved a range of bids to enrich our students’ experience here:

  • Students will soon be wearing new Royal Blue aprons in Food technology to replace the old, worn ones. The Kingsway Association also kindly agreed to fund two larder fridges for students to store their ingredients and food products during the day. The old ones have lasted well - 15 years!
  • We will be adding to our Duke Of Edinburgh supplies thanks to funding for 18 large rucksacks. This will add to the stock of waterproof coats, trousers and boots, sleeping bags and roll mats that TKA previously paid for.
  • Mr Carr, our librarian, will be stocking both campuses with some new material thanks to TKA. There will be a copy of the most recent GCSE revision guides for every subject, copies of texts for our reading intervention groups, an expansion to the reluctant reader section in partnership with our SEN department and updated subject specific non-fiction books.
  • The PE department will enjoy the use of a portable PA system. This will be used to play the bleep test, and provide a microphone for PE staff to use.

You can get involved simply by completing the standing order form or coming along to the next meeting which will be on Monday 23rd September 2019 - this will be a special Cheese and Wine event to welcome new parents and new members to The Kingsway Association.

You can also support the school and TKA in other ways, such as: donating old books or revision guides for our library; providing sponsorship for PE kits; donating unused musical instruments or expedition kit (waterproofs, walking shoes, etc.). Any help is always gratefully received.

The exam fortnight for Year 7 & 8 runs from 13th to 24th May in preparation, Mrs Clarke and Dr Holdsworth held a revision evening to provide information to parents on how they can support their child in the run up. The key messages shared included:

  1. Exam fortnight is important as it will show student successes and prepares them for GCSE
  2. Preparation is very important so creating a revision plan and trialing a range of revision strategies is what students need to do.
  3. At times, students may feel stressed and some exams will go better than others, but there is support available in school if needed.

Students will be completing a revision timetable in form time. A copy of all resources shared at the revision evening can be found on KOL.

I would also encourage parents and carers to access BBC Bitesize. This is a great resource to help students and their families prepare for exams. There are top tips on coping with stress, planning time efficiently and different strategies to help students revise. It is a particularly useful resource for Year 11 students who are embarking on their GCSE examinations. It is also full of lots of subject specific materials. Effective revision is a skill in itself, and the more support students can get from home, the better. Try quizzing your child each night - or help create a revision timetable.

Last week was ‘Open Door Week’ for teachers. This event fostered a community where ideas and practices around teaching are openly shared amongst colleagues. Teachers were asked to try a new strategy which engages students and accelerates their progress in the lesson and invite colleagues to come and observe. It was a hugely successful week with lots of great teaching and learning shared across the school.

On Friday morning, Mrs Heard (School Business Manager) and myself met with a group of Year 9 resourced students who wanted to share with us their plans to improve recycling around the school.

Bethany acted as spokesperson for the group and asked that we invested in some recycling bins for plastic bottles. The students had given much thought to which bins they would like, how they will market their plan and also how they will ensure the plastic reaches the recycling unit. All the children were passionate about the damage that plastic was having on our environment and wanted to make a difference. It was very easy for Mrs Heard to agree to help the students source the bins.

L-R Zidaan, Miss Rothwell, Jake, Mrs Heard, Bethany, Asad and Mrs Archer

Mrs Lucas organised a Year 5 Mad Science Show after a successful 2018 show. This year, our Mad Scientist ‘Inquisitive Indie’ showed Year 5 pupils from Prospect Vale, Gatley, Outwood, Lum Head and Meadowbank a collection of cool science experiments - even their teachers got up on stage and risked getting wet!

Finally, last week was our inaugural Year 7 Venture Award trip. Led by Mr Wood, over 120 Year 7 students and staff went to Linnet Clough Scout Camp in Mellor, over the course of 3 days. Students took part in a 24 hour expedition as part of the brand new Venture Award. The award is run by BXM expeditions, a team of highly qualified instructors. As soon as the coach dropped students off, they walked into camp with all their equipment on their backs. On arrival in camp, they were welcomed and given their first task: pitching tents. With a little instruction and looming clouds, the students set to work on twenty three-person tents. Once complete, the students split into teams and with their instructors enjoyed a series of activities, first aid, slack lining, creating a fire, making a shelter, map reading and looking for food. After the evening meal, students were allowed time to sort their tents and then walked to the camp fire to roast marshmallows and wild food. Once dusk descended, students spent a night under canvas.

The following morning, teams completed more fun activities. After the hike out of camp and a coach ride back to Kingsway, the students completed their Venture booklet reflections. There were two groups over the 3 days. The weather for group 1 was quite good, just a little rain during the Thursday morning. However this wasn't the same for Group 2 (students from 7E, 7K, 7N, 7S & 7Y) who experienced torrential rain and hail at times! However, this did not stop the instructors or students running the same activities, although it did make creating a fire more of a challenge! The weather broke in the afternoon but returned overnight and throughout the following morning. The students handled it brilliantly. The instructors and Kingsway staff kept a constant watch over the students, putting interventions in place where students were cold, wet or hungry.

The response from students was overwhelmingly positive, despite the rain. All students learned invaluable skills and explored new and exciting experiences. As always, our students were fantastic. Here’s some photos from the week:

Have a great week everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 28

The many faces of opportunity.

Welcome back to the summer term. I hope you all had a lovely Easter. The hottest for 70 years, according to the papers.

I had a lovely break - a few days with my husband in Malta and a few days with my parents in Anglesey. The weather in Wales was much nicer than Malta! Even our little dog Freddie enjoyed the sunshine.

Squirrel!

I remember when I was at secondary school, back in the 80’s, our house being burgled. It happened a few times until my dad improved the security of the house. The burglars took my mum’s jewellery the first time, which was really upsetting for her, much of it being passed down to her. But they also took the technology of the day… Cine camera, Betamax video recorder and our TV. Looking back I’m amazed how they managed to carry it all. Technology back then wasn’t light and compact; it was heavy and bulky. But with a single glazed back door and a railway line running alongside next door - we were easy pickings.

Sadly, this type of behaviour is on the up again. And the easy pickings are the children of hard working parents like you who have used your hard earned income to buy your children the latest iPhone, AirPods, designer coat or bike. A student may walk to and from school carrying goods to the value of £1500. Annoyingly, there are people out there who are not afraid to just approach our students and take what they want, sometimes behaving in a threatening way. Unfortunately, this is not unique to Kingsway, at our own home we have a bike stolen and my car broken into. These burglars are opportunists and our best defence is to remove the opportunity.

The advice that we are giving our children is to be aware and be cautious. To remove themselves as easy pickings by:

  • Not walking alone
  • Avoiding non-residential routes such as Scholes Field
  • Not advertising their goods by keeping phones and headphones out of sight

The local police are working closely with the school and providing a presence in the area. They encourage parent to report any incidents to them via their online live chat.

As you will be aware we have a rich and varied extra-curricular programme, including sports fixtures and revision sessions after school. If you are unable to collect your child from school after a late event, please get in touch with their Pastoral Head of Year for support and guidance.

From potential unpleasantness outside of school, I’ll now focus on the brilliance inside school.

Mrs Mackay emailed me before Easter to tell me she was “overwhelmed by the high quality of the hard boiled historians competition”. Congratulations to

  • Amy Berry, who was the winner of a large Easter Egg with a truly stunning display of 7 eggs with 2 minus their (egg) heads of Henry VIII and his 6 wives.
  • Kirsten Attfield came second with a stunning Julius Caesar complete with 'Et Tu brute' speech bubble and George Frazer of 7N's Margaret Hatcher was hilarious: he really captured her facial expression down to a tee.

Last week we held our Year 8 Parents’ Evening which was really well attended. Standing at the door, it was lovely to hear all the positive comments from parents, who were thankful for the great education and care their child was receiving at Kingsway. Mrs Clarke is running a follow-up Revision Strategies evening on Tuesday 30th April to support students and families with top tips and information ahead of their end of year exams which start on 13th May 2019.

Finally, I don’t hide my light under a bushel when it comes to how much I love working in our school, with our amazing young people. Teaching is the best job! Is it something you’ve ever considered? If you want to find out more we are holding Taster Days to provide an insight into the profession. These are taking place on 16th May 2019 and 4th June 2019. During the Taster Day, you will be able to see learning in practice, the importance of relationships and how teachers engage, challenge and inspire students during lessons. Being in a classroom observing lessons is a brilliant way to see teaching in action and really get a realistic feel for what it is like to be a teacher today. Our Taster Days will build in time for you to explore all potential training routes on offer, with the added opportunity of speaking with staff that elected to train at The Kingsway School, as well as a range of staff at different stages of their career and in different roles.

For more information, and to book a place on one of our Taster Days, please visit our Secondary School Direct page.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 26

Opportunities for all by all.

This week’s blog celebrates the opportunities available to our students and our wider community.

Last week, Kingsway hosted Year 5 students from Prospect Vale, Cheadle Primary, Gatley and Meadowbank to experience a piece of France, as part of our Languages Day. Students learnt a French song, played French games, created an art piece in the style of the artist Matisse and bought French foods using Euros. We received excellent feedback from our partner primaries:

“Thank you so much for having us at the MFL day yesterday - the children absolutely loved each and every workshop. It was clearly so well organised and the resources provided were brilliant.”

On Wednesday, sixty Year 7 and 8 students took part in Level 1 Makaton Training as part of their Scholars Program. We were very lucky to have the NHS speech and Language team offer their services to the school for the day and we are keen to partner with them in the future to enable staff to welcome all learners into their classrooms with the use of sign language. Students involved in the training will be encouraged to teach their skills to their form groups and we aim to establish primary links, which will ensure continuity of skill as students move through education.

After all, our aim at the Kingsway school is to strive to be truly inclusive of all learners!

Also on Wednesday, 14 Year 10 students attended a Masterclass at Loreto Sixth Form College. We received some fantastic feedback about our students from Loreto staff who commented on their enthusiasm, maturity and engagement. Some of the new things they learnt included:

  • The sign for providing b if A is B/A
  • Spearman’s rank
  • New concepts eg new info on spring constant
  • Yes, k over 2 = springs connected, 2k= springs in parallel
  • Links between contexts and texts
  • The different rotations for venn diagrams
  • Plants grow best in blue light

Earlier in the week, Year 7 students were highly creative during the History department’s unit of study on Castles. They created Motte and Bailey and Stone Keep castles out of a variety of materials. Their attention to detail was phenomenal- with some students even installing a working drawbridge in their castle. Stunning work Year 7 - Well done!

Over the last 2 weeks, Year 7 and Year 10 parents have been to school to attend their child’s annual parents evening. This is an opportunity for parents and carers to hear from individual class teachers about the progress that their child is making in each subject. I appreciate for our new Year 7 parents, that the evening is somewhat different to primary parents evenings. Unfortunately, the reality of a secondary parents evening is that appointments don’t always run to time and there’s a lot of walking from one place to another. However, the feedback from parents at both evenings was overwhelmingly positive with parents and carers feeding back that they are happy with the school, particularly how well we support their pastoral care and the academic support they are receiving from their teachers to ensure their reach their potential.

Some other great parent news came from the parents of Poppy Buckley in Year 8, who recently had her lovely long, blonde hair cut short and decided to donate her hair so that young people who have lost their hair through illness can be given real hair wigs, which are so expensive to buy. Well done Poppy on such a wonderful act of kindness. Please share with the school any acts of kindness by your children that deserve recognition.

Little Princess Trust website

This week we will be welcoming a film crew, who are making a suite of nine films for BBC Teach about transition from primary to secondary school. The short films are intended to reassure and inspire children about the opportunities in secondary school and the network of staff in place to help children flourish. This could be the start of my career as an actress!

Finally, we have a large number of students who ride to school on bikes, many of whom appear not to have helmets. Please can I ask that you speak to your child about wearing a helmet. The roads are very busy at both the start and end of school, and we do not want an accident. We are considering placing cones near the school gates to prevent any accidents. If you drive near to school at these times please remember the speed limit is 20mph.

Wishing you all a lovely Easter.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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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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