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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 35

Oh what a night (and week)!

Another busy week at Kingsway last week.

On Wednesday afternoon Mrs Djang and Mrs Burgess hosted a drop-in afternoon for new parents of students with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). This was a chance for families to get a sense of the care and support which will be available from our SEND team. It was lovely to meet some of our new families.

Another chance to meet parents new to Kingsway was on Thursday evening when Miss Cropper ran a "Bridging the Gap" workshop - a guide to understanding and overcoming anxiety during the secondary transition. The workshop was aimed at parents of upcoming students in Year 6, who may have been struggling with the idea of joining a new school in September. We worked through understanding triggers, sharing good practice and offered strategies to support during the difficult time. We explored the causes for anxiety, explained how our bodies react to stress, and ideas for how we can eliminate that. Parents seemed to leave feeling much more positive for the start in September, and were signposted to the appropriate staff if they had further questions. They also had the option of leaving each other a "golden piece of advice" in an envelope to share amongst other parents following what they'd taken from the workshop.

On Thursday, nineteen Kingsway students from Year 9 attended The Daresbury Laboratories for the Go4SET regional finals of The Industrial Cadets Programme after 10 weeks of hard work. As I'm sure you can remember from last year, The Kingsway School, not only won this competition with "The Best Overall" project but also went on to win The Big Bang Competition in Birmingham with their project currently being put into production at our sister school The Kolweny Kingsway, Kenya.

Although no prizes were achieved this year (we can't win every year!) all students across 3 teams represented Kingsway superbly with judges being very complimentary about their projects, emphasising that the final decisions had been very very close. It was wonderful to see all Kingsway students graduate and receive their hard earned qualifications. The day was capped off by our own Mr. Hammersley being the guest speaker for the day, addressing all schools and industry present on "How to Increase STEM Capital in your school".

“On Thursday 20th June, the STEM program of students graduated (see photo below) and we all gained our Industrial Cadet Bronze award. After a hard 15 weeks of work, we gathered up all of our data and presented it to the panel of judges who were the backbone of the project. At the start of the project, we were given three choices to base our research on. These were: 'Create Sport' ,'Recycling' and 'My School is an Island'. Luckily, we all chose separate projects so we all accumulated different ideas. At the end of the long yet challenging 10-15 weeks, it was time to present our work to the assessors. It was quite nerve racking but it was an amazing feeling to finalize our work and show off what we were capable of doing. The feeling of graduating was amazing and it was a big milestone that I and many others managed to achieve.”

- Akira Edgson, Year 9

Year 10 students enjoyed a great day out on Thursday 20th June at the Cheadle College Taster Day.  Prior to the event, students had an opportunity to select workshops of their choice to sample 'A' Level lessons in subjects they enjoy or completely new ones which they could study post 16.  There were over 200 students, the largest number of students ever taken to Cheadle College; the day progressed smoothly with all students being engaged and focused, so much so, that we received an email (see below) from Cheadle College, complimenting our students for how well they had represented both themselves and our school.

“On Thursday we hosted 200 of your Year 10 students, who joined us for a Year 10 college taster day. All of us at The Cheadle College would like to congratulate your students for embracing the day with such a positive and mature attitude. Our teaching staff were very impressed during the subject sessions. Kingsway students were engaged and enthusiastic throughout and demonstrated smart and enquiring minds. From our side it was a real pleasure to spend the day with your students and staff.”

- Carole Vartan, (Head of Transition, Liaison, Communication and Marketing at Cheadle College)

The visit was followed up with a 'My Future' Post 16 Event for Year 10 students and families on Thursday evening.

We had a fantastic turnout this year with a vast range of exhibitors from Post 16 Education Providers, Training Agencies and Employers.

With a huge wealth of experience under one roof, I am sure the students found the evening to be of benefit as they approach their final year in school.  Decisions about what they do after Kingsway will need to be made within the next 6 months.

The exhibitors were really impressed with our students and their animated conversations and the questions they were asked.

There was also a presentation about Apprenticeship schemes, which hopefully gave a clear insight into some of the valuable opportunities that are out there if students can be prepared to work hard and look for them. Increasingly, more and more professions can be accessed through an apprenticeship and these are gaining in popularity which means the competition to secure one is getting harder.

Community spirit was alive and kicking (or shall I say picking!) on Friday. In the morning, Mrs Maxey took a group of Year 7 and 10 students to William Scholes Park to work alongside representatives from the group 'Friends of Scholes Field'.  During the morning, the students took responsibility for planting trees and plants and also walked the park’s entirety litter picking. The students also undertook a consultation process to assist in the hopeful re-development of areas of the park.  The students were delighted to help and were excited by the prospect of having more facilities available within their immediate community. 'Friends of Scholes Field' have a dedicated Facebook page for anyone wanting to support them actively with fundraising, development, social activities or just to voice opinions. As a school, we are looking forward to seeing the developments within the park and have already offered our support of any future projects.

In the afternoon, Year 7 students took part in a mammoth litter pick in and around our community. This was in response to BBC Radio Manchester’s ‘Don’t Mess with Manchester’ litter campaign in association with Keep Britain Tidy. As well as cleaning up our own campuses, students went out into their local community to clean up. You may have seen us in Scholes field in Gatley, Brookfield Park in Cheadle or in Gatley village. Some groups of students also went back to their primary schools to help clear up the surrounding areas. We tidied up around Cheadle, Gatley, Lum Head, Meadowbank, Etchells, Outwood, Prospect Vale and Bolshaw Primary schools.

My group of Ryan King, Josh Abrahams, Belle Reid and Hannah Courtney (pictured below) went to Outwood Primary. After being met by Headteacher Mrs Maud, we tidied up around their playing area, ready for their summer fair that afternoon. It was a glorious afternoon and after an hour or so of litter picking along the length of Outwood Road, we were kindly offered a cold drink and cake at Heald Green Village Hall, where local citizens were holding their community hub - thank you to the ladies and gentlemen for their kind hospitality.

I am so proud of all our students who took part in this community event - I believe we had one of the biggest community groups taking part… well done everyone. A special mention to Mrs Wardle (Deputy Headteacher) who organised the whole event.

And so, after a good wash, it was time to down our bin bags and litter pickers and get dolled up for our Year 11 Prom. Oh what a night! Held at The Mere Resort in Knutsford, it was a beautiful celebration of all Year 11 had achieved at Kingsway since 2014 and to recognise their hard work in readiness for their GCSEs, which are now over.

Alfie Bousefield and Grace O’Shaughnessy were crowned Prom King and Queen by the staff.
Miss Francis (who organised the whole event) and Mr James (who didn’t scrub up too bad) were crowned Prom Queen and King by the students.

We look forward to students reaping their true reward in their GCSE results this summer.

Finally, a reminder of some dates coming up for you to put in your diaries…

  • This weekend you will find Kingsway performing at Heald Green Festival on Saturday 29th June and again at Gatley Festival on Sunday 30th June.
  • Our friends at Cheadle Mosque are holding their fabulous CMA Open Day on Saturday 27th July 12-5pm.
  • Parents of children who will be in Year 5 or 6 in September - save the date - Wednesday 2nd October 2019 5-7:30pm for our Open Evening. Lots of great interactive activities will be taking place, plus a chance to talk to staff and students about the Kingsway experience.

Have a great week everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Don’t Mess with Manchester

On Friday 21st June all of our Year 7 students took part in BBC Radio Manchester’s litter campaign.

The campaign named ‘Don’t mess with Manchester’ aimed to get local people committed to looking after their environment, a belief that we at Kingsway hold dear.

As such, all form groups were given an area across Gatley and Cheadle to go and collect litter. It was surprising what we managed to find: a sofa, a patio chair, a BBQ and odd shoes, in addition to a range of random litter!

With a form competition as a little incentive, students collected over two full industrial bins’ worth of rubbish. Jake Harrop in 7N said “I have never been this excited about litter before!

In addition to the work in our community, a number of our students also returned to their primary school to act as ambassadors for the school and show what shining examples they can be. We also featured on BBC Radio Manchester, and Miss Hunt represented the school, talking about how we got involved and how the environment ties to our curriculum. Richard, from the BBC, said he thought that we were the largest litter pick across the whole of Manchester, which is a great achievement.

Well done to all Year 7s!

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 33

Feast and fast

I would like to wish ‘Eid Mubarak’ to all our staff, students and families who have fasted for the last 30 days for the muslim tradition of Ramadan. For 30 days, our muslim community have not only fasted from food, but they have also refrained from anger and sin, instead focussing on charity and worship. Whilst many of us may consider fasting for 30 days a difficult, even unsurmountable, Ramadan is one of the most important months in the islamic calendar. Here’s what one of our year… students, Malaika Shehzad said: “I fast because it shows respect for my faith and enables me to demonstrate my dedication to my faith. Although it is tricky in the summer term, persevering not only allows me to show commitment but also shows me that I can achieve anything with a clear purpose and focus". I have been so proud to observe our staff and students respect their faith for the last 30 days and hope they had the most fabulous party when they could finally break their fast.

Whilst food and water may have been on short supply for our muslim students last month, there was plenty of rain for our Duke of Edinburgh participants this weekend. Here’s a report from Miss Horsey, expedition leader:

"This was most certainly our wettest expedition to date, with 38 students - walking in the rain, cooking in the rain, taking down camp in the rain and finishing in the rain; we certainly saw the UK's Great British weather on this expedition. Despite the more challenging weather conditions, the students’ determination to succeed shone through and all 38 students crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon. Another highlight was the pancake breakfast teams, who cooked pancakes in the rain and gained orders from all teachers for a chocolate covered pancake - reminder girls, for some reason, we are still waiting for our pancakes...

A huge congratulations to all and I hope that Sunday's weather was kind enough to let them dry their equipment out, ready for the next group, next week!"

Last week, Ms Dean and Mr Hemmings took a group of students to The Edge Theatre in Chorlton. Ranging from Years 7-10 this is an annual event where students participated in workshops for the English & Drama Day. The theme for this year was “betrayal and forgiveness.” Students worked on an overall piece based on Macbeth, as interleaving and revision for the English Literature study of the play. They then worked in their groups to use a stimulus and create their own performance, which they performed in front of parents/carers in the evening. A Year 10 student was attached to each group to encourage student leadership and allow them to offer their Drama GCSE expertise. Miss Dean said it was “a truly joyful day”.

As part of our continual drive to improve communication between school and home, we are launching a new homework platform for students. As a parent you will already have access to the behaviour management systems on Class Charts so we are delighted that this facility will now offer a clearer more transparent way of tracking and supporting your child's homework. Students will still record homework in their planner, but staff will also electronically log the due date, homework task and even resources for students to access outside of school. Students will have their own log in details which will give them access to the homework area only. You as a parent/carer will be able to see the homework and the rewards and sanctions, giving you greater understanding of how your child is progressing in school. Students will come home with their letter this week, which has additional information and their personalised log in details. They can download the app or access the webpage if they prefer, however students will still be expected to comply with the ‘no mobile phone’ expectations in school. Later in the summer term, we will be seeking some student and parent voice to see how the system has improved.

Last month BBC Radio Manchester launched a new community initiative aimed at improving the local area. We are delighted to say that on the afternoon of Friday 21st June, all our Year 7 students will be taking part in 'Don't Mess with Manchester'. During this time, students and staff will be positioned around our school, in the local community and also at their primary schools, collecting litter as part of the wider ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign. Further details will be sent home next week, outlining all the areas that we will be seeking to improve. At Kingsway we take a great deal of pride in our students and the communities in which they live, so we are delighted that we will be able to show our respects to our local residents and wider community but contributing to its upkeep. We are also hoping for some media coverage… watch this space.

As ever, this half term is always a busy one, but it is also really exciting as we welcome new families. Mrs Hadfield, Mrs Jones, Mrs Djang and Mrs Burgess have all been working very hard building new, and developing existing, relationships with the many Year 6 students who will be joining the Kingsway family in September. In addition to the many fantastic events that have been offered to our local primary schools, ably coordinated by our fabulous Mrs Dunn, we have also a number of exciting opportunities in the next couple of weeks, aimed specifically at making sure that the move between primary and secondary is a smooth and successful one. On Monday 10th June we have a Year 6 parent workshop on 'Supporting your child with literacy and numeracy at secondary' where we are also launching our summer challenge; and on Thursday 20th June Miss Cropper is leading a second workshop on 'reducing anxiety in transition'. All of this is building to our wonderful transition day on Thursday 4th July, where we are welcoming all our Year 6 students and parents who are joining us in September.

All event details are on the school website but if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the transition team on transition@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk

Have a great week everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 32

Winner, winner!

Welcome back to the final half term of the academic year. I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday break. I spent my week here in not-so-sunny Stockport, enjoying time with family and friends. I even tried my hand at golf for the first time. Not a bad first attempt, though I can’t see myself winning the Ryder Cup any time soon.

Thankfully, there were lots of winners at Kingsway before the half term break, starting with our top merit winners for March & April, who received their certificates and stars last week. Here’s where I found them...

Charlie Lund was in Food tech with Mrs Guess, where she was carrying out her final practical assessment. Charlie was making lemon and lime cheesecake decorated with fresh fruit slices. Delicious!

Emily Foster was revising for her end of year German test. The class were playing "Das Vermögen der Familie" (or family fortunes). Miss Slater, Emily’s teacher (pictured below) was delighted with Emily’s award: “Emily always works hard in German and I have no doubt that she will be very pleased with her result on her test!”.

Amy Berry was in GCSE RE with Mr Williams where he was teaching Muslim beliefs about crime. Amy was contributing well to the discussion about the causes of crime in society in relation to a person's upbringing and socio-economic circumstances that could lead to hopelessness. Discussion was had whether the responsibility for changing this lay with the government, the education system or the parents.

Double Winners, Ella-Grace Smith and Rocio McGilvary were found in English, working hard on their timed responses. Miss Mullin was pleased to tell me that both girls “are starting to feel more prepared to tackle their end of year exams”.

Finally, Emma Boaler was also busy revising for her end of year Science exam. Miss Murray explained: “we were doing a Q and A session on separation techniques. Students had to tell me based on their practical work what they did, what mixtures they could separate and explain how it worked”.

As well as being a terrific science teacher, Miss Murray is also our Professional Mentor for trainee teachers. Her role is to coordinate the training they receive from their university mentors with school based experience at Kingsway. We were recently visited by MMU to review the school based provision we provide for their graduates and as a result we were accredited as a Leading Partnership School. This reflects our commitment to school based training, not only from Miss Murray, but all the exceptional subject based mentors we have around the school.

More hopeful winners this summer are our Year 11 students from the class of 2019, who are well in to their GCSE examinations. To help stimulate their minds, Mr Sadler and the English department arrived early on Friday morning to write some key quotes from An Inspector Calls and ‘Conflict’ poetry on the school playground. Whatever next … Pythagoras Theorem on the back of the toilet doors?

The Class of 2019 had a winning send off on Thursday afternoon at their Leavers’ Assembly. Hosted by the Miss Cox-Brown and Miss Francis, the event kicked off with students taking part in the age-old tradition of shirt signing and congregating in the Sports Hall where they enjoyed a nice cool ice cream. The year group then assembled in Foxland Hall and the celebrations kicked off with form tutor presentations. Each form tutor created a farewell show for their tutees. The students absolutely loved them - particularly Mr Duffy’s homage to Ed Sheeran and Mr Nicolaou’s ‘Titanium’ tribute! The finale was a staff lip-synch headbang to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody - thank goodness it’s not available for public viewing is all I can say!

It was a really lovely afternoon with lots of emotion from the students and staff. We will miss the class of 2019 and thank them for the stamp they have left at our school. I wish them all the very best in their GCSEs and in their futures where they will hopefully turn their potential into a reality!

Have a great week everyone.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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