An Inspector Calls
Well, this has been a very busy week and I want to start by saying an enormous thank you to all the Weald of Kent staff, students, parents and carers for all of their efforts in supporting the school. We started the week on Monday with an SLG meeting that focused on our next steps in relation to embedding a positive behaviour culture and launching our new behaviour approach with The Weald Way. I shall be sending out an invitation to you all next week to attend an information evening regarding this at the end of the month. This event will be my opportunity to share my vision with you for the future development of the learning culture at the school. Trustees and my senior leadership colleagues will be attending the evenings and meetings will run at both campuses. We are sharing our new approach with all the staff at the school on Monday 14 November after school.
Early on Tuesday morning, I unexpectedly received a call from Ofsted announcing their intention to visit the Weald of Kent’s campuses at 8.00am the following day. This meant that Tuesday was a very long day for many of the staff at the school, as this was also our planned day for our first in person Parent and Carer Consultation Evening for Year 11. Unfortunately, there was a dreadful accident on the A21 which resulted in its closure and Tonbridge became completely gridlocked. A number of parents arrived late for their appointments and were understandably stressed by their journeys. However, as I stood in the Foyer in Tonbridge it was lovely to notice how families who had arrived feeling under pressure, left smiling and pleased to have come as they left. I must apologise to parents and carers at Sevenoaks, my original plan had been to drive down to Sevenoaks for the first half of the event and then return to Tonbridge for the second half. Unfortunately, Ofsted scuppered my plans, as I could not afford to get stuck in traffic when I needed to prioritise the inspection process.
At 8.00am on Wednesday, we welcomed the inspection team on to our campuses. I welcomed them at Tonbridge and Mrs Ricks welcomed them at Sevenoaks. The inspectors split into two teams with three inspectors at each campus, and they swapped campuses halfway through the day, so that they all experienced the whole of the Weald of Kent. Their work comprised lesson visits, meetings with senior and middle leaders and a meeting with our trustees. All the inspectors met with groups of students from all year groups across both campuses and with groups of teaching and support staff across both campuses too. The inspection ended with a meeting with the two HMI’s (His Majesty’s Inspectors) on the team, all the senior leadership group and members of our trust board including the Chair and Vice Chair. We will publish the report as soon as we receive it. We have been advised that whilst there is quite a large window within which this could happen, the process should be quicker than the window allows. I do not know whether that will be pre- or post-Christmas.
We also sent out earlier this week a parental questionnaire to Year 11 parents and carers after our consultation evening so that we can use the feedback given to help refine our plans as we continue our improvement journey. We will be discussing the data received at our next SLG meeting on Monday. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the Microsoft Form. We will be sending out these surveys after every consultation evening this year.
This has been a very busy week for the students with U14 tournaments for both hockey and netball. Year 7 have undertaken their PASS surveys. Our GCSE and A-level Drama students had the opportunity to see a performance of “Metamorphosis” at school on Thursday. We had to cancel our Sixth Form Open Mornings owing to Ofsted, but will be rescheduling them at both campuses shortly. We have had two students visiting Krakow as part of our Holocaust Memorial Trust work. Some Year 8 students were also involved in the Faraday Challenge at Sackville School on Thursday. I would like to thank all staff and students for their involvement in these activities.
Friday so far has been a very busy day. I need to give an enormous shout-out to our phenomenal newly resurrected PTA who continue to astound me with their drive, commitment and wholly can-do approach to everything. Thank you all so much for the generosity of your donations to the Christmas Fair. Today, was our first donation day, and it is already clear to see that we will be able to put on a truly impressive first PTA launch event of the year. Thank you to our PTA committee, the wider PTA members and to every parent and carer who has offered to give up some of their time to support the school and our fundraising. Looking at the gifts in our Conference Room that had been donated this morning felt like a metaphor for Weald’s improvement journey and how we are moving forwards.
11 November, is of course, Remembrance Day, and we marked it collectively as a community with the playing of the ‘Last Post’ and joined our national two-minutes’ silence. At Tonbridge, one of our Sixth Form students played live to those of us gathered in the Quad and at Sevenoaks a recording was played to start the school community’s collective act of remembrance.
I am personally looking forward to the weekend, as I know are all the staff at the Weald of Kent. I want to thank all the staff at the school in supporting me and the rest of SLG as we move forwards as a community.
Mrs S A Clark