A Mid-term Update
Another term is flying by, I found myself telling some students in the lunch queue today that it is only nineteen and a half school days till Christmas. Yet again, I ask myself as I do every year, where has the year gone? This time of year, schools are full of the preparations for Christmas, with the PTA, staff and students readying themselves for Christmas Fairs, Christmas concerts and Sixth Form end of term entertainments.
This week has been Anti-Bullying Week at school and the students at both campuses have attended an assembly on this topic led by our very impressive Student Leadership Team. Our Head student presented via video to the students and emphasised this year’s theme of to ‘reach out’. The assembly required the students to reflect on how they might reach out to help another student if they thought they needed it and what they could do to support others. In addition, it was emphasised that there is always one adult in the school that every student could go to share any concerns with. I would like to thank Lily and the rest of the school’s Student Leadership Team for putting together such a thoughtful assembly.
We started the week as teaching staff with a whole staff briefing taking place simultaneously at both campuses which was an opportunity for senior leaders to share with the whole staff body our vision for embedding a positive behaviour culture at Weald. I shared my vision for this aspect of the school and then Mrs Swaffer at Tonbridge and Miss Hardman at Sevenoaks shared the work that has been done in reviewing our behaviour processes since the summer term. Mrs Swaffer and Miss Hardman have been working with a large group of staff as part of a Behaviour Working Party since July on reviewing how we manage behaviour in school. Together the group has read research into this area, discussed ideas, reflected on best practice and come up with a new The Weald Way that will be shared with parents and carers at the end of the month. I would like to thank every member of staff who has contributed to this significant piece of work. My invitation letter to parents for our Positive Relationship Meetings that are running at the end of the month on 28, 29 and 30 November was sent out this week and I would encourage you all to attend. The meetings are the school’s opportunity to share with you how we are addressing the concerns around the behaviour culture raised in April’s Ofsted report, but also how we intend to embed a positive behaviour culture at this school. You are able to book a place at one of the meetings via Eventbrite.
On Tuesday this week all the teaching staff in the school gathered to have our second CPD session on Embedding Formative Assessment which is a key part of our School Improvement Plan this year. Part of the programme means that we all have to sign up to observe each other’s practice and do peer observations and feedback. I am partnered with Ms Reed, so get to observe her lovely Year 7 Maths class at Sevenoaks, and she gets to see my delightful Year 13 English Literature class at Tonbridge. It is always a privilege to get to see another teacher’s practice, and I am greatly looking forward to looking at how learning intentions are being shared at the start of her lesson in a couple of weeks.
This week and continuing into next week, all the students in the school have been completing a student survey to gauge how the students are feeling currently about different aspects of life at school. There is a particular focus on their happiness, their understanding of how to share concerns and who they would share a concern with, their understanding of safeguarding and their friendships at school. The data this survey will provide will enable us to refine further our strategies for improving the support that we provide for all of our students.
The students have been busy promoting Movember this week with badges and bake sales. We had our second donation day for the PTA today and once again, the Weald of Kent community has contributed amazingly to our preparations for this year’s Christmas Fair on 4 December. Years 8 and 9 both had off-curriculum days this week that were part of the National Careers Challenge. I went along to the presentations at the end of the day for Year 8 at Tonbridge and I was so impressed by the work that the students had done and the creativity, teamwork and enthusiasm they were all displaying for what they had been asked to work on. I would like to thank Mrs Wehrle for organising the days, the Heads of Years 8 and 9, Miss Morris, Mr Toolan, Mrs Smith and Mr Morgan and all the other members of staff plus Years 8 and 9 for making both days such a success. The feedback we received from the external provider was fantastic. A large number of students and 8 staff went during this week to see ‘Les Miserables’ in London and the feedback from all of those who went was unanimously brilliant. I would like to thank Mr Crowhurst, the rest of the Music Department, all the accompanying teachers and all the students who went for making this event so memorable for everyone involved. Year 13 English Language students attended a conference in London this week, many thanks to the staff who organised this trip and to the students for their positive engagement with it. Today, a number of our students have been involved in the Junior Knole Park Run –many thanks go to the staff and students who attended.
I wish you all a lovely weekend.
Mrs S A Clark