CEO Blog – Week Commencing 04/03/2019

CEO Blog – Week Commencing 04/03/2019

March is here! Interesting fact…March is named after the Roman God of war, Mars; traditionally March is the time of year that military campaigns were resumed after being interrupted by the winter. I am quite sure that schools feel the effects of this folklore as the staff and pupils head towards the finish line ahead of revision, interventions, examinations and assessments!

This term our Trust wellbeing initiative is ‘Take Notice’. For those who have not yet seen our latest Wellbeing video “Take Notice”, click here to watch.

On the note of “Taking Notice”, the ducks have arrived at New Horizons Children’s Academy! The eggs arrived at the start of the week and by the end of the week there were 7 ducklings in the Foundation Stage area.

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As part of International World Women’s Day two former students at RGS  are being celebrated at the ‘Women of Medway’ exhibition this year; Vera Conway-Gordon joined the school in 1891, age 16, and was a suffragist, founding the Rochester branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in 1912. Evelyn Dunbar, joined in 1914, age 8, and became a WW2 war artist. She has already been celebrated at the school with a new building named after her and some examples of her work on display.

International World Book day saw an array of fantastic characters and costumes descend on our schools. One child told our Head of School at Moorings Way that it was the “best day of his life”, it’s so great to hear how much the children enjoyed the day. The love of books and literary characters is something we encourage our pupils to grasp a wider understanding of.  I was so pleased to see the popularity of the day and effort that pupils (and parents!) had made, which you’ll see from the photos below. At Gordon’s a Victorian theme was pursued and I was particularly impressed with the Year 6 children who came to school as suffragettes, using their learning from a topic earlier in the year.

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As you would have read from my previous posts, school collaboration both internal and external is a huge priority of mine and I was really pleased to hear that the Headteacher at Goodwin Academy met with local primary schools to establish links and potentially a new connection as an East Kent hub of our teaching school, The New Horizons Teaching School Alliance.

Sporting achievements is always a story I love to hear about, a real passion of mine. I was pleased to hear of the Year 5 boys football team at Meon Junior School winning a tournament involving 20 schools in the local area this week, amazing achievement! Particularly as the member of staff who entered and took the team was an NQT, so great to hear of their commitment to the pupils.

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The HGS U13 basketball team came 2nd in the Medway School Games Tournament last week too.

The Year 2 choir at Penhale Infant School have been chosen to sing at Infant Voices Singing Festival at The Guild Hall next week, can’t wait to see the photos from that one.

We’ve had a number of school-to-school ‘peer reviews’ take place this week and some of our Headteachers will visit schools as part of an evaluation process to share best practice and ensure consistency in teaching approaches and I’ve heard some great feedback from our newer schools around feeling as though they have received the right amount of challenge and support.

The RGS musical Sister Act took place this week, which received excellent feedback from staff, students and external representatives; with one alumni emailing the school to say how impressed she was with the show.

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Cedar Children’s Academy have launched their ‘Cedar Helper’s’ this week, with the group of children going through an interview process for the positions (getting the interview and career development practice in early at Cedar!). The Helpers are assisting the Cedar community over lunchtime and are receiving a small “wage” for their work. They’ve done a brilliant job so far!

Cedar also begin their intergenerational learning next week with a local care home which is such a valuable project for the Year R children and the residents. Hoping to hear lots of great stories from that one.

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Victory spoke of a positive response to the knife crime workshops that the whole school took part in, if you haven’t read my last post around Exclusions and Knife Crime – do have a read.  The New Horizons Children’s Academy Year 6 pupils had a piece of their writing published in The Burnet News Club, an education supplement of The Economist:

KNIFE CRIME: My Final Piece

People are dying, gangs are recruiting.

But who’s to blame for the tragedies occurring?

Youths are getting framed, taking all the blame,

It’s our fault that the world doesn’t notice all the shame.

Born into poverty, born into nothingness,

And it’s even worse that the media aren’t telling us.

Schools, poverty, I can make a list of reasons.

But as we sit here watching, people are turning into demons.

Don’t be mean, don’t be cruel.

Don’t turn your life into being a fool.

We need to stop this now, before our time is up.

If we don’t stop this quickly, Britain will turn corrupt.

We can stop them, help them not feel unsure.

Then they won’t change their life and not take the detour.

With the right guidance, they will not be silenced.

Finally giving them a voice in the world,

Will help us gain the peace that we deserve.

 

On a personal note – I spoke at the DfE’s Recruitment & Retention road show at the George Abbott School in Guildford and really enjoyed the discussions we had around how the sector can improve its retention figures. If any of my readers have any suggestions please send your ideas across to me directly s.gardner@tsatrust.org.uk. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Another busy but great week.

All the best.