CEO Blog – Week commencing 23/04/19

CEO Blog – Week commencing 23/04/19

Dear readers,

I hope you have all enjoyed the Easter break. I had the chance to get away with my family and visited the home of the Fish Finger – Great Yarmouth. It was great to have some good weather over the Easter weekend and I am sure many of you will have joined me in your first BBQ of the year, in my case we got the smoker out and did a leg of lamb which was fantastic.

Our last two weeks of Term 4 at Thinking Schools Academy Trust were not shy of achievement and success I am proud to report.

In the final week of term I was invited to an event at Lancaster House by Damian Hinds, to highlight and celebrate the success of the Academies and Free Schools programme. I was delighted to be invited and meet fellow CEOs and sector leaders who are striving to improve the life chances of students within our care.

I also joined the panel for Deputy Headteacher interviews at one of our Strood Primary Schools at the end of term. I was thrilled with the quality of applicants and was so pleased to appoint two very strong additions into the leadership team of the school.

I spoke at the Academies Show conference in London on 3rd April regarding retention strategies and judging from follow up conversations with the audience I believe this was well received.

New Horizons Children’s Academy has received external verification awarding the school with a SEND Inclusion Award (SENDIA) for their excellent commitment and provision for children with SEND at the school, what an amazing achievement for the school.

The report stated that ”Quality teaching and small group interventions are effectively monitored and evaluated, with SEND-focused learning walks and lesson observations forming part of the school’s self-evaluation process.“ And ”The SEND provision at New Horizon’s very much reflects the ethos of the school, summarised as Child First, Aspire, Challenge, Achieve.“

Go Green week at Gordon has been a success with the aim to raise awareness about taking care of the environment, all classes have tried hard to save energy by turning off their lights, walking to school and focusing on recycling.

More schools have had successful external Quality Assurance reviews this term, including Moorings Way and Meon Infant School who are both set to enjoy some yummy biscuits as a thank you. Lynda Daish, Headteacher at Meon Infant, told me how proud she is of her staff and how honoured she feels to work with such great, committed and dedicated colleagues.

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The Year 6 children at All Faiths enjoyed a trip to Priestfields Stadium, home of Gillingham Football Club, to watch them play.

The Cedar Netball team won the Plate competition at the Medway Mini Youth Games at the end of term. The Headteacher told me how much of an absolute credit the team are to the school.

Meon Junior School girls football team finished top of the league above fifteen other Portsmouth Schools, with an incredible records of played 15 won 14! They will now go forward to represent the whole of Portsmouth at the Hampshire Youth Games in June.  With the determination and skills they have already displayed, we wish them every success.

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Cedar spoke of the continued support from parents that has made such a huge difference to the behaviour in school of some children which has been great for learning.

More good news from Cedar was their participation in ’Wear a Hat Day‘ on the 29th March 2019. The school is also going to be holding a cake sale to raise funds for this great charity that is very close to the heart of the school.

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A group of Year 11 students from The Portsmouth Academy were fortunate to attend English Literature lectures at the University of Portsmouth. Their lecturers for the day discussed ‘A Christmas Carol’ and the students observed a debate between two Shakespeare experts about the characters and themes within ‘Macbeth’. What an amazing opportunity arranged by the school and University to give our aspiring students an insight into university level learning.

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I’ve heard from lots of schools about the positive comments from annual reports that have been sent home to parents and from parents’ evenings. I cannot explain just how much parental positive feedback will make a difference to your child’s teacher.

Meredith and Isambard who are on a journey together spoke of how they feel they have turned a corner in terms of providing consistency for both staff and pupils. The children’s attitude to learning and outcomes seen in their books has been fantastic.

Kate Keller, Headteacher at Penhale told me how pleased she has been with the opportunities available to her staff through the Trust, such as attending both Cognition Crew events led by Hanna Miller and EYFS Thinking Skills meetings. She reported on very enthusiastic staff with exciting developments up their sleeves! Penhale also feature on the front cover of the latest Our Trust magazine, a fantastic action shot of the children singing in the Portsmouth Infants Voices competition this term. Click here to read our latest Our Trust.

Goodwin launched their B.E.S.T agenda this term which provides students with recognition of their achievements but allows them to understand that all aspects of learning and development are important. I’m excited to hear updates on how this is developing and improving the school in the coming weeks. With this new strategy also comes the launch of a House system within the school. Houses have been named after famous patrons who gave their ‘BEST’ to shape the world we live in today: Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Isambard Brunel and Elizabeth Cater. Photo of the excited new Head of House below.

Goodwin has also celebrated a Year 9 Student, Jack Andrews who won a silver medal at the European Jujitsu Competition. What an amazing achievement, a huge congratulations to Jack!

Congratulations also to Ethan Willard, Year 7 at Holcombe, who competed in the Black Lion Open Development Gala at Medway Park Leisure Centre, who won no less than three golds, two silvers, two bronze and two fifth places in his age group! I think we have a potential Olympic swimmer at Holcombe!

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In preparation for the new Ofsted framework our schools have been completing their curriculum intent statements which have been very innovative and exciting to read.

Rochester Grammar School’s charity netball match resulted in the staff thrashing the students 10-1! Well done to Mr Dowling and his defence skills as Goal Keeper!

Victory’s Easter Eggstravaganza took place at the end of term which is always a real positive for the students and staff.

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In summary, I am sure you will agree we have had a brilliant term. Obviously no term comes without its challenges but I want to thank all our amazing staff and students for making our Trust the inspirational and amazing organisation it is.