☰ Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Posted on: September 22nd 2010

The first two weeks of term have flown by. It’s been a great start to term though. The new Reception children are lovely and I’m delighted with the way in which they – and their parents - have settled into the school. We’ve worked really hard over the last few years to make our induction process for new children first rate, with several days spent at the school before the first day of term, and it’s clear to me that this investment is now paying huge dividends. I spent some time with them last week and asked why they think they go to the school. Sensible answers came back: to learn to read and write, to make friends and to have fun. One boy replied “to learn the difference between right and wrong”. Quite something – I felt like asking his view on Hawking’s M Theory!

Last Thursday I popped in on the new parents evening. I like the new crop of parents a lot and I ended up staying much longer than I had planned. I also gave a short talk on some of the things we’re up to as a school – I think I may have got a bit carried away and spoken for too long, but luckily the parents were polite and humoured me!

The Autumn term always feels like a new beginning – new pencil cases, new uniforms – but this year I feel particularly full of energy. The school’s senior management team have had quite a few discussions about curriculum and extra-curricular activities for this year and I’m very excited about our plans and initiatives. In all areas of the school we have ambitious ideas to continue to develop our academic and social curriculum, as well as new programmes to make the school thoroughly and absolutely engaging for our pupils. Last year was extremely successful and it is tempting to leave things alone but I know it’s important to have a renewed focus and strategies to make sure we continue to drive forward. So in Reception, the curriculum has been overhauled; in the middle of the school we are launching a huge push on writing and reading, encouraging pupils to extend their horizons with a wider variety of books; and the top two years of the school are focusing on maths with a great programme called Maths Whizz (http://www.whizz.com) which is designed to support and develop the curriculum both in school and at home.

We are also keeping a very close eye on our games and PE curriculum. It’s ambitious to say the least! This afternoon pupils in Forms 2-6 are heading in five different directions. Over the course of this year they will split into groups and take part in yoga, street dance, swimming, gymnastics and hockey – and that’s just on Wednesdays! We then have our Friday sessions where they’ll continue to play football, netball, cricket, tennis and rounders.

Behind the scenes the office and I have just about finished the new staff handbook. This sounds straightforward, but nothing could be further from the truth. I want to make sure it’s a useful resource and doesn’t sit on a shelf collecting dust. We’ve developed it on CD with a helpful contents page and it won’t be too long before we load it to our staff intranet.

It’s going to be a busy term. And a busy year! Better pop out and buy my new pencil case . . .

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