As a schoolboy I was once told that time spent out of school was not time well spent.  Well I must admit to having spent a morning out of school this week as I, and the school CSE Champion, Ms Bramall, attended a CSE Conference. Furthermore, it was time well spent.  The session, organised by the Essex Safeguarding Children Board, provided an opportunity to update Designated Safeguarding Leads from across Essex with the latest developments in risk assessing, identifying, and effective multi-agency liaising with regard to young males and females at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.

Back on the school site, this week I have observed some brilliant examples of using self and peer assessment particularly effectively.  Additionally, this week I have: listened to Year 7 pupils composing and performing a lullaby to help babies get to sleep; watched pupils in PE practising balance and developing sequences to include travel; seen Year 10 pupils considering the environmental, economic and ethical issues affecting the design of their products; observed Year 8 pupils discussing the emotive language used by Ted Hughes in his poetry.

Within the Sixth Form, the majority of UCAS applications are being sent this week, and I was given the opportunity to read the applications prior to sending.  The students, together with many hours of support from Mrs Hampson and Dr Georgiou, have produced strong applications, and I hope, as a result, those students will soon be receiving invites to interviews.  Further interview preparation will of course be provided over ensuing weeks.

All Year 7 pupils had their curriculum collapsed for a Drama day organised and delivered by Mrs Candler.  I made a point of dropping in on the sessions throughout the day, and without doubt, the pupils had really engaged with the project and were suitably prepared for their performances under the spotlight, as the day culminated.  I am really pleased and grateful to Mrs Candler for having organised similar Drama days for the other Key Stage 3 pupils.

Besides the time I have spent in and out of lessons this week, I have also had a number of after school and evening events on my calendar.  The Senior Leadership Team hosted a whole school meeting on Monday afternoon during which provision for the most able, and ‘life after levels’, were amongst the topics up for both discussion and for sharing good practice.  Later that day, the issue of e-safety was addressed at the Parent Engagement Group meeting.  Mr Davis, the ‘Think U Know’ ambassador, provided a very insightful presentation to those parents in attendance, drawing on a number of CEOP resources.  I have since received emails from parents expressing their gratitude for the informative nature of the evening, and I too thank Mr Davis for his time and for sharing his specialist knowledge in this area.  This is an issue which remains of relevance to the young generation, and by now you will have received the Facebook alert safety notice I forwarded.

I have also been in contact with our Police Liaison Officer this week following reports from pupils of a man persistently approaching pupils (not just from CHS) for money, in the vicinity of the shops on Crouch Street.  Those shops with security guards have been spoken to by Mr Newcomb, and at this stage the message has been circulated for all pupils to remain vigilant, and remain in groups where possible.  As it stands this has been recorded with Essex Police as an incident, and should there be an update which I can share with you, I will of course do so for the safety of all pupils.

Wednesday evening I had the absolutely delightful experience of being an audience member for the CHS Talent Show 2015 Final.  There was undoubtedly plenty of talent and I did not envy the judges, for it was difficult enough deciding for whom I should vote to win the audience prize.  Finalists from both lower and senior school gave it their best through performances including: playing the piano (solos and duets); renditions of heartfelt songs (again solos and duets); dance routines; playing the electric guitar (apologies if I have missed out an instrument).  The evening was humorously compered by the Head and Deputy Head Boys, whose jokes were pitched and timed to perfection.  Congratulations go to those who won prizes given the stiff competition.  The event was all the more special as a former pupil, Will, who I had the pleasure to teach in years past, returned as a guest judge for the night.  In honour of Will, the proceeds from the sale of programmes went to CLIC SARGENT; a charity of special significance to Will.  It was great to reminisce with Will about science lessons I had taught him, not to mention some of the science jokes I used to tell, such as the one about aspirin in the jungle, and the fact the parrots eat ‘em all.  In my current role, I tend not to share my humour quite so much.

Attention now turns to the Christmas Bazaar, which I hope will, as always, prove to be a hugely successful CHSA fundraising event.  I thank the CHSA for all the preparation which takes place behind the scenes, as well as the staff who get thoroughly involved.

Have a great weekend.

Colchester High School