Absolutely brilliant, not to mention very engaging was the impression I formed when I looked in on the Year 9 Drama day which took place on Monday of this week.  Yet again, the day was successful due to the sterling job done by Mrs Candler and those who helped on the day, for which I pass on my gratitude.  When I looked in on the group in the Drama suite, all pupils were busily going over the key elements of their performance.  During the afternoon session, pupils were tasked with making costumes out of paper and bin liners; a sight worth seeing.  I understand the costumes were equally successful, and again, there was a very positive learning environment.

The CHSA are to be thanked for all the work which went in behind the scenes to create a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas bazaar.  Staff also helped out with various aspects of the event, and by all accounts, everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time.  Even more epic was the clear up operation which, by the end of the day, left the site ready and prepared for lessons on Monday.

Within assemblies, both Key Stages 3 & 4 were treated to assemblies which celebrated the musical talents of CHS pupils.  Not only were there renditions from those who had performed in the Talent Show final, there was also an opportunity for the Year 7 choir to perform.  As always the assemblies provide a forum for brief announcements and reminders which this week included: chewing gum being banned in school; importance of punctuality; discrimination of any sort is unacceptable; pupils need to maintain a focus on learning until the end of term.

The Head of MFL, Mrs Long, delivered an additional assembly to Key Stage 3 on Wednesday.  Through combining a thought provoking story, with statistics and fundamental British values, pupils were helped to gain more of an understanding of the current refugee crisis in Europe.  This is undoubtedly a topic which will be revisited and not just through assemblies, but through the curriculum too.

Mr May has once more run a successful theatre trip, on this occasion to experience a performance of ‘An Inspector Calls’ as a follow up to having studied the play in English lessons.  Also taking place this week is a cake sale organised by the charity council, as well as all the preparations for the annual Christmas Carol Service which takes place on Tuesday 8th December.   I look forward to meeting as many parents as are able to attend.

In and out of lessons this week I have been treated to an extensive analysis of packaging, and how some manufacturers use specific features to make packaging gender specific.  Having designed their own packaging, Year 7 technology pupils, under the guidance of Ms Haggerty, engaged in a peer assessment activity which demonstrated clear progress.  Meanwhile, out in the playground, Mr Dowson delivered a fast paced lesson to Year 8 pupils.  The lesson facilitated development of basketball skills, and benefitted from extensive planning and superb differentiation.

Telephone calls and parent meetings have also been a feature of my week, some of which have been in response to those parents/guardians who kindly set aside time to respond to the ‘Voice of the Parent’ Pulse survey.  As has been said before, parental input, whether through the Parent Engagement Group meetings, or by other means, is always welcomed.

The Safeguarding Network Group for Essex met this week, and this proved to be very informative in terms of the latest updates with regard to e-safety, PREVENT, CSE and cyber bullying.  A particularly useful website which was shared at this meeting is www.net-aware.org.uk.  This is a website which enables parents to keep up to date with information about the ever changing world of social media as used by children.  It might be that you would like more details regarding the latest trend online, or something more simple such as age ratings and children’s reviews of websites.  Please explore the site; I consider it well worth a visit.

In the meantime, if you are considering putting up festive decorations this weekend, don’t over reach or do yourself an injury putting up the outside lights or the top of the tree decoration – but at the same time, have a great weekend.

Colchester High School