Mr Croydon’s Senior School Blog 19th May 2017

It has undoubtedly been a real mix of weather this week, and whilst it has been lovely to see the sun shining for much of the time, in one sense I feel for the Year 10, 11 and 6th Form pupils who have been sitting exams in these increased temperatures.  Exams so far have covered subjects as diverse as RS, Science and Business Studies – those pupils I have spoken to after some of the exams have acknowledged the papers have been difficult but have remained optimistic.  As I have mentioned before, I wish them all the best.  Some Year 10 pupils have yet to sit an external GCSE exam – they will have this opportunity on Monday as they sit the iGCSE English Literature exam in the morning.

Exams and assessments are of course, timetabled for Years 7 – 9 next week too. I know teachers have been preparing pupils for these end of year assessments which I am hoping will help to demonstrate progress throughout the year, as well as helping to identify where end of year expectations have been met.  The data from these assessments will also be used to inform part of the Key Stage 3 full summative reports which will be sent home to parents at the end of the Summer Term.

Mr Young led assemblies this week for all year groups. The assembly gave an opportunity to feed back to pupils about the results from the Voice of the Pupil survey conducted just prior to the Easter holiday, and how the school responds to pupil voice.  Additionally, the assembly was the ideal time to remind pupils of the school council and some of the improvements which have been made over recent years as a result of pupils engaging with this forum.  I know both the School and Charity councils will continue to move forward positively, and I thank all those staff and pupils who are regularly engaged with the meetings as well as thanking them for the results of their endeavours.

During the course of the week I have been observing different lesson activities, some by prior arrangement, and some quite unexpectedly. One observation of a colleague which fell into the latter category involved a Year 9 Art lesson. Just as I was making my way back to the main building via the picnic benches, I was stopped in my tracks by the site of a group of Year 9s in disposable blue aprons huddled into a semi-circle.  This undoubtedly attracted my attention – I felt compelled to investigate further.  As I descended the steps, heads were bowed down but no one turned around and I could just about hear a teacher talking but from that distance, I was still none the wiser.  Surreptitiously I crept closer though I don’t think I need have been as careful as all the pupils were enthralled with whatever was going on.  Slightly closer and I caught site of the teacher, Ms Stanton, holding an upturned bottle of paint – for a moment I was worried she might have decided to paint a mural on the tarmac; something which had not been sanctioned.  I was worried.  I need not have been though as with my next step I was discovered, and Ms Stanton came up to me to tell me they were producing a ‘Group Jackson Pollock’.  I felt I had to stay and see what happened next.  The teacher’s enthusiasm was overflowing and the pupils were sharing it.  The abstract, splatter and drip action painting produced was superb, as was the level of engagement.  Not long after I left, the downpour of rain started and the piece was brought in to dry (yes there had been a suitable covering on the tarmac after all).  I know an art exhibition of work is being planned for later in the term – hopefully this piece will be a part of it.  Thanks to Ms Stanton for such an excellent idea.

Elsewhere within the Art, Design & Technology department, pupils have been developing and applying techniques to produce coil and pinch pots. Others however, have been developing artistic copies and layering detail, whilst yet others have been looking at complex hand sewing skills.

There were sporting activities this week too, as the under 13 boys’ cricket team travelled to Gosfield School for a fixture. As always, Mr Dowson will update you of the outcome in his weekly newsletter.

In form time this week, Year 9 and 10 pupils have been watching videos produced by the Girls’ Day School Trust, covering topics which include cyberbullying, digital footprint, sexting, identity and self-esteem to name some. The Trust has also produced literature and videos aimed at supporting parents too, here is the link which is well worth a visit: https://www.gdst.net/parents/live-my-digital/online-safety-videos-resources

Another e-safety update for this week is the partnership between O2, NSPCC, ThinkUKnow, CEOP, internetmatters.org, IWF and UK Safer Internet centre. The O2 website features information on stopping children from viewing inappropriate material online, knowing the signs of online bullying and learning about the risks of online connections.  If you would rather speak to someone than look at a website, you can speak to an O2 guru.

That’s all for this week, have a great weekend.