Mr Croydon’s Senior School Blog 26th May 2017

There have been slightly fewer lessons to drop in on this week, mostly due to assessments and trips.  The improved weather has been great whilst on duty on the playground, but not so great for those sitting their end of year assessments in Key Stage 3, nor for those sitting public examinations this week.  In terms of public examinations, the Examinations Officer has successfully facilitated some of the larger exams this week to run smoothly – Year 10 English Literature Paper 1 (Drama & Prose) and the first Mathematics paper for all of Year 11.  Needless to say, I hope all will have performed to the best of their ability.  In between the public examinations, Year 9 pupils have been using the examination room facilities set up in the drama suite to give them a taste of what to expect over the next couple of years.  There has been much praise from staff for the Year 9 pupils who have taken the assessments very seriously, and I believe use of the formal exam setting has facilitated their respectful approach.

As mentioned above, trips have also been taking place this week – something which for a time was in question.  The terrible events in Manchester this week cannot have escaped anyone’s attention. Without doubt I am sure we would all agree our thoughts are with those directly affected by these events.  On Tuesday, I shared with staff the framework for discussing terrorist attacks as provided by the PSHE Association to assist teachers in answering questions, as well as structuring discussion about such events.  In my assembly on Tuesday, I also sought to reassure pupils that staff are always available to talk to about worries and concerns, and this incident would be no different.

Understandably, there have been a number of concerns raised by parents this week as the terror threat level was raised to critical, just prior to three planned trips to The Globe in London.  All trips are meticulously planned in advance, drawing on expertise from across the group of schools, as well as consulting with the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel and, this week, receiving further practical advice from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.  I am pleased the trips have still been able to go ahead, that pupils remained welcome in school if they or their parents decided they should not accompany the trip, and that many parents emailed the school in support of the decision to continue as normal.

The Globe trips were organised by Mr May, and I am very appreciative of the additional hours he spends ensuring trips such as these are a huge success. I am reliably informed that as an introduction to Shakespeare for youngsters, the production of Twelfth Night was great musically and comically, as well as being interactive and unusual.  The pupils reported having a good time, which included being appreciative of the opportunity to look round the Tate Modern.  Thanks goes to Mr May and the long list of helpers for such successful trips.

The assembly which I delivered this week to Years 7and 8 focussed on revisiting expectations in terms of behaviour and engagement with the school community, as well as how to get the basics right, such as respect and manners.

The CHSA met on Friday of this week to review funds, fundraising events, and to consider bids for funding. It was a very productive meeting and it gave an opportunity to review all the hard work of the association and all the worthwhile events which have been funded.  Equally though, it was time to discuss further the preparation for the Summer Fete.  The parent teacher association is always looking for new members and volunteers, and I would thoroughly recommend as many parents and guardians getting involved as possible, not least of all because the funding they provide adds hugely to the way in which the pupil’s education is enriched in both the Lower and Senior school.

Just before I wish you all a very restful break and hope the weather holds for the Bank Holiday at least, I thought I would share with you a couple of other news articles recently published which make interesting reading.  The first of the articles was published in The Guardian, which shares results from polling 14 – 24 year olds about use of certain social media sites and the possible link to increased feelings of inadequacy and anxiety (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/19/popular-social-media-sites-harm-young-peoples-mental-health).

The other news item reports on a school which has banned social media over health concerns (http://www.itv.com/news/2017-05-17/school-temporarily-bans-social-media-over-health-concerns/).

But as mentioned above – I wish you all a very restful break, and look forward to welcoming all pupils back after the weeks’ holiday.

Best wishes.