Mr Croydon’s Senior School Blog 31st March 2017

Another enjoyable week draws this term to a close. We may not have had all pupils in school this week, but at least this has been for a good reason – two hugely popular and successful residential trips abroad. For the vast majority of the week there has been only essential communication from the staff accompanying the trips – something which has been viewed as a positive that all is well. As we have approached the end of the week and the end of the trips, some communications have been received to confirm progress with the journey home. Obviously, by the time you read this week’s blog we know all have successfully returned (albeit still rather tired) from Pompeii. The ski trip returns tomorrow, and I am sure the pupils will confirm this trip has been equally as successful and enjoyable. I thank also the staff accompanying these trips who have worked to ensure pupils have had a great experience.

There were also fourteen Year 10 mathematicians who were out of school on Tuesday, as Mrs Martell-Smith accompanied the group to a Maths Enrichment Day at Essex University – feedback was that, by all accounts, this was a hugely successful and inspiring day. Thank you to Mrs Martell-Smith for continuing to impart her enthusiasm for her subject; I hope this is something the next cohort of pupils can be encouraged to attend next year.

For those pupils remaining in school, there was an opportunity to be reminded of the Easter message, and to help raise funds for the CHSA. I am particularly grateful for the time given up by members of the CHSA, as they set up tables on the playground on Wednesday. Some Senior School pupils volunteered to help count bunny hops as pupils from both the Lower and Senior School took up the bunny hop challenge. I know for a fact pupils enjoyed the chance to guess the number of eggs in the jar, or try to beat the bunny hop record, but I have also been reliably informed that the CHSA parents also really enjoyed the event too, to the point that many children were asking when such an event would be repeated – with Easter being only once a year, we will probably need to consider alternatives as a year seems a long time to wait. Subject to some final monies being counted, the event raised in excess of £800 – a superb achievement.

In the assemblies this week, on Monday I had an opportunity to address Key Stage 4, and with the exam season so close, I took the chance to give some final pointers on trying to avoid stress. Some of my conversations with Year 11 pupils this week have revolved around how stressed they are feeling at present, so hopefully they will take on board some of what I said in order to reduce pressure and stress.

I was not in school on Tuesday, but instead was at the Independent Schools Association headquarters in Great Chesterford. However, in my absence, Mr Rayner, Key Stage 3 Phase Leader, led the awards assembly which saw pupils receiving their gold, silver and platinum certificates for House Points, alongside reward Amazon vouchers, not to mention other pupils being recognised for other significant achievements. Well done to all for such a successful term.

Other highlights from this week include the Year 6 History lesson delivered by Year 8 pupils. This was a real success, and even involved a Year 8 pupil stepping in at the last minute to cover an absent pupil, and then being highly praised for his efforts. My thanks go to Mrs Croydon for organising this event, which I know will get a separate mention in the newsletter.

Year 11 pupils who have been studying GCSE art have been completing their 2 day practical exam this week, and I thank all staff members of the Art, Design & Technology department, not to mention the Examinations officer, for ensuring this has run smoothly.

Letters have gone out this week regarding revision sessions being held over the holiday for some subjects, as well as letters to Year 9 parents confirming final GCSE option choices.

In other education related news this week, an article in the Time Education Supplement reported that teachers are increasingly facing “vicious” and “abusive” treatment at the hands of parents on social media – something which I am very thankful is not an issue at CHS.  There has also been a report this week that a number of pupils have been excluded from a school following what appears to have started out as a pupil ‘creating an Instagram account and then uploading photographs of another student’.  At Colchester High School, staff will continue to promote safe and legal activity online, and encourage pupils both to consider carefully their online presence, and to approach school staff, or use the CEOP button, to report anything with which they are not comfortable.

All that remains now is for me to wish you all an enjoyable Easter break.