Mr Croydon

With so many Key Stage 3 pupils away at PGL Marchants Hill, and Year 10 pupils on work experience or else visiting Berlin, Munich and Nuremberg on a co-curricular History and MFL trip, one might be forgiven for thinking the school was quiet this week and there was not much taking place – how wrong they would be.

As I wasn’t accompanying either of the aforementioned trips, I cannot comment to any great extent about them.  However, I can confirm the PGL trip returned Thursday by 4pm with positive comments, plenty of smiles and expressions of thanks from both staff and pupils.  Whereas, at the time of writing, the Germany trip participants are about to embark on the journey home – although communication with those staff in Germany, suggests this too has been a thoroughly successful trip.

For those Key Stage 3 pupils who remained at school, this week has been ‘Curriculum Week’ which this year has been focused on ‘Diversity’.  Every department has been planning activities for some time, and this week, subject teachers had their opportunity to deliver those sessions.  I was really pleased that I have been able to drop in on each of those sessions, as the atmosphere in every classroom was buzzing as the pupils immersed themselves in the diversity themed activities.

On Monday the pupils were taken to the zoo to investigate the diversity within the animal kingdom.  The weather was great and the advice was to remember the sun cream and keep hydrated.  My thanks go to the science department who organised this trip and ensured there were educational mini lectures for the pupils to attend during the day.

Tuesday gave the opportunity for pupils to draw on their experience at the zoo, alongside existing knowledge, to produce a piece of poetry from the perspective of an animal other than Homo sapiens. Mr May and Mrs Hoddell took pupils through a logical sequence of steps which allowed the pupils to study poems such as ‘Bluebottle’ by Judith Nicholls, to search for metaphors, similes and onomatopoeia, and to work towards producing their own pieces.  At the end of the session, pupils recited their poems which had been written from the perspective of animals as diverse as penguins, wolves, cheetahs and aardvarks.

The next step was for those poems to be set to music.  My thanks go to Mrs Romero-Fernandes and Mrs Sillett who supported pupils composing a musical score to complement their lyrics.  All the musical instruments within the department were put to good use, and the result was that the pupils produced some very melodic and memorable pieces.

The MFL department looked at the diversity existent between countries around the world.  Ably assisted by Mrs Porter and Miss Guillois, pupils researched specific aspects of different countries, the origins of the international flags, the cuisine and the language spoken within those countries.  There were some excellent presentations delivered by the pupils at the end of the session which included the sharing of salutations in languages ranging from: Japanese to Finnish; Urdu to Korean; Afrikaans to Portugese.

The maths department staff really got into the spirit of the week as they donned animal themed attire to continue the idea of looking at diversity within the animal kingdom.  Animal Coat Patterns and Mathematical Modelling was the title for the maths sessions.  Questions which were posed in the introduction included: What is mathematical modelling? How can mathematical modelling be used to answer our questions about animal coat patterns? How do animals get such diverse coat patterns? Can we predict the expected pattern? By working through such questions, pupils were able to spend the latter part of the session producing patterns and pictures using algebraic equations.  Again the atmosphere was really positive and I’m pleased to confirm the patterns produced will be displayed in due course.

Elsewhere in the art department, Mr Newcomb was putting his accomplished artistic skills to good use as he worked alongside those pupils who produced the winning entries to the Humanities mural competition, to produce a mural which depicts the theme of geography.  This was a competition funded by the CHSA, and has resulted in the production of three canvas based paintings which really need to be seen to be believed – I was lost for words, and really glad that Mrs Clarke took photographs of the mural in various stages of production.

Other members of the Humanities Faculty delivered a curriculum week session which revolved around pupils looking at the diverse nature of the United Kingdom by investigating the origins of place names.  Pupils produced A0 size posters which summarised the findings of their research, and again, so outstanding were the finished products, that I’m glad photographic evidence was taken there too.

Pupils also had diversity themed sessions in ICT, which focused on the diversity between cities of the world, how they have evolved and how technology is used to design urban spaces.  It was however, the PE department which was responsible for organising and delivering the final session of the week which started by looking at diversity within sport, and then moved on to giving the pupils an opportunity to engage in some diverse sports which don’t normally feature in the PE curriculum.  But don’t worry, the sports may have been diverse, but they were neither contentious nor extreme – neither irons nor ironing boards were to be seen.

I cannot thank enough all those involved in making this week such a success whether they were accompanying trips or delivering ‘curriculum week’ – all staff played a part, and most importantly, I believe all pupils gained immeasurably from the experience.

Gaining immeasurable experience was also a goal for the sixth form students who this week benefitted from an enrichment week ably organised by Mrs Hampson.  Again, as with the activities on the main site, students had the chance to gain skills, experience and knowledge far beyond the standard curriculum.  My thanks go to Dr Georgiou and Mrs Hampson for having organised such a successful week.

As the week draws to a close, my thoughts tend towards next week and in particular, the Senior School Prize Giving on Monday.  Always a perfect chance to celebrate the many achievements of the pupils, I look forward to seeing as many parents and guardians as are able to attend.

Conscious this ought to be my last blog for this academic year (since the absence of popular demand means I had not intended to continue my blog throughout the summer), I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team of dedicated teachers and support staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the year to provide what I hope, has been an exceptional educational experience for all the pupils in the Senior School.  Furthermore, I thank parents and guardians for their support, as well as the CHSA for all their hard work in support of the school.

I wish all associated with CHS a really enjoyable and relaxing summer – see you in September.

Colchester High School