Mr Croydon’s Senior School Blog 2nd December 2016

The busy start to this week comprised all Year 11 pupils mustering in preparation the English trial exam, and Years 7 to 9 receiving an additional assembly.

No fewer than 18 separate trial exams have been sat by Year 11 pupils to date, with more to follow next week.  As mentioned previously, the conditions set for these exams reflect those that will be implemented in the summer exam season.  The results from the trial exams will be used to inform the Year 11 full reports which will be sent to parents early in the next term.  The Examinations Officer and I appreciate where parents have intervened to ensure their son or daughter has remembered all relevant equipment on the day.  There is an awful lot of preparatory work undertaken behind the scenes to prepare for delivering examinations, and this is the ideal opportunity for me to thank those staff, not least of the Examination’s Officer, Mrs Cowell, and the Head of Learning Support, Mrs Allen, for their efforts.

The assembly alluded to above, was delivered by a number of staff, and it was a repeat of that which was delivered to key stage 4 pupils previously.  The focus of the assembly was to highlight how to guard against making comments which are racist, homophobic, or discriminatory against those with a disability or a special educational need.  The assembly also alluded to the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for, and tolerance of, those with different faiths and beliefs to those without faith – all of which additionally, continue to be promoted through the curriculum and the ethos of the school.

Tuesday’s assembly for key stage 3 was celebratory as it celebrated the musical talents within the school.  Mrs Romero-Fernandes led the assembly and led choirs comprising both pupils and staff.  The assembly was very well received and I both commend and congratulate those who overcame nerves to perform in front of the assembled audience.

Monday saw Mr Dowson take our Year 7 & 8 Rugby team to Holmwood House for a fixture – I know Mr Dowson updates you all on fixtures so I shall not step on his toes, but I know pupils returned having enjoyed the opportunity afforded them.

There have been a number of lessons I have been able to drop in on this week.  I was very impressed when I dropped in on Miss Ponfield’s Year 7 History lesson – not so much by the level of engagement and variety of activities, as this is something I have come to expect from Miss Ponfield’s lessons, but by the in depth and extremely articulate responses proffered by pupils when asked what they studying.  The answers left me compelled to award house points for their responses. Elsewhere in Humanities classes there were pupils learning about the hierarchy of settlements, whilst others were learning practical ordnance survey map reading skills.

In the English department I encountered pupils studying Ernest Hemingway and being encouraged to refine their reading skills, other Year 9 pupils discussing recitative retribution in relation to ‘Lord of the Flies’, whilst yet others were developing the skills to create suspense, such as is used the book being studied, namely ‘The Woman in Black’.

I also had the pleasure of observing a Year 7 Spanish lesson delivered by Senora Sanchez.  Through listening, reading and speaking tasks, the Year 7 pupils made good progress in terms of being able to describe relatives and friends – I am sure much of the progress was aided by the continual use of the Spanish language for sharing objectives and giving instructions for activities.  Muchas gracias Senora Sanchez.

Production club continues as the pupils prepare for this year’s drama production which is to be ‘Les Miserable’ – this show is a particular favourite of mine, and from what I heard of the pupils’ singing this week, I can’t wait to see the final version.  My thanks go to all the staff involved in preparing the pupils for the final performances.

The final day of the week has seen Christmas Jumper day and the CHSA Christmas Bazaar.  The marquee was erected on Thursday and the team of CHSA volunteers spent many hours preparing for the big event.  I hope the committee are as pleased with the fruits of their labours as I have been with what I have seen of the event this year at the time of writing.

Looking at the calendar for next week, it looks set to be every bit as busy and I hope I will see as many parents as possible at the Carol Service on Thursday.  For now though, best wishes for the weekend.