From Birdsong to Football Chants

I know all weeks are busy in schools, but this week seems to have had more variety in it than many. It was lovely, on Monday, to talk to a Year 7 student (Alfie) about his passion for birds, and how he feels we need an aviary for our collection of birds in the science labs. Alfie decided to bring a friend, and I think both Maisie and I learned a lot about bird care, wing clipping, and plumage. The best aspect though, was that Alfie then arranged for his grandad to come along and discuss the best place for an aviary in the school last night. I have said many times that education should be about unlocking your individual passion, and I don’t doubt that Alfie could well end up in a career with birds/animals.

Tuesday brought with it the excitement of Options Evening for Year 8, and those important decisions that students have to take about the subjects they want to focus on during the next 3 years. Two years ago, I felt a little like a spare part on the evening, as I knew very few parents/students. This year, I really enjoyed the deeper conversations. The best (or perhaps that is hardest) question I was asked was “what do I see happening to the entry bar to A Levels over the next few years?”, which is both interesting and philosophical. I was honest and said what I believed, but that equally there was an element of “best guess” about my answer. The landscape post-16 is changing again (both nationally and locally), and so how schools and colleges adjust their entry criteria – both formally and in August – is difficult to predict.

I am not sure what Mr Henderson made of my singing on Wednesday when he found me sitting with a group of Year 11 students doing extra revision in the computer room. I had only gone to check on 1 of my 3 mentees and to praise him for really pinning down his revision timetable and I found most of the students working on their Year 11 speaking exam for English. Anyway, I was trying to encourage the boys to have a little more precision than just talking about football (to be fair, one was doing crypto currency) compared to the variety of topics the girls were engaged in. Somehow we ended up on annoying football chants with one student, and that led to a few of us explaining to the rest about the annoying Liverpool song that has gone viral recently, and how it gets stuck in your head. Anyway, there was no option but for a quick chorus of “Salah…” – just as Mr Henderson walked by.

Yesterday, a colleague of mine from my last school came over (as a favour) to support PE moderation for Year 11, and spend some time looking at PE specifications with Ms Smith. Whilst this was informal moderation, it sat well alongside the external moderation we underwent a few weeks ago in Food and Cookery. Many thanks to all involved, but especially Mr Clay for lending us his time.

I would like to wish Mrs Norden well in her new endeavours: over Christmas, she decided that the time was right to take the risk in setting up a new business. It wasn’t one of those departures that I had on my radar, and many in the community won’t appreciate the job that she undertakes as SEN Administrator. However, those students and parents that are in that area will recognise her absolute dedication in integrating some of our most vulnerable students in to our truly comprehensive school.

Finally, a word to 9A who invited me to partake in their Guestimate quiz on Wednesday; it was very enjoyable even if the questions were quite varied…I am not sure how Britain’s heaviest man got to be that large! Who knew?

Have a good weekend.

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