Soup for the Soul

The absolute highlight of the week for me was rather unexpected; I was doing a “patrol” to the White Shops due to the odd concern being raised about our students, and ended up having a random but superb conversation with a group of [predominantly] Year 9 girls. In reality, except for a very small group, the behaviour of our students at the shops was impeccable. So whilst stood watching the students, a group approached me about whether the school could offer a child development course at Key Stage 4. Regardless of whether we are able to facilitate their request, it was their maturity and thought process that really impressed me. The conversation then moved on to such diverse topics as the new rooms, Ofsted, why the school doesn’t have a Sixth Form, target grades, and students’ endeavours. It was fascinating and articulate discourse, and I really wanted those that want to criticise the youth of today (so readily) to have heard these well-informed young women discussing the issues.

On Monday, John King (Chair of the Trust) visited the school; Mr King was a Headteacher in Thurrock for a number of years and also worked on school improvement in Newham, and advises other large academy trusts. We spent a few hours looking around the school at the improvements underway, debating curriculum structures, and the re-affirmation that schools should not just change their exam entries to artificially boost league table performance. It was a good visit, and he was pleased with our progress (it was the first time he had visited in 2 years during the working day), but more importantly it was good soup for the moral (educational) soul whilst being a robust examination of school improvement.

Nearly 18 months ago at Havering Headteachers Conference, it was suggested that Heads should do learning walks on Year 6/7 classes to compare the students’ endeavours during transition.  Our increase of admission numbers means we now have more students coming from schools that previously couldn’t get their children in to Marshalls; so it was an absolute pleasure to show the Headteacher of Crowlands around on Thursday. I had visited there in the summer (and completed a learning walk) and this was a reciprocal visit, it was lovely for the Crowland students to see their Headteachers in unison doing a targeted learning walk.

So at the end of another busy week, it has been great to hear so much praise for the work we are doing.

Have a lovely weekend

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