Speaking Out, SATs and the Shops

Firstly, well done to Evelyn at Speak Out, who performed really and was a great credit to the school. The students in Year 10 were given the opportunity to prepare their presentations a while back, and Evelyn was chosen to represent the school, and she did so admirably. Earlier in the week, the Year 8 football team qualified for the cup final (at Aveley FC this Monday at 6.30). Additionally, a group of students on the “Yes Futures” programme helped regenerate the community garden at Eastbrookend Park, and this weekend a large number of students are embarking on their practice DoE Bronze expedition in Epping Forest. As ever, I could list a multitude of achievements and successes from the week, and it is all too easy to consider the only thing that matters at this time of year to be exams. 

That’s not to say exams don’t matter, they really do; I have been thoroughly impressed by the Year 11 students this week as they tackled the first week of 4 (and a bit, if you are doing Statistics) of written papers. Strangely, on a domestic level, I had my first parental experience of exams this week, as my eldest took his SATs. I would be lying if I said that Mrs Gilroy and myself hadn’t compared our sons’ experiences, but [of course] that’s exactly what parents do. I have always believed that it happens for a number of reasons: shared empathy, competitiveness, reassurance, human interest, and to support our own learning. As a year 11 parent said recently to me, helping his son revise has reminded him of how he wished he could go back to school and learn things again.

On a more sombre note, a few parents contacted me about groups of youths hanging around the White Shops on mopeds last Friday evening (around 3.30 – 4.00); I was at a meeting at Havering Sixth Form College, but Mr Suttenwood kept me informed throughout. I refer to previous communication about heightened tensions in the community recently, but also remind parents and students that if they see anything that is suspicious in the community to contact the police immediately. From my perspective, I am the first to defend the overwhelming majority of our students, and especially about their behaviour in that area. The truth is that we estimate around 600-700 students head towards the shops after school, and the huge majority simply buy some snacks (didn’t we all do that, at the same age?), are pleasant to the shop keepers, and then head home. Overall, they are a great credit to our school and community.

Given the tensions in the community, all the secondary schools are hosting Trident events for parents to attend over the summer term, so our community can hear the police’s view directly about the issues. We will send out more details nearer to the event, but our provisional date has been set as 8th July at 6pm.

Good luck to the DoE expedition this weekend, and a massive thanks to Mr Dowsey for really resurrecting the experience for Marshalls students over the last year.

Have a good weekend

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