Beyond the Normal Boundaries

With events like Year 6 Induction and Year 10 going for their post-16 taster days, this time of year in schools is always dominated with opportunities to explore their learning beyond their normal boundaries. For the Year 6 students that involves experiencing the issues of navigating around a large secondary school for the first time; for Year 10 it is trying to make their choices for post-16 qualifications. On Thursday Lunchtime, I sat for a while on duty with some year 10 students discussing their A Level choices, and future plans beyond, and it was a really healthy discussion. For example, how does psychology sit as a subject alongside both sciences and humanities (2 students considering it with very different career ambitions: one a paediatrician, one a career in law), and I think it is a question that students have always grappled with in terms of making their A Level and University choices.

Interestingly, I got asked the same question by a new member of staff, and ex-colleague in another school, and a parent this week, are we fully staffed for September? The answer, for reference, is yes; however, I think it is telling that the question is so prevalent in people’s minds, and largely shows the state of recruitment in to the profession. I know for certain that it is harder to recruit than 10 years ago, but also that we have to spend more time planning a strategy around appointments as part of the solution. I think Headteachers up and down the country are struggling with those dilemmas and we all have good and bad years in terms of ease of getting staffing straight.

At a personal level, one of the more interesting aspects of my role this week has been meeting various catering companies as they look to put forward tenders for the School/Trust’s catering contract. Without wishing to sound too old, when I started teaching, school food was largely bland, unhealthy and lacked variety; whilst we have come a long way in recent years, I am sure that an external company will improve all of those aspects next year. The interesting bit at a personal level was being asked questions like “how would a vegan destination stand go down with your students?”, I can honestly say they weren’t questions that were being asked 20+ years ago in most schools! Can I remind parents that the canteen is closing next Friday for the last 9 days of term, and that students will need a packed lunch?

I am looking forward to the Friends of Marshalls Park BBQ tonight, but also wish the staff good luck for the 3 Peaks challenge (it’s not too late to sponsor them https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mpa3peaks ) as they push beyond their normal boundaries and raise money for the new school minibus. Thank you to all the people that have contributed so far.

Have a lovely weekend, and hopefully enjoy some proper sunshine on Saturday.

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