Week Ending 16th March 2018

Posted on: 16/03/2018

Dear Parents, Carers,

 

Another busy week complete, packed with trips, house activities, exam preparations and parents’ evenings.  Thank you for waiting patiently whilst we pull together the feedback from our first parent clinics on the topic of Behaviour.  You will find the feedback below.  Don’t forget our upcoming clinic dates! 

There has been an Amber warning set for the weekend with the final part of snow coming to the South, it isn’t expected to be as bad as it was at the beginning of the month!  With this in mind, we have decided to cancel the Duke of Edinburgh navigation day planned for Saturday 17th March.  School will still be open on Monday!

 

 

Thank you to all the parents who attended the meeting. It was a really useful session where a number of questions were asked and a great opportunity for me to be able to answer your questions directly.

We routinely seek parent views through questionnaires that are handed out at school events, but to be able to talk through the issues was very useful.

The response during our recent Ofsted inspection was as below:

 

This is broadly consistent with views expressed when we ask parents to fill out questionnaires and I think it provides a useful starting point. Below is a summary of the questions asked and my responses to them.

 

(1) I have concerns about behaviour during some lessons, what is being done about this and what do you think of behaviour across the school?

Behaviour across the school is generally good. During our Ofsted inspection in November, they commented that ‘Safeguarding is a strength of the school.  The leadership team has ensured that all safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose.  All necessary checks of staff and visitors have been undertaken and records are meticulously kept.  Staff are vigilant in ensuring that pupils remain safe.  Governors and staff receive regular safeguarding update training, and the governors routinely check safeguarding arrangements to ensure that they are compliant.

‘Pupils feel safe in the school’.   Pupils commented that staff deal promptly with the little bullying there is. They feel supported well by staff and know whom to talk to if they have concerns.

Whilst I have seen examples of exceptional behaviour and work rate, my feeling is that it could be more consistent. As a grammar school I have the highest expectations of our boys and I know that parents and teachers share these. It’s essential that our boys understand that when they put on the WGSB uniform they represent our school; one that I consider to be one of the best schools around and they must wear our uniform with pride and behave in a way that reflects the values of the school.

It is however important to be aware that our boys represent a wide range of backgrounds and varying needs and challenges. At present I consider there to be three main areas of development:

(a) Supporting students with particular needs

Obviously I can’t discuss individual students here. We have a balance to find between supporting students who struggle and ensuring that the education of the majority of the class is not disrupted. We have a team of teaching assistants and student managers who work to support students and they will ensure that support is provided in lessons. Whilst I understand that boys may struggle with aspects of school life, I cannot allow poor behaviour and if their behaviour is disrupting learning, they will be removed from the lesson.

We work closely with a range of external agencies that provide support, from counselling to anger management. Currently we have a vacancy for a learning support assistant, so if you know anyone who would be interested in supporting vulnerable students, please let them know.

(b) Reducing low level disruption

We have core expectations of all staff and students. Boys should enter the room and immediately get their equipment, including their pencil case and planner on the desk waiting in silence for the teacher to begin the lesson. The majority of boys work fantastically well, and where disruption is preventing learning, teachers are encouraged to use our system. However, these high expectations need to be reinforced throughout the lesson and there are a variety of strategies that staff can use. The boys understand the stages of our policy – the C1, C2 and so on. However, in order to raise the expectations, I have taken the following additional measures:

  • Every single lesson there is a member of the leadership team who is available to support teachers should there be a need. This role is to allow the lesson to continue without disruption. In most cases it requires a word with the class, but if a student needs to be removed then a sanction is issued, and the senior leader will do that.
  • If a boy is issued with a C3 or C4 detention, they are escorted to that detention by their period 6 teacher. Parents will always be notified of any detentions set prior to the date. Should the pupil fail to attend, the sanction is increased. If a boy cannot attend a detention, the parents must contact the school before 10am on the day of the detention to allow for an alternative date to be set. If communication is received after this time we will not be able to change the arrangements and the sanction will be increased should the boy fail to attend.

(c) Ensuring greater consistency across the school

We have a behaviour policy that is commonly understood and involves a warning, followed by the issuing of C points. Our target is to issue 4 reward points for every sanction and this is largely met.

The behaviour management policy is designed to support teachers to deliver high quality lessons, and they will implement the stages of reward and sanction as they see fit in order for the lesson to run smoothly. It is inevitable that as you gain experience you develop more strategies to engage students, and it is up to the teacher to use the policy as they need to encourage learning.

 

(2) How do you actively support staff?

In addition to the above, staff have access to behaviour support training and for new staff there is a comprehensive programme of mentoring and support, both within and beyond the department. Heads of department are responsible for supporting the behaviour of students in their area. There is regular communication from student managers to make staff aware of any particular issues and teams of teachers meet regularly to discuss teaching strategies. We (the Senior Leadership Team) also are available to visit particular lessons should there be a need. We also have a number of links with other schools where departments will share ideas and develop resources – we can go over this in more detail when we have the clinic looking at teaching, learning and assessment.

 

(3)  What does the school have in place to encourage positive behaviour and what more can be done?

There is lots of fantastic work taking place in the school.

  • The reward trips each term do motivate the boys. As our new house system embeds, Mr Silo has taken over responsibility for this.
  • The reintroduction of the Inter-*House programme has been a real success with so many activities taking place throughout lunchtimes and involving so many pupils from all year groups.
  • We have a well-established peer mentoring system that involves older students supporting younger ones
  • Our prefect system has been incredibly successful in offering leadership opportunities for students
  • Our huge range of extra-curricular activities, from sports, to the winter arts festival to the school trips/visits and the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme provide boys with so many opportunities 

Our first meeting has proved to be very successful please do attend the next parent clinic meeting:

Date: Wednesday 21st March at 4.30pm

Topic:  Supporting Learning - this is a particular area of focus for us at the moment, as we are looking to embed effective learning and revision strategies as well as ensuring that what is happening in lessons is as good as it can be.   

Please contact Mrs Owen (jowen@wgsb.org.uk) if you would like to attend, or if you can’t make it, please email questions that can be included in the discussions.

 

Extra-Curricular Success

 

image2.jpegCongratulation to our Yr 7 Finley D who secured an amazing Silver medal in the pommel horse at the British Championships which took place last weekend!  Well done Finley!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yr13 A Level Media Studies student, Joanna B, has had her review of the MediaMag 2017 Student Conference published in the latest issue of Media Magazine.  The editor of the magazine said she was proud to publish “such a well written appreciation of the conference.”  The Media Department is also incredibly proud of Joanna!

 

 

 

Yr 11 Food Technology

The Year 11 students had their final practical exam this week where they had to prepare, cook and serve three dishes in three hours. The students were given a task brief and had to carry out research which included trailing dishes in preparation for their exam. The dishes had to be of a high skill such as making bread, pastry and pasta from scratch as well as filleting fish and portioning chicken. Staff were asked to trial their dishes at the end of the exam and feedback their comments for the students in order for them to complete evaluations. The staff were incredibly impressed with their presentation and the taste of their dishes, they couldn’t believe they had made it all from scratch within the time. Well done boys

 

         

 

 

Profiterole Heaven!!

The Year 9 students were making profiteroles this week, this can be a tricky recipe to make but the students all loved the results!  Well done to William who showed his determination and resilience to complete the recipe with a broken arm, well done!

 

 

 

Year 7 Visit to the Natural History Museum!

13 March 2018

One of the highlights of the Geography year is our annual trip to the Geology Galleries of the Natural History Museum – the Red Zone.  There is much to see and never enough time to look at every exhibit.  The highlight of the trip is the Volcanoes and Earthquake Galleries a topic we have been studying recently in Geography. We were keen to see the new whale skeleton exhibit in the entrance hall too!

Students visited the Restless Surface - a gallery dedicated to the topic of how the earth is worn away and the boys were soon finding out about which slopes are most stable and how rivers move sediment.  This section is not one they have covered in class before but our students soon got to grips with finding out the answers for their booklets.

Also visited was the Volcanoes and Earthquakes galleries and aside from trying to complete their work booklet, the students soon became engrossed in the exhibits whether it was video clips of tsunamis or finding out how to make buildings earthquake proof.  Students particularly enjoyed the earthquake simulator!   Thank you to the several parents helping us with this trip, it is always much appreciated.

 

House Competition News

A variety of competitions are taking place this term which include Danish Long Ball, Hungry Hippos, Scavenger Hunt, Darts, Cup Pong and a Doughnut Eating Competition.

Week ending 9th March

Latest house competition results are shown below:

 

Year 8 Hungry Hippos

 

1st

Brunel

2nd

Telford

3rd

Darwin

4th

Stevenson

Abs

Newton (-10)

              

        

 

Year 8 Danish Long Ball

Brunel displayed a dominant show of force winning all their matches. The match between Newton and Stevenson ended in a draw despite Stevenson soldiering on with only 2 members on their team. Well done boys.

 

1st

Brunel

=2nd

Newton

=2nd

Stevenson

ABS

Darwin (-10)

ABS

Telford (-10)

 

 

Year 12 & 13 Hungry Hippos

Two people from Stevenson turned up, those two people won it after an awkward minute of playing a solo game.

 

1st

Stevenson

Abs

Brunel (-10)

Abs

Darwin (-10)

Abs

Newton (-10)

Abs

Telford (-10)

 

            

 

Results so far

 

Year 7

Points

Year 8

Points

Year 9

Points

Year 10

Points

Year 11

Points

Year 12/13

Points

Total:

Positions

Brunel

234

Brunel

254

Brunel

114

Brunel

240

Brunel

44

Brunel

-30

856

5th

Darwin

282

Darwin

178

Darwin

146

Darwin

136

Darwin

160

Darwin

136

1038

2nd

Newton

360

Newton

176

Newton

258

Newton

222

Newton

130

Newton

102

1248

1st

Stevenson

210

Stevenson

236

Stevenson

162

Stevenson

164

Stevenson

118

Stevenson

30

920

4th

Telford

198

Telford

244

Telford

180

Telford

222

Telford

138

Telford

32

1014

3rd

 

Best wishes and stay warm,

Charlie Guthrie

Back to News List