EMAT Home School Newsletter 17th July
Endeavour MAT Newsletter 17th July 2020
As we come to the end of an academic year like never before, I would like to extend my thanks to our supportive parents and our amazing students, for managing to stay focused and continue working throughout the strangest of times. I would like to thank our teachers for continuing to set and assess work and chivvy along our students, checking on their welfare and academic progress. Thanks too to our invaluable support staff who have had a mountain of risk assessments to produce, Department for Education and Kent County Council returns to complete, schools to keep clean and newsletters to create. It has been such a new way of working for everyone and we are so relieved to have fabulous IT departments that have helped to keep us afloat.
You all deserve a wonderful break and I hope you find time to recharge your batteries and gather strength for a busy results period in August and a fresh start in September, where we will all have to learn again another new way of working within year group bubbles.
Donna Lodge, CEO Endeavour MAT
How have we arrived at the end of my first year as Head Teacher at Wilmington Grammar School for Girls? It has certainly not been the year that I anticipated when I arrived in September. I knew when I started at the school that I had come to lead a truly unique and amazing community, but how little I realised that would be put to the ultimate test within months of me arriving. I had begun to get to know the amazing students in the school, started to explore what the students thought was important and just about learnt the school song when the first rumblings of Coronavirus hit the world, little did I realise all that it would change.
Our school has definitely changed through lockdown, for a start, the new building is nearly there. Sadly, it won’t be ready for September as we had hoped, but it won’t be long before lessons take place in the new classrooms and the students get to enjoy the amazing new Sports Hall and MUGA on the roof. But more than the buildings, our school has changed because we have realised that being a school is all about the community and vision that we have and share, because that has thrived in lockdown, we have learnt more about one another, we have realised just how much we are all capable of and we have learnt that being together is a real privilege that we should not take for granted.
As someone who loves climbing in the mountains I am always sharing stories of the tough climbs and the moments I nearly turned back, because it has taught me to push through my fears and keep going, because the view is worth it and you get to rest a while before the next mountain beckons. The journey of school is rather like that and as the year draws to a close and we begin to plan for a return for all in September it is important that we stop and reflect on the achievements. We have indeed climbed a mountain, as parents you have been phenomenal in your support, encouragement, positive nagging and your care of the teachers and the school. Your many messages of thanks, support and encouragement have helped the staff to keep going when it has been hard, have reminded us why we are all doing what we are doing, these messages have touched hearts and will not be forgotten. We are at the end of a very unusual year, and we are celebrating that achievement. It is only when you push yourself beyond what you think are your limits that you realise what you can do. Here is to the next climb, see you in September
Michelle Lawson, Head Teacher, WGSG
I have always loved working in education. There is something magical about a busy school, where students and staff work together, where academic passions are ignited and the way is paved for hopeful futures. It is a complex series of interactions and ambitions. The challenges are many and we learn continually, but there is a purity of intention that underpins everything that we do.
The suddenness of the decision to close schools in March hit us hard, my first thoughts turned to our students in Years 11 and 13 and how to break the news to them that they would be denied the chance to prove themselves in their final exams. Rapidly we made arrangements to offer provision to Key Worker children, staff began setting work on Teams, students began to engage in online learning and we all adapted. Of course, we learned as we went. We made sure that we did all we could to support staff and students who were in particularly vulnerable situations. There were practical challenges to overcome, such as the provision of food vouchers, supporting students with access to technology and being there to speak to families who needed reassurance and support.
At home my wife and I tried simultaneously to support our own children with home schooling. I would have expected that someone of my experience and profession would easily be able to do this. Surely if I can run a school, I can help my son with his Year 9 Biology…….. I confess that my attempts, while well intentioned, often lacked the guile and perception of the subject expert. I thank you all, most sincerely for your efforts in this regard. You have been magnificent in your endeavours with your children. It was in those early days that your messages of support and encouragement kept us going. I felt, in some strange ways that through adversity our community became closer.
We have kept a sense of momentum with the curriculum, slowly moving towards delivering aspects online and setting end of year exams for all year groups. The completion was impressive, in terms of quality and quantity and the knowledge quizzes in Key Stage 3 were very successful.
So what has lockdown taught me? More than ever before that this is a profession I love and a school that I adore, and I absolutely cannot wait for us to get back to welcoming our students in September. And all the pain and frustration and uncertainty and newness has been accompanied by possibility, opportunity, empathy and community. See you all very soon.
Charlie Guthrie, Head Teacher, WGSB
What a year to start our amazing Stone Lodge journey! – a year in education like no other in my lifetime. The entire Stone Lodge community have pulled together amazingly well to ensure that our young people didn't fall behind and continue to strive for the best for themselves. For the students, our values of determination, integrity and self-management have never been needed more. I have been genuinely amazed, as I know so many parents and carers have been, at how the students have taken the uncertainty and changes caused by covid-19 restrictions, including the school closure and remote learning in their stride. They are a credit to their families and the school, and I am immensely proud of their motivation and resilience throughout this challenging time. For our staff, our value of equality through lockdown has never been more important. I cannot thank all our staff enough for the way they have gone above and beyond to help the students overcome every barrier that they have faced throughout lockdown. From the delivery of laptops and paper packs to students, to Teams mentoring, as well as face to face small group teaching, live online lessons, motivational cards and revision packs; we have done everything possible to keep students’ learning alive, interesting and accessible for all.
It has been wonderful to see everyone back this week in full uniform for the assessments, showing all that you have learned through this difficult year. Whilst social distancing guidance prevented us from being together to celebrate the conclusion of our very first year of Stone Lodge, we will be making up for this in September, with awards, student leadership recruitment, displays and many other celebrations to mark our inaugural year.
Our new Y7 cohort who will join us in September could have no better mentors and guides than our current students who have shown themselves to be exemplary student role models. So here is to the year where Stone Lodge School opened with a buzz of excitement and ambition, had to close unexpectedly due to lockdown, but despite the challenges, completed the academic year on a high and with a strong set of assessment results. Stone Lodge has become the most oversubscribed non selective school in Dartford. And why? Because of the staff, families and students who share our vision of ‘successful lives for every child’.
Have a wonderful, well-earned summer break. I cannot wait to get started again in September as our exceptional school continues to grow and shine.
Gavin Barnett, Head Teacher, Stone Lodge School
This week the WGSB Heads of Year have been visiting some of our students to present them with a prize for achieving the most House Points this year. These are of course unusual times but these young men have worked diligently all year and through the lockdown. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them and hope that they continue to be an inspiration for all of us next year. Next academic year brings some interesting changes to school life but one thing will remain constant, hard work and diligence will be recognised and rewarded in many forms.
I know that that the Heads of Year are very proud of their respective year groups and the classes that they teach. They will be continuing to work with you next year to help inspire, support and share your good work.
We hope you all have a great summer, stay safe and happy and we look forward to seeing you all in September.
Andy Smith, Assistant Head Teacher, WGSB
Congratulations to our WGSB Y7 prize winners, Jordan A (pictured top with Mr Sage), then from left, Franco M, Alexander T - who received the award for 'outstanding performance during lockdown' and Thomas L
Well done to our Y8 winners, left, Shane S of 8D and right, Daniel P of 8N and Ashraf M of 8S (not pictured)
Year 9 recipients are from left, Edward T and right Tristan S and below, Ben G on the left and Mason B on the right.
Year 10 receiving recognition - from left, Owen H of 10T – Outstanding student in Y10 academically in lockdown and throughout the year. Middle, George H of 10D, - 1st Most proactive academic achievement in lockdown and throughout the year and on the right, Sameen H of 10D – 2nd Most proactive academic achievement in lockdown and throughout the year.
Our WGSB Y11 House Point Awards went to 1st William W, 2nd Heet M and 3rd Jacob B and most proactive during lockdown Joseph W.
Congratulations to our Stone Lodge students who are through to the final stages of our Student Leader elections. The final part of the selection process will be held when we return to school in September. By House, our finalists are;
Edison: Khadija F, Freya G, Liam H-L, Jack H and Teni M
Hawking: Tola A, Jack B, Anna K, Archie M, Ellie N, Emilia S, Amber S and Enoch V
Johnson: Israel A, Saffy C, Oliver H, Sophie H, Margaret K and Phoebe W
Seacole: Flourish A, David A, Lilah C, Ola F, Libby G, Harley G, Ellis W, Tiana W and Ava W
WGSG students had their second remote PSHE morning since school closure, whereby the dropped their ‘normal’ lessons and took time to explore Equality and Careers. Within these topics, they considered:
- Looking After Me
- Looking to the Future
- Black Lives Matter (BLM)
- Learning Disabilities
We hope the morning gave the students time to reflect on current affairs, as well as time for themselves. The students have submitted fantastic pieces of work to their form tutors and below we share some of the work produced:
Painting by Grace C in 9A
Pride Flags from Rosie S in 9C and Gabriela in 9A
Akshana in 9C
Looking to the Future: Becoming a nurse, poem by Rabea in 9O
As I peer into the future I wonder when the time will appear,
Coping all my challenges as I count every year
Being able to aid people is a vast delight,
But then watching people suffer as they continue to fight
I might experience the honored moment and be the savior for some,
However, I could be the reason for death being an outcome
The eternal dream of bringing new lives into this society,
Could also be forgotten and leave some in anxiety
Having a huge responsibility to cure someone,
Once we achieve it always seems like you have won
The excitement burning like a phoenix arising from the ashes
Still remains high even when the emergency siren flashes
The courage that is able to build a smile
Is the perfect medicine for this trial
Wearing the iconic blue uniform is a symbol of care,
Showing our good will by always being there
Learning all the techniques will be a real struggle,
But not if I am up for a difficult puzzle
Nursing can be a tragedy or a blessing
But the important thing is that we are representing
Birth and death is natural result,
But in the end we are who everyone should consult.
How about a game of Book Bingo this summer?! Mrs Black, our librarian at WGSG is challenging us all to read more this summer with her specially themed Book Bingo.
Just pick the categories in a line – horizontally, vertically or diagonally – and choose a different book for each square. Or, why not really challenge yourself to get a ‘full house’.
Here are Mrs Black’s top recommendations for each choice:
#Own Voices book: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
(#OwnVoices is a term coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis, and refers to an author from a marginalised or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group)
A Friendship book: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
A book set in the future: Scythe by Neal Shusterman
A book set in the past: Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
A book published in 2020: Burn by Patrick Ness
A funny book: The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
A book about activism: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A book from the year you were born: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (2006)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (2007)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)
A book about summer: Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
A cookbook: Tasty Ultimate Cookbook: How to cook basically anything, from easy meals for one to brilliant feasts for friends
Trying a new genre: A new genre for me would be graphic novels – I’m going to try The Crossover: Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander
An audiobook: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory) or The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, read by Jake Gyllenhaal
Re-reading you favourite book: This will be personal to you, I will be re-reading Little Women this summer!
A biography: Elon Musk & the quest for a fantastic future by Ashlee Vance
A book with a number in the title: I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
An adventure book: Secret Breakers series - H.L. Dennis
As the news of the coronavirus broke and lockdown was imminent, panic buying of household staples began (needlessly, as it turned out) .. in particular, the humble toilet roll, which is the inspiration and subject of WGSB’s Art Challenge!
"During the school closure KS3 students at WGSB were set an assignment to produce a piece of art using a cardboard toilet roll tube. The idea was inspired by this news article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-52295494
The response was brilliant - from Stormtroopers to Owls to tins of beans, the boys produced so many creative responses we have made a video of them. You'll notice a few contributions from the staff as well - Mr Robinson has to get a special mention for producing a new piece every week with some clever Photoshop trickery! The Art Department would like to say a big well done to all involved."
To watch the video please click the link https://youtu.be/mGkc1c2bkCw
For more artistic inspiration go to the WGSB art department Instagram page
We wish you all an enjoyable summer and look forward to welcoming our students back to school in September,
Mrs Lodge CEO Endeavour MAT, Mrs Lawson HT, WGSG, Mr Guthrie HT, WGSB and Mr Barnett HT, Stone Lodge School.