I have to start my weekly blog by praising my colleague and the students of Applied Media. I missed them out last week when I mentioned how impressed I was walking around the Applied Learning Area. The week has been filled with colleagues working hard on looking at how they mark work, the dialogue that follows and how students improve their learning as a follow up. Senior and middle leaders looked at work this week as part of how we all work together to ensure there is consistency in marking and feedback. Hattie stressed the important of this in the way a student learns and progresses. As part of looking at the quality of learning around the school the first round of lesson observations are well underway. As a new Head to Wyedean I am really keen to see students learning in their lessons across the curriculum. I have been lucky enough to see a lot of lessons in schools around the UK and abroad in my career. I was once doing a joint observation in a US High School where half a dozen students were asleep. I was writing my notes about the lesson reflecting the sleeping students when the superintendent for that county’s schools told me I had to ignore the factor of the kids asleep and look at the others. The lessons I have seen this week were anything but about putting kids to sleep. The buzz for learning, energy and the engagement was something I would like to show the US high school I was reviewing back then as an example of real LEARNING.
I went to the first meeting on Thursday in Nova Hreod School Swindon for Wyedean School as we are one of the handful of schools Sir David Carter has invited to work with him on his high performing schools programme as the regional commissioner for the South West. Lord Nash, the Minister for Academies, spoke at length there at how he had seen some of the most under performing schools in London improve because of purpose and leadership in a school. Sir David talked about “not a minute lost in lessons for learning” which resonated in my head as I watched a colleague deliver the most elegiac lesson to her students in year 11. It was like watching educational poetry in action. The work of Sir David’s group is about “Good” schools like Wyedean moving to “outstanding” as high performing schools in the South West. I am looking forward to the next 12 months working with my leadership teams working with schools across the South West in this group.
This week the three World Class learning strands of digital learning, creativity and global learning that we believe at Wyedean our fundamental to C21st learning took a huge step forward with the various developments in learning across the curriculum and especially with our primary schools supporting all through education. The school hosted the Rt Hon Mark Harper MP on Friday morning where we spoke to Mark about the developments in English education. Mark saw our impressive gospel choir sing to him in the JK Rowling library which was light relief after 6th Form students scrutinised him over a range of topics from the EU referendum to Corbymania. Mark spent time with staff, students and governors as the GCSE Catering group hosted the event with cakes that would put a Parisian patisserie to shame.
We have had lots of community events this week including meeting with Chepstow Rotary Club, seeing our parents at Beachley Barracks and the Year 10 information Evening. A busy end of week 7 finished off with the agreement of Latin being funded and introduced in the school in November and our partner school in Montreal holding a video conference with our Year 9 students who are working on a range of projects for their joint Quebec exchange programme in 2016. The Science learning area had the most incredible learning day with “Tomorrow’s Engineers” – if you have a look at the school’s Twitter there are great photos of the event.
Definitely nothing to fall asleep in class here at Wyedean. Half term starts after Wednesday next week and I think I am more than ready to see my beloved Brittany again at my wife’s family’s place on the coast to recharge my batteries.