I have struggled all week to comprehend how miserable, grey and wet this first week back after half term has been in contrast to the sunshine during the break. It’s hard to believe my 3 kids were playing in the sand and running into the sea at Brehac beach, northern Brittany this time last week. I drove up to visit Forest High School on Tuesday at the invite of the Head to see the hard work this school is achieving. The drive through the Forest in the autumnal fog was very atmospheric and I more or less stumbled upon the school as I arrived in Cinderford the fog was that thick.
Wyedean School is very much about working in partnership and collaboration with all sorts of partners and networks and on Wednesday our Mandarin teachers arrived from the Confucius Institute to begin teaching Mandarin to our primary partner schools at Offa’s Mead, Tutshill, Bream and The Dell. We have a couple of global partnerships we are hosting exchange programmes with and our students who are hosting our Spanish partners were very excited to receive their letters and partner information. We are also working with a school in Montreal and this week Ecole Beloil held their information evening for parents and students as Wyedean students will be staying in Montreal next year with their exchange partners. As part of my work for the British Council I have been speaking over Skype to a number of schools looking at British political, cultural and historical issues. On Monday I spoke to our partner Lycee Rabelais in Paris about the importance of Remembrance and the Poppy in the UK at this time of year. Wyedean School will be taking part in the national remembrance observance next week and a representative group of staff and students will take part in local community remembrance. At half term a large group of History students from Wyedean School visited the WWI battlefield and commemoration sites in Belgium. Even a 100 years on the sheer number of names representing lives lost in this war and subsequent wars is hard to comprehend.
This week the success of the school was further recognised when the Rt Hon David Curry wrote to me inviting the school to contribute a case study to The Parliamentary Review annual publication. He cited in particular the 6th Form results and success as well as the recent invite by Sir David Carter to the school recognising the school is moving to “Outstanding” as a high performing school and a beacon of success in the area. I am very proud of the school always and the hard work staff do here day in/day out but this is wonderful recognition of what we are achieving here at Wyedean School.
Education is never far away in the national news and staff and parents were interested in the Secretary of State’s announcement of the possible return to testing for 7 year olds just as we are all getting used to “life without levels” at KS3. For Wyedean as an academy with the relative freedom over its curriculum and qualifications the relaxation on the EBacc was welcome news but the debate still continues. It has also been a week of year 11s here and from outside requesting information about the 6th Form Open Evening on the 3rd Dec.
I was lucky enough to visit the site of the proposed UTC today at the site of the decommissioned power station at Berkeley and was given a tour by the executive principal of South Glos’ & Stroud College group. It was very strange to be staring across at the Forest and Lydney from this side of the Severn.
My critical thinking group had a very lively debate in my room on Thursday as we discussed the meaning of “happiness”. With Halloween gone and Bonfire Night upon us my definition of happiness right now is watching a roaring fire and lots of noisy fireworks as we enter November and darker nights and mornings. And I would also be happier if some of my Year 7 boys didn’t get so muddy at lunchtime!