“Becoming is better than being” Carol Dweck

I have been fascinated by the Iowa caucus vote this week and if you are interested in US politics and history there is a podcast every Sunday until the November election from the Washington Post taking each of the 44 presidents and examining their lives and legacy. The becoming in this case is very often more fascinating that the being. Interestingly Jefferson doesn’t have being president on his gravestone as a legacy. And it is astonishing to think that he and Adams both died within hours of each other on the 4th July fifty years after the Declaration of Independence.

In a week where a group of Sixth Formers gave me a divided analysis on Britain’s future in the EU we welcomed staff and students from a French partner school in St Tropez to spend the day in Wyedean on Tuesday. And as if by magic the sun shone like a warm spring day, not quite the French Riviera but almost the Cotes de Wye. Our year 7 left in the early hours of Saturday morning for their long awaited visit to France and if you have a look at the school’s Twitter they had a superb time this week and my thanks to staff, parents and students.

The Science Learning Area here at Wyedean continues to take curriculum enrichment to another level and I am pleased to see Year 8 have been chosen to represent the school at the Salters Festival of Chemistry at the University of Bristol. On Wednesday the year 9 finalists went before an audience and an outside panel of experts for the final of Fame Lab UK and a place at the Cheltenham Festival. A huge thanks to all staff and Fame Lab for their support of this very powerful competition. Just have a look on the school’s Twitter. I am very proud of our students none more so than in those moments listening to individual students talking knowledgably and confidently about their chosen topic. Well done to all the student finalists. I met with Gwent Wildlife Trust on Thursday and incredibly Year 8 Sean Crabbe has won the John Muir photography award. Well done Sean.

The Gospel Choir took part in the Music for Youth Primary Promenade concert in Cheltenham on Thursday and the Wyedean Warriors continue with their sporting success this season. The Year 9s won 2:1 against Dean Academy this week and the Year 7s beat them 10-5 at rugby. With the 6 Nations starting this weekend there will be a lot of friendly rivalry over the next few weeks between our English and Welsh school components. With the odd dash of loyalty to Scotland, Ireland, France and even Italy. The Sixth Form football team beat Newent 2:1 in the County Cup and are through to the next round.

I met with the new intake of PGCE teachers from UWE this week and the school’s partnership with universities like UWE and Bristol is having a very positive impact on our priority to ensure that the Wyedean approach is about compelling learning experiences challenging all of our students. One of the English teachers, Lucy McManus, has just received an outstanding commendation from UWE for the work she has done with them on training PGCE teachers in effective A Level teaching. Lucy was commended by visiting Danish colleagues in partnership with UWE in October for her work.

We are now more than half way through the academic year at the end of week 20 and as I hear Year 11 go off down the corridor for their 2 hour walk and talk Maths mock their approach towards this final stretch of learning and revision before the exam season is impressive. Next week we break for half term and the staff have a two day inset on Thursday and Friday aimed at improving even further teaching and learning. It is our core business and the reason we are here. Next week we say goodbye to our friend and colleague, Finance Director Jeanine Allen, who is moving to a school in the North West. Jeanine has given the school 10 years of dedicated service and she leaves with our warmest wishes.

One of my best moments this week was my Year 7 History class looking at the legacy of King John. We started the lesson thinking he was terrible and finished the lesson thinking not so sure he deserved all the bad press. I am sure King John preferred “becoming” as opposed to his legacy of “being” Nice to close the classroom door and get on with getting lost in the late C12th/early 13th. At least for a short time. Cymru am byth Sunday!

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