The partner school in Chisinau, Moldova, who we work with as a school, Lycee Gheorghe Asachi, celebrated the start of Spring this week with a festival and the giving of red and white ribbons known as martisors. They bring luck for the rest of the year if worn. Our Eisteddfod for St David’s Day hasn’t quite fallen on the 1st March for Dewi Sant but it is a similar principle over on this side of Europe to Moldova (there is a board game called “Where is Moldova?” – great Cricova red wine, a favourite of the Royal Family going back to Queen Victoria). I sat with a group of Year 11s earlier on in the week as we went through the Year book and Prom arrangements. I wasn’t sure if them being relaxed and confident as we sat in my study was a good sign or not as their exams approach even faster, or so it seems now we are in March.
I think the two things I have enjoyed most this week are the assemblies I have taken and the Head’s drop in as I have been walking around various learning areas with colleagues looking at the work we do especially on supporting PP students and delivering stretch & challenge in learning. The theme for the assembly has been based on British Values and The Rule of Law. My stretch and challenge as an educator was to spend 15 minutes from Monday to Thursday at 8:45 ensuring I made this appealing as a topic to the various year groups. I did manage to get in The Simpsons, John Locke, Magna Carta, Charles I, the Founding Fathers, Hitler, Jim Crow Laws, Brexit and finally Donald Trump. In my walk around three learning areas I saw very effective feedback and review in Social Studies/MFL; tracking and independent learning in the applied learning area and in Maths today not only sublime learning from the PGCE teacher but rich and stunning curriculum enrichment supporting extended learning for all maths students. These moments really are the best times of being a Head.
The school has been looking recently at exactly what sort of network and partnership with other schools and organisations we should collaborate with to ensure Wyedean School is a high performing & innovative school. We took a huge step closer this week as we looked in leadership and in governor meetings at a partnership with some of the very best and outstanding schools in England. Wyedean School believes in all sorts of networks and partnerships and one of the most successful ones we have been involved in over the last 6 months is the one with the University of Cardiff and the Confucius Institute. On Monday evening the school held its first ever Mandarin Festival and my thanks to local primary schools, parents and the Confucius Institute for supporting the event. The Chinese Lion from the group at Bristol University was wonderful to see and certainly entertained the students from Bream and Offa’s Mead in the front row. Some great photos on the school’s Twitter also on Wyedean Sports Twitter showing the success of the Wyedean Warriors and well done to Year 8 and 10 girls football teams this week in particular. County finals at Rednock School coming up on the 15th March.
As the region Mandarin hub/hwb it is astonishing how we have been able to get Mandarin delivered to students from The Dell to St Briavels primary schools and many more in between in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean areas. This week across England Year 6 students and their parents found out their 1st choice secondary school for September. In response to the many phone calls we have had here since Tuesday from both sides of the border we will have places available and we have already created additional teaching groups. The same goes for Sixth Form places as we have had a record intake. We have been working with the Welsh Assembly to provide the opportunity for students from Welsh medium primary schools to continue their Welsh in what is believed to be a first for an English school. So from September students will have the opportunity to study French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Welsh and with our funding and partnership with the Classics dept. of Bristol University, Latin.
I am attending the annual educational leadership conference for ASCL this weekend in Birmingham where, amongst others, Nicky Morgan is giving the key note as well as Sir Michael Wilshaw and Sir David Carter speaking respectively. I am not convinced that despite the opportunity to see and listen to these heavyweights of education I wouldn’t prefer to see the class of top set Year 9s that I saw working in Maths this morning so well with their teacher.