“March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” English proverb

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope”
Lady Bird Johnson

I am not sure about the May flowers right now in week 30 of the academic year but I know I am still scraping ice off the car first thing in the morning. However being able to sit outside this week to eat dinner in the evening sunshine is finally convincing me summer is getting here. The proverbial May flowers we are hoping that will bloom over the exam period in Key Stage 4 and 5 are heavily revising and preparing themselves with their teachers and parents for the intense exams ahead. I am counting how often during the day I am hearing “it’s a pinch point” at the moment. When is it not a pinch point in a school when you are entrusted with the educational futures of young people? I was asked about the parental boycott of SATs this week in primary schools being a parent of two children in primary school and one in pre-school. There is an awful amount of testing that goes on in schools and it is important that parents and educators debate this fully and frankly especially as young people are being put under enormous pressure to succeed from a very young age. Knowing the profile of a learner is crucial to how we teach and see clear progress and attainment but to forsake the very art of instilling a love of learning in a student that is lifelong is detrimental to the individual and society. Many educators, parents, governors and students will be pleased to hear the U-turn today on the forced academisation proposal in the Education White Paper. The National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter writing in the TES today said “…I am certain that there is a place in our education system for successful, sustainable stand-alone academies”. Wyedean School will work with networks like Challenge Partners so we are not isolated but as a school we are deciding what is right for our students.

I sat along with our parents and staff and watched the outstanding Sixth Form team here on Wednesday evening celebrate the academic year by honouring the success of Wyedean Students. It is at those moments that the worst of days can diminish into a hazy blur as the real sum total of all the effort invested speaks from the heart about achievement both academic and personal. I had the honour of being invited by the Chepstow Rotary Club to hear our Head Boy, Tom, speak about his experience of the Rotary Club’s leadership programme for young people. Not only was it a good dinner but it was a great way of working with our local community. My thanks this week to the Chepstow Lions for their very kind donation of a defibrillator for the school. We all echoed the same sentiment at the presentation handover; let’s hope we never have to use it.

I am looking forward to next week when my A Level Politics class will be talking to their counterparts in Gar-Field High School Virginia over Skype about the presidential election. I am trying not to focus too much on what a possible Trump v Clinton election battle will hold but with no disrespect to the Assembly and local elections in the UK this week for a student of politics America is fascinating right now. My Year 10 Critical Thinking class have to be steered away from Donald Trump regularly and even the most abstract of our topics seems to lead back to him. At least young people are interested and keen in the World around them.

I know it has only been a four day this week with the Bank Holiday but it feels a lot longer. I am hoping that the weekend is at least a time for some rest before another week of “pinch points” to come. And the study leave dates get closer and closer. I know there a lot of good sites out there and revision support such as our own GCSEPod but I like a lot of what is posted on The Student Room site especially this recent one on revision:

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/content.php?r=14029-How-to-set-a-study-goal-the-Grow-your-grades-February-roundup

I still think one of the best pieces of advice when it comes to revision is making sure you get rest, exercise and fresh air in between revising. Sunshine really does make flowers bloom.

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