Emily: “I’ve cried so much today ugh but just want to thank everyone in Wyedean Class of 2016. It’s been 5 great years honestly so sad to leave”
Jess: “Big thank you to everyone at Wyedean who made the past 5 years of my life such a great experience”
Liz : “@WyedeanSchool Class Act. So glad my kids go to a school with such great staff”.
I’m not sure what has been more difficult to get my thoughts around that the summer seems finally to be here or we have less than 7 weeks until the end of the academic year. The last few weeks seem to have flown by and the exam season is now in full swing as we said goodbye as a school to Year 11 and 13 just before the Whitsun break. There are lots of times in this role when some days feel harder than others but I have really enjoyed reading comments and thoughts from our students and parents about the experiences and sentiments towards Wyedean School. The two assemblies I saw for school leavers in Years 11 and 13 on Friday 27th May made me appreciate the importance of school and the marking of the passing of this time for young people. It is a real boost to morale and energy as staff have worked tremendously hard in getting students through the academic year and ready for exams. The education climate has remained constant though throughout the year; less funding, uncertainty over new measures of progress & attainment and whether all schools should be academies in Multi Academy Trusts. In Wales MAT stood for “More, Able and Talented”, how I wish this was still the case. The education Bill in the Queen’s speech backed down a little from the contentious aspects of the March White Paper but professional associations are still looking to take national action in protest.
This is still though my favourite part of the academic year. The structures for the next academic year in September are already being planned for such as staffing, timetable and the calendar but it is also a time for more holistic learning experiences in the curriculum. We have experienced a huge surge in numbers for Years 7 and 12 from both sides of the border starting in September and we have a number of transition events to prepare our future students into Wyedean to commence the next part of their educational pathway.
I was able to Skype with my old partner school in Virginia, Gar-Field High School, for my last A Level Politics lesson before the break. The Year 13s spoke to their counterparts in the US on a range of topics ranging from Donald Trump and the election, Obama’s legacy, America’s place in the World and the British EU vote coming up in less than 3 weeks from now. There are some moments in this job when you know this is the absolute best job in the World. It happened watching an incredibly compassionate head of Year 11 and a dedicated director of Sixth Form say goodbye to kids they had stewarded through good and bad times but always together. It happened on that Thursday afternoon in my study as students who can vote this year engaged in a lively discussion across the Atlantic using the best of digital media to make their learning and understanding of the World much more meaningful and compelling.
The recruitment and retention crisis in education occupies a lot of column inches and social media space these days. A recent TES poll said only 52% of teachers would put their kids into the school they teach. Over half term a family member who had been a very good primary school teacher told me he was giving it up this summer and had enough. This is an appalling situation to read as an educator. We need outstanding teachers firing up students with limitless ambition and noble aspirations. At times like these I re-read what our staff, students and community say about Wyedean and take a lot of strength and heart knowing that what we are doing here in extremely challenging times are the right things for our young people.