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Headteachers' Blog

Week commencing 27th June 2016

STANLEY PARK HIGH - Secondary School of the Year 2016

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It is going to be a rather long Blog this week! Last Friday evening 1000 members of staff from 120 schools attended the annual TES Schools Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel. We are absolutely delighted to become the TES Secondary School of the Year 2016. Ann Mroz, editor, stated that the ‘quality of entries was incredibly high across all of the categories, and the eighteen judges had a real task on their hands to select winners from diverse shortlists that highlighted the brightest and the best.’

The full citation included in the winners’ booklet says:

‘Stanley Park High has achieved remarkable outcomes for its student body by focusing on igniting their passion for learning. It is a non-selective secondary in a highly selective area and has been recognised as one of the most improved schools in the Whole Education network.

This is a school with a determined attitude that provides on providing an engaging and rounded education. Its vision centres on a broad educational experience, giving young people the skills and knowledge that they need to flourish in life, not just to pass tests.

The school was selected as a case study for the ATL teaching union’s A Curriculum that Counts website, and has been praised by Ofsted for its imaginative approach, which “very successfully prepares pupils for their future lives”. The inspectorate noted that behaviour was outstanding and that good relationships with teachers underpinned pupils’ enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

Stanley Park High is outward looking, contributing to a number of initiatives to support students across different schools. It has established its own innovation and research centre to promote professional development and enable teachers to participate in conferences and share their expertise.

The judges were impressed by the creative, ambitious and supportive culture fostered at Stanley Park High. They said: “At a time of huge pressure on schools, the submission from Stanley Park High made it obvious that the welfare and wellbeing of the children comes above anything else.”

There are many wonderful comments from the judges, but particularly pleasing is the recognition that despite the huge pressure on schools, SPH make it obvious that the welfare and wellbeing of our students comes above everything.

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We were represented on the evening by 12 members of staff from all areas of school life, selected on the basis of nominations from their colleagues. Those attending were:

Ms Symons Associate Headteacher
Miss Pascoe Chair of Governors
Miss Noble Core leader, Literacy
Ms Thomas Director of SPIRA
Mr Amin Head of Trade School
Mr Taylor Headteacher
Mrs Miller Inclusion Manager
Ms Alden Lead Practitioner
Mrs Baker Learning Support Assistant, Aqua
Mr Storey Reprographics Assistant
Mr Mayanja Teacher Leader, Geography/EFC
Mr Tomson Teacher Leader, Mathematics

However, we would not have achieved this success without the contribution of all our fantastic staff:

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This is for everybody connected to SPH - a massive thank you to each and every one of you for this superb achievement.

Finally, congratulations to our colleagues at The Limes College, Sutton, who were named as TES Alternative Provision School of the Year – what a wonderful night for Sutton!

Whole Education Award for Ms Alden

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Congratulations to Ms Alden, who was presented with an award from Whole Education in a prestigious ceremony last Wednesday. This accolade recognised her outstanding work with Project Based Learning, which is a central part of the school’s curriculum for Years 7 and 8. We are delighted that her work is reaching a wider audience, and that the school’s Excellent Futures curriculum has generated so much interest from the profession.

Compliment for our students and staff

We were delighted to receive the following email following our school visit to St George’s Park, the English Football Association's national football centre at Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire :

My name is Amy and I have had the pleasure today of coaching some of your students and meeting your staff on their visit. I was absolutely blown away firstly by their fantastic talents and secondly by their enthusiasm for playing, working as a team and their respect for both myself, fellow coach and their teachers.

Despite a long journey they were energetic, listened well, continually tried their best and their behaviour was first class.

The accompanying staff were superb, despite a long drive and no doubt a busy teaching week they were invaluable to ensuring we could provide an appropriate level of challenge and (hopefully) enjoyable coaching session. They helped and supported throughout. To give up their whole Sunday to give these lovely young people such an opportunity is a testament to the whole ethos of your school.


Our students had a wonderful time visiting this centre which offers a superb opportunity to see behind the scenes in the world of elite football. It is always lovely to hear positive feedback about our school, but to receive such glowing praise is a testament to our well behaved and dedicated students and staff. We felt this had to be shared with you. Thanks to Amy for her thoughtfulness in sending these comments.

Year 9 Options / Core Parents’ Evening last Thursday

Thank you to all of you who attended the Year 9 Options/Core Parents’ Evening. The results of the feedback survey are published below.

 

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

My child feels safe in school

58%

42%

-

-

My child is happy to come to school

33%

67%

-

-

My child is making good progress at school

58%

42%

-

-

The school is well led and managed

17%

83%

-

-

Teaching standards are high

17%

83%

-

-

Behaviour standards are high

42%

50%

8%

-

Homework is set appropriately

25%

67%

-

8%

My child has benefitted from the Year 9 Taster Options

50%

42%

8%

-

There is a good range of extra-curricular activities

17%

83%

-

-

 

Intensive Day this Thursday, 30th June and Friday, 1st July

In a May Blog we asked for parents’ support in changing the date of our one remaining Intensive Day, and also allow us to shut the school for all students on another day, so that we can effectively plan for GCSE curriculum changes. On Thursday 30th June, the timetable will be compressed and students will be dismissed at 12:10pm. On the following day, Friday 1st July, the school will be closed for students.

We realise that the early closure may create childcare problems for working parents. A staffed classroom will be provided until 3:15pm for any student that needs to remain in school on Thursday. Please email Mrs D Stocks, Headteachers’ PA, dstocks@suttonmail.org  if you would like your child to remain at school. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Strike by the National Union of Teachers

Whilst we are yet to receive official notification, the NUT has voted to strike on Tuesday 5th July. We are not in a position to confirm the impact on the operation of the school on that day, although it is likely that there will be some disruption to normal lessons. This could include the school being closed to some year groups or all students. We will make an announcement on our website on Friday of this week, but we apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Sainsburys Active Kids

We are delighted that our collection of vouchers amounted to nearly 11,500. We shall be placing our order this week for a variety of sports equipment, which will be used in lessons and clubs to benefit all our students.

Thanks to all parents and friends who contributed to this wonderful total, and to the handful of student volunteers who helped with the counting! 

Words of the Week

Every two weeks, the school focuses on new words which broaden the vocabulary. This week…

The literacy word of the week is intrepid
The numeracy word of the week is tetrahedron


Week commencing 20th June 2016

We could have much to celebrate by the end of the week

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The tickets have arrived and we are very much looking forward to the TES Awards 2016, which will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, on Friday evening.

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We have been shortlisted for ‘Secondary School of the Year’, which is the third last category to be awarded by the host, Dara O’Briain, during the evening. We are thrilled to have reached the final eight, and we are in good company with the other schools being: Ark St Alban's Academy, Birmingham; Fulham Cross Girls' School, London; Monkseaton High School, Tyne and Wear; Rushcliffe School, Nottingham; Sir John Leman High School, Suffolk; St. Gregory's Catholic Science College, Middlesex and St. Ninian's High School, East Dunbartonshire.

The award will go to a secondary school based on its performance in the previous 12 months; however, it is equally applicable to those that have experienced rapid improvement and those that are maintaining continued excellence. We have been informed that the judges want to see more than academic achievement, with the winner demonstrating innovation, imagination and efforts to develop children in ways that go beyond the league tables. In addition to the winner, there will be two schools highly commended. The winner will also be automatically entered into the ‘Overall School of the Year’, and will be judged against the winners of the Early Years, Primary and Alternative categories.

Stanley Park High will be represented by twelve members of staff/governors. Selecting such a small group was incredibly difficult, particularly as we have over 150 members of staff and 18 governors. One way would have been to draw names out of a hat, but we decided to allow each member of staff the opportunity to nominate a colleague to represent the school, and express why they were chosen. There were some truly wonderful testimonials, far too many for the twelve places, but we are delighted that those selected come from all aspects of the school: the administration team, the inclusion team, learning support assistants, teachers and leaders. We will be led by Jane Pascoe, Chair of Governors, which is just reward for the 12+ years she has undertaken this entirely voluntary role.

We are very conscious that our nomination wouldn’t have been possible without the support of parents, and obviously our students. Thank you to each and every one of you. Equally, we are very aware that our nomination does not make us perfect. We are proud to be human and not a machine. Consequently, whilst we mostly have very good days, a few are not so good, but when the latter happens we reflect on it and try to make it better.

We will be tweeting during the evening, so if you would like to know the result, please follow us @SPHHeads. Alternatively, we will tell you all about it in next week’s Blog.

Year 9 Options / Core Parents’ Evening next Thursday

The Year 9 Options/Core Parents’ Evening takes place this Thursday, 23rd June from 3.45pm to 7.30pm. Letters with further details about the evening, including timings of the Options talks and details about the online booking system for making appointments with Core subject teachers, will be sent during this week. The deadline for appointments to be made is today, Monday 20th June. We hope that all Year 9 parents and carers will be able to join us for this important event.

Key Stage 4 and 5 Art Exhibition in Spotlight during Year 9 Options Evening, Thursday 23rd June

We are staging an exhibition of our students’ art work during Options Evening. Please feel free to pop along to enjoy some wonderful work.

Assessment Morning for our new Year 7

It was lovely to see our new Year 7 intake for September on Saturday 18th June at Assessment Morning. Thanks to all the new parents and students who came along, and stayed to chat and enjoy a cream tea. We look forward to welcoming our incoming students again on July 6th for Induction Morning.

Friends’ Quiz Night

Unfortunately our Quiz Night this Friday has been postponed, and we shall be announcing a new date for this shortly. Apologies to those who have tickets and we hope that you will be able to join us again.

Intensive Day on 30th June / 1st July

On 23rd May we asked for parents’ support in changing the date of our one remaining Intensive Day, and also allow us to shut the school for all students on another day, so that we can respond to Government demands in respect of curriculum changes.

On Thursday 30th June, the timetable will be compressed and students will be dismissed at 12:10pm. On the following day, Friday 1st July, the school will be closed for students.

We realise that the early closure may create childcare problems for working parents. A staffed classroom will be provided until 3:15pm for any student that needs to remain in school. Please email Mrs D Stocks, Headteachers’ PA, dstocks@suttonmail.org if you would like your child to remain at school. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Cardiac Risk in the Young

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We have been contacted by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a UK based health charity. Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die from undiagnosed heart conditions. Since its formation in 1995, this organisation has been working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). 

We would like to draw your attention to the screening programme they offer for young people aged 14 – 35. Further information can be found on their website. Please click on the link below.

www.c-r-y.org.uk

Words of the Week

Every two weeks, the school focuses on new words which broaden the vocabulary. This week…

The literacy word of the week is intrepid
The numeracy word of the week is tetrahedron


Week commencing 13th June 2016

There are lots of bits and pieces to keep you updated this week.

Academy Status

Last week we were informed that we have been allocated the essential £25,000 to support our conversion to a Multi-Academy Trust. Winckworth Sherwood, our solicitor, has been appointed and will be informing the Governing Body of the process we need to follow at the next meeting on 22nd June. It is likely that if all goes well, and we have the support of all stakeholders, we will convert on 1st December 2016. We fully appreciate parents will want to know about all of the issues relating to our potential conversion. Consequently, and in addition to the recently held Academy Information Evening, we will be publishing a considerable amount of additional material on our website in the week of the Governors’ meeting.

Primary to Secondary Transition

We have started the process of inducting our new Year 7s, with senior leaders visiting primary schools in order that we are able to start the critically important relationship building with our prospective students. Due to the strength of our transition processes we have recently been asked to participate in a major TES article and video which will be published on 1st July. A photographer will be in school next week to capture images supporting this excellent coverage.

SPIRA

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Last week we held our first conference and welcomed 45 teachers from the Bridge Academy in Milton Keynes. The purpose of their visit was to receive training on the learning and teaching of our Excellent Futures Curriculum. Our Sports Day – mentioned below – provided the ideal opportunity for the training to be situated in the Trade studio, where it was excellently led by Ms Alden, Miss Patsides and Miss Hawkins. After lunch our visitors had an opportunity to tour the school. They loved our building and facilities, but they were particularly glowing about “the feel of the school”. This pleased us immensely because a recent study has concluded that this is the most important factor a parent considers when choosing a secondary school for their child.

EFC Presentations – The Sky’s the Limit

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Well done to our Year 7 students who impressed us last week, delivering their polished performances for the culmination of their ‘Sky’s the Limit’ project.

One parent emailed to comment:

“I just wanted to email and say what a fantastic performance the Year 7 Trade students put on today and to thank the staff for all their help with it.  I was amazed how such a well written and dramatic performance could be staged by children that age.  I was particularly impressed with the script (especially the Chorus's) and the attention to detail on the set design. Well done to everyone involved!”

Sports Day Friday 10th June

Despite some concerns earlier in the week, the weather was ideal for both competitors and spectators alike. Our students responded magnificently with tremendous effort being exerted within a wonderful sporting atmosphere. Well done to Oaks, the overall winners.

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Charity Run by an extraordinary student

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We would like to give publicity to an event organised by our Year 10 student Luka Raketa. This is a charity run, which he hopes will raise money for Cancer Research in memory of his mum. Luka tragically lost his mum Emily, who was a local teacher, to cancer last year. He has dedicated himself to raising money through this event, which will be on Sat 25th June at 11am, covering Oaks Park and Queen Mary's Park.

Luka has created an online sponsor page for the team on 'just giving'. His target is £1000, but to raise more would be fantastic as Cancer Research UK is a very important charity to him. Any amount of sponsorship would be gratefully received. The link below takes you straight to the sponsor page:

www.justgiving.com/Team-Emily2016

Luka's tutor Mrs Thornton is also happy to collect money for him if you would like to donate that way. All donations should be in a sealed envelope. He would love some support at the event, and he will collect donations on the day.

We are very proud of Luka who has coped bravely. While we do not usually promote charity events through the blog, as there are many worthwhile causes, we hope you will support Luka and his ambition to raise money for this cause which is especially close to his heart.

Year 8 Options Evening last Thursday

We were delighted to welcome a large gathering of parents at last Thursday’s Year 8 Options Choice Evening. Information about the broad choice of subjects available, and all Year 8 students and their parents / carers discovered the range of possibilities open to them. Year 8 Option choices forms are due back today.

Friends’ Quiz Night – Friday 24th June

We are looking forward to this event next Friday and we hope that you will be able to join us for a brain teasing night of fun.

Doors open at 6.30pm and the event starts at 7.00pm, finishing at 10.00pm. There will be prizes for the winning team, so put your group together, bring your own drinks and nibbles and help raise funds for the school. Tickets are now available at £5 through Parent Pay. Full details are on the school website. 

Please note this event is for over 18s only.

Words of the Week

Every two weeks, the school focuses on new words which broaden the vocabulary. This week…

The literacy word of the week is savvy
The numeracy word of the week is scalar


Week commencing 6th June 2016

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Rome – May 2016

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Iceland – May 2016

The Half term holiday

During the break there were educational visits to Iceland for Post 16 students and Rome for students in Year 10. By all accounts our students had a fantastic time and were wonderful ambassadors for the school. You will be able to find out more about these visits in the news section of the website in the near future.

In addition to these visits, a group of staff and governors, as well as representatives of Human Scale Education, undertook a study tour to Vilnius, Lithuania. Such visits are of immense benefit because they both broaden horizons in terms of our educational experience and provide ample opportunity for us to use this in order to reflect on our practice at SPH. Our 3 day visit enabled us to spend time in four local schools – 2 primaries, one lower secondary and one craft school - and have panel discussions with colleagues from the Centre for School Improvement. Our visit involved research in to the Human-Scale principles that Lithuania has to offer and, particularly, allowed us to investigate the “Lithuania 2030” Strategy which has a vision for the joy and success of learning for each child: ‘Renkuosi mokyti’.

Artist in Residence – Our ambition to create immersive environments.

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Hand drawn image and display for English

Last week in the TES there was an article about the importance of inviting an artist to work in school. Referring to a time when the rise of the English Baccalaureate is being accused of squeezing art out of the curriculum, the article extolled the benefits of inviting an artist to take up residence in schools to supplement arts education. We have not reduced our commitment to art, but we have recognised the benefit of having an artist. Sarit Barnard has been with us for approximately two months. Having studied illustration at university, and worked as a professional illustrator on books and magazines, her past work includes scenery painting and illustration for fabric design. We are fortunate that we are beginning to reap the benefits.

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Hand drawn illustrations for the Library

The images shown include Sarit’s imaginative hand drawn illustrations and lettering – a real inspiration. This term we will begin our journey of creating not just excellent displays, but truly immersive environments, ones that are totally related to the learning students are undertaking at any given time. Primary schools are usually better than secondary schools in creating such environments, so we will endeavour to mirror their excellence.

In addition to creating wonderful displays, we are confident that Sarit will help students to experiment with their creativity and gain confidence in expressing themselves. It will also give our young people an insight into the professional arts world, and demonstrate the continuum from art made in the classroom through to professional practice. Opportunities for students to work alongside Sarit will be coming soon. 

Year 8 Options Evening

A reminder that this event takes place this Thursday between 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Letters have been sent to all Year 8 Parents. There will be two talks available, the first at 6.00pm and the second at 6.45pm. We look forward to seeing all Year 8 parents and carers, and hope that you can join us.

Sports Day

This Friday we are looking forward to the annual athletics competition between our four houses: Beeches, Carew, Oaks and Wandle. All students will arrive in school by 8.25am; Years 7, 8 and 9 wearing their PE kit instead of school uniform. There is no need to send uniform for the afternoon as Key Stage 3 students may wear their PE kit for the day. Year 10 students should arrive wearing usual school uniform and change into PE kit for the afternoon. All students will register as normal.

The morning is for Key Stage 3, and students in Years 7 to 9 will begin their competition at approximately 9am. The morning will finish at approximately 12:30pm.

Year 10 students will attend lessons 1-4 as normal. Their competition will commence at approximately 1:45pm, but only for those students wishing to participate. All other Year 10 students will attend usual lessons in the afternoon.

A barbeque has been organised for staff and students at lunchtime. We regret that we will be unable to provide this for spectators, but parents are welcome to attend, to support and encourage those competing. If you wish to watch a thoroughly enjoyable occasion, please report to reception at 8:50am for the morning competition and 1:40pm for the afternoon competition.

Please note that any postponement of the event due to weather will be posted as an announcement on the school website on Thursday afternoon. In this eventuality, school will operate as normal on Friday. We hope that this will not be necessary, and that you will be able to join us.

Year 9 Options / Core Parents’ Evening

The Year 9 Options/Core Parents’ Evening takes place on Thursday 23rd June from 3.45pm to 7.30pm. Letters with further details about the evening, including timings of the Options talks and details about the online booking system for making appointments with Core subject teachers, will be sent during this week. The deadline for appointments to be made is Monday 20th June.

Year 7 and 8 tests

Next week, Year 7 and 8 will be having tests in their core subjects (English, Maths and Science). All tests will take place during lesson time. The results will be provided for parents on your child’s report which will be produced later this term.

Safety concern about student travel

We would like to draw parents’ attention to a safety concern raised by the local bus company. Drivers have recently reported that students waiting for the bus going towards Wallington are often standing in the road. This is due to the lack of space on the pavement by the bus stop. 

If your child travels by this route, we again advise that students avoid the eastbound bus stop at the junction of Fountain Drive and Stanley Park Road. The issue has been taken up with Transport for London and we hope that measures will be taken to relieve this problem and make this bus stop safe.

Good news

Whilst we were away, we were informed of the following letter in the Local Guardian.

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Well done to our teachers Mrs Morelli, Ms Alden and Mr Jootna.

Words of the Week

Every two weeks, the school focuses on new words which broaden the vocabulary. This week…

The literacy word of the week is savvy
The numeracy word of the week is scalar