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Headteachers' Blog

Week commencing 18th July 2016

 

Highlights of the year

And so we come to the end of another school year. We have had many highlights and some notable successes:

  • We were voted one of the five most improved secondary schools in the network by Whole Education - September 2015
  • We were named ‘Changemaker School of the Month’ for Ashoka Changemaker Schools in October 2015
  • We received a ‘Good’ Ofsted report, with Outstanding for student behaviour in November 2015
  • We were awarded TES Secondary School of the Year 2016 in June

Whilst these whole school recognitions are fantastic in themselves, it is the daily interactions between students and staff that often stand out. Some of these will be frustrating and annoying, that is the nature of being human and schools, but the vast majority will provide moments of considerable satisfaction, humour, pride and reward. With 1400 individuals – 1230 students and 170 staff – in school on a daily basis, there are obviously far too many to highlight here, and they will be specific to the individuals concerned. Selecting one is very difficult, but this is memorable for me: each day, whilst I am on duty, a girl in Year 7 always says, “Goodbye, and you have a lovely evening (or weekend)”. On Wednesday I will be amazed if she doesn’t say, “You have a lovely holiday, and I will see you in September”. Wonderful!

Goodbyes

We will be saying farewell to Mr Childs, Miss Glasgow, Miss Healy, Mr Jootna, Miss Keen, Miss, Miss Da Silva and Mrs Yoxall this summer. They will take up teaching posts or other challenges in the UK and further afield. We appreciate the contribution they have made to the school. Staff and students will miss them, so we would like to wish them all well in everything they do.

Sports Personality Evening, Monday 18 July at 7.00pm

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We look forward to presenting our high achieving young sportsmen and women with awards this evening. Students will be recognised for their exceptional effort and achievement in all areas of sport. Prizes will be presented by David Weir, who is a British Paralympic wheelchair athlete, a gold medal winner at the Paralympic Games, and six times winner of the London Marathon.

A full list of winners will be published on the school website after the event.

EFC Graduation Presentations for Year 8

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Today and tomorrow, our Year 8 students reach the culmination of their Excellent Futures Curriculum as they give their graduation presentations to a panel which will include parents, staff, governors and/or invited visitors. We are delighted that one of our visitors today is Melissa Benn, author of numerous books commenting on education, including ‘The Truth about our Schools’ and ‘School Wars’. Good luck to all our students as they prepare to give their presentation. They will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze certificate at Graduation Evening this Tuesday. The ceremony starts at 6.15pm and will be followed by Stanley in the Park, our mini festival outdoor music event at 7.00pm. Tickets are available free of charge via school main reception.

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Plans for the future

As we come to the end of the year, we are considering whether to change to academy status, and whether to form a Multi Academy Trust with other like-minded schools. Our consultation with stakeholders started on 28 June and runs until 30 September. We hope that all parents and carers will be interested to hear about this and share their comments. Please click on the link for more details. http://www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/285/academy-conversion

We shall use our innovative ideas to continue developing our staff professional development offer through SPIRA as a centre of excellence, reaching out to the educational community and inviting them to learn more about our innovative curriculum.

From September 2016, each half term, the school will hold Parent Learning Review Weeks.  These are formal weeks in the school calendar when students will bring home their exercise books and folders, to enable parents and carers to have a school focused discussion with their child and review their learning.  This will include looking through their work and talking about the feedback that has been provided by teachers. There will also be an opportunity to make comments or raise any areas of concern, so that issues can be addressed immediately with tutors or subject staff.

We are pleased that we are to become a recognised Centre of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and we shall continue to encourage our students to take part in this worthwhile programme, which embodies our vision attributes.  

We have a new Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, and there are significant local, national and European political changes ahead which will impact on schools. We shall do our utmost to ensure that we continue to deliver an unparalleled education to our students which equips them for the challenge of further study or work, and prepares them for an exciting career.

We shall be seeking a new parent governor to help us make the most of these opportunities. Please see the first Blog of the new academic year to find out more.

Transition to High School

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On Wednesday 6th July we welcomed our incoming Year 6 children for an Induction Day of fun activities. Last week we focused on younger children, as we held our annual Primary Mini Olympics Event for Year 5 students from our feeder primary schools.

There was a global theme, with schools sending teams representing eight different nations. Nearly 250 children took to the athletics track, competing in track and field events. Their enthusiasm was infectious, with so much energy and effort put into each event! We were lucky that the morning was perfect – dry and bright. It is always a pleasure to see children enjoying this competition, provided to help introduce them to the concept of secondary school. This will mark the start of the transition process. By this time next year they will be preparing to move up from Key Stage 2 to a new school for Key Stage 3. SPH students took an active part in helping welcome and organise our visitors. Thanks to all these helpers, we were proud of them for tackling this task in a friendly and efficient way.

Rewards

Our students receive reward points for good behaviour, outstanding work and exceptional effort. It has been a good year, with totals building steadily, and we are proud to record that our total currently stands at 17,699. This represents some fantastic effort and input from our students and we are delighted with their achievement.

Lost Property

A reminder that all unclaimed lost property will be recycled over the summer break. If your child had mislaid something, please remind them to collect it by the end of the week. Thank you for your cooperation.

Start of Term Arrangements

Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th September are Inset Days. Year 12 students enrol on Tuesday 6th from 8.30am to 3.30pm.

The first day for 7 students will be Wednesday 7th September, while on this day Years 8 to 11 will only attend for their ‘Preparation for Learning’ appointment with their tutor. Parents of students in these year groups will receive an information letter. Year 13 students will enrol at between 9.00am and 2.00pm.

On Thursday 8th the normal timetable will begin for Year 7 – 11 students at 8.30am. Post 16 Induction will take place from 8.30am, with normal lessons starting after break. From Friday onwards we shall be back in our usual routine; but the following week we shall have a short day and a late start on Tuesday 13th / Wednesday 14th September to allow us to prepare and clear up after our annual Open Day on Tuesday evening from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

Finally

We wish everyone a safe, relaxing and happy summer, and we look forward to seeing our students refreshed and ready for work in September. The next blog will be on Monday 12th September.


Week commencing 11th July 2016

The lead for the Blog is usually written on the Friday prior to us posting on our website on a Monday morning, but this piece was written last Wednesday, which tells you something about our desire to transfer our thoughts into the written word.

Our approach to primary-secondary transition has been showcased quite extensively recently, with us appearing in the TES magazine, a video and a webinar.  Many, many questions have been asked about how we build relationships and how our structures and practice enables us to discover and support the uniqueness of each child in order that they are happy and can flourish. Last Wednesday was a key part of our transition process when 210 Year 6 students entered our school in preparation for joining us in September. They come from many primary schools. Some come as part of a large group of 30+, whilst others are the sole representative of their primary school. Most will manage transition with considerable ease, and far more comfortably than we do as adults. Others will find it a little worrying and will require additional support.

With an impeccable sense of timing the KS2 results were released to schools 24 hours before children made their journeys to their new secondary. If they had been following the news they would have been all too aware that, although we were being told not to make comparisons, KS2 results had fallen quite drastically from the previous year. Only 53% (80% in 2015) had achieved the required standard of ‘secondary ready’, a term that has recently been introduced into the already grade and progress infested vocabulary that dominates our education system.

We wonder how the 47% feel at such a crucial time in their educational journey – they are, after all is said and done, only 11 years old. They are children. This year, it is possible that they may be cushioned from the disappointment because they will not be subject to a range of interventions in Year 7 – schools being coerced to narrow the curriculum and provide more English and Maths - because secondary schools do not have to start to deliver such programs until September 2017. These will be followed by.....you guessed it.....further testing in December 2017!

Stanley Park High places relationships above all else and we will not do anything undermines our core value. We wait to see what will happen, but, in the meantime, we welcome and celebrate the uniqueness of our new students and we look forward to forming excellent relationships with them. In our eyes, you are all ‘ready for our secondary school’.

Celebration Evening

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On Thursday 7th July we presented awards to students from all years in the school, for their exceptional progress in a huge variety of subjects. Well done to all our winners, who received a certificate and a commemorative engraved pen. We had an amazing 154 nominations this year.

Art Exhibition during Celebration Evening

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Our students’ imaginative and creative talent was showcased last Thursday at the Art Exhibition, which captured parents’ attention as they made their way to Celebration Evening. Some colourful and thoughtful pieces were shown including painting, drawing, sculpture and collage.

EFC Presentations

On Monday and Tuesday next week, our Year 8 students take turns to make their EFC Presentations to a panel including parents, senior staff, governors and a special visitor – Melissa Benn, author of ‘The Truth about our Schools’. Melissa has featured our school in her writing and we are delighted to welcome her to Stanley Park High.

Following the EFC Graduation ceremony, students will enjoy a disco and our annual music festival ‘Stanley in the Park 2’. This outdoor music event starting at 7.00pm is open to all parents (including incoming Year 6 children), accompanied students and local residents. Please bring a picnic and a blanket, and enjoy the performances. For details please see the front page of the website. Tickets are available free of charge from Reception. We hope you are able to join us.

Events before the end of term

Sports Personality Evening on Monday 18 July, 7.00pm to 8.30pm
EFC Graduation Evening, Tuesday 19 July, 6.15 – 7.00pm
Stanley in the Park, Tuesday 19th July, 7.00 – 9.00pm

Lost Property

Our Lost Property box at Student Services Reception is overflowing with lost clothing and belongings. If your child had mislaid something, please remind them to collect it by the end of next week. All unclaimed items will be recycled after this date.

End of Term Arrangements

We close for the summer break at 11.40am next Wednesday, 20th July. The day will be a Mufti-Day with students contributing £1 for the privilege of wearing non-uniform clothes. The donations will be given to the School Council’s chosen charity.

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 complacent
The numeracy word of the week is vertex


Week commencing 4th July 2016

We are happy to share this expressive picture of our Atrium packed with students, at the moment we shared news of our TES Award success last week. A joyful celebration greeted the news! We hope the picture brings a smile to your face.

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We were delighted that our success, and that of the Limes College Sutton, winners of the Alternative Provision School of the Year, featured in the news. It is a wonderful achievement for Sutton to have two schools win an award, and we warmly congratulate the Limes College.

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Guest Blog

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This week we thought we’d try something new. We are delighted to introduce a guest blogger, Miss Ghodhbani, who teaches English at SPH. She has contributed her own thoughts about the week, and her impressions of the recent staff study tour to Lithuania. We shall invite other members of staff to share their contributions from time to time.

Friday 24th June 2016 will go down in history: the referendum results were announced and Britain has voted with an overall majority to leave the European Union. Although the majority of our students are not yet eligible to vote, it was their future that has been decided, and it was interesting to discuss the issues with some of them at tutor time in the lead up to the decision and on the day it was announced.

Despite this political upheaval, the focus for us remains the same – continuing to foster a love for learning, to develop essential skills and to prepare our students for life beyond school in an ever changing world. That same day, a group of staff from across the school, nominated by their colleagues, represented Stanley Park High at the TES annual awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. Our win is a huge achievement for us and we are incredibly proud to be recognised for the work we do and our innovative approach to the education of the ‘whole child’.

Creativity and freedom to do things a little differently attracted me to join Stanley Park two years ago. Since then, I have also seen how beneficial it is for a school to build strong partnerships and to share best practice with other institutions, both locally and in the wider world. So when the opportunity arose to be part of a study trip to Lithuania last month, coupled with a love of travel, I jumped at the chance.

Lithuania, a relatively small European country, is nestled between Latvia, Belarus and Poland. Throughout history, the country has had to adapt and deal with countless invasions and occupations. It has been independent since 1990 when the people were finally able to vote freely and the Soviet Union withdrew its occupation. It was immensely moving to hear how on August 23rd the previous year, 2,000,000 Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians formed a human chain from Vilnius, the capital city, to Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, an incredible 650 km. Well before the event of social media, this chain was coordinated and organised as a protest, marking the 50th year of the agreement between Hitler and Stalin which carved up parts of Europe for Nazi/Soviet occupation.

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Political change can bring both turmoil and opportunity and the education system has had to adapt and grow in response. The variety of schools and educational institutions we visited made us feel exceptionally welcome. They were very open and friendly in discussion and obviously proud with what they are doing for their students. Some of the highlights for me were watching a group of primary school pupils display proudly for us a traditional dance routine (the teacher got us out of our seats too - a great way to energise at the start of the day!); making a traditional Lithuanian pasty at a technical skills based school for older students, situated in the country; and being able to converse freely with some of the students on the student council at another. The importance of having a combined student, parent and teacher voice was strongly apparent in all of the schools we visited. Lithuanians enjoy a longer summer holiday and were winding down in the last week of term when we visited in late May.

We were very fortunate with the weather during our visit – Lithuania was basking in an unusual mini heatwave. On the morning of the last day we explored the city. Vilnius old town is atmospheric, with cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and inviting pavement cafes. The university, which dates back to 1570, is an impressive combination of Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Beautiful hand-painted frescoes adorn the ceiling in the bookshop. Climbing the hill to the 13th century castle remains affords stunning panoramic views of this peaceful city with an eventful history and a powerful spirit.

Growing up, my mother always instilled in me that travel was an education in its self. Wherever you go and whoever you meet, you learn something new. As a teacher, it is important to continually reflect on your practice and to develop, learn and grow. Having that opportunity to forge partnerships and share and learn from neighbours both near and far, is an incredibly valuable experience.

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Josephine Ghodhbani, Stanley Park High English Teacher

Year 11 Prom

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Our Year 11 students carried on the celebrations at their Prom last Wednesday at Hallmark Hotel Croydon. Having worked extremely hard over the last months, everyone was able to relax and enjoy the evening which was themed ‘Casino Royale’. Amid friends and teachers from the last five years, students recounted their happy memories and made plans for the future. We are looking forward to welcoming many of them back to Post 16 in September. Some will go on to other colleges and employment, and we wish them well for the future.    

Student support for local primary sports days

Some of our students have acted as helpers at local primary schools Barrow Hedges and Bandon Hill for their school Sports Days over the last week. They have enjoyed taking part and were complimented by primary school staff and parents for their helpfulness, politeness and enthusiasm. One of the emails received from Bandon Hill Primary is reproduced below:

“We would just like to say a massive THANK YOU to all the Stanley Park students who helped us during sports day. You not only helped with setting up but ensured the day ran as smoothly as possible! Many members of staff, children and parents commented on how mature and polite you were with the children and it was a pleasure to work with you all!

We really appreciated it and look forward to working with you again in the future.

Miss O'Sullivan & Miss Woollard”

Year 8 EFC Graduation and Stanley in the Park

On Tuesday 19th July, our proud Year 8 students will celebrate their graduation from the EFC programme at Graduation Evening. This will be followed by our annual music festival, Stanley in the Park, starting at 7.00pm.

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This event provides a happy end to Graduation Evening for Year 8 parents and families. We hope that a number of our incoming Year 7 parents may be able to join us, to experience the atmosphere. We are looking forward to this lovely annual summer event.

Music Success

On Saturday 25th, we were well represented by our jazz band and our Year 10 band, who performed to a welcoming audience at Laleham Lea's School Family Fun Day. Last Sunday, some of the same students in the jazz band 'Sharp at 9' were performing again on the main stage for the Belmont Festival.

In a separate story, Matthew Pidgeon and Cameron Evans have been shortlisted to duo together for Busking in London Gigs competition. They will be judged live between the 7-9th August. We wish them success and hope they impress judges as much as they have impressed audiences here in school.

Finally, good luck to Max Barnard (Year 7) who has been invited to take part in Merton Youth Concert band’s performance at the Semi Finals at Wimbledon Tennis Tournament on Thursday. Max will take part alongside other talented young performers, and play to a big audience. We hope he enjoys this amazing experience.

Year 6 Induction Morning

Welcome to our new Year 7 for September, who join us this Wednesday for an action packed day of fun. They will meet their new classmates and take part in some team building activities to help them get to know each other better.  We hope this will make them feel at home, and ease any anxieties about settling in to their new school in September. We believe that transition from primary school is a time when good relationships and firm friendships are forged, and we are happy to see them again before the summer break.

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 complacent
The numeracy word of the week is vertex