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Headteachers' Blog

Week commencing 26th September 2016

When passions collide

Just inside the atrium on both sides you will find the staff profile boards. These have been in existence for about three years and followed us seeing something similar in Akranes School, Iceland. They share each member of staff’s passions and interests with the students, but are specifically used within our Excellent Futures Curriculum during the summer term of year 7 when students undertake their independent projects based on their passion.

If you were to look at my board you would see that I am interested in both the world wars, polar exploration and most sports. Despite being very interested in sport, I rarely do a lead piece for the Blog about it. If anything, I tend to over-compensate, ignore the fact that I was a PE teacher, and don’t give it the coverage it deserves. And it does deserve considerable coverage because having worked in schools for 30 years, I know high quality PE/sports provision when I see it. We really do maximise the use of our fantastic facilities both inside and outside or curriculum time, and our teams are becoming a force to be reckoned with, as last season’s last 16 success (over 500 entries) in national competition - U13 Girls and U18 Boys football - shows.

Many of our students progress beyond school sport to represent others. Last week I was delighted to read about three of our girls representing AFC Wimbledon Ladies U14.

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Also, I continue to be very proud of the fact that the following players were all in our Post 16 football academy over the last three years and are all now regularly playing semi-professionally with Carshalton Athletic: Matt Willard- goalkeeper, Jack Minchin-goalkeeper, Bobby Price- right back, Tommy Bradford- centre forward, Kingsley Akionbare- Centre forward, Ricky Korboa- Winger, Mikel Miller- Winger and Josh Phillips- Centre forward. All are aged 21 or under.

We also need to be aware that it is not all about playing. After school last Friday I went to see our new gymnastics club, which is being run by Future Gym. Helping out as a coach was Ellie, one of our year 9 students. The Head Coach informed me that not only was she helping our students, she was also coaching all of the younger children until 9pm - fabulous!

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Equally, Tom Rowbotham, came through our football academy, but decided that he wanted to be a coach. He recently achieved the FA youth module level 3 - UEFA B Licence. He is the youngest person ever to achieve this and he is putting it to good use by supporting Mr Hazel in working with our academy players.

Finally, I want to give a mention to our supporters of sport, and one in particular. Prior to the summer holiday I was introduced to Anthony Harrold, an Aqua student who is now in year 7. His passion is Tooting and Mitcham FC, and he watches them regularly home and away. Prior to our meeting I don’t think he knew that I played for Tooting throughout the 1990s.

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I am delighted that our passions have collided. I bumped into Anthony in his EFC lesson last week. He was able to tell me that going into Saturday’s games Tooting were top of the league and going well. He was also able to tell me that Carshalton Athletic were second in the league. Split loyalties when they meet? Possibly, but forced to make a choice I will be with Anthony because you never go against your team.

Year 6 Open Morning

Over 250 parents and Year 6 children visited the school last Thursday to see the school in action on a normal working day. They were guided around by groups of our students, who enthusiastically described their experience of transition and life as a student at SPH. We hope that our visitors learned from them and enjoyed the opportunity to explore the school.

If you are a parent of a Year 6 child and were unable to attend Open Morning, please contact Mrs Kermally, mkermally@suttonmail.org to arrange a tour.

Year 7 Parents’ Information Evening

We are looking forward to meeting with all the parents of our Year 7 students on Thursday 29th September. The evening is scheduled to begin at 6:00pm and finish at 7:30pm. The event will enable us to share with you further information to support your child, whilst also providing the opportunity to meet with your child’s tutor and discuss their transition to Stanley Park High so far. I hope that all Year 7 parents will be able to join us.

Parent Governor Election

Details appeared in the Headteachers’ Blog on 12th September about the opportunity for two parents to join the Governing Body.

The nomination period has now closed. We are delighted that five candidates have submitted nominations, and this means that we will hold an election. Students will bring home papers today, and full details are published on our website including the candidates’ supporting statements. All parents of registered students are entitled to vote. Each parent can submit one ballot paper, regardless of the number of children you have attending the school. You may vote for up to two of the candidates.

Ballot papers should be returned in a sealed envelope to the ballot box, which will be at Students Services Reception. The deadline for the return of ballot papers is Friday 14th October.

Canteen at SPH

We would like to draw parents’ and carers’ attention to the fact that our catering providers have changed from September. Welcome to Pabulum Catering, who were selected after a thorough tendering process involving the school and governors. The meals, snacks and drinks on offer this year are slightly different.

Free porridge is available to students every morning at Stanley Perc. This service aims to ensure that every student has a good breakfast before starting the day. Please encourage your child to take advantage of this offer.

Parents should be aware that the canteen is cashless and students will make purchases from the canteen via their Parentpay account. It is necessary to monitor the account to make sure that funds are topped up regularly. It is also easy to see the food and drink choices which students have made.

If a reminder of the username and password for your Parentpay account would be helpful, please contact the school’s Finance Department by emailing  finance@stanleyparkhigh.org.uk

Academy Status – end of the consultation period approaching

There are five more days until the end of our consultation on the school’s potential conversion to a Multi-Academy Trust. Information can be found via the following link:

www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/academy-conversion

All parents and carers are encouraged to view the information provided, which includes pros and cons about the proposed change, and frequently asked questions. If you have any concerns, or you wish to make a comment, please contact Mrs Stocks, Headteachers’ PA, dstocks@suttonmail.org

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 Pithy
The numeracy word of the week is Bisect


Week commencing 19th September 2016

Open Evening

Our annual Open Evening last Tuesday, 13th September saw a huge number of visitors -1800+ exploring the school and discovering all it has to offer. Once again our students were at the forefront of the occasion and many visitors complimented them on their knowledge of the school and their infectious enthusiasm. One wrote: “Great open evening at Stanley Park High last night. Kids loved exploring the school; students were very informative and full of confidence. Teachers were very approachable and encourage all the prospective kids and parents to get involved. Great Headteachers’ talk. The science department was a particular hit. Facilities were amazing and finally ….. what a fantastic building!! Well done Stanley Park – think you are finally getting the recognition you deserve for all your hard work.”

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The English department celebrated gothic fiction by getting into character and creating a gothic experience. 

As you would expect there were many questions. The most popular by a country mile: “How big is your catchment area and will my child get in?” Having once had a catchment area that basically stretched from Land’s End to John O’Groats, it is very reassuring that although our much smaller catchment area is a concern for parents seeking a place for their child, it is a very good barometer of confidence in the local community. Parents want to send their children to Stanley Park High because they agree with our approach and recognise what it is achieving, not solely in terms of examination results, but in enabling the acquisition of a broader range of skills. They also acknowledge that we are a school that works for everyone – a true local community comprehensive - and it is this mix that is its real strength.

We are conscious that some were unable to attend our Open evening because it was the night before some of the local selective schools held their entrance examinations. We no longer see ourselves as the reserve if a child is unsuccessful in their tests. We see ourselves as a viable alternative, a point made by several parents on the night, with one even saying that although his child had prepared for the entrance exam, they wouldn’t be taking it because he wanted him/her to come to SPH because we are better!    

Thank you very much to all those who attended our very successful evening.

Open Morning

The school is open to visitors for our Open Morning this Thursday, 22nd September from 9.00am to 10.30am. This is an opportunity to see the school during the normal working day, and may be especially of interest to those families who were unable to attend our Open Evening last week. Arrival at 9.00am is recommended because we would like visitors to see all areas of the school. Parents and students are warmly welcome, and no appointment is necessary.

Assessment

We have further developed our Assessment Systems to more fully engage parents in the process.  We have detailed this in the Assessment Section on our School Website, but some of the main points are as follows:

1. Learning Review Weeks

From September 2016, each half term, the school will hold Learning Review Weeks.

Learning Review Weeks are formal weeks in the school calendar when students will bring home their exercise books and folders to allow parents and carers to have a school-focused discussion with their child and review their learning. This will include looking through their work, discussing the feedback that has been provided by teachers and identifying any areas for development. 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.

Please look at the Assessment Calendar on our School Website for a detailed schedule (Assessment Section -Appendix A, link below). Further information about the process will be sent to all Parents towards the end of September. 

Appendix A

2. Data Entry

Data is entered in accordance with the schedule in Appendix A. Each Data Entry period generates a sequence of meetings to determine the appropriateness of each student’s progress, with interventions initiated if progress is deemed to be of concern (See Intervention Policy). 

3. Reporting to Parents

After each Data Entry period parents will receive either an Interim or Full Report, in accordance with the schedule in Appendix A. Associated with one of these reports, there will be one Parents’ evening for students in Years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. In Years 7 and 8 there are Student Led Conferences with parents for each Year Group. Please see the Excellent Futures Curriculum section of the website for more information on Student Led Conferences.

Academy Status

Last term we started the period of consultation on potential conversion to a Multi-Academy Trust. Information was placed on our website and can be found via the following link: www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/academy-conversion

The consultation closes on 30th September. If you have any questions or wish to make a comment, please contact Mrs Stocks, Headteachers’ PA, dstocks@suttonmail.org

Hellerup Skole

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Today we welcome staff and students from Hellerup, our twinned school. They will spend this morning in lessons, before being taken to the homes of some of our Year 9 students this afternoon. We very much hope they enjoy their stay and we look forward to the return visit in June.

Reminder - Parent Governor Election

Details appeared in last week’s blog about the opportunity to join the Governing Body as a Parent Governor.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 23rd September, and completed nomination forms should be returned to a collecting box which has been placed at Student Reception.

Full information can be downloaded by clicking on the links below. If you believe you have skills to offer, we would encourage you to apply. Further information can be obtained from Mrs D Stocks, PA to the Headteachers and Officer to the Governing Body: dstocks@suttonmail.org

Invitation letter
Nomination form
Eligibility criteria

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 Gusto
The numeracy word of the week is Arc


Week commencing 12th September 2016

Running with thoughts

Most of the Blog is drafted during the middle of the week preceding its publication, but the lead piece tends to be crafted during a relatively early morning weekend run along the banks of the Hogsmill River near where I live. It is during these runs that I do a lot of my thinking about education and our school. You will not be surprised that there was one issue that dominated this weekend’s thinking, the sudden announcement that there was going to be consultation on more grammar schools.

Little promotes more hours of heated debate in education than grammar schools, and I am not going to add much to it in this Blog! However, I do feel that I need to make a couple of points. Firstly, the language that has been used over the weekend has often implied that grammar schools are good and everybody else isn’t. This is clearly not true, with Ofsted, ATL and the judges of the TES Awards all confirming in the last year that we are doing very well indeed! Secondly, some commentators have rolled out the view that non-selective schools don’t cater for ‘more academically able students’. This is incredibly lazy as well because an increasing % of our examination grades are either A*/A – 15% of all GCSEs this year. Some students solely get these grades – Emily Everest achieved 8 A* and 3 A grades this summer!

It is against this backdrop that we hold our Open Evening on Tuesday. In my speech I will say that we are proud of the fact that we are a community school, one that, in focusing on the primacy of relationships, supports the learning of all of our students, all of whom are unique. Yes, like all schools, I will speak about our focus on the three Rs, as they are vitally important, but it will never be at the expense of developing the broader skills needed to enable each individual to thrive.

Open Evening

Open-Evening-Advert-Small

We are very much looking forward to welcoming families and students for our Open Evening this Tuesday, 13th September. This is an occasion for parents and children from local primary schools to visit us and discover all that Stanley Park High can offer. Doors will open at 5.30pm, and there will be talks from the Headteacher at 6.00pm, 6.45pm and 7.15pm. The event is due to finish at 8.30pm.

 A large volume of traffic is expected. In order to alleviate congestion, a one-way system will be in operation for visitors and local residents during the event, with traffic entering the area from Diamond Jubilee Way/Fountain Drive, around Damson Way and leaving via Metcalfe Avenue onto Woodmansterne Road. We would be grateful to our visitors for their consideration regarding parking, as we maintain a good relationship with our local residents.

As in previous years, the school will close to students at 12:10pm to allow teachers to prepare the building and grounds. We value the support of our student volunteers for this event, and if your son or daughter is to play this important role, you will receive a letter. The school will have a later start on Wednesday 14th September, so that the school can be made ready for teaching. Students are expected to be in school by 10:25am, but they should not arrive before 10:00am.

Year 7 are settling in very well

It is pleasing to see that our Year 7 students have enjoyed their first week, and seem to be settling in well and making new friends. Good relationships are being forged with tutors and teachers. Thanks to those parents who have taken the time to write giving feedback on their impressions, including one parent who contacted the school by email to say:

“I just wanted to take moment to thank the lovely teacher who greeted my very nervous son this morning at the glass doors. She calmed him down in such a lovely way.”

We are delighted that Year 7 have done so well, and we look forward to seeing them make further progress as the term unfolds.

Curriculum Information Published on the Website

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Subject Leaders have been updating their curriculum plans for all year groups. Those for Years 7-11 will be placed under the Learning Tab on our website later today, with those for Post 16 appearing later this week. We hope that parents find them useful. More information about changes to our assessment procedures will be explained in next week’s Blog.

Homework Changes

We have invested in a new online learning platform called Firefly. This enables us to use technology much more creatively to support your child’s learning. One area that it will immediately improve is the recording of homework. Last year, students were using both student planners and Show My Homework to record their homework. We listened to both students and staff who said it was complicated to have two systems at the same time. Therefore, we have decided to move away from the traditional planner where students recorded their homework and support students to only use the online facility, Firefly, to record their homework. 

All students have been informed about how to activate their account (guidance is displayed on the website) and should all now be using Firefly. Parents will shortly receive an email which simply needs to be clicked upon in order to activate your account. In the meantime, your child can use their log in details to show you their homework. The system is widely used in a number of schools and we believe this will help us to improve the way we support your child’s independent learning.

Should you have any difficulty accessing Firefly from home, please do let us know, so that we can assist.

Parent Governor Election

The Governing Body of the school are seeking two parents who would be willing to join them and play an active role in their work. This will include contributing ideas about the development of the school, reviewing the school’s progress and ensuring that the school is financially sound.

Governors typically join two or more committees which meet in the early evening, attend a full Governing Body meeting each term and support school events throughout the year. The commitment involved amounts to approximately two evenings a month. Full training is provided at no cost. The Governing Body includes parents, staff and a number of co-opted members. No special qualifications are needed, although it is vital that governors have a strong interest in the school and in education, and are ready to contribute their ideas and expertise. Parents who have a background in business, finance and/or entrepreneurial skills are especially encouraged to consider applying.

Full information can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 23rd September, and completed nomination forms should be returned to a collecting box which will be placed at Student Reception. I hope that you will consider supporting the school in this way.

Invitation letter
Nomination form
Eligibility criteria

Maureen Piper

We were sad to learn of the death of Maureen Piper, who was Acting Head of Stanley Park High School between 1988 and 1989, and was previously Deputy Head before that. Maureen is still remembered by several staff and, I am sure, some parents. We send our sympathy to Maureen’s family.

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 Gusto
The numeracy word of the week is Arc


Week commencing 5th September 2016

We hope you all had a super summer break, and that you are ready for the start of the Autumn Term, details of which you will have received.  We would like to give a special welcome to our year 7s starting their secondary school journey with us this week. We recognise this can be both an exciting but daunting time, as they leave the familiar behind, but we are confident that our emphasis on relationships helps considerably. We are looking forward to getting to know them, and 'igniting a passion for learning' in each and every one.

Some of our Year 7s will have benefitted from our Summer School. By all accounts it was very successful and a very enjoyable experience.

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Good News

On the last day of the summer term we received this lovely email from a local resident:

I am writing to share with you some news that I hope will bring a smile to your face. This morning as I was walking to work in Wallington high street, I tripped and fell on the pavement dropping all the possessions and the coffee I had just brought. Several of your students were walking the other way and rushed up to me in concern, checking I was okay and helping me regain my spilled possessions! They even bought me a fresh coffee to replace the one I had spilled!! 

It really made my day and since it happened I have felt compelled to tell someone from the school. You are building something truly wonderful there and have an outstanding school with an extremely bright future. You and your students should be very proud of yourselves.

We are very proud of our students and would like to reward those that carried out this kind act. If your son/daughter was involved, please let us know.

Exam Results

Summer provides an opportunity to step away from education for a short period of time, but such is the pressure of examination results, they are never far away from your consciousness! They duly arrived and we were very pleased. The table below shows our Year 13 results, with previous years listed for comparison – more on comparisons a little later. What is particularly pleasing is that we have rapidly grown the number of Post 16 students – this was our largest cohort by some distance – and yet the overall quality has been maintained in some measures – 96% A-E – and surpassed in others – Average Points per candidate – 287pts. These points are important because they determine access to university. We are pleased to report that of those that wanted to get to university, all did. We wish them all the best of luck, as we do those following apprenticeships or entering employment.

Year 13 Results

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total Points Score

6740

5300

8530

8910

12590

11650

20370

Total number of candidates

34

29

38

46

51

43

71

Total number of entries

93

78

113

113

135

124

220

Average Points Score per entry

72

68

75

79

93

94

93

Average Points score per candidate

198

183

224

194

247

271

287

% A-B

36%

29%

39%

30%

47%

42%

46%

%A-E

89%

89%

88%

95%

93%

96%

96%

 

A week later we received our GCSE results. There are new measures for GCSE, with the old 5+ A*- C including English and Maths disappearing and new measures – Progress 8/Attainment 8/English Baccalaureate being formally introduced for the first time – more on these when they have been confirmed by the DfE. At a time of falling national pass rates, we were delighted that 62% of our students passed GCSE English and Maths with an A*- C grade, another new measure. Many others also need to be congratulated because although they did not achieve a C grade, they did meet or exceed expectations.

As with the A Level table we have included the last six years for comparison, but if you go back further we were a lowly 15% in 2005 – we have been on quite a journey.

GCSE Results

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

% Eng/Maths A*- C

41

42

35

55

48

54

62

 

Whilst schools are required to report the results of each year group, they mask the fact that results are personal to each unique student. As in all schools, emotions ranged from ecstatic to disappointed, and I guess that this will continue to be the case.

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So what of next year? How will they compare? Impossible to predict would be the honest answer. We move from A*- G grades to Grades 9 - 1 in English and Maths – all other subjects retain the A*- G. We are also being told that the new pass in English and Maths will be a 5 and that it will be harder to achieve, with it equating to a top C or possibly even a bottom B. Needless to say, we will do our very best to ensure that our students achieve as highly as possible.

Post 16 Enrolment

With their examination results in hand last year’s Year 11 students will be moving on to Post 16 education. Enrolment for Year 12 will be held between 8:30am and 3:00pm tomorrow – Tuesday 6th September. Year 13 will be the following day between 9:00am and 2:00pm.

Open Evening

 

Open-Evening-Advert-Small

Here we are welcoming our year 7 students and we are already starting to prepare for our next cohort. Next Tuesday sees our Open Evening. As in previous years, the school will close to students at 12:10pm to allow teachers to prepare the building and grounds. Some students will be invited back to support staff in the evening. If this is the case, you will receive a letter.

The school will have a later start on Wednesday 14th September to allow staff the opportunity to prepare the building and grounds for teaching. Students will be required to be in school by 10:25am, but should not arrive before 10:00am.