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Headteacher's Blog

21st May 2018


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It was a special Saturday. An important football event, the FA Cup Final, and a not too insignificant event….a royal wedding! Today, it will be an equally important Monday because our U15 girls have reached the final of the English Schools Football Association (ESFA), which will kick off at 5pm at the Madjeski Stadium, home of Reading FC.

With over 250 schools entering the competition, to reach the final of a national competiton is a fantastic achievement in itself, but we know that the girls are determined to bring the trophy back to Carshalton. If they achieve their dream, they will be the first Stanley Park High football team – girls or boys – to do so.

Standing between our girls and the trophy is Bottisham Village College, Cambridgeshire, who progressed to the final following a high scoring 9-7 semi-final victory over Crompton House School, Oldham.

The weather looks as though it will be glorious. Here’s hoping our U15 girls will be too. No matter what the outcome, they have a very proud Headteacher.

We will keep you posted on the final via our Twitter account @SPHHeads

National Theatre Connections Festival, Thursday 10th May

Our students gave a fantastic performance in the National Theatre Connections Festival play ‘Ceasefire Babies’. Special credit must go to Francesca Farrell, who took over a leading role at the last moment when another student fell ill. She bravely stepped up to take over the much bigger part, and performed so well that it was impossible to tell which part had been replaced! All those taking part excelled, and we were thrilled that two members of the crew were offered much sought after placements in the theatre. Both are delighted, and we are very proud of all who took part.

Congratulations to Bart

Bart Procter has followed his passion in sport, excelling at karate, and we have followed his progress with interest. We were therefore thrilled to hear that he won the English Open under 18s Lightweight Full Contact Karate title on Sunday 13 May. To secure his title, Bart had four challenging fights to win. We are pleased to be able to congratulate him on his success, and hope his dedication is an inspiration to others.

Options evening Year 8 on 7th June 

Year 8 parents and carers are invited to attend our Year 8 Options Evening, which will be held on Thursday 7th June from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. The event is designed to inform families about the curriculum choices that are available in Year 9. It will include talks by a senior leader (6:00pm and 6.45pm) about the choices process, visits to subject areas to talk with teaching staff, and the opportunity to ask questions. The school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and staff from Horizon school will be available during the evening.

The event allows students to make an informed decision about the subjects they wish to study in Year 9.

Option Evening for Year 9 on Thursday 14 June

The Year 9 Options evening follows on Thursday 14th June, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. This is for parents and students currently in Year 9 who are about to choose their options for study in Year 10. More information in next week’s Blog.

Contribute your views

Sutton Parent Carer Forum represents the views of parents and carers of children and young people with additional needs and/or disabilities in Sutton. The group are currently conducting a survey which asks for parents’ and carers’ views on short breaks, the EHCP process and the neuro developmental pathway. Pleas click on the link if you would like to take part.

www.suttonparentsforum.org.uk/current-work

Warning to Parents

Fortnite Battle Royale – this is an online game which has gone viral, with over 40 million people worldwide playing. It’s especially attractive to younger children. Risks have been drawn to our attention, which we would like to share with parents. This game (and others as well) features a chat function, which allows on-screen or voice communication between players, potentially exposing a child to inappropriate language, conversations and behaviour. It is important families are aware of these risks and privacy settings that they can use, including the ability to disable voice chat entirely.

There are also concerns about the in-game currency which can be purchased online. Risks have been identified which include your child inadvertently giving away confidential information including passwords and security numbers.

What to do? - Fortnite offers an in-game feedback tool in the Main Menu of the game to report bad player behaviour to Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite. You can also seek advice and make a report about abusive or inappropriate behaviour to CEOP (the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command) at www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre

Parents and carers are advised to make sure that you are aware of the gaming activities your child enjoys, and ensure your child understands the importance of not sharing personal and private information with strangers.

Mrs Earl

News reached us this week of the sad passing of Mrs Mary Earl, who taught commerce, shorthand and typing until 1969 at the old school. Under her guidance, students learned to take shorthand notes and type well enough to start their first job. Past students recall a lovely atmosphere in her lessons, and will remember her with affection. Our sympathy to her family at this sad time.

Words of the Week

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

The literacy word of the week is Suspicious, and the numeracy word of the week is Tetrahedron.

14th May 2018


 

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Year 11 pre exam Study Leave

Last week our Year 11 students embarked on their ‘Preparation for Examinations Programme’ which leads up to the summer exam season.  This revision period is an important stage in their final approach, before sitting each paper. We are sure that, with the support of parents/carers and that of the school, they will be able to do their very best. If you have any questions about your child, please contact their Form Tutor who will be happy to help you. Please also visit the Exam Information/Preparation pages in the Parents section of the website for examination information.

An announcement

This Friday the school will be placing an advertisement for a new Executive Headteacher of Stanley Park High. Following a few months of reflection, I recently informed my fellow trustees, Ms Jane Pascoe and Mr Mike Davies, and the governing body of my decision to retire from the job that I feel humbled to have held since September 2005.

My departure next Easter will see me one term short of 20 years at the school I love with a passion, having served as Deputy Headteacher between September 1999 and my appointment as Head. Now is not the time to reflect on my thoroughly rewarding time at the school because I still have almost a year to go! With the continued support of parents, students and staff – for which I am very grateful - I am determined that this will be a very successful period, and that I will have the opportunity to support my successor as she/he embarks on the best headship in the country.

What will I be doing? I can honestly say I have no plans.  I may continue to work in education or outside of it, but I can confirm that it will not be another headship - nothing will ever be able to replicate Stanley Park High – and I most certainly won’t be an Ofsted inspector!

I am confident the governing body will appoint an excellent successor and I will keep you updated regarding this process. Now back to the job…..

Timetable for 2018-19

From September, all students will finish school at 3.15pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, while on Thursday school will end after period 5 at 2.25pm.

This is a change from this year, when students in Year 11 stayed for an extra period on Thursdays. The extra session was designed to help them catch up with late changes introduced to the GCSE courses they had started in September 2016. Our current cohort of Year 10s, (next year’s Year 11 students), started their GCSE courses in Year 9 and have benefitted from the extra teaching time this allowed.

Options evenings Year 8 on 7 June, Year 9 on 14 June

Year 8 parents and carers are welcomed to our Year 8 Options Evening, which will be held on Thursday 7th June from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. The event is designed to inform families about the curriculum choices that are available in Year 9. It will include talks by a senior leader (6:00pm and 6.45pm) about the choices process, visits to subject areas to talk with teaching staff, and the opportunity to ask questions. The school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and staff from Horizon school will be available during the evening.

The event allows students to make an informed decision about the subjects they wish to study in Year 9.

Words of the Week

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

The literacy word of the week is Suspicious, and the numeracy word of the week is Tetrahedron.

8th May 2018


Unconditional

Last week, Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said universities must garner a reputation for "excellence" following a sharp rise in institutions making no demand for applicants to hit certain grades in order to secure a place on a university course – the unconditional offer.

Overall, UCAS, the universities admissions service, has recorded a 40% rise in unconditional since 2012. While UK universities made just a few hundred in the years to 2012, 51,615 were given last year - a rise of more than 1,600% over five years. Unconditional offers are now given in response to 5% of applications. This year, twenty-five per cent of students at SPH applying for university have been given unconditional offers for 2018 – four times the national average! This is an increase on the 18% in 2017.

Whilst there are some valid reasons for unconditional offers, the increase in the number is a source of some concern. Nationally, and despite the best efforts of schools, many of the students just stop working as hard for their A Levels as they should. This is inconsistent with schools and sixth form colleges being held to account for the grades which students achieve.

Why? With annual fees in excess of £9000 for tuition alone, universities are competing for students. What better way to acquire students is there other than to offer an ‘open door’?

One solution could be to cap the number of university places, but this is not on the agenda. However, government are clear that technical and vocational education should form part of the solution. To succeed in this, we will need to end the bigotry towards such qualifications.

As the article below shows, Switzerland has cracked this problem by developing both valued vocational education and elite research universities. Just under 28 per cent of Swiss young people take “type A” tertiary education – traditional three year plus university courses. Switzerland has stubbornly refused to follow other developed countries such as England, Australia, the US and South Korea in sending large numbers of its young people into academic higher education. Most Swiss students relish the opportunity to take a strong vocational path linked to business and industry. We could learn so much.

www.timeshighereducation.com/news/no-more-graduates-needed-switzerland-goes-it-alone-he

Girls U15 Football Final – Travel Arrangements

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The excitement is building. Following last week’s announcement about the final, we are pleased to announce the travel arrangements. There will be two coaches, both of which will be provided by the school. The team will leave on the first coach at 1:30pm. Each player has been informed that they will be able to invite two supporters to travel on the coaches. The second coach will leave promptly at 3:30pm and will transport members of staff and students selected by the PE department because of their contribution to this aspect of the school.

Parents of the players and student supporters will receive a letter this week.

National Theatre Connections Festival, Thursday 10th May

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We are proud of twenty one students from SPH who will be travelling later this week to the Albany Theatre Dartford to take part in the National Theatre's Connections Youth 

Festival. The performance will be ‘Ceasefire Babies’, a play about identity and belief which focuses on two siblings in a time of troubles. Students have been hard at work rehearsing. We wish them good luck for their performance.

Visitors to the school

We were delighted to welcome colleagues from Wandle Valley school last Tuesday. They were keen to explore our curriculum and pedagogy, and enjoyed visiting several lessons and chatting to staff. We received this lovely letter of thanks:

“Thank you so much for allowing myself and my colleague to visit your school yesterday. We were both impressed with your staff, facilities and the different learning opportunities you provide for your students, especially the EFC curriculum”

We are always happy to share our ideas with teaching staff from the UK and beyond, and we welcome enquiries about visits.

Exams

Parents of children studying for GCSEs will no doubt be aware that GCSEs in England are changing. Government advise that the new style GCSEs ‘ensure that students leave school better prepared for work or further study.’

The additional demand upon our students has been the subject of previous blogs. Government acknowledge that ‘they cover more challenging content’ claiming that they ‘are designed to match standards in the strongest performing education systems elsewhere in the world.’

The impact upon individual students and the school collectively is yet to be seen. Like other schools, we are working hard to teach the additional syllabus content within the timescale allowed. This has meant allocating additional teaching time to courses, and starting some courses at an earlier date, with consequent reductions for both options block choices being offered to our Year 9 students and reduced taster options being offered to our Year 8 children this summer.

The Government message to parents can be read by clicking on the link below.

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/699433/GCSE_Factsheet_parent.pdf

Homework

All homework set for your child is now recorded on Google. It is easy to check, and parents are encouraged to review their child’s set work and discuss their progress and workload. Please refer to your child’s tutor if you have any concerns about the amount of homework set for your child, or their progress in completing homework.

Inset Days 2018-19

Parents are advised that the following Inset days have been set for next year:

Autumn Term 2018

  • Mon 3 Sept 2018
  • Fri 5 Oct 2018
  • Mon 26 Nov 2018

Spring Term 2019

  • Fri 15 Feb 2019

Summer Term 2019

  • Fri 28 June 2019

Please add to your diary.

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 Insatiable, and the numeracy word of the week is Scalar.