• Headteacher 1

Headteachers' Blog

Week commencing 30th January 2017

Our visitors are impressed

We receive many visitors to our school. Last Monday we welcomed 9 educationalists from Israel. A larger group of 70, including mayors, heads of local authorities and school leaders arrived from the same country on Tuesday. On Wednesday a colleague headteacher from a secondary school in the east end of London visited us to find out about our curriculum. Thursday saw us host a meeting of headteachers of Sutton’s Primary Schools and on Friday we enjoyed the company of leaders of education from the Netherlands. Throw in an inspector of our new Post 16 Accountancy course as well and you could say it was a very busy week!

When special guests come to your house, the behaviour of your child/children can cause a few nerve-racking moments. Things are much the same for the host headteacher. It is wonderful for the school to be seen in its ‘natural state’ with children and staff doing what they normally do; and this is what our guests see. By and large, our students respond magnificently, and there was some superb praise from our visitors.

blog1

One such comment from an overseas visitor, referred to our students at lunchtime. She spoke about how impressed she was to see students standing and sitting in groups of varying sizes in our atrium, eating their lunch and, wait for it, talking! She was very much of the view that this was less evident in her school, because her students were always on their mobile phones. To be honest, it is not the primary benefit that we actually considered when we took the decision to have a policy that doesn’t allow mobile phones in school.

In the Times newspaper recently there was an article about England’s rugby team’s preparations for the upcoming Six Nations and World Cup. The article stated that England’s players were going to be warned that they will not win the World Cup in 2019 if they do not restrict their use of mobile phones. England has hired Dr Sheryelle Calder because she believes that over-use of such devices is reducing skill levels.

“When you look at your phone, you are losing awareness, because you are looking at the screen all of the time. There no eye movements happening; everything is pretty static. We are losing the ability to communicate well”, says Calder. She also asserts that it reduces spatial awareness and decision-making. These are essential skills, not just in rugby, but for life.

It might seem strange that a much-visited and innovative school like Stanley Park chooses to have such a mobile phone policy. When our visitors ask about this, we explain that mobiles clearly have their educational benefits, but we believe the negatives are significant enough for us to continue as we are at present. Change will inevitably come at some point, and it might just be the funding pressures on all schools that tilts the balance. More on this issue next week!

Year 7 Subject Based Conferences

Year 7 Subject Based Conferences took place last Thursday, and we were delighted to welcome our highest ever turnout of parents for this event. Following the very well attended summer school and all the transition planning to help Year 7 students settle in, it is rewarding to see them begin to flourish. For some parents this will be their first experience of a student led conference, which is an important part of the home/school links we believe to be vital in helping every child achieve their best.

Feedback from this event is published below.

One parent commented, 'Thank you to all members of staff. I understand the effort you have put into supporting our children. I am delighted at how my daughter has coped with her first term at Stanley Park.'

 

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

% Agree or Strongly Agree

I was informed and knew what to expect.

61

47

4

1

96%

My child was well prepared for each conference.

55

50

7

1

93%

My child led each conference.

64

44

5

0

96%

I understand what my child has been learning.

50

60

3

0

97%

My child addressed both strengths and areas for development.

63

47

3

0

97%

My child receives homework that challenges him/her.

50

59

3

1

96%

I understand how to support my child with their homework using Firefly.

46

60

5

2

93%

The conference made me proud of my child.

72

40

1

0

99%

The conference will make it easier to discuss school and learning with my child.

61

49

2

1

97%

I found the Literacy and Numeracy support sessions useful to help support my child with their learning.

54

50

2

2

96%

I am pleased with my child’s progress.

62

51

1

0

99%

Overall, the Subject Conference was a positive experience.

57

55

1

0

99%

I would have preferred a "traditional" parents' evening.

8

15

33

27

27%

I would recommend this process to friends/ colleagues.

56

49

7

1

93%

I think that the transition process into Stanley Park High has effectively supported my child into Year 7.

74

39

0

0

100%

I thinks that the school effectively supports the well-being of my child.

60

53

0

0

100%

113 replies were received. Some respondents did not answer all questions

Mock Exams continue

Students in Year 11 and 13, and some Year 12, will continue with mock exams this week. This is an invaluable part of preparation for the summer exams, and helps students become accustomed to working under time pressure and to deadlines. While the process is useful as a ‘trial run’ for the summer, we understand that young people find this a stressful and demanding time. Please do all you can to help your child during the coming months. Encouragement and support at home makes a real difference, and together we can work to give each child the best chance to reach their full potential. Ideas and suggestions can be found on our Exam Preparation page:

www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/278/exam-preparation

Ideas and information are provided about how to support your child through the stress of revision and exams, the causes and symptoms of exam stress, effective study and learning habits, healthy sleeping and eating habits, and relaxation ideas to help your child cope with exam stress. There are also ideas for exam day itself, and useful post-exam tips for parents. If you have concerns about your child please contact your child’s tutor.

The February mock exam timetable can be found on the Exams page of the school website. www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/44/exam-information

Coming events ...

Year 11 Parents Evening on Thursday 2nd February

We look forward to welcoming parents of Year 11 to this week’s Year 11 Parents’ Evening. The booking system is open and the deadline for making bookings is today, Monday 30 January. The evening starts at 4.15pm and lasts until 7.30pm.

Year 8 Subject Conferences on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th February

Parents will have received a letter and an information leaflet about this event, which takes place on Wednesday 8th February from 3.30pm to 8.30pm, and on Thursday 9th February from 7.30am to 8.30pm.  The booking system opens today at 7.30pm, and closes at the end of the day next Monday, 6th Feb.  Further details can also be found on our website by clicking on the Student Led Conference page.

blog2

blog3 blog4

School Displays

We are proud to show off one of our recent displays, which involved students from Year 8 – James and the Giant Peach, a papier mache project which is the result of imaginative work with our Artist in Residence Sarit Barnard. Students helped with the construction and the painting of the model, and the results of their work can be seen in the reception area.

The wonderful displays are not limited to the area on show at the front of the school though – recent projects to enhance the working environment for all staff and students include Romeo and Juliet murals in the English corridors based on tattoo images, and evocative scenes from France and Spain for the Language department. We believe that the setting should spark the imagination and ignite a curiosity for learning, and our building certainly does that. We count ourselves fortunate to have such creative talent in the school, and we recognise the contribution made by our Artist in Residence towards inspiring and developing the artistic skills of others.

blog5 blog6 blog7

Act of kindness

On Friday morning we were contacted by a gentleman whose wife had a fall while getting off the 154 bus at Carshalton Beeches station.

The lady was assisted by two of our students, boys who were sitting upstairs but came down concerned with the commotion. Not only did they help this lady to her feet, but offered her some of their sweets. She was so touched by their kindness the she and her husband wanted to let us know.

Thanks to our caller for bringing this to our attention. We are proud that our students were ready to help, and their kind act reflects well on them and on the school. If your child was one of the boys involved please let us know by contacting the Heads’ PA Mrs Stocks dstocks@suttonmail.org. We would like to award a Headteachers’ Commendation.

A date for the diary....

School Production – “Three” by Harriet Braun

Finally, a reminder that Stanley Park students will be performing THREE by Harriet Braun on Wednesday 22nd & Thursday 23rd February at 7pm. Doors open at 6.30pm and the event begins at 7.00pm. The play is expected to last an hour.

To book tickets for this free event please click on the link below. We hope to welcome many parents, friends and governors.

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stanley-park-high-three-by-harriet-braun-tickets-31410304065

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 Futile
The numeracy word of the week is Kinematics 


Week commencing 23rd January 2017

School Performance Tables

We have written many lines about these tables before so we are not going to repeat ourselves; however, the final school performance tables for 2016 were released last Thursday and we think that it is important that we share them with parents. There is a considerable amount of information to surf around, and it comes with the usual health warning that no data about schools is perfect, but you might find some of it informative, particularly the similar schools link. This link compares us to 54 other schools in the country that are most like us in terms of the prior attainment of students when they enter the school aged 11.

www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk

School Production – “Three” by Harriet Braun

blog1

Stanley Park students will be performing THREE by Harriet Braun on Wednesday 22nd & Thursday 23rd February at 7pm as part of National Theatre Connections, a nationwide celebration of new plays for young people. The play focuses on a summer of unrequited love, as six teenagers navigate through their inner voices to a place where they can experience being in a true relationship.

Doors open at 6.30pm and the event begins at 7.00pm. The play is expected to last an hour.

This event is free of charge. To book tickets please click on the link below. We hope to welcome many parents, friends and governors on the evenings. Please add the date to your diary.

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stanley-park-high-three-by-harriet-braun-tickets-31410304065

Coming events ...

Year 11 Parents’ Evening

Year 11 Parents’ Evening takes place on Thursday 2nd February from 4.15pm to 7.30pm.  Letters have been to parents explaining the booking system, which is open and can be accessed via this link:   https://parents-booking.co.uk/stanleypark. The deadline for making appointments is the end of the day next Monday, 30th Jan. 

Year 8 Student Led Conferences

Year 8 Student Led Conferences take place after school on Wednesday 8th February and all day on Thursday 9th February.  Further details about these will be sent in a letter to all Year 8 Parents later this week which will include details on how to book your appointments online.

Finally...

Sainsbury’s Active Kids

This year’s Active Kids scheme launches on 25th January, and once more we shall be collecting vouchers. Last year these enabled us to acquire sports equipment including balls, bats and a full set of athletics hurdles.

Please send any vouchers you receive into school to support us. A collecting box will be at Student Reception. Thank you for your support.

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 Encumbrance
The numeracy word of the week is Improper fraction 


Week commencing 16th January 2017

Mental Health in Schools

Last Monday Theresa May, in a speech about mental health and wellbeing, said that children will get the “help and support they need and deserve”. This is absolutely necessary because evidence suggests that mental illness within children and young people is increasing, with half of mental health problems starting by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 18. The proposals within her speech we would very much welcome, but it appears that only one will really focus on the prevention of mental ill-health. Most of the others, whilst invaluable, deal with the symptoms, including a commitment to provide mental health first-aid training for all secondary schools, with the aim of having at least one trained teacher in all secondary schools by 2019.

While we applaud the one proposal that will focus on prevention - evaluating different approaches which schools can use to prevent mental ill-health – we hope that this proposal will be given the widest possible brief in order to identify and challenge some of the things schools may be doing that actually contribute to mental ill-health and poor wellbeing. 

The day before Theresa May’s speech we became aware of a new book that is being released – The Happiest Kids in the World. A review of this book by Sian Griffiths in the Sunday Times Culture Magazine highlighted many of the reasons why research says that Dutch children are amongst the happiest in the world, including references to testing and homework. What if we were to set an aim of having the happiest children in the world? Surely this would be a good thing?

If we were to achieve it, and as we have said before, we would need a have a serious look at policies that force young people to study set curricula (such as the English Baccalaureate) if they have no desire or the ability to do so. Instead, we would allow them to find and pursue their passions. We would also question our high stakes assessment system and its over-reliance on terminal examinations. (Have a look at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b088s4bn/school-swap-korea-style-omnibus for some of the mental health consequences of this.) Evaluate these current policies and we may be on the way to solving some of the factors which contribute to mental health issues.

There was one unfortunate potential footnote to this announcement. Schools could be judged by Ofsted inspectors over their level of mental health awareness. What a surprise! How about Ofsted judging schools on student happiness, and their efforts to prevent mental health illness by looking at responsive and enthusing curricula, student choice, authentic assessment  (portfolios/exhibitions/student led conferences) and the avoidance of drilling children to pass tests?

Year 11 exam build-up

At this time of year, the imminent exam season and its pressures begin to gain traction with our own Year 11 students, who are all working very hard towards achieving their best in each of their subjects.  We are very aware that Year 11 can be a stressful time for both our students and their parents.  As such we have tried to put in as much support as possible, to ensure that our students are able to achieve their best and manage the increasing workload.  Our programme of support is tailored to meet the needs of individual students, offering mentoring, individual incentive structures, subject specific intervention, exam practice and revision skills.  We have also scheduled a revision session for the parents of Year 11 students which will be led by the external team who are supporting our Year 11 students in developing revision skills.  We will be contacting parents soon with invitations to the event. 

In addition, we have set up specific anxiety support groups for students who would benefit. This programme of support has been mapped to our Year 11 students and will begin immediately after students receive their mock exam results later this week. 

We are very aware that students in Year 11 are experiencing a level of the unknown with the changes in GCSE courses and marks.  The courses have become significantly more challenging.  Therefore, we are working closely with students to relay as much information to them as possible, so that they are able to manage their own workload and pressures.   However, if you feel your child is experiencing undue pressure, please contact their form tutor to share your concerns, so that we can ensure they are best supported.

Year 11 Parents’ Evenings

A reminder that Year 11 Parents’ Evening takes place on Thursday 2nd February from 4.15pm to 7.30pm. Please add the date to your diary. Letters about the evening and booking system will be sent to parents and carers this week.

Year 7 Subject Conferences

Year 7 Subject Conferences take place on Thursday 26th January from 4.15pm to 7.30pm.  Letters have been to parents explaining the booking system, which is open and can be accessed via this link:   https://parents-booking.co.uk/stanleypark. The deadline for making appointments is the end of the day next Monday, 23rd Jan. 

The support of parents is closely linked to student success. The evening provides an opportunity to discover how well your child is settling in and making progress. All Year 7 parents and carers are encouraged to attend.  Further information, including a copy of the letter and information leaflet is available on the SLC Page of our school website  http://www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/236/student-led-conferences

“Reimagine Education” event at SPH on Tuesday 24 January, 3.45pm to 7.00pm

A reminder that next week, in conjunction with the Innovation Unit, we are hosting an exclusive screening of ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ - the official Sundance nominated documentary feature film which shines a light on the powerful case for transformation in modern schooling. We are delighted to welcome as our speaker the renowned Israeli visionary and pioneer of democratic education, Yaacov Hecht. 

Details appeared in last week’s blog. We would very much like to welcome any parents and friends who are interested in attending this free event. Please click on the link below to reserve a ticket.

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/screening-most-likely-to-succeed-tickets-30948639213

Volleyball Success

blog1

Last Tuesday the girls’ Volleyball Team performed well, winning their matches and qualifying to represent Sutton in the London Youth Games in March. They hope to improve on their place last year.

This is a wonderful achievement. We are very proud of their dedication to the sport and the hard work they have put in to practice sessions, and we wish them every success in the next round.

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 Encumbrance
The numeracy word of the week is Improper fraction


Week commencing 9th January 2017

Welcome back and happy New Year. We hope that you all had a fantastic break and that our students are refreshed and ready for the new term. In being just over eleven weeks, it is much shorter half-term than its autumn compatriot.

The Christmas break was a little different this year. In most years schools tend to have the same days off, but this year there was considerable variation. Some local schools chose to have more days before Christmas and others, like us, decided to have the extra days after New Year. You could spend hours debating the pros and cons of both, but we certainly enjoyed the extra two days last week.

It will be a short, but very busy half term. We are looking forward to an event we are holding on 24th January, “Reimagine Education” when we, in conjunction with the Innovation Unit, will be hosting an exclusive screening of Most Likely To Succeed; the official Sundance nominated documentary feature film, being screened globally to invited audiences interested in exploring fresh ideas and bold new approaches to teaching and learning in schools.

blog1

The film offers an intelligent critique of US schools and a glimpse of what can be achieved through alternative approaches, using High Tech High School, San Diego, as a case study. Despite its USA focus, the issues and big ideas the film explores are relevant to, and have implications for, all education systems. In doing so, we are delighted that it also supports aspects of what we are doing at Stanley Park High.

You can watch a 2 minute trailer by clicking on the following link: vimeo.com/122502930

blog2

Prior to the screening, the audience will hear from renowned Israeli visionary and pioneer of democratic education, Yaacov Hecht, who is responsible for the development of the innovative worldwide Education Cities.  An insight into some of his thinking can be found at

www.opendemocracy.net/yaacov-hecht

The event will begin at 3.45pm and Yaccov will speak shortly afterwards. Refreshments will be available at 4:45pm and the film will start promptly at 5:00pm.We would very much like to welcome any parents who are interested in attending this free event. Please click on the link below if you wish to attend

www.eventbrite.co.uk/screening-most-likely-to-succeed-tickets-30948639213

Later in the term we are also very much looking forward to our Year 8 Student Led Conferences (SLCs), which will be held between Wednesday 8th and Friday 10th February. Further details will be provided in due course, but we will be asking students and their parents whether they would be willing for individuals other than the tutor to sit in the conferences. This is because many schools have shown an interest in adopting SLCs, and would like to see them in operation before making the change. Please could you email Mrs Stocks, PA to the Heads dstocks@suttonmail.org  if you would not want to have a senior leader from another school present for your child’s SLC.

Steve Gilburt

We have been given details of the funeral of Steve Gilburt, former Head of Science. It will take place at 11am on Thursday 12th January. If you would like to attend, please contact Mel Kermally – mkermally@suttonmail.org  - for further details.

Flowers can be sent to W.A. Truelove & Son, 55 Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, CR5 2RB. Alternatively, donations can be made to Macmillan Cancer Research or the British Heart Foundation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Pam, and his family at this time.

Year 7 Subject Conferences

Parents of all Year 7 students are warmly invited to attend their child’s Subject Conference, which will be an opportunity to find out about your child’s learning progress. These will take place on Thursday 26th January 2017 from 4.15pm to 7.30pm for all Year 7 students.  A letter and information leaflet providing details about the purpose and content of a Subject Conference, how they will run and how to book appointments, will be emailed to parents later this week. The online booking system for making appointments opens on Friday 13th January at 7.30pm. The deadline for making appointments is midnight on Monday 23rd January. Please make every effort to attend.

Year 11 Parents’ Evening

A reminder that Year 11 Parents Evening takes place on Thursday 2nd February 2017 from 4.15pm to 7.30pm.  Further details about the evening, and how to make appointments, will be sent to Parents next week.

Parking in Damson Way

Last Thursday, traffic enforcement officers were outside the school issuing tickets to cars parked in the bus bay. Despite the bus bay being unused for most of the time, the parking restrictions still apply and are enforced at regular intervals.

To ensure that you are not ticketed, we would recommend that you comply with the restrictions for times when parking is prohibited, which are displayed on the notice at the roadside.

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 Benevolent
The numeracy word of the week is Hexagon