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Headteachers' Blog

Week commencing 22nd May 2017

Successful bid for funding – Aviator Centenary Memorial Garden

We were recently able to submit a bid to receive assistance with a special project. This commemorates the achievement and life of a first world war aviator, Thomas George, a young man from Canada who bravely flew early biplanes for Britain in the First World War, and whose life was tragically cut short when he crashed on this site – the school site – 100 years ago.

We feel his courageous example and his pioneering spirit should be celebrated by young people today, and we put forward plans for a memorial garden with a difference – it will become a focus for successive projects within our unique Excellent Futures Curriculum. The garden will include display boards where student work can be incorporated into the material on show, and changed regularly.

Last week we were extremely pleased and excited to learn that our bid had been successful, and we will receive assistance with the funding this project entails. More news about this project will be shared as it gets underway.

Guest Blog – Ms Ghodhbani

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This week our guest blogger Ms Ghodhbani returns with a topic which strikes a chord with many of us ...

Speaking Out

Public Speaking. Two words that send fear into the hearts of many – both children and adults alike. Indeed that was one of the topics addressed by a student at the recent Jack Petchy Speak Out Challenge Regional Finals. The annual competition, open to all year 10 students, was held this year at Carshalton High School for Girls and myself, Miss Perkins (who did a fantastic job in organising the first stage of the event) and Miss Hawkins, attended to support our finalist, Paige Tume .

The speeches ranged from the comic (the extortionate price hike of Freddo chocolate bars) to the deeply personal and thought-provoking: ‘One topic really resonated with me, 'appreciate your grandparents as they are the parents' to your parents'. It was so nice to see a young person speaking so passionately about the elderly – a really powerful and inspiring event. (Miss Hawkins) Each finalist had great strengths – whether in content, organisation or delivery. And each of those sixteen students will have achieved something personally from such a valuable experience, that will build their confidence, see them reaching for the next challenge and open more doors- regardless of their placing by the team of judges

Paige delivered a very natural and original speech entitled ‘Reach for the Moon’ and although she wasn’t placed in the top three, she has clearly gained so much from taking part: ‘The Speak Out Challenge was a fantastic experience to not only help boost confidence but to meet new people and make new friends. You can learn lifelong skills which can be applied to everyday life and help improve your presentation skills. It's also a great opportunity to speak passionately about something you care deeply about and have people listen and learn from it. I would definitely encourage people who can to do it.’ (Paige) Miss Perkins also shared her thoughts about her involvement in the event: ‘It was a great privilege to work with Paige on her speech and I felt very proud listening to her confident and engaging delivery on the night. I felt incredibly humbled to have been a part of the event and to be able to watch the best of Sutton’s speakers deliver such powerful and inspiring speeches.’

Paige admits that she isn’t a naturally confident person (she made reference to this in her speech) and she has used this opportunity to help her. Schools do have a responsibility to develop verbal communication skills and embed them across the curriculum. Perhaps even more so now that technology has taken over many communication aspects of our lives. In recent business surveys, the lack of ‘soft skills’ - such as verbal communication skills - from new graduates in the work place, is often highlighted as a concern. It is slightly ironic however, that this essential element of expression was downgraded in the recent changes to the English GCSE. Year 11s have just completed their ‘Certificate in Spoken Language’ and as a Year 11 teacher, it was great to see them research, prepare and talk about a range of issues that interested and inspired them: ‘No, it doesn’t count towards your GCSE…but it counts for so much else.’ 

This Easter I visited my sister who lives in the States. One evening, my nephew was preparing to give a speech to his class about the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast and we were discussing our different experiences of ‘speaking out’. She regretted never being able to get over her profound fear of public speaking in secondary school and revealed that this fear has affected her in many aspects of her life since – even forcing her to drop out of her college course. In Colorado where she lives, you are required to take a public speaking class to graduate in any degree you choose; it is the same in high school. Her son also had similar fears but having to do the speeches, he said, has made him more confident and helped him in other classes too. Now in her 40s, my sister wishes that at school she had been encouraged and developed to ‘speak out’ – ‘the older I get, the harder it is to overcome that fear’.

So the next time I ask a class to give a presentation or share their views, I will speak her words - loud and clear.

Year 7 and 8 assessment

Our students in Years 7 and 8 are about to take end of year assessments in English, Maths, Science and either French or Spanish. Most of these will fall in the two weeks following half term, between 5th-16th June, although some groups will be sitting one of their Science assessments before half term. The assessments will take place in normal classrooms during timetabled lessons.

Subject teachers will explain to students next week exactly when their respective assessments will be taking place, and your son/daughter may find that for some subjects their assessment will run over more than one lesson. Where students have no assessments taking place during this period, lessons will continue as normal.

It is important that all students revise and prepare thoroughly for these assessments, as they will give us valuable data which will help us allocate sets for next year. Tutors and subject teachers will be discussing effective revision techniques and tips with students, which we would ask you to encourage at home.

Parents will receive the results of these assessments before the end of the summer term. If you have any questions regarding these assessments, your son/daughter’s tutor or the relevant subject teacher will be happy to help you. We are sure that all our Year 7 and 8 students will try hard and perform well.

Year 11 pre-exam breakfast area

This week, Year 11 students will be provided with a separate breakfast area in the canteen, to help them prepare in the short time immediately before their exams. This will be free of charge and will offer fruit, juices and water from 8.00am to 8.30am each day, starting today. Subject teachers for those exams taking place on each relevant morning will also be available to provide any last minute support and guidance. Do encourage your Year 11 child to come along and join in.

Catering Survey

Pabulum took over our school meals service in September last year, and a review of their first year will be undertaken this term. Parents are invited to provide feedback by clicking on the link below. It would be helpful to complete the survey together with your child, who can comment on their experience of the catering.

This survey will be open from today until this Friday. Thanks to all who are willing to share their impressions of the quality of the food and service.

app.e2ma.net/app2/survey/41139/213079423/029e23f16f

Half term and changes to morning access to school

Next week is half term, and the week includes the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 29 May. We hope all families have an opportunity to enjoy the change in routine and to recharge their batteries. Students should be back in school as usual on Monday 5th June.

Starting from the first day back after half term, please note that we will be opening the front doors at 7.45am instead of the current 7.30am. Students will not be given access to the building before 7.45am, and are strongly encouraged not to arrive early and wait outside.

Thanks to parents for your cooperation.

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 Impertinent
The numeracy word of the week is Qualitative


Week commencing 15th May 2017

The Exam Season

The 2017 exam season begins today. Our students have worked hard to prepare, and now have the opportunity to shine. This can be a demanding time, and both staff and parents wish them success. We would encourage parents to re-read our Exam Preparation page here, especially the sections on healthy eating, sleeping and relaxation tips, and ideas for exam day. These suggestions will help them to perform well.

It’s a delicate balance, as we shared with readers last week, but this week the time is right for Year 11 to begin study leave and consequently their last day of formal timetable will be on Thursday. We shall be saying goodbye to them with a Leavers’ Lunch provided by the school, and they will be dismissed after the conclusion of goodbye speeches and farewells.

Year 11 will be strongly encouraged to attend lessons after Thursday’s ‘Leaving Day’ for subjects where the exam is yet to be taken. This will support their revision, and provide last minute opportunities for help from teaching staff. Year 11 will sign in and out of school at Student Reception. This is important for fire safety information.

We wish all our students taking public exams the very best of luck, and we are confident that they will do their very best.

Congratulations to our Football Teams

We were extremely proud to see both our U14 girls and U16 boys teams win the Surrey Cup last week. Well done to all our players, and thanks to parents who supported throughout the journey to the finals. One parent’s comments are shared below:

What a match today and what a year 11 football team!.. To get to the county cup final is an achievement in itself, let alone to win it.

Today I saw a TEAM play, not a group of individuals, all of them helping and wanting to do their best together.

... A massive thanks to Mr Griffith for his time, commitment and patience. Although today is tinged with a little sadness as it's the last time the boys will play together I could not be happier for them.

Our U12 girls look to repeat of their Surrey Cup success in the final of the Sutton Cup at Sutton United this afternoon. Good luck girls.

Alternative Approaches to Education (Fiona Carnie)

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We are delighted to announce the publication of a new book by Fiona Carnie featuring a chapter written by David Taylor, focusing on our unique approach to the curriculum. A second book will be published by Fiona in June, containing a contribution by Ms Alden. We are pleased that our ideas are being well received by a wider audience, and we hope that the book will provide much food for thought among readers.

Visit by David Dein

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On Wednesday morning we are delighted to welcome David Dein to the school as part of the Speakers for Schools programme - www.speakers4schools.org. David is a football entrepreneur and businessman, most widely known for his very successful time at Arsenal football club. David was also one of the main architects in the creation of the Premier League in 1992 and has been at the forefront of many of the important changes in football including the introduction of Goal Line Technology.

We look forward to him sharing his thoughts with our students.

Well done Hannah

We were delighted to learn this week that Hannah Annancey has been offered a much sought-after place to continue her studies at BIMM (British & Irish Modern Music Institute). This prestigious specialist music college in London offers students is the largest and leading provider of contemporary music education in Europe.

We wish Hannah well with her exams and look forward to further news.

Changes to morning access to school

Starting from the first day back after half term, please note that we will be opening the front doors at 7.45am instead of the current 7.30am. Students will not be given access to the building before 7.45am, and are strongly encouraged not to arrive early and wait outside.

SPH Friends AGM Tuesday 6th June 

The Stanley Park High Friends Association (SPH FA) is a committee of parents and friends who hold events to raise funds for the students.  These go towards providing extra activities and additional resources for the benefit of all Stanley Park High students.

They would love to hear from anyone who is interested in joining either as a committee member or as a helper at school events. 

They will hold their AGM at the school on Tuesday 6th June 2017, 7pm and would like to invite you to join them.

If you would like any further information about what they do, or would like to offer your services as a helper, please contact them via the school office.

They look forward to seeing many members and interested potential volunteers on the evening – and warmly invite you to come!

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 Impertinent
The numeracy word of the week is Qualitative


Week commencing 8th May 2017

Study Leave?

Whilst some GCSE examinations started last week – Art and Business Communications – subjects with larger numbers of students start next Monday afternoon with Religious Studies. The onset of these examinations brings one question from Year 11 students: “Sir/Miss, when are we going on Study Leave?”

Our response is always the same, “We haven’t decided yet, but will let you know as soon as we do”.

In the past the vast majority of schools let Year 11 go on Study Leave before the start of the examinations so that students could revise at home. However, more recently the picture has become mixed with some schools continuing with this policy, but others opting to keep their students in lessons for at least part, and in some cases all, of the examination season. The latter of these appears to have become more common, with the increasing pressure on schools to ‘produce’ results and an associated concern that schools have greater control over each student’s revision habits if they are in school rather than at home.

As with most things in education, there are pros and cons to all of these approaches. Our approach is to be flexible, choosing a date when ‘it feels right’ and suits the needs of the majority of students. We will let know once we have made a decision on the dates we are currently considering as possibilities.

Timetable for 2017-18

This year, our school week has been structured so that students in Years 10 and 11 have been taught during period 6 on Thursdays, an extra teaching period over and above the timetable for those in Years 7-9 who leave at 2.25pm on Thursdays after period 5.

Next year, students currently in Year 10 (next year’s Year 11) will continue to stay in school for Thursday period 6. However, students currently in Year 9 (next year’s Year 10) will leave after period 5 at 2.25pm. This is possible because they are the first cohort to have started their GCSE courses in the summer term of Year 9, enabling them to cover the course content within the normal teaching week.

The present arrangement, with a split end-of-school finish on Thursdays, will be phased out after 2017-18.

Year 7 Student Led Conferences in June

Parents of students in Year 7, please note that Student Led Conferences for Year 7 Students will take place after school from 3.00pm to 8pm on Thursday 29th June and all day on Friday 30th June. These will take place with your child’s Form Tutor.

Further information and details of how to book your appointments will be sent to all Year 7 Parents after the May half term holiday. However, please be aware of the following: 

Thursday 29th June is a normal school day for all students. 

Year 7 Student Led Conferences will take place after school from 3.00pm onwards.  Students who attend their SLC on this day after school do not need to attend school on Friday 30th June.

Friday 30th June is a Student Led Conference Day

Year 7 students should only attend school for their SLC at the appropriate time. There are no lessons taking place for Year 7 on this day.  All other year groups will be in school as normal. 

TES Images of Stanley Park High

We were delighted to support TES by providing the school as a source of photos which will be used to illustrate future articles and published material. Their photographer visited the school last Wednesday to take a series of photos featuring teachers and students in a lesson setting. An early preview of some images has been shared with the school, and we are very pleased with the results. We were also happy to receive an email complimenting the school, a section of which is reproduced below:

“Thank you for all of your help last Wednesday with the photography that we undertook for TES global. It really was a pleasure being in your school. It was so inspiring to see how it’s run, and the enthusiasm from everyone that we met was wonderful.

TES are thrilled with the results”.

We look forward to collaborating with TES on future projects.

World Champion Cheerleader at SPH

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Congratulations to Saskia Geddes, who took part in the UK gold medal winning Team England Cheer Squad at the recent World Championships in Orlando. The teams perform a demanding two and a half minute routine, including some complicated and impressive stunts, before a team of judges.

The elite team beat thirteen other nations to achieve their gold medal success, and the mixed team won silver in their category.

Well done to Saskia and her team for this wonderful achievement, and for inspiring others.

Active Kids Vouchers

Active Kids vouchers can no longer be collected from Sainsbury's, but they can still be donated until 30 June. The vouchers enable us to obtain sports and music equipment which can be used by all students.

Please send your vouchers in to add to our total as soon as you can. Thanks to all who have supported us by donating.

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 brusque
The numeracy word of the week is pie-chart


Week commencing 2nd May 2017

Should we make a move to living Danishly?

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Over the Bank Holiday weekend I read most of a book called The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. A very entertaining account, it tells the story of her one year in rural Jutland and her attempt to find out why Denmark is apparently the world’s happiest country. One of the reasons, she says, is the Danes have a better work-life balance, with a chapter dedicated to how they don’t follow the 9-5pm daily schedule Monday to Friday, often leaving work by 4pm and even earlier on a Friday. This leaves parents more time with their children and more time for ‘hygge’, a Danish word that basically means relaxing and enjoying the comforts of home. Russell contrasts this with the ‘rat-race’ she experienced in London, when leaving the office and arriving at home by 7pm was a novelty.

Also, over the long weekend delegates at the NAHT (National Association of Headteachers) conference discussed the possibility that they could bring in a four-and-a-half day week in schools around England as they grapple with £3bn in budget pressures. One Headteacher was reported as saying: "The four-and-a-half day week must be seen as the very last resort because we don't want to cut the offer we are giving to children, to parents, to families, to our staff.” I wonder what the Danes would make of this?

Pretty much since the start of schooling English schools have had the same school year, school week and school day. We start after the six week summer holiday in early September and work through 195 school days (this includes 5 Inset Days), punctuated by two week breaks at Christmas and Easter, and three half term weekly breaks roughly in the middle of each term. Our school days start at about 8:30am and finish at 3:15pm, facilitating, as it does, about 25 hours of teaching time per week.

I understand why the Headteacher stated that reducing the school week would be a last resort, but I am not sure I entirely agree, and I am not sure the Danes would either. Rather than see it as a last resort, maybe we should see it as part of a wider opportunity to be innovative in reimagining the school year, school week and school day. In so doing, we would need to be mindful of the financial situation, but absolute priority would be given to promoting achievement and……..happiness, an area in which our country’s young people score less well than those of our international peers.

EFC Fashion Show – ‘Waste not, Want not’

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Our Year 7 and 8 students presented their spectacular fashion shows last week, as the culmination of their project on recycling and reducing textile waste. This involved the subjects of geography, science and design technology. Preparation for this event has really engaged our students, who have put in exceptional effort, and displayed both creativity and attention to detail.

The production was watched by an appreciative audience of parents, students and staff. Thanks to several parents who wrote afterwards congratulating students and staff. One email, which encapsulates the feeling of many parents afterwards, is reproduced below.

“I just wanted to thank you so very much for the wonderful fashion show yesterday. The children were fantastic and obviously proud of their achievements.

My daughter has been so very excited about the project from day one and tells me it's the best thing she's done at Stanley Park so far.

Her delight has been compounded by your encouragement and support throughout and for that I must pass on my heartfelt thanks. She has been excited to go to school and engage with other pupils to bring about her best work and help others do the same. Everyone has been so kind to each other sharing their materials and offering ideas. It seems this project has forged goodwill between students which is another super aspect of the whole thing.

Please thank all the students for their professionalism in the way they delivered themselves on the "cat walk". It must have been terrifying for some but they overcame their fear and did it, well done - what an achievement. To all those students who helped with hair, make up, comparing and selling snacks also well done. They should all be very proud of themselves and each other. 

Biggest thanks go to you and your fellow teaching staff who made it all possible. This is something that will stay with your students for life, the encouragement and achievement and the teaching staff who made it all possible.”

Literacy Workshop for KS3 and Horizon Parents, Tues 9th May at 4.00pm

Next Tuesday, parents of students in Key Stage 3, and those in our opportunity base for autism Horizon, are offered the opportunity to join us for a workshop which provides ideas and inspiration about how to support your child with literacy at home. This will be led by Maria Walker, who is experienced in supporting students with literacy needs. The workshop is expected to last for about an hour.

If you would like to attend please contact Nicola Gartell, ngartell@suttonmail.org. The event will be held in the World Studio. We hope that a good number of parents will be able to join us for this valuable session.

Surrey Cup Finals

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Many congratulations to our Year 7 girls who won their Surrey Cup Final 3-1 against Orleans Park last Monday. A full report will appear in the news section of the website shortly.

We hope that our Year 11 boys can repeat their success when the play Carshalton Boys School on 8th May at Carshalton Athletic FC ground. The match kicks off at 5pm. We wish them good luck and welcome all parents, students and staff to support.

‘Music is For Life’ with Merton Music Foundation

Royal Albert Hall, Monday 8 May 2017

We are extremely proud that our students Max Barnard and Thomas Gale will be performing at the event ‘Music is For Life’, a community music concert at the Royal Albert Hall next Monday, 8 May. This will feature the premiere of ‘The People’s Guide to the Orchestra’, a brand new work for orchestra by composer Neil Brand, which will be performed by young musicians from Sutton and Merton.

Tickets can be obtained from the following website

www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/events/2017/music-is-for-life/.

We wish Max and Thomas every success.

September 2017 return to school dates

Please note the following dates for your diary.

School restarts in September on the following days:

Years 7 - 11

Tuesday 5 Sept

Year 7 Start Day

Wednesday 6 Sept

Preparation for Learning Day for Year 8, 9, 10 and 11
Normal timetable for Year 7

Thursday 7 Sept onwards

Normal timetable for all students


Post 16

Tuesday 5 Sept

Year 12 External and Internal Enrolment 8:30am-3:30pm

Wednesday 6 Sept

Year 13 Student Enrolment 9:00am-1:00pm

Thursday 7 Sept

Post 16 Induction Period 1 and 2 – Spotlight
Lessons commence Period 3

Friday 8 Sept

Normal Day

Police information

All schools have been asked to inform parents that local officers, in common with all Met Police officers, have been issued with body worn cameras. The cameras will be attached to the officer's uniform and will not be permanently recording. When activated, officers will inform those filmed that they are being recorded. A camera taking footage is highly visible - notable by a flashing red circle in the centre of the camera and a frequent beeping noise.

If you have any concerns about the use of body worn cameras by police officers who are linked to the school, please refer to the Met Police website.

Street Works

Sutton East Surrey Water have advised us that work will be carried out on Metcalfe Avenue shortly. The footpath will be closed, but only from 9.00am to 3.00pm – this will enable our staff and children to access the school and car park.

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 brusque
The numeracy word of the week is pie-chart