Headteachers' Blog

25th September 2017


Open Evening Thursday 21st September

We were delighted to see an unprecedented number of visitors at our Open Evening last Thursday. Despite an early shower of rain, we welcomed an extremely large number of prospective students and their parents. In fact, it was probably our biggest on record.

Headteacher talks tend to be popular at every school’s Open Evening. Now in my thirteenth year as headteacher, I chalked up my 37th, 38th and 39th talks last week. In each talk I have always been joined by two or three students, and this year was no exception with Daniel Xhelo, Arya Zangie (both Year 7) and Brandon Farley (Year 11) contributing. As in previous years, all three were given less than twenty four hours to write a speech, and only one sound check rehearsal which took place 45 minutes before the real thing. They all did exceptionally well. Such confidence speaking in front of 400+ audience at such a young age is remarkable. One member of the audience was so impressed with Brandon that he gave him his business card!

Also popular amongst of visitors was the variety of learning environments that facilitate our innovative curriculum and the broad range of subjects taught. This year saw our English and Maths teachers going above and beyond the call of duty by wearing fancy dress: English colleagues as characters in classic novels and their Maths counterparts as characters from Alice in Wonderland.

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Judging by the feedback, many visiting parents are giving serious consideration to Stanley Park High being the school of choice for their child. To help them make that decision we have two Open Mornings in the coming weeks.

Open Mornings Thursday 28th September and Thursday 12th October

The school will be open to visitors on our annual Open Mornings, this Thursday 28th September and in two weeks’ time on Thursday 12th October. Please join us from 9.00am to 10.30am. This is an opportunity to see the school during the normal working day, and will be especially of interest to those families who were unable to attend our Open Evening last week. Arrival at 9.00am is recommended, so that visitors are able to see all areas of the school. All parents and students are warmly welcome, and no appointment is necessary.

Rewards

Students are rewarded for exceptional effort, excellent work, good behaviour and helpfulness with points which count towards their Year and House totals. It is pleasing to see that in the three short weeks since the start of term, the tally has already exceeded 3,000.

Well done to all students especially those in Year 8, who seem to be storming ahead.

 

Year  7

Year  8

Year  9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Total

Beeches

170

231

172

166

58

1

798

Carew

158

277

163

137

76

5

816

Oaks

190

241

124

129

66

2

752

Wandle

199

286

148

135

71

2

841

Total

717

1035

607

567

271

10

3207

Intensive Day – Thursday 5th October

Next Thursday is Intensive Day, and we will be following a condensed timetable:

Period 1            08:30 – 09:10am
Period 2            09:10 – 09:50am
Period 3            09:50 – 10:30am
Break               10:30 – 10:50am
Period 4            10:50 – 11:30am
Period 5            11:30 – 12:10pm
There will be no Period 6 and all students will be dismissed at 12.10pm.

The time created in the afternoon will be used to deliver compulsory training on assessment and target setting to all teaching staff.

School Plans

We have an Inset Day on Friday 6th October so the school will be closed to all students. This is an opportunity for our staff to plan ahead, and amongst the range of activities we have developed are four future Think Tanks which will look at a range of big issues. These will be:

Asymmetric Weeks- creative thinking and ideas about the structure of the school week from the UK and abroad;

Independent Learning – assessing the value of learning away from the classroom, and reflecting on the benefits at each stage of the school journey;

Bring Your Own Device – exploring the potential benefits of the use of mobile devices in the classroom. This year we shall pilot the use of Chromebooks with Year 7 – this initiative and other possibilities, including the use of mobile phones, will be considered.

Student Engaged Assessment -This group will look at a range of issues relating to assessment. Our Parent Review Weeks, Student and Subject-Led Conferences will be comprehensively reviewed and possibilities for the future evaluated.

This is a valuable exercise for staff, and an opportunity to open minds to the possibilities and to ensure that Stanley Park remains innovative. Parental input is important as we wish to work together on any changes, and parents will be consulted should any recommendations be made by any of the Think Tanks.

SPIRA visitors last Monday

Last Monday we were delighted to welcome staff from Jack Hunt School Peterborough, who attended a training day run by SPH staff in our professional learning environment, SPIRA. Their visit focused on our popular Excellent Futures Curriculum. We hope that they enjoyed their day and took home some exciting, inspirational thoughts and ideas.

SPIRA was established to develop and evaluate our curriculum and pedagogical practice, and to share, learn and grow in our professional learning with other education professionals. Information is available through our website http://www.stanleyparkhigh.org.uk/79/spira

Health Information

We have been asked to pass on to parents a reminder that the season for colds and influenza is approaching. To minimise the risk of suffering the NHS advise:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Always sneeze or cough into a tissue.
  • Clean surfaces regularly.
  • Do not share cups, plates, cutlery or kitchen utensils.
  • Do not share towels or toys with someone who has a cold.

For more information please see the NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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 Divulge, and the Numeracy word of the week is Denominator.

18th September 2017


At the end of their first full week I am delighted to report that our Year 7 students have continued to settle exceptionally well. Their surroundings are becoming familiar, and they have clearly benefitted from the range of initiatives to support transition from primary school to secondary school. It is the little things that make a massive difference. Allowing them to go into lunch early each day during the first week has been a regular feature of transition for many years, but introducing the ‘Museum of my Child’s Life’ this year has proved of significant benefit.

We strongly believe that our emphasis on the primacy of relationships is the underlying reason why our transition is successful. Having only seven teachers to get to know well is much easier than trying to do so with upwards of fourteen. Key to this is our Excellent Futures Curriculum, with each student seeing the same teacher for nearly half of each week. During this half term the students will be learning the values and practice of the school. They do this by interviewing staff and older students, and by interrogating school documentation. They use all of this information to produce a book in each of the small schools titled ‘Being a Stanley Parker’. These are an absolute joy to read, and parents will have the opportunity to purchase a copy.

It is remarkable that whilst we are celebrating the arrival of our new Year 7 students, this week we will be planning to welcome their successors. On Thursday it is our Open evening.

Open Evening Thursday 21st September

SPH-Open-Evening-Advert-2017-v3.2web

We are delighted to welcome visitors to our Open Evening on Thursday, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. We are looking forward to presenting all that Stanley Park High has to offer. Headteacher will be at 6.00, 6.45 and 7.15pm.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive during the early part of the evening, as visitor numbers tend to build up later. To help traffic keep moving, 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.

Please try to park some distance away walk the final distance to the school. The area immediately around the school will be extremely busy. Do park considerately to minimise inconvenience to our local residents.

Parents please note that we will follow a condensed timetable on this day:

Period 1             08:30 – 09:10am
Period 2             09:10 – 09:50am
Period 3             09:50 – 10:30am
Break                 10:30 – 10:50am
Period 4             10:50 – 11:30am
Period 5             11:30 – 12:10pm

There will be no Period 6 and all students will be dismissed at 12.10pm. This will allow teachers to prepare the building and grounds for the evening ahead. Thanks to our many student helpers who will return to school to assist during the event.

On Friday 22nd September, the school will open later to students. Doors will open at 9:45am and students are required to arrive by 10:25am at the very latest. This enables staff to prepare the classrooms for teaching and learning.

Homework

We believe homework is a valuable part of learning, and encourage all our students to complete tasks regularly and to the best of their ability. Remembering the homework task set is vital, and we are in the process of changing from one system to another.

Parents of Year 8 and above will be familiar with Firefly, which we have used for a couple of years. Our new provider is Google, and homework will be set through this avenue shortly.

During the period of change we would ask families to bear with us. Since the start of term, EFC staff have given verbal homework tasks to Year 7 students, encouraging them to write it down in a note book. Next week, Year 7 will take part in a new pilot scheme that will include using Chromebooks, producing collaborative work and submitting their homework online in a different manner to the remainder of the school.

We are excited about these changes, which we believe put us in the forefront of new technology and give our students the very best opportunities for learning. Details of this new project will be reported in the blog next week, together with information about how we aim to develop this initiative across the entire school.

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 Divulge, and the Numeracy word of the week is Denominator.

11th September 2017


Approaching 1300

We are growing - as of last Friday we had 1283 students on roll, and the 1300 figure is likely to be surpassed before the end of this academic year. We are extremely happy to see the most recent members of our community settle so well. The transition from primary to secondary school is a significant challenge, but our new Year 7 students have met it with a significant amount of confidence and enthusiasm. New tutor groups are enjoying getting to know one another, and students are making new friends. Good relationships are a priority for us, and an important foundation for a school career where children can flourish. We look forward to seeing these children develop their skills and friendships as the term progresses.

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Year 7 Trade students getting to know each other last week

Travelling to and from school

Having an increased number of students is putting pressure on school journeys, particularly at the end of the day. The first week of term is always busy, with more parents choosing to pick up their child/children than is usually the case. Over the coming weeks we politely request that, where possible, parents encourage their child to walk, cycle or travel by public transport. If you must pick up your child by car, we ask that you park further away from the school in order to reduce the amount of congestion that occurred last Friday afternoon.

Cycling is a very good way to travel to school, and about 50 children do so on a daily basis. From next Monday your child will be required to get a Cycling Pass from the school. Each student will be required to keep the pass on them at all times. The pass will be confiscated if a student cycles irresponsibly, thereby endangering themselves or other road users.

We have given some thought about enforcing the requirement to wear a cycling helmet in order to receive the pass. Most of students that currently ride their bikes choose not to. There is no legal requirement for cyclists to wear one, but we strongly encourage all students to do so. Consequently, we will leave the decision to each parent.

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For a large number of students the bus is the chosen method of transport. Our increased numbers have put more pressure on already overloaded bus stops at the end of the day. The 154 bus stop at the junction of Stanley Park Road and Crichton Road travelling in the Wallington direction (top) has been a particular concern in the past. Last week overcrowding was also evident at the opposite stop, Carshalton Beeches bound (below). Pavements are narrow and, given the number of students, we believe these particular locations to be dangerous.

We have raised this issue with various transport groups in the past but, with the exception of an additional bus after school, nothing in terms of the infrastructure at the bus stop has changed. Consequently, we will be writing to the local MP, Rt Hon. Tom Brake about this issue. In the meantime, we will be strongly advising students not to use these bus stops. Other stops a short distance away are safer. Please encourage your child to think about safety and explore different options.

Open Evening

SPH-Open-Evening-Advert-2017-v3.2web

All are welcome to join us for our Open Evening on Thursday next week, 21st September, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. We are looking forward to demonstrating all that Stanley Park High has to offer. There will be talks from the Headteacher at 6.00, 6.45 and 7.15pm. The best time to visit is early, as visitor numbers tend to build up as the evening goes on.

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. Visitors are encouraged to park some distance away and be prepared to walk. This often saves time, as the area immediately around the school is extremely busy. Please be considerate when parking, to minimise inconvenience to our local residents.

The school will close to students at 12:10pm to allow teachers to prepare the building and grounds. A large number of students will be asked to help us on the evening. If your son or daughter is/are involved, you will receive a letter.

The school will open later to students on Friday 22nd September so that the classrooms can be prepared for teaching and learning. Doors will open at 9:45am and students are required to arrive by 10:25am at the very latest.

Exam Results

Many of our visitors will be interested in our examination results. As we explained last week, school performance measures have changed. Schools have been advised not to use the old measures and, in some cases, not to predict the new measures e.g. Progress 8. We are also urged not to compare results with previous years because exams are different and some schools will feel the effect of these changes more than others. All this is before you factor in the usual differences between each year group.  

Schools have been encouraged to celebrate their results, which we have done, and we believe our students should be justly proud of their achievements. At KS4, 74% passed GCSE English and 61% passed GCSE Mathematics (C or better in old money). At A Level 41% of our students achieved A*-B and 90% achieved A*-E. We were pleased with our results, which show the amount of effort and dedication on the part of students and staff.

We will be sharing more information about our results when the DfE does its number crunching and provides us a clearer understanding of the national picture for all schools. We will also share our thoughts on schools like SPH who allow students to choose their option subjects with careers guidance but, crucially, without any restrictions. This will be shared via the Blog and on our website.

Our Website

We are currently undertaking a major overhaul of our website. Consequently, we will be phasing out our existing site and will only be uploading essential information. Please bear with us during the changes.

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 Charisma, and the Numeracy word of the week is Chord.

4th September 2017


Start of term message

Welcome to the start of the new academic year, and a special welcome to parents of our Year 7 students. The weather was not the glorious sunshine of 1976, but we hope you all had a fantastic summer holiday anyway.

Examination results days for Year 13 and Year 11 duly arrived to interrupt the bad weather and they generated even greater attention this year because of all the changes to A Levels and GCSEs. How did our students perform? As we have said before, results are personal to each student and their families, and these registered the expected range of emotions from ecstatic through to ambivalent and some disappointment. We are delighted to report that sixty per cent of Year 13 are going to university. These include: Joseph Higgs - University of Surrey to study Mathematics, Niamh Cunningham – University of London to study English and History, and Matthew Savill to study Chemistry. We are also delighted to inform you that two of our Aqua students, Sam Mannion and Ryan Gibbs, are following the same path: Sam to study Mathematics at Surrey University and Ryan Mechanical Engineering at Oxford Brookes University. Other Year 13 students have chosen a different path. These include: Ben Springall, London Fire Brigade; Shaan Ramkali, apprenticeship in ICT; Ayden Wood, accountancy firm in the city; and Alex Guiste, apprenticeship with Burberry. We wish them all the very best of luck and look forward to hearing about their journeys in the future.

In Year 11 some students did fantastically well to get the top grade 9 in the new GCSEs in English and Mathematics: Bethany Bourke, Beth Burls and Ella Mitchell (English Language) Tabitha Turner (English Literature), and Philip McCoy and Jake Wood (Maths). Doing just as well were students that attained lower grades. Amongst these were many that overcame difficulties such as dyslexia. Congratulations to each and every one of them; we fully recognise the effort that was put in, and the pressures they were under being the first to take the new style exams in English and Mathematicss. We look forward to welcoming most back into our Post 16 Centre.

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What do we think about the performance of the school? Given all of the changes this year and, as a result, being told not to compare the results with previous year, many headteachers didn’t know what to think. Consequently, it felt a bit like the atmosphere after the final whistle of the deciding 3rd Test between the Lions and the All Blacks in July; the draw resulting in the players, managers, coaches and supporters being unsure whether to celebrate or not. In line with the national trend, we did see a fall in attainment in both Year 11 and 13. We will need to await the publication of national progress results later in the term before we come to a more informed decision. This analysis, as always, will be shared with parents via the Blog.

Post 16 Enrolment

Enrolment for Year 12 students will be held between 8:30am and 3:30pm on Tuesday 5th September. Year 13 will enrol on Wednesday between 9:00am and 1:00pm.

Year 7 Summer School

Summer School for our new Year 7s took place in the penultimate week of the summer holidays. Over 140 students attended over three days and it was a roaring success. We are delighted to welcome our new students and we hope that attending Summer School helped with the transition from primary to secondary.

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Preparation for Learning Day – Wednesday 6th September

Parents of students in Years 8-11 will have received a letter explaining the arrangements for their child’s meeting with their tutor on Wednesday. You should have also received an email requesting that your child empties their locker prior to the meeting and then hands in their key to their tutor. Later this week we will be conducting an audit of the lockers with a view to redistributing them next week. Year 7 will be allocated lockers on Monday 11th September, followed by Year 8 on Tuesday, Year 9 on Wednesday, Year 10 on Thursday and Year 11 on Friday.

Summer developments

Over the summer we had a small amount of building work completed to introduce changes to our Main Reception and Student Services Reception. From the start of term students will not be allowed into the main reception area at any time. To support this, the Medical Room has been moved from the main reception area to the ground floor of World school. Except for major schools events like our Open Evening, parents and other visitors will still be welcomed into the school via the usual side door into the main reception. Students, including Post 16, will only enter and leave the school via the large sliding doors at the front of the school.

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The LRC has been updated over the holidays, and decorated with wonderful murals by our artist in residence, Sarit Barnard. Her freehand designs show iconic images, famous faces and landmarks from around the world, and make the area inspiring and welcoming. Thanks to Mr Kilty, father to a student at our school who was kind enough to support us in a furniture project over the summer. We are grateful that he gave his skills and time (and donated the materials) to re-upholster two rather special pieces in the LRC. The results are proudly pictured above and he did a brilliant job. We are sure that the new car bench & bass drum will provide an imaginative environment for students to enjoy.

Open Evening

We are very much looking forward to our Open Evening on Thursday 21st September from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. This is an occasion when we are delighted to welcome the community, including 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 6.00, 6.45 and 7.15pm. The event is due to finish at 8.30pm. The best time to visit is early, as visitor numbers tend to build up as the evening goes on.

Please note that a large volume of traffic is expected. 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. Our visitors are encouraged to park some distance away and be prepared to walk. This often saves time, as the area immediately around the school is extremely busy. We would be grateful to our visitors for being considerate when parking, to minimise inconvenience to 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 soon receive a letter.

The school will have a later start on Friday 22nd 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.

Act of kindness

It was heartwarming to hear of a thoughtful gesture from one of our younger students over the summer holidays. We were pleased to receive the email reproduced below, which tells its own story:

“Today, I had a call from one of your students, ‘Alfie’. He had found a phone in the park whilst out and called the ‘home’ number on it. It was my daughter’s phone that she must have dropped whilst in the park that morning. It was a kind thing for him to do. He hung around and waited while for me to get to him to collect it.

I asked him which school he went to and said that I would let you know about his thoughtfulness and citizenship. He’s a credit to your school.”

We are delighted to hear about this generous action on the part of one of our school community, and we are sure that if reflects the helpful attitude we often see displayed in school. Well done to the student concerned, your kindness has made a real difference – and thanks to Ms Stevens for emailing to bring it to our attention.

 

Word of the Week will re-start next week.