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Headteacher's Blog

29th January 2018


League Tables

Last week the DfE published national Performance Data for all secondary schools. The key feature of this data is the overall Progress 8 score (P8), the new government measure of progress, introduced in 2016. An overall summary of the national P8 score of different groups can be seen in the graph below, with boys, first language – English, disadvantaged and SEN all scoring negatively below the line.

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While we recognise that the move to Progress 8 was an attempt to improve how schools are judged – broadening the number of subjects and ensuring schools didn’t solely focus on students on the C/D borderline – there are a number of weaknesses. Firstly, evidence, such as in the following link, suggests that the P8 calculation favours selective schools - schoolsweek.co.uk/progress-8-is-biased-towards-grammar-schools-heres-the-solution

Secondly, the new measure does not recognise schools that are inclusive. According to the graph above, schools that have a higher percentage of students with SEN are much more likely to get lower P8 scores. 7.3% of our students have a statement or Education Health Care Plan, with the majority being a part of our two Opportunity Bases for Autism - we are the only school in England to have such a provision and are justifiably proud of the achievements of our students in the Bases.​

Thirdly, it also rewards schools which are compliant – ie those that insist their students take certain subjects - mostly EBacc - to fill ‘buckets’ (categories). At Stanley Park High we remain absolutely committed to our philosophy of choice and equal value, and we will not insist our children take a subject for the sake of our position in league tables or to please Ofsted. Consequently, in 2017 seventy of our 203 students did not take examinations in subjects that enabled them to maximise their P8 score - considerably more than in 2016. This had a significant impact on the league tables, and was exacerbated by the fact that increasing pressure on headteachers meant more schools became P8 compliant, driving up averages and making it harder for the few schools that don't.

Stanley Park is proud of its philosophy of putting our students’ interests ahead of league table positions. We are always seeking to improve, and do better, but we won’t go against our values, undermine relationships, and compromise the wellbeing of our children and young adults to do so.

Exciting changes to our Learning Resource Centre

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The students pictured have been helping our artist-in-residence Sarit Barnard to transform our Learning Resource Centre into a scene from Narnia for World Book Day, which is on 1st March. The results are looking stunning, and will provide an inspirational environment for students to work and enjoy relaxation time. Thanks to them all for their efforts.

Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 26 January

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Our visitors last Friday included Mrs Eve Gill, a Holocaust survivor, whose story touched the hearts of students from Stanley Park High and other secondaries around the borough. Over 200 visitors attended to listen to presentations and share student work. We were delighted to host this thought provoking occasion which helped young people appreciate and understand the significance of the Holocaust.

NFER Exams - Wednesday 28th February

Sixty SPH students will be taking part in National Reference Tests on Wednesday 28th February. This research provides additional information to support the awarding of GCSEs. The information from the test will be considered each year by Ofqual and the exam boards, prior to GCSEs being awarded. The aim of National Reference Testing is to provide information on changes in performance standards over time. Those involved will be advised shortly.

Events this week:

  • Year 11 Parents’ EveningThursday 1st February from 4.15pm to 7.30pm. 

Details and booking information appeared last week. The deadline for making appointments is today.

Events next week:

  • Year 7 and 8 Student Led Conferences - Weds 7th February 3.30pm to 8.00pm and Thursday 8th February 7.30am to 8.00pm
  • Year 9 and 10 Curriculum Shutdown Day - Thursday 8th February
  • Inset Day - Friday 9th February
  • Half Term - Monday 12th to Friday 16th February

Information about these events appeared last week.

Words of the Week

Every two weeks, the school focuses on new words which broaden the vocabulary. The literacy word of the week is Enigma, and the numeracy word of the week is Negative integer.

22nd January 2018


We are Expecting Many Visitors This Week

Every year, at about this time, Bett is held somewhere in England - www.bettshow.com. Bett brings together 850 leading companies, 103 exciting new edtech start-ups and over 34,700 attendees (131 countries represented) from the global education community, to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the future of education. We are delighted that many of the overseas visitors to Bett seek to combine it with a visit to SPH.

This week, over 100 overseas visitors from Israel, Denmark and Hong Kong are expected to come to see what we do. They will be looking at the school as an example of imaginative building design that has the primacy of relationships at its core. They also come to look at our innovative curriculum, student-led assessment processes and immersive learning environments.

We welcome all our visitors and hope they enjoy their stay with us.

Holocaust Memorial Day – Friday 26 January

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This Friday we are privileged to host the borough’s Holocaust Memorial Day, which will be attended by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, together with students and staff from Sutton secondary schools. Students will present examples of their work on their current history topic, Nazi Germany. We anticipate interesting talks from Rabbi Shmuli Sagal and holocaust survivor Eve Gill (pictured above), who came to Britain on Kindertransport.  It is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn at first-hand about the events of the past.

SEND Transport

Concern has been expressed about the Local Authority’s ability to continue meeting the cost of transport to school for children with Special Educational Needs. Sutton schools, parents and interested parties have been invited to contribute their views in a consultation. Information about this can be found by clicking on the link below. The deadline for responses is Monday 12 February.

sutton.citizenspace.com/chief-executives-group/proposed-changes-to-london-borough-of-sutton-s-pos

The Mock Exam season

Year 13 Mock Exams and Resit Maths Post 16 exams will take place from Thursday 1st to Friday 9th February. Year 11 Mock Exams (PPEs) will be held during the last week before half term. Information appeared in last week’s blog. Please click on the link below to see the exam timetable.

Year 13 & 11 Mock Exam Timetable February 2018

Year 11 Parents’ EveningThursday 1st February from 4.15pm to 7.30pm

Parents are warmly welcomed to this event, and will have received a letter last week, including details of the online booking system which opened on Friday 19th January at 7.30pm. Please log on and complete your booking. The deadline for making appointments is midnight on Monday 29th January.

Year 7 Parents’ Information Evening about Student Led Conferences

Thursday 25 January at 6.30pm

After students begin at secondary school, there is a risk that parents miss out on much of the involvement with their child’s education which is taken for granted at primary school. To counter this, Stanley Park approach parents evenings differently, using them as an opportunity to create a home/school partnership that will help a child to thrive. 

Year 7 parents are invited to attend a short presentation this Thursday, which will provide useful information about the first such event for their child - their upcoming Student Led Conferences. The presentation will be led by the Headteacher and will last approximately 30 minutes. This will help parents understand how to book an appointment, how to prepare, what to expect and how to use the experience to help support their child in their learning. All Year 7 parents are warmly invited to come along.

Year 7 and 8 Student Led Conferences – Weds 7th February 3.30pm to 8.00pm and Thursday 8th February 7.30am to 8.00pm

Parents will be offered the opportunity to book appointments at various times, depending on teacher availability, from Wednesday 7th February from 3.30pm to 8pm and Thursday 8th February from 7.30am to 8pm. The booking system will be open from 7.30pm on Monday 29th January.  The deadline for all bookings to be made is the end of the day on Monday 5th February.

Students who attend for their appointment on Wednesday evening are not expected to be in school on Thursday 8 February.  

Year 9 and 10 Curriculum Shutdown Day - Thursday 8th February

On Thursday 8th February, students in Years 9 and 10 will be follow a special timetable. External speakers will visit to cover a range of Personal, Social and Health Education issues. These include Money Matters, E Safety, Health and Sexual Relationships, and Self Confidence.

Inset Day – Friday 9 February

The school will be closed for Inset on Friday 9 February to all students EXCEPT those students in Years 11, 12 and 13 students who are expected in school for exams. Please see last week’s blog for information.

Half Term Monday 12 to Friday 16 February

We wish all families a relaxed time at half term. Good luck with revision to our many students who are starting their preparation for the summer exams.

Please be seated

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New seating for our canteen is pictured above, and has brightened an area which is already a favourite location for staff and students. Thanks to parents for their generous donations towards the cost of this through School Fund. Termly contributors will find that they are able to make the Spring Term donation on Parent Pay now. 

Words of the Week

Every two weeks, the school focuses on new words which broaden the vocabulary. The literacy word of the week is Prodigy, and the numeracy word of the week is Mensuration.

17th January 2018


Energy Drinks Ban

The New Year brought the news that Waitrose has taken the decision to ban the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children under 16 from March 5th. Waitrose’s stance is to be applauded, and we believe it should be adopted by all retail outlets in England.

Both Public Health England (PHE) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) are very clear about the health issues. From the age of 11 years into adulthood, it is recommended that free sugar, all sugars added to food and drink products by the cook, consumer or manufacturer, account for no more than 5% of daily calories. This is around 30g of sugar, or seven sugar cubes per day. At the moment sugar provides between 11 and 15% of food energy.

Generally, energy drinks are high in caffeine, sugar and calories. As most of us are already consuming too much sugar, regularly consuming energy drinks can increase free sugar intake to well above the recommended maximum. This can cause tooth decay and lead to weight gain and obesity, which increases the risk of life-threatening illnesses including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and breast and bowel cancer.

Despite SPH banning the consumption of high energy drinks in school some time ago, we have noticed a significant and increasing number of children purchasing such drinks on the way to school. When questioned at the entrance to the school, some students refer to feeling tired, not having had a breakfast and needing their energy boosting.

Other than raising the understanding of health issues in PSHE type lessons, it is very difficult for the school to prevent such purchases unless all retail outlets follow Waitrose’s lead. We politely request that parents support the school’s stance, and stress to their child the importance of avoiding high energy/caffeine drinks. Thank you for helping us to tackle this issue.

Parking Considerately

This week, a local resident has contacted the school to comment on behaviour outside the school as children leave. We are sorry to report that it is not the behaviour of our students that gives cause for concern, but that of car drivers who are collecting them.

Whilst we accept that most parents and carers are considerate and responsible, we would urge all to bear in mind that our local residents need access to their homes, and deserve to be treated with courtesy. Please do not obstruct pavements, road junctions or access to driveways. Do think about arranging a meeting point which is not immediately outside the school, so that your child can walk a short distance to find you.

The congestion has safety implications for us all, and is restricting access for emergency vehicles. We would be very grateful for your help. Thanks to all for your support.

Results Day for Year 11 - Thurs 18th January

Year 11 students will receive their Pre Public Exams (mock examinations) results during tutor time this Thursday, following a short mini-school assembly. This is designed to imitate the results day that they will experience in August, and help them anticipate the range of emotions that they may experience. We hope this will motivate students to work hard in the build-up to the actual exams in May and June. Support will be on hand from Tutors, Progress Leaders and Heads of School after the event.

If your child is in Year 11, please praise and encourage them, and help them use this as a springboard for their efforts in the coming months. There is further information about how to help your child prepare in the Exam Preparation section of the school website, which can be found here.

Last Week before Half Term

It hardly seems that we have started back, but half term is already on the horizon! The preceding week will be busy. Please see the timetable below.

 

School Day

After School

Wednesday 7 February

Normal day ending at 3.15pm

Year 11 – Exam in the afternoon

Years 7 and 8

Student Led Conferences from 3.30pm onwards

Thursday 8 February

Years 7 and 8

Student Led Conferences continue

Years 7 and 8

Student Led Conferences continue

 

Years 9 and 10

PSHE lessons

 

 

Year 11 – Exams in the morning only, students dismissed at 1.30pm

 

Friday 9 February

INSET Day – Students in Years 7/8/9/10/12/13 are not required to attend school

 

 

Year 11 – Exams in the morning only, students dismissed at 1.30pm

 

 

Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th February

Student Led Conferences for Years 7 and 8

You will be aware that we have changed one of the key ways in which parents receive information about the progress of their child. In years 7 and 8 we have replaced the traditional Parents’ Evenings with Student Led Conferences. We strongly believe that this change will place the child at the centre of the assessment process and will result in a more positive experience for both the child and the parent, thereby having a significantly greater impact on learning.

Parents of children in Year 8 will have experienced these conferences during the last academic year. Parents of children in Year 7 are warmly invited to an information evening about the process, which will be held on Thursday 25th January starting at 6:30pm and finishing at approximately 7:00pm. The event will provide important information including details about the online booking system.

Appointments will be offered at flexible times to suit family commitments, and will take the form of a thirty minute conference led by the student themselves, at which they will present examples of their work to their tutor and parents. Form tutors will guide students in preparing for this, helping students choose samples of work which reflect their achievements, and encouraging them to think about areas of learning which they could develop.

Please note that after school finishes on Wednesday your child is only required to attend school for their Student Led Conference. In virtually all cases, this will either be on the Wednesday 7th or the Thursday 8th February.

PSHE for Years 9 and 10

On Thursday 8th February, students in Years 9 and 10 will be follow a special timetable to allow for a range of Personal, Social and Health Education issues to be covered. These include Money Matters, E Safety, Health, Relationships and Self Confidence.

PPEs for Year 11

As in previous years, we have scheduled additional PPEs for English Literature and Maths. They will take place on the dates below. This will be additional exam experience and a last chance to test students’ understanding before the GCSE Public Examinations in May and June.

English Literature and Maths PPEs will take place on:

Wednesday 7th February 1.30pm Maths paper 1
Thursday 8th February 8.30am Maths paper 2
Thursday 8th February 11.00am English Literature paper 1
Friday 9th February 8.30am Maths paper 3
Friday 9th February 11.00am English Literature paper 2


Friday 9th February is an INSET day for the rest of the school, however Year 11 students will be expected to attend in full school uniform for their two exams on this day. They will be dismissed at approximately 1.30pm.

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 Prodigy, and the numeracy word of the week is Mensuration.

8th January 2018


January – the dullest of months – not at Stanley Park High!

Welcome back and happy New Year. We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Break and are refreshed for the new term ahead.

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Students very much enjoyed the end of term. On Tuesday 19th December we received our annual visit from DJ Dave Goodings from Kiss FM. He entertained students will music, party games and stories about his recent five hours underwater radio show, which set a new world record.

Later that same evening we had our Carol Concert at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Some truly fantastic singing, playing and readings capped off a super end of term. There was even a rendition of the 12 days of Christmas by the Staff Choir!

January traditionally offers the prospect of renewal, resolutions and fresh starts. With this in mind, we have an exciting project about to be launched.

In the winter, the majority of our students (with the notable exception of our hardy footballers) enjoy spending their break and lunch times in the atrium, the learning resource centre – SPIRA - and dining space. These are important spaces to our students, and we will be using January to reinvigorate them. Instead of simply replacing old with new, we are keen that we redevelop with a clear purpose, linking our plans to ‘Optimism in a rapidly changing world’, one of the outcomes in our vision statement.

Recently, the excellent Blue Planet television series by Sir David Attenborough has raised awareness of the sheer diversity of life in our seas and oceans. It has also drawn necessary attention to the damage mankind is doing to these fragile environments and how we must act to protect them and the other finely balanced ecosystems in our world. If we are to do this, current and future generations of children must be aware of these problems. They cannot solve them without building up their knowledge.

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So, by the end of January we are setting out to create spaces that immerse students in environments that are under threat. Our inspiration is taken from this image. Students will be invited to participate in these creations, with some work in SPIRA that focuses on mountain environments already being undertaken by YAC, our newly formed Young Artists Club, at the end of the Autumn Term.

This project will benefit students of all ages on a daily basis, and with this in mind we plan to use some of the donations generously provided by parents via School Fund, to enable us to afford some of the more expensive items such as seating and flooring. We are extremely grateful to those parents who contribute, and hope they will agree that this freshly redesigned space represents a lasting and valuable asset to the school. We are confident that these spaces will inspire our students and impress the many visitors that are scheduled to visit us in January. By the end of the month we will have been visited by educators from Denmark, Israel (two separate visits), Australia, South Wales and the Isle of Man.

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Students work on images for our Learning Resource Centre. Basil the Mountain Goat, a book trolley for the Learning Resource centre created by students.

Learning Review Week for Year 9 and 10

This week we encourage all parents and carers to join in Parents’ Learning Review Week. Students in Years 9 and 10 will be bringing home their learning in exercise books and folders to share with you. Some students will be able to share work which has been set on Google Docs, our new pilot system, if their teacher is an early adopter of this route.

In order to support your review we politely suggest you focus on the following:

  • WWW and EBI. These are written by the teacher and describe ‘What Went Well’ and ‘Even Better If’.
  • Use of the Green Pen. This shows your child’s response to these comments, particularly the EBI.
  • Quality of presentation. Think about the appearance of your child’s learning and whether they are presenting it to the best of their ability.

Afterwards, please add your signature to the Learning Review Week sticker displayed in your child’s book or folder, to show that you have taken part. Comments are welcome in the space provided. Please remember that your comments will stay in your child’s book, so aim to write something that is kind, specific and helpful.

Parents of students within Ignis, one of our two ASD bases, will be invited to review the learning of their child using an alternative format.  Parents will be invited to participate within a learning activity so they can experience the full breadth of their child’s learning opportunities.  Further detail, including specific dates and times, will be shared with invited parents this week via email.

Thanks to all parents and carers for your support.

Bus Overcrowding

In both September and October we wrote about our concerns that students have a long wait for buses at the end of the school day. Children are waiting for several buses to pass before being allowed to board a vehicle, as there is not sufficient space.

The school, our local councillors Jane Pascoe, Moira Butt and Steve O’Connell, and local MP Tom Brake have put the case strongly to TfL for an additional service to be added at the peak after school time. This is not just a matter of convenience, but one of safety, as there are reports of children being pushed into the road and against the wheels of vehicles in motion.

With regret we have to report that our efforts have not yet borne fruit. Just before the Christmas break, we were forwarded an email sent to local councillors. Surprisingly, TfL have not replied to the school at all. We reproduce the email in full below for parents to read.

For those who, like us, feel this dismissive reply is inadequate, contact information appears at the end of this piece. We would encourage any parents and friends who would like to express their feelings about this issue to contact TfL.  

Overcrowding on route 154

We understand the concerns raised by Stanley Park High School (SPHS), Councillor Moira Butt and Steve O’Connell about route 154, in particular with overcrowding. We aim to match capacity as closely as possible to demand to ensure our finite resources are utilised as effectively as possible. It is very difficult for us to meet demand from all schools as they tend to finish their day during a very concentrated timeframe. Route 154 operates every 12 minutes using double-deck vehicles with some additional ‘schooldays only’ journeys also operating to meet demand as best as possible during this busy time.

Our surveys found that approximately 40 people have to wait for a subsequent bus at SPHS. Running an additional bus would cost the equivalent of £2,000 per annum for each person unable to board the bus. This would not offer sufficient value, given you’ll be only too aware that budgets are limited and we would need, consequentially, to cut other services elsewhere to compensate. Therefore, we are not currently in a position to add any extra capacity to route 154.

Delays and buses not stopping

We are sorry to learn of the reports of long waits for buses and buses having not stopped when there is still capacity on board. The driver can activate automated announcements on board to ask passengers to move down the bus or to advise there is space upstairs to make sure capacity on board is utilised as best as possible. We have asked London General, who operate route 154 on our behalf, to issue a reminder to drivers to ensure they use these tools to make sure passengers use all available space on board. If there are cases where buses do not stop despite there being space on board, I would ask for these to be reported directly to our customer services team via the following link: https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/contact-us-about-buses. They will ensure these reports are fully investigated and London General will take any appropriate action to resolve the matter to prevent future occurrences.

The performance of route 154 is generally good, but can be affected by high traffic volumes, particularly at school times, bearing in mind there are around 60 schools in Sutton alone. Traffic can be particularly heavy around the Stanley Park Road, Roundshaw and central Croydon areas. Further delays can be caused by incidents on the day and roadworks, although we work closely with utility companies and the London boroughs to minimise the impact on the bus and road network. Furthermore, we work with our bus operators to monitor all routes’ performance and regularly make amendments to schedules to maintain reliability as best as possible.

Working with the school

We would be more than happy to work with SPHS to minimise the inconvenience caused to students, passengers and parents and to reduce overcrowding. It is of great concern that a child ended up in the road at a bus stop, and we appreciate the concerns over the welfare of the pupils. We can offer pupils at SPHS an in school session with our Safety & Citizenship team who deliver interactive sessions around safe and responsible travel behaviour. If the school is interested in reducing bus use and encouraging more walking and cycling to school, I would strongly recommend the Youth Travel Ambassador programme which supports pupil-led behaviour change travel campaigns at secondary schools. Through the programme, pupils research, develop and deliver bespoke campaigns and provide innovative ways to improve their wellbeing focused on:

• Encouraging more walking and cycling to school
• Sharing key road safety messages
• Promoting responsible behaviour on the transport network
• Giving young people the skills and confidence to travel safely and independently

More information is available at: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/schools-and-young-people/teaching-resources/youth-travel-ambassadors?intcmp=14802. The team can be contacted directly be emailing: schoolsandyoungpeople@tfl.gov.uk.

We have also responded to the concerns raised by SPHS Headteacher, David Taylor, who wrote to Tom Brake MP, and have offered the same advice as to how we can work with the school. .

I am sorry we are unable to increase capacity on this route, but we are confident we can find other means to address the concerns raised.

Kind regards

Liam Nichols | Communications & Engagement Officer, Managing Director's Office
TfL Surface Transport, 11th Floor, Zone R3, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ
Tel: 020 3054 3118 Ext: 83118
Email: liamnichols@tfl.gov.uk

Good News to Start 2018

We are pleased to report that we have had over 240 first choice applicants for entry into Year 7 in September 2018. Early indications show that we are likely to be just as pleased with the number of application for entry into our Post 16 centre at the same time.

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 Coherent, and the numeracy word of the week is Linear.