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Headteacher's Blog

26th February 2018


Success Comes in Many Forms!

We are very grateful for the letters and emails we receive from parents. We thought we would share this one.

After reading your blog this week I felt the need to write, your articulately written sentiments regarding our education system are very close to my heart.

Your first point regarding changing the narrative about what it is to be successful is very poignant for us as a family at the moment and would really like to let you know about it.

As you know son left Stanley Park last summer with some academic successes but unfortunately didn't quite get a pass for all his A Levels which meant the university place that he deferred for a year, could have been in jeopardy. However, when the university offered him the chance of doing a foundation year, his opportunity of going to university had not been thwarted. I went to university myself and felt that this was the right move for my children! He was not completely convinced but was prepared to keep the door to university open!

So with the deferred place still in play, he set out to find himself a job for the year. This was not an easy task; however, he kept at it and was rewarded by a football coaching position with a local company. While doing this job he saw an internship advertised for a football scouting company working alongside the coaching company. He applied and got it. His job is to video and photograph prospective professional footballers. I believe his job title is videographer! A dream come true I hear you say, for a boy who studied media and photography at school and loves football. He is in his element, so much so he has made the decision to not go to university now. He doesn't get paid very much but the prospects with this company are what excite him. The decision to not go to university was not an easy one but he measures his success by something other than qualifications. I, on the other hand, took a little convincing!

I think what I am trying to say to you, as I have done so many times in the past, is that you, your staff and your school taught my children that success comes in many forms, not just university degrees or academia, which brings me I guess to your second point. I am continually proud that I sent my boys to Stanley Park you gave them so much more than an education; you armed them with all the skills needed to meet this modern world with vigour and positivity. Please keep doing what you are doing. I for one will always shout your successes from the rooftops. My children are two of them!

Another Success - Ex Student Stan South – Career Update

Congratulations to ex-student Stan South, a passionate rugby player who has chosen to make sport his career - we are delighted to hear that Stan has been nominated for an award.   He is one of ten young players who have been identified by the Rugby Premiership as up and coming breakthrough players in the Anglo/Welsh tournament. 

We are extremely proud of Stan’s rugby success and wish him well in the award. If there are parents and friends who remember Stan, and would like to support him in the public vote, the link to use is:

www.premiershiprugby.com/news/the-anglo-welsh-cup-is-back

Student Questionnaire – A Summary

As the accounts above demonstrate, whilst we prepare our students for the all-important examinations, we endeavour to develop skills which will help them now and in later life. Alongside our recent Student Led Conferences, we ran a student questionnaire. In the same way, the survey is designed to encourage students to think about their engagement with learning, and re-assess their direction and the amount of progress they are making towards achieving their goals.

The results are reproduced below. Like many of us when asked to assess our own performance, students may have erred on the side of modesty. We believe that taking part in this exercise is a valuable experience. The version completed by parents appeared last week.

 

1   2   3   4   5

 

I am determined to be very successful and have very high expectations of myself.

       2.0

I have no desire to be successful and have very low expectations of myself.

I try my very best in all my lessons

       2.1

I apply very little effort in all my lessons.

I never give up when I find learning difficult, makes mistakes or get something wrong.

         2.5

I usually give up when I find learning difficult, make mistakes or get something wrong.

I feel totally safe in school.

         2.5

I do not feel safe in school.

I am willing to try new experiences and put myself in situations I find uncomfortable.

         2.4

I am unwilling to try anything new or put myself into situations I find uncomfortable.

I have very good organisational skills and, as a result, I am prepared for learning and meet agreed deadlines in all lessons

        2.3

I am unable to organise myself and, as a result, I am not prepared for learning and miss agreed deadlines in all lessons

I always present my learning to the best of my ability in all lessons.

       2.1

I make very little effort with the presentation of my learning in all lessons.

I am very good at communicating thoughts and ideas to groups of students.

         2.4

I am not very good at communicating thoughts and ideas to groups of students.

I frequently ask questions to increase my knowledge and understanding.

         2.6

I do not ask questions to increase my knowledge and understanding.

I frequently conduct effective research to increase my knowledge and understanding.

         2.6

I do not conduct research to increase my knowledge and understanding.

I am always coming up with new ideas, images or concepts.

        2.3

I do not come up with new ideas, images or concepts.

My ideas are treated seriously and with respect.

          2.7

My ideas are dismissed and I do not feel as though anyone is interested in them.

I always assess the situation and start things on my own. I do not rely on others to tell me what to do.

        2.3

I do not assess the situation and start things on my own. I always rely on others to tell me what to do.

I learn very well in a team and contribute to the success of the group.

        2.2

I find it very difficult to learn in a team and do not contribute very much to the group.

I am very considerate towards the feelings and beliefs of others.

       1.9

I show no consideration for the feelings and beliefs of others.

I get on well with all my teachers.

         2.4

I do not get on with any of my teachers.

I am happy most of the time.

         2.5

I am unhappy most of the time.

I am not anxious about actual or potential problems.

          2.7

I feel very anxious about actual or potential problems.

I believe there is a good choice in what I learn in lessons and in extra-curricular activities.

         2.5

I believe there is little choice in what I learn in lessons and in extra-curricular activities.

I believe I am making good progress and I am very confident that I will be successful in the future.

      2.2

I do not believe that I am making progress and I am not confident that I will be successful in the future.

I am very confident with new technology and I have no concerns about being safe online.

     1.7

I am not confident with new technology and I have concerns about being safe online.

I am aware of the problems the world faces in the future and I am confident that I am prepared to help solve them.

      2.1

I am unaware of the problems the world faces in the future, and I am not confident that I will be able to make any contribution to solving them.

 

Year 11 Study Skills - Parent Session – Tuesday 27th February 2018 from 6pm to 7pm

On Tuesday 27th February, our Year 11 students will benefit from a Study Skills workshop delivered by an external speaker. This will provide useful tips and hints for success in exams, including memory techniques, revision methods and holistic life style suggestions to maximise our students’ chances of success.

The speakers will share their knowledge with parents and carers in a short presentation the same evening at our Parents Power Workshop which takes place from 6pm to 7pm in Spotlight. All parents and carers are invited to attend to discover ways in which they can best support their child at this vitally important time.

Year 9 Options Evening

On Thursday 14th June, 5.30pm to 7.30pm, parents and carers of Year 9 students are invited to attend an Options Evening. Information will be given about choosing options for study during Year 10 and 11 leading to public exams.

The Year 9 Options booklet will be published online just before summer half term. This provides guidance for parents and students about the choices available and the content of the courses.

If your child is in Year 9, please add this date to your diary.

World Book Day

We shall be celebrating World Book Day this Thursday with competitions, readings and the unveiling of our new Narnia tunnel in the Atrium. Please see out Twitter feed for news of the day as it unfolds.

Make It Happen! - Friday 2 March 4.30pm to 6.30pm

Make It Happen! is a youth event taking place this Friday, organised by young people, for the young people living or studying in the London Borough of Sutton. It evolves around the idea of what would a life of a child look like in 2030.

The aim of the event is to plan for improvements to services for young people in the Borough. Participants will have the opportunity to put forward their views on topics including Mental Health, Social Media, E-Safety, Family, Education, Community, Safety and all other important issues that impact young people today.

It will take place at Sutton Salvation Army Church, 45 Benhill Avenue, Sutton and tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Please click on the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/make-it-happen-young-people-of-sutton-have-your-say-and-give-your-input-into-the-future-of-our-tickets-42913413174

Words of the Week

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

19th February 2018


Welcome back – we hope you all had a good half term break.

Blows Hot and Cold

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Our intrepid skiers have returned from their very enjoyable and successful trip to Austria. I followed their progress on Twitter with some envy because conditions appear to have been absolutely fantastic. Days of fresh powder and some clear blue skies are a skier’s dream!

I normally ski during the February half term break but on this occasion I experienced a contrasting climate. I travelled with Mr Mayanja, who teaches geography at SPH, to hot and humid Uganda as part of a British Council sponsored activity, ‘Connecting Classrooms’. This venture aims to share practice between different education systems throughout the world. Mr Mayanja’s family come from Uganda, so I had an excellent guide! During our very short visit we had the opportunity to visit two schools: Kibuli Secondary School in Kampala and Old Kampala Secondary School which was situated in a village about 30 miles from the capital city. We also had the opportunity to discuss the future of education with the Director of the National Curriculum Development Centre and one of her Heads of Department.

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Whilst at Kibuli we agreed to develop a project that will involve students from both schools. Mr Mayanja’s Year 9 Geography Taster class will work with the Core Skills class from Kibuli to tackle one of the outcomes in our vision statement, ‘Optimism for a future in a rapidly changing world’. This will involve generating creative solutions to dealing with issues of waste management in both of our countries.

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We learnt much about the Ugandan education system. Both of our hosting schools were also very interested in aspects of our approach: EFC, Taster Options, and our Student Led Conferences. They are looking to do their own versions of these and we will do all we can to help them.

Student Led Conferences

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Before half term, Student Led Conferences for Year 7 and 8 students provided an opportunity for parents and carers to hear first-hand about how their child is progressing. Some wonderful pieces of work were shared, and students explained their achievements and their plans to develop their work. One parent of a Year 7 child commented that he had learned more about his child’s progress in the last 30 minutes than he had learned in four months at home! Another parent sent this email:

Dear Mr Taylor,

Just want to let you know how impressed we are with Stanley Park. My daughter is in year 7 and we have just attended her first Student Led Conference. We were really proud to see her speak so confidently and enthusiastically about her work. 

We are learning more about Stanley Park's approach to teaching and learning as she spends more time at the school; and just wanted to let you know how happy we are with the school as a whole, its vision and her progress so far.  

We would like to thank all those parents who completed our Parent Feedback survey, which shows high levels of confidence that students are meeting the school’s vision attributes:

  • Ambition, commitment, resilience & perseverance
  • Confidence to take risks
  • An ability to organise and present themselves effectively
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Initiative and self-motivation to learn independently and with others
  • Optimism for a future in a rapidly changing world

Our new look questionnaire was used for the first time. It mirrors the one given to our students and is a move away from the standard model that schools use to fit in with the requirements of Ofsted. Our questionnaire focuses on the attributes in our vision statement and has been met with approval from most parents. We have received some suggestions for improvement, particularly in relation to creating a slightly different version for our students in Aqua and Ignis. If you would like to suggest any areas for improvement, please contact my PA, Mrs Stocks – dstocks@suttonmail.org.

A summary of the results from parents are reproduced below, and the student results will be made available shortly.

Parent Questionnaire – A Summary

 

1   2   3   4   5

 

My child is determined to be very successful and has very high expectations of him/herself.

    1.7

My child has no desire to be successful and has very low expectations of him/herself.

My child tries his/her very best in all lessons

    1.8

My child applies very little effort in all his/her lessons.

My child never gives up when he/she finds learning difficult, makes mistakes or gets something wrong.

     2.0

My child usually gives up when he/she finds learning difficult, makes mistakes or gets something wrong.

My child feels totally safe in school.

   1.7

My child does not feel safe in school.

My child is willing to try new experiences and put him/herself in situations he/she finds uncomfortable.

     2.0

My child is unwilling to try anything new or put him/herself into situations he/she finds uncomfortable.

My child has very good organisational skills and, as a result, he/she is prepared for learning and meets agreed deadlines in all lessons

      2.2

My child is unable to organise him/herself and, as a result, is not prepared for learning and misses agreed deadlines in all lessons

My child always presents his/her learning to the best of his/her ability in all lessons.

    1.9

My child makes very little effort with the presentation of his/her learning in all lessons

My child is very good at communicating his/her thoughts and ideas to groups of students.

    1.9

My child is not very good at communicating his/her thoughts and ideas to groups of students.

My child frequently asks questions to increase his/her knowledge and understanding.

     2.0

My child does not ask questions to increase his/her knowledge and understanding.

My child frequently conducts effective research to increase his/her knowledge and understanding.

      2.2

My child does not conduct research to increase his/her knowledge and understanding.

My child is always coming up with new ideas, images or concepts.

       2.3

My child does not come up with new ideas, images or concepts.

My child's ideas are treated seriously and with respect.

    1.8

My child's ideas are dismissed and he/she does not feel as though anyone is interested in them

My child always assesses the situation and starts things on his/her own. My child does not rely on others to tell him/her what to do.

      2.1

My child does not assess the situation and start things on his/her own. He/she always relies on others to tell him/her what to do.

My child learns very well in a team and contributes much to the success of the group.

    1.8

My child finds it very difficult to learn in a team and does not contribute very much to the group

My child is very considerate towards the feelings and beliefs of others.

    1.7

My child shows no consideration for the feelings and beliefs of others.

My child gets on well with all his/her teachers.

   1.6

My child does not get on with any of his/her teachers.

My child is happy most of the time.

    1.7

My child is unhappy most of the time.

My child is not anxious about actual or potential problems.

       2.3

My child feels very anxious about actual or potential problems.

I believe there is a good choice in what my child learns in lessons and in extra-curricular activities.

    1.8

I believe there is little choice in what my child learns in lessons and in extra-curricular activities.

I believe my child is making good progress and I am very confident that he/she will be successful in the future.

   1.7

I do not believe that my child is making progress and I am not confident that he/she will be successful in the future.

My child is very confident with new technology and I have no concerns about him/her being safe online.

   1.7

My child is not confident with new technology and I have concerns about him/her being safe online.

My child is aware of the problems the world faces in the future and I am confident that he/she is prepared to help solve them.

     1.9

My child is unaware of the problems the world faces in the future, and I am not confident that he/she will be able to make any contribution to solving them.

 

Fantastic Win for Year 8 World EFC Students

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The annual David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation ‘Global Canvas’ Art Competition is part of the group’s Art for Survival programme. It was established in 2004 to encourage young people to express their concern for the environment through art. Each year a different theme is chosen, and in 2018 it is ‘Into the Wild’.

Schools submit group entries using creative media, including art and sculpture, to create a mini-exhibition which portrays the Earth’s flora and fauna in a creative way.

At Stanley Park, a group of our Year 8 Students imaginatively created a display and a video entry for the competition after completing our Global Canvas project. They raised a commendable £188 for the World Wildlife Fund to sponsor an elephant, and combined this with the competition entry as part of their real world outcome for the project.

We were delighted to learn that our team have been invited to attend the final on Thursday 15th March at the Natural History Museum! We would like to congratulate those who collaborated on this project and wish them every success at the final.

Safer Travel and Transport

We are pleased that our campaign to secure additional buses on the 154 route during peak hours is gaining momentum. We have been supported by a local resident who has kindly undertaken the task of monitoring passengers waiting at the bus stop in Stanley Park Road. He will collect data to evidence undercapacity on the 154 route and overcrowding on the pavements. We are extremely grateful for his support. His task will begin today.

Tomorrow a petition ‘New Safer Traffic Management on Stanley Park Road and surrounding roads’ will be presented to Carshalton and Clockhouse Local Committee, who meet at 7.30 pm at the Carshalton Beeches Baptist Church, Banstead Road, Carshalton Beeches. We understand that funding of £100,000 is to be made available for this project. Parents and local residents who have strong feelings about the safety of our children and the impact on the local community are urged to attend to voice their support. There will be a question and answer session to put the issue to councillors, including Cllr Moira Butt and Cllr Tim Crowley who have supported the school’s campaign, and Cllr Jill Whitehead who asserts that no additional action is necessary.

For information please click on the link below..

moderngov.sutton.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=365&MId=4621&Ver=4

Sad News

Over half term we were sorry to hear that Sandie Norris, an ex-parent, PTA member and Governor for many years, has passed away. Sandie was dedicated to supporting the school, and many staff, students and other parents have benefitted from her kindness and friendship. Sandie was a truly wonderful woman who will be sadly missed. Her family are in our thoughts, and we would like to send them our sympathy and very best wishes.

Words of the Week

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

5th February 2018


Seeing the Familiar in a New Light

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Last Wednesday, we were all treated to a rare sight. Early in the evening people paused in the street, looking upward. They were admiring the phenomenon of a super blue blood moon rising in the sky. The clear sky gave us a chance to witness something special, caused by moon’s orbit taking it closer to earth than usual, coinciding with a partial lunar eclipse which cast a red hue over the lunar landscape. 

At the same time, I was arriving at the Global Change Leaders Education Conference in Lyon, France. The task facing this gathering, numbering more than 350 delegates from around the world, was to reimagine education for the 21st century and to find another way. Despite the healthy discussion and debate, and some possible strategies, it remains a significant challenge to change what schools are doing on a day to day basis throughout much of the world.

Reflecting on the conference, it became clear to me that there are three problems that need to be overcome if we are to bring about the necessary change. Firstly, we need to change the narrative about what it is to be successful. Currently, success is solely seen in terms of passing exams, progressing to a particular group of universities and achieving a good job that pays handsomely. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating this as a success, it means that others that don’t follow this path are often viewed as less successful or, even worse, failures. Consequently, our view of success needs to be broadened; it needs to be more personalised to each individual’s goals and ambition.

Secondly, we need to encourage a new generation of headteachers to lead their schools in developing curricula, learning & teaching and assessment that enables this broad view of success. I was heartened by a recent Scottish announcement that heads would be given the autonomy to design their own curriculum, but dismayed by reporting in the media that suggested that some were worried about the prospect of doing so. How have we got to a situation where headteachers are fearful about what, in my view, should be one of their most fundamental, enjoyable and rewarding tasks? In answering this, many of the conversations at the conference kept coming back to the point that the profession has been de-professionalised. Teachers have religiously followed what each government has told them. We have become highly compliant souls. The creativity has been drained from us.

Finally, we need to provide ‘air cover’ for those headteachers, teachers and schools that pick up the gauntlet and embrace the opportunity to innovate, otherwise it is likely that a majority will continue to choose not to do so. By ‘air cover’ I mean giving them reassurance that schools which innovate will not be ceremoniously picked off by the one-dimensional accountability measures that are exam results and league tables. Judge the schools? Absolutely, but do so against the broader view of success.

It was invigorating to stand back, and examine the educational field in a different light. If we were to do all of the above, and we might well achieve the change education needs. Those who agree with these sentiments are growing in number, and gradually a new direction is taking shape. Let’s hope that the opportunity to drive forward progress comes around more often than once in a blue moon!

School Performance

Weds 21st February at 4.30pm and Thurs 22nd February at 7.00pm

Drama-Production-2018-Poster-v2.3

Students have been rehearsing for the school production of ‘The Ceasefire Babies’ which will come to the stage after half term. Parents are welcome to join us for this event and tickets are available from the Drama Studio at lunchtimes, or on the door. We hope to see you there.

Football Academy News

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We are delighted to congratulate SPH Football Academy graduate Mickel Miller, who signed his first professional contract with Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership last week. Our good wishes to Mickel on his achievement and we shall follow his career with interest.

Events this 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
  • Year 11, 12 and 13 Exams  - timetables have been distributed
  • Inset Day – Friday 9th February. Parents and carers are reminded that Friday is Inset day, and the school will be closed to students, except for those attending for exams.

Half Term - Monday 12th to Friday 16th February

We wish all families a relaxing half term and we look forward to seeing students back in school on Monday 19 February at the usual time.

Words of the Week

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