Week ending 22 January 2016
- Yesterday the official league tables were published. Chesterton’s headline figure is now 77% 5A*-C including English and Maths (it has increased because of remarks). The government compile a list of similar schools; these are schools whose students have similar starting points to us. This comparison puts us in the top 5% of schools nationally. This comparison against ‘Similar Schools’ nationally places us third in the group and first when measured against similar schools with a similar percentage of students in receipt of free school meals in the cohort. This really is excellent news for Chesterton and is testament to the hard work of staff and students, as we work daily upon realising the potential of all students.
- It was a pleasure last night to talk to so many parents, at the Year 8 Parents’ Evening, who are finding our new style of reports helpful and informative. Listening to parent feedback we have made some refinements from our first run of the system and this has been well received. We will continue to respond to the feedback and continue to refine as the year progresses.
- I was delighted to speak this week at the Cambridgeshire NQT conference; to all the NQTs who have been working across Cambridgeshire this academic year. The focus of the talk was on career progression and about the challenges facing teacher recruitment. Cambridgeshire County Council also ran a large recruitment event this week and we were well represented with senior staff, our own NQTs and students. We have been heavily involved in helping to develop the county’s recruitment strategy, as this is such an important issue facing schools today.
- This week Rolf Purvis, Donna Young and I visited the new University Primary School to establish links with Chesterton and for our future school at Darwin Green. We were taken on a tour of the building by the Headteacher James Biddulph and it was interesting to see many shared approaches in the university teaching school. For example, the primary has a similar display policy to allow students to be calm and focused on their learning and also seeks to develop independent learning amongst its student body. The school is at the forefront of current educational research, with its links to the Faculty of Education, so it was heartening to see such a commonality of approach. We will be establishing links by providing some sport and music opportunities for students currently at the primary school.
- You will notice on our website that we are advertising for two learning mentors to join us in September. This is a very exciting role which looks for individuals educated to degree level, to provide personalised approaches to help students realise their potential. They will help students with organisation, consolidation of their learning, mentoring and progression to post-16 opportunities. This is a role we introduced last year and it had a significant impact on the lives of a number of our students. It is a role which also provides perfect progression opportunities, with two of our learning mentors now going on to the Teach First programme and the PGCE course at Cambridge University. If you are interested in these roles or aware of anyone who might be, please do look on the website. Two of our learning mentors were former Chesterton students and that does seem to have been a very successful field to recruit from!
- You will have noticed on site that we are continuing with our developments for safeguarding. Currently a path is being created to delineate an access route which allows members of the public to access the sports’ centre separately from students. We apologise for any inconvenience, but this is essential work.
- Over the last 2 years, approximately 500 Chesterton students have visited the Education Centre at Amey Cespa Waste Recycling Facility in Waterbeach to learn about the importance of waste reduction and recycling. This year, each Year 7 form is visiting as part of their Wicked Wednesday programme. This week we were fortunate that John Farrell, the Business Director of Environmental Services for Amey, was able to join us and meet students in 7.3. This gave us the opportunity to say thank you to the company for hosting us and let him know about our ideas for improving waste services in Cambridgeshire. Aditi Amand shared her idea for dealing with old videotapes. Many Cambridgeshire residents put old videotapes into their black bins. This causes massive problems as the tape tends to get wrapped around key moving parts of the machinery as it moves along the conveyor belts at the waste plant. The result is that machines have to be turned off whilst the tape is removed – each day that the machines are not in use costs about £20,000. Aditi suggested that old videotapes could be placed in plastic bags and tied to the handle of the blue bin, just like we do with our old batteries. Mr Farrell was clearly very impressed by this suggestion and he has promised to investigate the idea further: we’ll let you know more when we hear that a decision has been made.
- Key events for next week are our Parent Forum on Tuesday from 5pm-6pm, where we will look at the updates to the curriculum webpages following parent feedback and also our reporting system. On Thursday there is our PTA meeting at 7.30 pm and then on Friday our Burns Night. A busy week ahead!