Week ending 17th April

  • We have started the Summer Term with the most glorious weather. It’s been delightful to see students enjoying the sunshine, with some lessons outside and at lunchtime enjoying the newly turfed bank in the Wynn Williams Garden.
  • On Monday we had excellent staff training delivered in a highly engaging way by the educationalist and author Leah Kirkman. All the staff were in the Farnsworth Hall developing their understanding of how best to engage lower attaining students. It was a very rewarding day and will be useful for our future curriculum planning.
  • Congratulations to Carl Humphries for his leadership of the PE department’s successful bid for £7983 of Sport England funding, to promote cycling at Chesterton and The Castle School!  This is fantastic news! At this stage, we are hoping to use the summer term to buy all the equipment, organise storage and plan all activities for a September 2015 launch with the students. In brief the bid allows the school to purchase the following equipment: 24 new bicycles aimed at the 14-16 age range; 1 adapted bicycle (used only by The Castle school students); 25 safety helmets, high visibility vests, bicycle locks and puncture/maintenance kits. The activities that will be developed through the bid are: sports leaders from Chesterton will be leading cycling clubs at The Castle; organised club links for competitive and recreational participation; trips to watch high quality cycling events; trips to extend the cycling competence of our students; curriculum activities in KS4; Level 3 bikeability safety courses for all year 8 students; extra-curricular clubs and staff training. It’s a very exciting opportunity for students.
  • We are also delighted to offer our congratulations to Becky Pointon and Dr Katharine Hutchinson who have been awarded highly-regarded Farmington Fellowships for the academic year 2015-2016. This is a great achievement for them both. The Farmington Institute at Oxford University will sponsor their research into how iPads can enable students to shape their own learning in GCSE Religious Studies. This project is timely as the new GCSE specifications are about to be published. Mary Earl (Subject Lecturer for Religious Education at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education) will be the academic supervisor for the research project. Both of them are very excited to be involved and we are delighted to have both these excellent teachers continuing to work in school, but also able to research and develop the curriculum in this way.
  • Year 11 exams began in earnest this week with the Art exam and iGCSE English. Students were excellent, being both incredibly focused and well-prepared. We had an incredibly high attendance for the revision sessions held over the Easter holiday which shows the levels of commitment from students.
  • This week a group of year 11 students took part in an exam motivation workshop, #LAUNCH, led by Andrew Bernard, a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association.  The workshop helped students develop an exam-ready mindset for the coming months.  During the session with Andrew the students explored the following areas:  Learning – developing a powerful open mindset; Attitude – you control how you feel about your studies, experiences and the future; Understand – the bigger picture: exams are a gateway to the future; Noise – drown out the chatter from Social Media and other distractions; Care – care about your own learning and focus on the important stuff; Habits- develop some strong and positive habits to help YOU! The students really enjoyed the workshop and commented on specific areas of their exam preparation that they were going to change as a result of taking part.
  • In the coming weeks we will also be holding a study day for Y10 to support them in their mock preparation.
  • 104 Year 7 students go to Boulogne today.They will be shopping, sightseeing and having an experience they won’t forget.
  • This week we held the first of our governor steering group meetings for the new build. We are very fortunate to have two parents who have volunteered to join the group who are both architects and able to offer some incredibly helpful thinking at this early stage. As the project develops we will continue to keep you informed.
  • Please note there is a Parent Forum on April 29th at 5pm where we will be looking at how we are developing our reporting system to reflect that national curriculum levels are being discontinued.

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