Information Update 13 Feb 2020
This has been a busy time as we make new appointments to the school. Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mr Emberley who has been appointed as one of our new Assistant Headteachers following a rigorous interview process last week. He will join the Senior Leadership Team and will have a particular responsibility for Pupil Progress, Achievement and the Pupil Premium Strategy. I know parents will want to join with me in congratulating him. We have now successfully concluded the process to appoint our new Headteacher and will announce the outcome immediately after half term in order to give them the opportunity to inform their current employer.
We have also taken on two experienced school leaders on a temporary basis whilst we wait for our new staff to take up post at the start of next term. They are Mr Chris Dickinson and Mr Glenn Mellor. Their main role in school will be to support the introduction and implementation of our new Behaviour Policy. We believe that the new policy has been successful in bringing about improvements in behaviour in lessons and around the school and are very pleased to have this support to ensure that it becomes fully established across the school. As stated in the last newsletter, the establishment of excellent behaviour at all times in our school is a prerequisite for learning and a major priority for the school.
I have now had the opportunity to meet with a number of parents to hear your views and opinions about school matters. This has been invaluable in clarifying policies and procedures, thank you.
Very closely linked to the issue of behaviour is the issue of bullying. We know that our core responsibility is to ensure that your children are safe and happy in school. One of the most important conditions for this to happen is that our school is a place where bullying is exceptionally rare and is not tolerated if it ever occurs. We have started to review and update the Anti-Bullying Policy and expect this to be in place very shortly after half term. However, more important than what is written in a policy is the experience of students on a day-to-day basis.
We have discussed bullying with students in assemblies and tutor times this week at length to let them know our expectations and the serious consequences for students who are guilty of bullying. We are establishing ways that students can report bullying and receive support. We are ensuring that incidences of bullying are formally logged on a student’s record so that we can look for repeat instances and take appropriate action. We are developing the leadership role of students to set an example and make it clear to others that bullying is wrong. Although we will take decisive action when bullying occurs, our long-term aim has to be to ensure that we have a supportive and collaborative school culture as represented by the Fellowship element of our school Values so that bullying does not occur in the first place. Thank you for your support with this.
In recent weeks, we have been looking at the way that our students are grouped in classes. At the moment, they spend the first part of the day in tutor groups and then move into different teaching groups that are organised according to performance in primary school. Evidence and experience shows that at Key Stage 3, this is not the most effective way of grouping students and that having a mix of students in a class is a better way of ensuring consistent progress for students, whatever their ability level or previous performance. We also believe that a strict setting of students based on KS2 SATs gives little flexibility to move students from group to group and does not encourage good behaviour across the school.
As a result and in consultation with the teaching staff and Derby Diocesan Academy Trust, we have decided to change the organisation of classes after half term so that students will be taught in their tutor groups, rather than the system that currently exists. This will not lead to any changes in the expectations we have of their performance, or the amount of teaching they receive in different subjects but will leave them better prepared for the move to Key Stage 4 when groups are organised based on subject choices. There will be a few small changes to existing tutor groups if we feel that it is not a mix of students that would work well together, but it will largely be a group that they know well.
Parent Open House
I am conscious that it is some time since parents have had the opportunity to come in to school to meet with staff, including new staff, and share ideas, concerns and feedback. We would therefore like to invite parents to come in for coffee and conversation on Monday 2nd of March from 15:15 – 17:00 in the school Hall.
Finally, may we remind you that tomorrow Friday 14 February is an inset day and we are closed to students. I hope you have a restful half term and we look forward to seeing your children back with us on Monday 24 February.
Dr P Heery