Executive Headteacher’s Blog #1
This year we have tried something different as part of our rewards programme at St. Michael’s. The new reward is called Tea with the Head and takes place at break time. At the moment, three people are claiming responsibility for the idea, Mrs Nash, Head of Year 7; Ms Towe, Lead practitioner of PE and Mrs Fay. As you might imagine, I haven’t disagreed with any of them so that they can all continue to claim to be the creator of the reward.
Tea with the Head, is a chance for me to celebrate the successes of our pupils. With Tea with the Head, I get to spend time with pupils who have gone above and beyond. Their success may have been academic, sporting, community based or just because they are great pupils who make other’s days special. Teachers can nominate the pupils for any reason, so I get a real range of guests for tea.
Tea with the Head has meant I think I might now be a majority shareholder in Mr Kipling’s Cake products. During the reward, the pupils and I have a cup of tea or a glass or squash and a selection of cakes. Currently Jam Tarts are by far the pupils favourite, however I have noticed an upturn in the popularity of Battenberg Cakes recently.
Pupils have had tea with me for a broad range of reasons. They include Year Three writers of the Week; The Year 2, 8 and 9 winners of the St. Michael’s Prayer Competition; The Stars of the Buckinghamshire County Athletics; Year 9 Historians to name but a few.
During the visit of the Year 9 Historians, who were being celebrated for their outstanding individual World War 1 projects, I realised the opportunities that Tea with the Head could offer to the wider community. The pupils who attend this sort of celebration are eager and ambitious to support the development of the St. Michael’s community. As a result, Mr Boyles Year 9 Historians and I discussed what we could offer the community following Tea with the Head. At the end of our break time of tea and cakes, we had decided to work on three projects. The first was a World War 1 Battlefields Trip for Year 9 in autumn 2018, to support their study of the Great War. We also agreed to investigate the possibility of a Year 10 Auschwitz Visit, which we feel we will be able to offer in June 2019. I am very grateful for the support of Mr Boyle and Ms Masterson with the arrangements of these visits. The final idea that we had was to secure a ‘There but not There’ Sculpture of a Tommy, a six foot aluminium sculpture of a Great War soldier, which would sit outside the School Reception entrance to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of First World War. Following the period of commemoration, we will create a permanent St. Michael’s War Memorial, with the stature so that it can form the central area for our annual Armistice Day Memorial. The Tommy costs £750 and we will be fundraising to raise the money to purchase the sculpture and we would of course welcome your support with this fund raising. Please keep an eye out for a ParentMail email with more information of how to support the Year 9 Historians Tommy project.
Mr Long, our Lead Practitioner in English, has developed a strong working relationship with the English and Media Centre and the children’s newspaper First News. As a result of this relationship and our belief that children need to understand the world around them, Mr Long has facilitated a number of investigations and studies with the EMC and First News into children’s ideas about fake news. This culminated with a group of year 12 students being invited to the EMC in London to discuss fake news and its impact on children. As a result of their strong beliefs and mature attitude they were invited to Parliament to discuss the issues further and to present their ideas on a Children’s News Charter. It was a real pleasure to spend some time with them. For more information please visit the St. Michael’s Bucks twitter feed to see Mr Long’s tweets of the day.
When I had tea with a group of Year 2’s, 8’s and 9’s who were the writers of the new school prayer, we discussed ways to develop more of a bond with tutor groups and primary classes. We decided to have a sports competition that runs through the whole school year where the forms can battle with each other to win prizes and trophies. Having spoken to Ms Towe the Lead Practitioner for PE, we will be launching a new House Competitions where the Houses of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul will fight for points both in sporting competitions and with their Conduct points (Achievement less Behaviour points).
This year we will also be looking at new ways to stimulate Character Education, which celebrates pupils’ community engagement both in and out of school. With this in mind, please feel free to contact Mrs Grosh, our Careers Adviser with community service opportunities for pupils to get involved in.
I will also be writing to all of the pupils who have attended Tea with the Head this year, and in September, one of our first House Competitions will be to design a new Tea with the Head, postcard for the academic year 2018-19 that will be send to pupils so that you as parents are also aware of their achievements.
I hope you have enjoyed my first Blog, it is something that I will be completing every month to give parents a slightly less formal update on things happening at St. Michael’s.