August Blog 2017
People always assume that nothing happens at a School or College during the month of August, all is quiet and the staff have their feet up. I certainly know that this is what my husband believes! But this could not be further from the truth. This August, the site has been alive with activity, with lots of small scale improvements that, I believe, will have a significant impact to the learning environment of the College.
Firstly, our new roof on Arundel and the Main Block has finally been finished after almost a year. It has been a most difficult and challenging project, but the Hampshire County Council Project Manager has ensured that a thorough and robust job has been done. In our Reception area, we have replaced the carpet with a smart new all-purpose floor with the College crest embossed on it. This gives the whole Reception area a more spacious and modern feel. In the Main Hall, the whole ceiling has been replaced, which was a mammoth job, but now we have a new contemporary ceiling with LED lighting, which makes the Hall feel much brighter, whilst still enabling the effective use of the projector. The Student Inclusion Unit (SIU) has been moved to a larger location, enabling us to deliver a far broader range of interventions to effectively support students back into the mainstream curriculum. The location of the old Student Inclusion Unit is going to be converted into an independent quiet study area for Year 11s and staff to use, primarily at lunch time and after College. I plan to have this provision in place by October half term at the latest. We have also had new signage put up all the way along the concourse to help students find their way around the College with ease, as I know that one of the things that concern the new Year 7s the most is the size of the site and getting lost!
Many staff have been busy in their own areas during the Summer break as well. I have had a big drive on the decluttering of many classrooms and ensuring that all of them set high standards with regards to the learning environment. I am known to quote Albert Einstein: “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means”, to make my point. It is my expectation that this is one of the key ways we can reinforce our high standards and expect the students to meet them. Wendy Appleton, Facilities Manager did say that she has never had to order so many skips to the site before, which I am extremely pleased about and well done to all the staff who have taken this task on. I do believe some found it rather cathartic!
We then of course had the main event on 24 August- Results Day for the Year 11s!! This year it was a day I will never forget. It was, of course, my first set of results as Headteacher, but far more than that, we had all been so worried by what these new exams might mean and how our students would fare, so there was certainly a lot of anxiety in the long wait. I knew that the staff had put in everything to get the students through the new tough exam regime, and the students themselves had risen superbly to the challenge, but we just could not accurately predict what the outcome would be. So, there were genuine tears of delight and relief on the day from staff and students alike, as we celebrated the success of so many individuals, and of the College as a whole. I am so proud of our achievements in so many areas, but most notably in English, where the students and staff have clearly just excelled. These results prove to me that our staff and students are absolutely capable of thriving with the new academic rigour that has been introduced into the GCSE exam specifications, and it is all about building on this as we go into this new academic year.
Finally, I am looking forward to welcoming the new Year 7 students into the College at the beginning of September and seeing how quickly they grow and adapt to the new challenges.
PS New Year 11 students - I have read both Jekyll and Hyde and War of the Worlds - brilliant, both! So beautifully written, even if the subject matter is not! I trust that you have all completed your reading and other summer work alike.