The actual half way point was a couple of weeks ago, but February half term is the official half way point of the school year. It’s also the time of the year when the days start getting longer – sometimes I actually manage to arrive and leave school in daylight! – and there was a definite feel of spring in the air this week, once we had been thoroughly blown about by Storm Ciara.
So I think that this is the right time to remind ourselves of our key expectations and high standards for all students. This is a good week to ensure that students are ready to come back next term with full, correct school uniform – the right shoes, trousers/skirts, and everyone with a school jumper and tie – with perhaps a trip into town to restock with all the essentials that are needed every
day: pens, pencils, the correct maths equipment including a calculator and a decent bag to keep it all in. Whilst we’re repacking our bags for school, it’s an ideal opportunity to clear out all the things we don’t want to see, and this is a particular plea to ensure that your children do not consume before school, or bring into school at any time, high-sugar, high-caffeine energy drinks, such as Lucozade drinks. These simply aren’t compatible with the school day, during which we need students to be consistently focused and hard-working; young people cannot cope with the sugar rush these drinks give. Our school canteen is open at 8am every day for breakfast, which is a much healthier way to start the day.
I have been really clear about my high expectations for all students, and on the whole have been delighted with the response to this. I see an absolute thirst for learning and knowledge among so many of our young people and I want to reiterate, on their behalf, that those who are disruptive and those who waste the time of their peers and their teachers have a very simple choice to make: either meet our high standards and expectations or seriously consider whether this is the right school for you. We will always support students who have challenges with their behaviour, but for
those who do not respond and engage, whilst I am very proud of our inclusive and supportive nature and ethos as a school, we will have no option but to look for alternative education elsewhere.
The well-being of our hardworking and committed majority will always be my priority.
Today is a Staff Development Day for our staff. It’s the opportunity for them to visit other schools, go on courses, visit exhibitions, or do whatever they can to source the very best examples of practice that will support the future improvement of our school. I am attending a conference at Kings Academy in Bracknell, where one of the key speakers is Will Smith, CEO of the Greenshaw Trust, a highly successful multi-academy trust. As a new headteacher, it’s really important for me to be able to work with some of the experts in the educational world, proof that even as adults we never stop learning.
However you will be spending your half term, I hope it is restful and enjoyable, and I look forward to the return of all our students on Monday, 24 February.