Our Year 11 and Year 13 students have spent the first two weeks back at school completing their mock examinations. This is a really important time of year for them; it is their last opportunity to experience the rigour and challenges of sitting formal examinations before the public exams start in May. For many of our Year 11, this will lead to places in further education (lots of them at Prospect we hope), whereas our Year 13 will be leaving us for a much broader range of opportunities. It’s the culmination of many years of hard work – I’m not sure how many of them can remember back to their first days at school, but this is the point where all their effort comes to fruition.
I am therefore absolutely delighted by the news that Jessica Smith in Year 13 is the first ever student from Prospect to be offered a conditional place at Magdalen College, University of Oxford. Two years ago, Jess was our highest performing student in Year 11 and her excellent GCSE results would have certainly been taken into account by Oxford University, as well as the very high grades she has been predicted in her A levels. Jess is planning to study Biomedical Sciences – which (I’m told) is the scientific knowledge and information that doctors use to help diagnose and treat their patients. I am sure that Jess won’t mind me firstly congratulating her, but also expressing my thanks to all those teachers who have supported Jess since she joined us in Year 7. Jess has achieved this offer through her own hard work, but I know that Prospect has helped her a great deal along the way. Jess’s academic achievements are remarkable, but the inclusive nature of Prospect means
that we value vocational education just as highly as academic achievement. You will know that, over the past year, I have been working hard to extend our vocational and alternative offer, with subjects such as Construction and Hair & Beauty. I’m very excited to be able to add Mechanics to our curriculum now – we started with a small mechanics club after school, in which students had the opportunity to work with a range of mechanical equipment – bicycles, engines, and a couple of old cars. We are now taking this one step further and are offering a taster this half term to some of our Year 10 students; if this is successful we will look to offer this as a full GCSE subject from September.
Finally, I’d like to reiterate the high expectations that we have for all our students. We know that working hard in lessons is a core expectation and I like to pop into lessons as often as I can. This is almost always what I see: hard working students in engaging and well taught lessons. Whilst most of our students are getting it right, there are two key areas in which there is room for improvement, and we depend on the support of parents and carers for this. First of all, students need to be in school, in lessons, every day. We expect students to be in lessons unless they really are not well enough to be at school. Absence for any other reason will not be authorised, and in certain circumstances, fines will be issued by the local authority and your child’s place here could be at risk. I make no apologies for being so blunt – good attendance is your child’s best route to a range of career choices and improved life chances. Secondly, we have a clear school uniform and we do expect students to be wearing it at all times. We want our students to be practically dressed for school, but we also want them to be smart, so it is essential that we have your support in ensuring that they have the correct dress, equipment and resources to support their learning in school. School uniform, worn correctly, makes everyone’s life easier and enables our students to focus on what matters: learning, making progress and securing the best opportunities for their future.