As we get to the end of a busy term, it's always good to reflect.

Last week we had a visit from Jim Nixon, ex Head teacher at Great Yarmouth High and CNS. He couldn't believe how much the school has changed since he last visited and told us that if he was Head teacher here, he would be very proud.

I am exceptionally proud.

This term, we set ourselves 3 key aims:

  1. To Improve the culture and behaviour for learning in school by adopting clearer and more consistent expectations.
  2. To make sure our lessons, curriculum and assessments get our students ready for the more "knowledge rich" examinations.
  3. To make sure the well-being of our students and staff is paramount in everything that we do.

We think we have come a long way in achieving these aims but we are not complacent and we know we still have work to do.

We have also been listening carefully to the voice of our parents and carers and responding to the things that you identify as areas of improvement. This week I will be sending out a "You said, we did" email to explain our responses so far.

We are so lucky to work with amazing students and supportive families. Thank you so much. Have a fantastic holiday when it comes and see you in 2019!

We've been using this phrase in the staff-room. We are in that "bit" between Bonfire Night and Spring when everything feels a bit dark and gloomy. With the possible exception of Christmas, there is not a lot to look forward to and it is harder and harder to get out of bed!

The message is clear. It is OK to not be OK. What is important is that we talk to each other and don't feel that we have to pretend to be alright if we're not.

I want our students to get the same message. This can be a tough time- especially for Y9 choosing options and Y11 and Y13 approaching their mocks. We all have different things going on in our lives and pressures that we sometimes keep to ourselves. I want our school to be an emotionally safe place where it is OK to ask for help.

There are lots of people who you can talk to in school:
Your form tutor
A teacher or member of the support staff you get on well with
Your Head of Year or Inclusion Co-ordinator
Mrs Purton or Miss Clark in Compass
Staff in the ARC or Pathways
Me- just because I am Headteacher, doesn't mean I can't listen!

Please look after each other and let us look after you.

Friday was one of those magical days that don't get captured in league tables and government statistics. All of our staff and students were totally on board to share one goal- raising as much money as possible for Children In Need.

From cake sales and films clubs to karaoke; from splatting teachers with cream pies to table tennis tournaments, students and staff led activities that made us smile and made us laugh. Above all there was a sense of togetherness and mutual support. These are the days that our students will remember forever and these are the days that will truly shape them as young people.

Standing in the Hall at lunchtime, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pride for our school, our staff and our students. When the email came through to say that we had raised £1708.16 including £402.65 at lunchtime alone I realised (not for the first time) that I have the best job in the world leading our amazing school.

Have a fantastic week.

It was fantastic to see so many year 11 students and parents/carers attending our revision evening last week. It speaks volumes about how determined year 11 are to get it right and the support that we have from our families. This Thursday evening we welcome the parents and carers of our year 7 students to discuss how well students have settled in and to discuss if there is anything else that we can do to support students in terms of progress and well-being.

We are really keen to work with parents and carers to get it right. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are concerned about anything or have any questions or queries. Last week a parent pointed out to us that there was a mismatch between our uniform policy on the website and in the journal; we are working to fix that now. It is always helpful for us to know how things are perceived by parents and if there are things we could think about doing differently. We are absolutely determined to be a High school that the Sprowston community can be really proud of and your views and feedback are an important part of our reflection and development.

I hope you have all had a lovely half term break.

This half term is a busy one for us.  As we maintain our focus on ensuring that the culture of our school is as calm and purposeful as possible, we will concentrate this half term on supporting and rewarding positive attitudes to learning and independent learning.  This will be particularly timely for our Year 11 students as they approach their all important mock exams.  In addition, this half term sees our Year 9 students make key decisions about which subjects they choose to pursue further in Years 10 and 11. 

As we continue to make Sprowston the best school it can possibly be, we have increased our leadership capacity by creating 3 Associate Leadership Team posts.  These colleagues will support the existing 4 members of our leadership team to develop, lead and embed school improvement.

Neil Bugdale (Head of Technology) will play a key role in supporting SEND students.  I have asked him to focus particularly on how we support the progress of SEND students in lessons through effective teaching and learning strategies and personalised learning.

Wayne Chapman (Head of Biology) will lead on developing a whole school approach to homework and independent learning.  This role reflects parent and student voice which tells us that our approach to homework is not always helpful/consistent so that student's receive mixed quantities of work. As we face an exam system that is more knowledge heavy, we need to prepare our students for independent learning from Year 7.

Abigail Brierley will lead on whole school staff development.  This will add to our vision of Sprowston as a vibrant learning community where we all learn together.

Have a fantastic half term.

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