January round-up from the Principal
External Support and Challenge Reviews
In the last month or so we have be involved with a number of reviews from external partners to provide support and challenge to the work that we are doing. It is essential that we regularly benchmark ourselves against other organisations and national standards to ensure that we can review our performance.
Via the Nene Education Trust, we have a partnership with the River Learning Trust (RLT), based predominantly in Oxfordshire, who have high performing secondary schools as part of their organisation. We also work very closely with Partners in Excellence (PiXL), the Chartered College of Teaching and the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT) to provide review and development as well as teacher training opportunities.
The reviews that we perform in liaison with these organisations, as well as the support provided by our Local Governing Board and the Nene Education Trust (NET), enable us to have an accurate overview of the strengths and areas for development of our school.
Whilst there are always areas to develop, we are delighted that the over-riding tone of these reviews and the recent publication of national data demonstrate that our vision for school improvement and the direction of travel are ambitious, accurate and further good progress is being made.
Successful Safeguarding Audit
In addition to the above, we have recently had an external safeguarding audit and I am very pleased to report that this was also very positive. We have made a number of positive adjustments this academic year, particularly around raising awareness that ‘safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility’, through our environment and other initiatives.
One such aspect that will impact on everyone who visits the school is the use of coloured lanyards with the appropriate descriptor on them for identification. The lanyard system is as follows:
Black: Staff with photographic ID badge
Green: Approved visitors with enhanced DBS (i.e. peripatetic music teachers)
Blue: Sixth formers
Red: Visitors (i.e. parents and external visitors)
Amber: Gym members
Gym members and visitors will always have a staff member with them.
In addition to all the statutory and annual training that we complete, student assemblies and further staff training has taken place to ensure that everyone is aware of the systems that are in place and where and who to report to if they have a safeguarding concern.
We are proud to be working in partnership with the University of Northampton as part of a National programme to encourage disadvantaged groups (including those living in areas where participation in higher education is low) to explore the opportunities presented to them by a university level education.
The University of Northampton is working in partnership with the University of Leicester, Loughborough University and De Montfort University, along with schools and colleges to offer wider experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and award programmes, residential experiences and workshops aims at raising aspirations. These events are designed to be fun, challenging and inspiring, and include events such as UNI Club, Girls into Science and Engineering, Big Bang and experience days on campus.
Participation in these events is not compulsory, but we highly recommend them. We share basic data with the university in order that the programme can be targeted and supportive, and that further research can be carried out on the needs of our local student cohort. You have a right to opt your child out of this programme should you wish. Please contact Natalie Barnard at the school if you would like to withdraw. Please refer to the UoN’s privacy statement, located on our website via Policy Documents: Privacy notices.
‘Last 100 Days’ Campaign
Last week we launched the ‘Last 100 Days’ to Year 11 students which focuses on exam success through the following key messages/content:
- The principle of marginal gains: getting 1% better at things each day will add up to a significant additional output.
- Year 11 support: including after-school sessions, working lunches, scholars groups, curriculum days etc.
- Curriculum Leaders have shared strategies for effective revision.
All of the information for students and parents can be found on the Year 11 page of the school website.