Developing a School with Soul

Week 3 updates – Getting Back into the Groove

I am convinced the usual manic return to school was made worse this year by the beautiful weather we enjoyed in the summer. That and personally for me the small event of getting married! Is the relationship between how keen you are to get back to school and to get into the swing of things inversely proportional to how much you have enjoyed your holidays? I think I have suffered more than usual this year after an amazing family break.

wedding

At our school we pride ourselves in developing a team spirit and ethos amongst all those who attend. We have the ‘if Carlsberg made Site Teams’ A* squad, support staff to die for, any number of which will volunteer to get involved in the annual staff panto or the weekly Wednesday staff bake-off challenge and a team of teachers who I think any school in the country would find it difficult to beat.

And then there are the students ……

It was one of those days on Friday which reminds me despite all of the mad dashes out of the door in the morning or the late night returns after Open Evening  / Year 7 settling in evening why I #LoveTeaching.

We have had the welcome back assemblies delivered expertly by the HT where our Core Values were explicitly explained to all Year groups. Year Leaders have then stepped up via tutor groups and their assemblies to reinforce the key messages of being kind to yourself and being kind to each other and then the whole school delivered an Open Evening to be proud of on the back of our very first Open Morning which we completed in July. The icing on the cake, however, was the wonderful way Year 8 welcomed new students and parents to the school during the Open Day on Friday.

Other schools close by have recruited ‘Big Brother famous’ celebrities to deliver Science lessons during their Open Evenings with added dramatic music and lights to provide the WOW factor and I’m now treated to the ‘students eye school movie’ on my personal Facebook courtesy of the my local secondary school (thanks Mrs V this time sharing wasn’t caring).

I might be biased but for me watching how the team at school delivered the open events we have taken part in this year trumps any of the other marketing tools other schools might be dabbling with. Expertly herded into the small hall all of Year 8 were sent out like Noah’s little helpers, two by two, to do the guided tour of our school. No training required no scripts provided the students are trusted to show our guests around. And boy did they rise to the challenge.

The superlatives tripped off the tongues as the adults left after a first class experience.

It is hard to quantify the impact this might have on our results at the end of the year and I’m not in the position to talk about the randomised control tests I have completed to see if the impact is 0.2 or 0.7 but what I do know is that all of the school left yesterday with a huge sense of pride in what we do without doing anything different from showing off our usual school day.

When I get a minute I will cross reference this student voice  / participation activity and the launch of Rock Challenge, a new Volunteering programme working with the wonderful Treloar’s School and the beginning of our Digital Leaders and Young Enterprise student teams against the RSA grid for developing a school with a soul so that we can start to contemplate whether we need to collect any evidence of what we doing differently at our school this year.

Or I might just sit back and watch the students learning and growing together.

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