2 October 2020


Headteacher’s blog, Friday 2nd October 2020

This week:  learning at home; looking at our curriculum; year 11; behaviour, punctuality and attendance; fire drill; masks; poetry; PE practices;  year 11 parents’ evening

I have enjoyed watching some of our subject specialist sessions on Google Classroom this week for those students in Year 7 who have been isolating at home.  It was pleasing to see students using resources independently, and then collaboratively with their teachers.  We continue to learn from the experiences of working from home, and to adapt our learning through technology.  Young people are very resilient, and it’s good to see them learn and adapt their styles of learning to fit the times.  Our students in school have had sessions on how to use the technology, should they need to isolate in the future.

It was nice to welcome our Year 7 “isolators” back into school on Friday without further incident: I think they were mostly very pleased to be back in school!

I have been meeting with Subject Leaders this week to discuss changes we have made in our curriculum to catch up any time lost by the lockdown period.  It’s encouraging that we have adapted our work in every subject to check on any learning lost.  We have clear plans in place to ensure our Year 11 students are as prepared as they can be for whatever the remainder of the year throws at us.  Exam boards have adjusted the requirements for Year 11 in most subjects, but we need to remain ready for further changes as the year continues.  Teacher assessment is key, and we are testing our year 11s early to make sure we have evidence to support our grades should we need to do that.  Year 11 parents and carers - don’t forget to look at the information from last week’s blog about post-16 education if you need any advice.  We do now have a careers officer in school each week: if you need a call from them, let one of the year 11 team know and we can arrange for her to give you a call.

Meanwhile, I have been really delighted to see three big areas for encouragement this term so far….
Behaviour has been better than ever this term, and our students isolated in reflection during lesson time is at an all time low.  When I meet to discuss any behaviour related incidents at the end of each day, we are only discussing one or two students on most days - so that’s really encouraging.  Everyone is focused on their work.  
Punctuality has improved massively this term compared to the same half term in 2019.  It’s halved in terms of the number of students who are late.  We now have a team of key staff who meet latecomers at the door and ensure their entry is managed well.  It’s having a very positive impact.  
Attendance is an area that all schools are very concerned about.  Being in school is the safest place long term for your child.  Our attendance is in line with this time last year, despite the COVID situation.  We have an overall figure of over 93% at the moment, and our attendance team continue to work hard to chase up every issue.  They are also playing a vital role in the morning, riding the school buses with our students as they come into school on some of the school buses.

Be here, on time, and focus on your learning!  It’s great that most are doing that!

We held a - COVID amended - fire drill on Thursday afternoon, to remind students of the rules should the fire alarm sound.  It was the first time for our Year 7 students to take part in a full school drill.  It’s always a feat to get 1200 people assembled on the astro turf but it went very well.

Just a reminder about masks … as well as moving around school where masks are essential, I have also recommended this week that students wear their masks at break and lunchtime whilst in their bubbles.  So it’s about personal choice at lunchtime.  Whilst compliance when crossing the bubbles is very good, most are choosing not to wear a mask at those times when they are in the bubble at break and lunch, but the recommendation is there.  A reminder to parents and carers that Stockport headteachers have concerns about children not wearing masks on buses and when walking to and from school: this is our largest area of concern at the moment.  

Keeping everyone aware of the need for masks is a key part of our battle against the virus.  Please remind your child.  The government have asked us this week to promote a video with parents and young people …  https://youtu.be/jr09ByDYuq4 … it’s worth a watch!

On Thursday 1st October, Werneth celebrated National Poetry Day. Staff displayed their favourite poems on their doors for all the pupils to see. Teachers read aloud their favourite poem at the beginning of each lesson and shared with them their reasons as to why that poem is significant to them or their subject area. The English team delivered a poetry lesson to year 7, 8 and 9 based on the poem 'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou. Mrs Taylor, Mrs Warren and our in-house poetry specialist Miss Grendon held a poetry workshop in the Library for all of our budding poets. In this session the pupils were immersed in the world of poetry and given the chance to write their own poem that they could then enter into the Werneth Poetry Writing Competition. As an English teacher myself, I enjoyed reading some of the poems on offer.  The three lucky winners will be announced next week. Well done to everybody involved and happy National Poetry Day to everyone! 

PE Extracurricular Activities:  Next week we are able to start our programme of after school clubs, conducted in bubbles.  Wednesday will be Year 7 night.  Students come to the sports hall at 3.10pm and can choose from football, netball, badminton or hockey . All clubs will finish at 4.10pm   GCSE Year 11 moderation practice will be on Thursday.  Students wanting to use a practical sport of badminton, table tennis and trampolining should attend 

You will of course be aware that we can’t hold a parents’ consultation evening in school.  We are now in the planning stage to hold a year 11 parents consultation process and parents should expect to hear from us soon, but it needs a whole new approach so expect it to be different.  It will of course be remote!  As the year progresses, we hope we can have parents in school, but we will continue to review this as the advice changes. 

Have a great weekend!

Posted by cmurphy

Category: Headteacher's Blog