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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 16

Happy new year to all our families. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break.

The week before Christmas was a wonderful few days.

We had our Christmas Concert at St Mary’s Church, Cheadle on Monday 18th December. WELL DONE! It was a festive feast of Kingsway's musical talent, prepared and served with all the trimmings and glitter of a special occasion.

The students and staff performed excellently, from individual highlights such as Kirsten Attfield, duets by Ellie and Scarlett and the larger ensembles, Strings, Percussion and Brass, who all ‘raised the roof’. It was great to see new ensembles showcasing their quickly developing talents: flute ensemble, Saxophone group, school Band and Year 10 GCSE class. The staff Choir were, as always, a particular highlight of the event.

At the end of the week the entire school came together for our Whole School Assembly; a special event, where we are lucky to have the space to accommodate 1500 students and 100 staff. The assembly focussed on the 3Cs of Conduct, Charity and Christmas!

Stacey Copeland, who has represented her country in football and boxing, came and spoke to our students about her journey into professional sport and how she used her motto of ‘THINK, FEEL, DO’ to overcome challenges and achieve her goal of becoming a successful professional female boxer. This is something that we encourage our students to do… to take control of their thoughts, actions and behaviours in order to be a more successful Kingsway Learner.

Our House Captains, stood in front of their peers and talked about the charities they will be raising money for over the coming year:

  • Gaskell: House Captains Tyler Whittaker-Clarke & Nicole Harper will be leading their house to raise money for Manchester Children’s Hospital.
  • Lowry: Jessica Crawley & Ethan Wilson will be leading their house to raise money for mental health charity, MIND.
  • Pankhurst: Judy Al-Jedai & Meji Idowu will be leading their house to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
  • Rylands: Scarlet Aubert & Anabel Taylor will be leading their house to raise money for Children’s Cancer Research charity, KIDSCAN.
  • Turing: Alfie Bousfield & Isha Anwar will be leading their house to raise money for the Pip Foundation, a charity close to the heart of The Kingsway School.
  • Whitworth: Grace O’Shaughnessy & George Lawton will be leading their house to raise money for Anorexia & Bulimia Care.

We ended our assembly with a Christmas sing-a-long. You honestly had to be there… it was an amazing end to the term!

And so we return to 2018. Is it just me, or do years seem to come and go quicker as you get older?

We welcomed our new Deputy Headteacher, Rachael Wardle, this week. Rachael has joined us from Lymm High School and met all the students this week in assemblies. Rachael’s main responsibility in school is to ensure that teaching and hence, learning, is of the highest standard to ensure that students are engaged, challenged and can make rapid progress across the curriculum.

For year 11, there’s only around 15 school weeks until their GCSE’s start; the same number of weeks that they have already done in year 11! They are already half way through their final year with us. On Thursday this week, they received their PPE (pre-public examination) results - the most significant indicator of their expected GCSE outcomes. There were lots of smiles from jubilant students, whose hard work had paid off. And of course, there were those students who realised that, in order to get the grades they need to attend college or an apprenticeship, there’s a lot of hard work ahead of them.

The time has come for Year 11 to take control of their actions and be in control of their success. I have every confidence in them.

Have a lovely week.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 14

Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I'm writing this on Sunday morning, having woken with excitement and trepidation for scenes of ankle deep snow! After all the hype and media coverage, it was all a bit disappointing, but not that surprising. Living and working in Stockport all my life, I know deep snowfall is quite rare. Nonetheless, we made sure that our students, staff and parents were prepared on Friday - just in case. It looks like we may have just missed it (unless there's a heavy fall in the next few hours).

I'm assuming that it will be business as usual tomorrow. However, whilst snowfall doesn't appear to have affected Cheadle, Gatley, Heald Green and our surrounding areas, the challenge can be for our staff, some of whom travel a long distance to school from other counties and rural areas. The decision to close school is never taken lightly. It is something that is done very rarely. Whilst many students are able to get to school in the event of snow, the difficulty we face is when we are unable to safely supervise them if we have too many staff unable to get to work. I don't think we will have this problem tomorrow, and hopefully not at all this winter! We will keep our website up to date with information for parents and students in the event of further weather warnings.

We had a very interesting visitor to Kingsway last week. On Monday, we had the pleasure of a visit from Colin Chambers, who was the Chaplain on Robben Island, South Africa. Robben Island is probably best known as the place where former South African President, Nelson Mandela, was jailed for 18 years. Colin was the Chaplain at the prison for 15 years, 8 of them during the time that Mandela was imprisoned. Colin spoke to year 8 and year 10 students about his experience on Robben Island and brought with him his Bible, which is signed by the prisoners including Mandela. Students listened to some fascinating stories, which included how Colin first met Mandela and how he would sit with him in his cell and talk after services. One of Mandela’s famous sayings was, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ Colin challenged the students to never give up and always persevere.

Also last week, the ‘Young Enterprise’ team ventured out to the Xmas markets in Manchester City centre to sell their 'Thinking Pens' as well as customised cards and chocolate sticks. It was a fantastic opportunity for the team to get some experience of conducting business and delivering on customer service. The team thoroughly enjoyed themselves and even made a decent profit at the end. Next stop… The Trafford Centre in February.

I also received a lovely email from Ms Morson last week, telling me how proud she was of her year 10 Health & Social Care students who were asked to produce a creative activity for one of our resource centre students. They planned some amazing activities such as making oobleck (slime), christmas cards, bauble decorating and gingerbread decorating.

The group put in a lot of thought, consideration and preparation in to their work. They were so lovely and kind to the resource students and really enjoyed the project. Outstanding effort was seen from: Maisie, Cosette, Gemma, Mina, Tabitha and Fatou. Well done all!

Have a great week.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 13

Apologies for missing last week's blog - the weekend was a busy one with birthday celebrations! Who'd have thought being 21 (again!) would cause such a fuss.

So I have a two weeks to reflect on.

Week of 20th November started brilliantly, with all year 7 performing a Musical Extravaganza on Monday and Tuesday evening. Each form performed two pop songs of their choice and then they all joined together to perform "You Will Be Found” from the Broadway Musical “Dear Evan Hansen”. The Year 7 showcase is one of my favourite events of the year; it shows how confident the children have become in their 10 weeks at Kingsway. The smiles on their faces as they follow the musical direction of Mr Lawton was just the tonic at the end of a busy day.

Thursday that week was another reason to celebrate, but this time with the Class of 2017, who came back to school to collect their GCSE certificates. It's great hearing how they have settled in to their colleges and training courses; we proudly see that they have grown from children to young adults. Our guest speaker this year was sports personality Stacey Copeland, who has made the transition from playing football for England women's football team to professional boxer. In addition to being a talented sports woman, Stacey is an excellent public speaker and really inspired us. The interval performance was the previously mentioned Class of 2022, performing to the Class of 2017 who thought they were "so cute"! It doesn't seem that long ago they were in year 7 - and now look at them: all grown up!

This week, we had the pleasure of hosting our primary school colleagues and their children at our Christmas Bauble Art Workshop.

It was really well received and we even had a few left over baubles for staff to decorate and take home. And on Friday, I was joined by Mrs Maxey and Mrs Watson to have breakfast with our stars of the week: Judy, Will, Leah, Alfie & James.

Finally, on a damp and drizzly Saturday afternoon, Mr Lawton (Head of Music) took some very committed Kingsway students to Cheadle Village Victorian Christmas Markets, where they performed Christmas songs to keep everyone feeling warm inside whilst it was cold outside.

Mr Lawton has certainly had a couple of busy weeks and there's still more to come... on Monday 18th December he is orchestrating our annual Christmas Concert at St. Mary's parish church in Cheadle. It would be great if you could come too.

Other exciting events we are looking forward to include our Coffee Morning in our Inclusion & Diversity Department on 15th December for families of students with Special Educational Needs. Furthermore, whilst year 11 study hard for their PPEs (pre-public examinations), in the coming weeks we will be working with Greater Manchester Aim Higher to help our students learn about the opportunities available after they finish Year 11. These can include university visits, speakers, involvement with local business, and mentoring programmes, to name just a few. Part of this process includes GMAHP asking students for their name and postcodes so they can track the effectiveness of the programme.

Have a lovely week.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 11

It was another great week at Kingsway last week!

As it was anti-bullying week, our Anti-Bullying Coordinator (or Mr. ABC), Mr Moore, fronted our assemblies. The theme was "All Different, All Equal" and there was a beautiful performance by year 11 student Ellie Nichols.

The week culminated with Trainer Day, where students could wear their trainers to school as a sign of 'stamping out' bullying at The Kingsway School.

The current focus for our teaching staff is to make marking more manageable, meaningful and motivating. This is in response to recent studies on work load challenges for teachers, where according to the Education Policy Institute, the average teacher works 48 hours per week, with one in five working 60+ hours per week. Much of the time spent by teachers outside the classroom is marking students' work. This is why we have decided to focus our professional development programme for teachers on marking and ensuring it is impacting on students' progress. Whilst you may not see every piece of your child's work marked, you should be seeing key pieces marked in detail with constructive feedback on how student can improve or develop their work. There is also an expectation for students to engage in this dialogue with their teachers and so you will see teachers' marking in green pen, and students' response to that feedback in red pen.

We allow time for students to reflect on their teachers' marking in MAD (make a difference) time during the lesson. Students are encouraged to think hard about how they can improve their work and learn from the feedback they have received. Teachers will also give opportunities for students to self-assess their work and peer-assess (give feedback to someone else's work). All these strategies are aimed at making it clear to students how well they are developing their understanding and what they need to do to make further progress. As always, we welcome parents' feedback. if you have any comments regarding marking of your child's work, please drop an email to: headteacher@kingsway.stockport.sch.uk. Whilst I may not reply to each individual email, your comments are always taken on board and shared with colleagues in the school.

I can't believe we have just 5 school weeks to go until this term is over. It seems only a short while ago I was soaking up the sun in Spain. My flip flops and sundresses have long been packed away in the loft and replaced with wooly jumpers and Ugg boots! Time certainly flies in education, however this is bitter-sweet. Yes, the summer comes around fast again, but we have so much to achieve in the meantime.

We have already begun to plan for 2018/19 and this includes the holiday pattern for next Christmas, which will be similar to this year. We will be breaking up on Friday 21st December 2018 (this may end up being an INSET day) and returning to school on Monday 7th January 2019. A chance for you to book early for some winter sun!

Have a lovely week.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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Headteacher’s Blog – Week 10

At 13, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Possibly not, I certainly had no idea. My mum tried to get me to go into catering because I made a good meatloaf and pineapple upside down cake!

Like all schools, we are required to provide students with impartial careers education and advice from year 8. However, we fully understand that many students still won't be sure what career pathway to take when they leave school, college or university.

That is why we hold events such as our Options evening, post 16 information evening and our fabulous Career Speed Dating event that took place last week. Around 30 different employment sectors set up 'shop' in our Broadway Hall and shared information with parents and students about their professions and how students can best prepare themselves.

At this stage in their education, students should keep their options open and have the flexibility to choose any or many career pathways. The key to successful future employment is good qualifications, skills and personal attributes.

Qualifications: Most employers, colleges and universities will require students to have a grade 5 in English and Maths plus at least 3 other good GCSE passes. Students need to appreciate that their GCSE outcomes remain with them throughout their lives, e.g. anyone wishing to pursue a career in teaching must have the appropriate GCSE grades in Maths, English and Science to even get on the teaching course. Their success at Kingsway can be the cornerstone of their future career.

Skills: The kind of skills that employers are looking for, are reflected in our Kingsway Learner.
Reliable: excellent attendance (+95%) & punctuality (<15 lates)
Hard working: good attitude to learning (>3.5 average)
Responsible: taking responsibility for their own success (positive behaviour reflected by achievement points)

Personal attributes: These are what makes one candidate stand out against another either in their application or at interview . This is why we have introduced The Edge - our enrichment programme for students to give students 'the edge' when applying for jobs, college or university. All students are expected to complete at least 10 hours of enrichment - this could be developing a musical talent, trying a new sport or joining a masterclass. There are lots of opportunities for students to develop themselves here at Kingsway.

Qualification, skills and personal attributes : the keys to a successful future.

Over the weekend I reflected on my own career pathway and how I ended up becoming a teacher more by chance than design. Nonetheless, making a career change later in my life was easier because I had the qualifications skills and attributes but I also had the determination and passion for teaching children. And now, I have the best job in the world! This is what I wish that for every one of our students and I'm glad the Kingsway will play a part in them achieving that goal.


Mrs J. Lowe
Headteacher

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