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Head's Blog #5
Continual Professional Development
Developing staff and the recruitment and retention of good staff are constant challenges for school leaders. Recently Ms McGroarty organised the first Westfield “Teachmeet.” This is a forum for teachers to share and discuss ideas in order to help develop their teaching practice. The theme we agreed was “Accessible Learning.” The focus was on what staff do/can do to ensure that all learners have access to the curriculum and the lesson content. This is vital in a non-selective school where we have learners of all abilities, skills, talents and backgrounds. Below I have a quote from Ms McGroarty saying how successful it was;
“Well, what a fantastic night, our very first TeachMeet turned out to be a huge success! Our theme was ‘accessible learning’ and we had a range of fantastic speakers from Westfield Academy and schools from the surrounding area. We believed this was our opportunity to create a learning community; where passionate teachers could share their ideas and strategies to improve the learning in pupils and the progress they make during their time at school.
I came across a great quote on twitter, when I was preparing for the TeachMeet- and I felt it completely encompassed our ethos and challenge for the night:
The best classrooms are those where nobody feels anonymous, unsupported or undervalued- and that includes the teachers & teaching assistants”
Emma McGroarty – Teaching and Learning Lead
I was extremely gratified. Staff volunteered to stay until after 6 pm at the busiest time of the school year in order to support Ms McGroarty and share good ideas. We also had a range of other schools attend including Laurence Haines, Francis Coombe Academy, Reading Academy and Queens School. Above all it was gratifying for me to see some amazing staff presenting on a range of subjects and knowing that they work for us.
The Year 11 Prom
Well after all the hardwork our Year 11’s have basically finished. Last Friday they had their Year 11 prom. This was a fabulous event organised by Ms Mellon, based at the Hilton Watford. As I’ve updated you all about revision and exams it felt only right to show a picture of the prom. What you see each year is the students finally maturing into the young adults we always knew they could be. They were a credit to us all; parents, teachers and the community. (As was Ms Mellon, she calmly organised a very successful event.)
After all their hard work we really wish them all the best of luck for their results in the summer.
We’re getting there, we have started to take the staff over to look at it. It makes sense. They are currently packing and planning for the new build so it feels right that they start to get a feel for the place. Every Wednesday after school Heads of Faculty are visiting the school, in hard hats, high vis jackets and boots. The picture above is of Miss Porter (Head of Science.) She was extremely impressed with her prep rooms and her new labs. She took photos ready to bring back to her team. After lots of time and effort, it’s time that we started to get really excited about the move.
You will all get a letter explaining this further, but the last week of term, will be Activities week. Students have been asking what this is, but those who now know are very excited. In simple terms, it’s the last week of term, where we would like the students to have a slightly different school experience. There will still be lessons, but the aim should be that they are “more fun” (as if that’s possible !) and should be a chance for teachers to move away from their normal content. There will also be Sports Day and a trip out (bowling and cinema.) We would just like the teachers and students to have a good week to end the year, where they are still learning but in a more relaxed setting. (They will be allowed non-school uniform. This is being organised by Ms Charalambous and Ms Dunkley, who will be getting in touch about arrangements very soon.
This has been quite a year. Our OFSTED in February confirmed that we are a “Good School.” It would be fair to say that this has been the case for a number of years; however it was gratifying for all the current staff to read that “The school has improved in many areas since the predecessor school was inspected.” So what next? My opinion is that we can start to make this school Outstanding, over the next few years. Next year will be a big year as we will move into our new school, with our new logo. (See above.) Over the next 12 months we still start to review all our provision; our uniform, the school day, our curriculum etc. My intention is that we develop a new school within a new school to ensure that we make Westfield the amazing school I always envisaged it would be, when I signed up for this job.