EHT’s Blog – 10th November 2017

Nov 23

Dear all,

It’s been a busy couple of weeks back at JCSC, and the half term break seems so very long ago already…

This week, the council cabinet decided the future of Acklington C of E First School, which is now scheduled to close at the end of this academic year. It is with sadness and regret that, as part of our federation, this village school did not grow and thrive as we had all hoped. With the decision taken to close in the summer, rather than this December, it means that we have time to ensure our pupils get their first choice of school and the very best possible transition arrangements. At our Coquet Partnership meeting last night the headteachers of Amble First, Amble Links, Broomhill, Grange View, Red Row and Warkworth all pledged to provide places for any children who opt for them, and to work with them throughout the year to ensure they feel at home in their new schools.

We recently involved the county council’s Education Welfare Officers (EWOs) and the Police to conduct an unannounced truancy sweep. Any child who did not have a mark for the day received a visit from a senior member of staff, accompanied by the EWOs and police. You will be aware that a high level of attendance at school is essential for children to make good progress, and that failure to ensure a child attends school can (and does) result in fines, court appearances and even custodial sentences. We want your children to succeed – but we can only do this if they attend regularly, and we are determined to do all we can to ensure our students get the education they are entitled to.

Art is an incredibly popular option choice for our students at Key Stage 4, and it’s not hard to understand why, given the 100% A*-C pass rate! It’s a popular subject across the school and, before the half term break, there was a special edition of the after-school art club, dedicated to carving Halloween pumpkins. You can see for yourself the quantity and calibre

of the entries…they are spooktacular! (sorry…)

Last Thursday we held a parents’ evening for our two ‘new starter’ year groups – years 5 and 12 – and both were very well attended by parents and students. It’s always wonderful to meet parents, and there was a fabulous atmosphere at both sites. Congratulations go to Miss Cartmell for winning the ‘lock the front door on your way out’ award. The evening started at 3.30pm, following a full day in the classroom, and Miss Cartmell didn’t leave until well after 7.30pm – that’s dedication! Thanks also to Miss Pearson (Director of Primary) and Mr Moore (Head of 6th Form) for coordinating the events.

Some (incorrect) people say that science lessons can be boring. They clearly weren’t in Mr Snowball’s year 11 lesson on Wednesday this week when, during a demonstration of how speed is calculated in science, he fell whilst running along the tennis courts. It resulted in a dislocated and fractured elbow, which will require quite a bit of treatment. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mr Snowball a speedy recovery, and we look forward to seeing him back in school soon. I’ll be hiding his trainers and locking the gates to the tennis courts whenever he’s around in future…

Year 11 extra classes are up and running – check out the timetable and encourage your child to attend. It WILL make a difference to their grades, and it’s best to start revising early in the year…

Next Thursday (November 16th) we are inviting parents of year 7 students to an information event hosted by the maths department. They have invested heavily in resources and training to all staff in order to deliver a ‘Maths Mastery’ course, which will be rolled out across the school, starting in year 7. It is a different approach to teaching and learning maths, using specific techniques and equipment – please do come along if you would like to find out more about it, and how you can help your child with their maths education. The evening starts at 5.45pm at the lower school site [South Avenue] and will finish no later than 7.00pm. We were visited this week by Alexi Makris, Mathematics Mastery Secondary Lead, who travelled from London to see how well our maths team are embedding the project under Mrs Charnley’s guidance. He was, of course, very impressed with the dedication and speed with which the principles of the scheme have been embraced, and how well the children are responding.

Next Friday is ‘Children in Need’ day and, as usual, there will be events across both sites to raise money for this worthy cause. Look out for more details via the usual channels. Last year I was involved in the ‘Bush Tucker Challenge’ and it wasn’t a pretty sight… On the other hand, Mr Anderson asked for more crickets to eat, if I remember correctly…

Enjoy the weekend,

Neil Rodgers

Executive Headteacher