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June 2018 Blog

The beautiful June sun did not really show itself until after the end of the GCSE exams, thank goodness, but we have really enjoyed it since it arrived. The College grounds are truly lovely in the sunshine and this is mainly due to the hard work and commitment of the site team who work so hard to keep the borders flowering and the weeds expunged!

There was genuine relief when we reached 15 June and the main batch of GCSE exams had finished. The pressure from the middle of May to the middle of June for the students and the staff was intense, but I am so proud of the way the students conducted themselves and rose to the challenge day after day. I would also like to thank the teaching and support staff for the true dedication and commitment they showed in supporting the students right through to the end, and I know that a large number of parents have also expressed their gratitude as well.

Of course, as soon as the Year 11 GCSE exams had finished, we rolled straight into the Year 10 mock exams, and for many students, this was the first real experience of completing multiple exams under the conditions of the formal exam hall. This is such an important experience and all the mistakes made by the students in these exams are part of the vital learning experience that will help prepare them for this time next year. On Friday Mr Collins and I talked to the Year 10s about this and the fact that there are only 12 College weeks until the November mocks, and only 32 College weeks till they sit their final GCSE exams. So, the work that they do now in the run up to the end of the summer term, and the completion of the holiday work for over the summer term, is all essential to their overall GCSE outcomes.

Aside from this Year 10 have also been very focused on the application to an election of the senior student roles of responsibility within the College. On the week beginning 11 June, we had the elections for the Head Boy and Head Girl position. It was an excellent turnout by the voters and the results, especially for the boys, were as close as you can imagine, which is a testament to the quality of the campaigns run by all six candidates. I am now delighted to announce that Amber F has been elected as Head Girl, Sam G as Head Boy, Reuben H-T as Deputy Head Boy and Rachel A as Deputy Head Girl. The interviews for Senior House prefects, the elections for House Captains and the appointment of other key roles such as Welfare Captains have all been completed in the last week, and we will put out the lists of students holding the senior roles in each House in the newsletter on 9 July. I believe that this whole process is a key part of helping students understand the importance of responsibility, and the requirement of commitment, as well as having to face the realities of not always being successful. These are all important life lessons, that encourage the resilient and rounded approach to life that we are so keen to promote in Crookhorn students.

Last week we also had the Headteacher’s rewards evenings for Years 7 to 10. Both evenings were a wonderful celebration of student endeavour, hard work and commitment and the citations that I read about each student literally made me glow with pride. I know that many parents felt the same way from the fantastic comments that either came in via e mail or were posted on to the College Facebook page. I picked up on some of the key words from the citations with the Year 10s in their assembly on Friday. The adjectives of ‘determined’, ‘diligent’ and ‘self-motivated’ came up time and time again and obviously really encompass what makes a successful learner. One citation in particular really encapsulates the essence of learning for me, and again I shared it with the Year 10s to get them to deeply reflect on their motivation for independently striving to learn: “…she is determined and resilient. On struggling with a new concept, she will keep asking questions and reworking until she understands; she will not give up because she finds it hard, she just works harder”. This is surely the endeavour all students should be engaged in.

Throughout the last two weeks of June, our Year 9 students have been doing the College proud, through the Sports Leader roles they have undertaken at our local primary schools. We have had great feedback on their independence, enthusiasm and organisational capabilities, which really proves the growth in their leadership capabilities. The Deputy Head Teacher from Morelands Primary told me on Friday at the Cluster Press Gang event at the College, that the Sports Leaders had been invaluable and had run many of the events of their own, thereby really ensuring the success of the day for all the pupils taking part. For the Year 9 students who took part, this activity counts towards the leadership award that many are striving to attain at either, Bronze, Silver or Gold levels.

Our Year 8 students have been out to the Mountbatten Centre to take part in an athletics meet, whilst 30 Year 7 students went to Southampton University to get a real feel for what University life is like. They had a fabulous day, and hopefully many eyes were opened to the possibilities of education beyond College. A small group of Year 9 students went out last Friday for a More and Most Able Science workshop at Park Community School. At the same time Mrs Masson, our new Head of History, was running an Equaliteas event at the College where our Year 10 students joined together with people from all over the country to celebrate 90 years since the Representation of the People Act 1928, which gave all men and women over the age of 21 the equal right to vote. The premise was to have a debate around the rights of all to vote and the benefits of democracy, as well as other challenging topics. Alan Mak, the local MP for Havant, arrived at 11am and spoke to the students for half an hour on the topic of equality, and then fielded some very challenging questions from our students, who were not shy about putting their views forward! Following this event, Mrs Masson has extension work to really challenge the high attaining students, where they have to consider the impact the Act has had on life in Britain since its inception. This is a fantastic opportunity for critical evaluative thinking and offers a great opportunity to engage in the independent self-motivated study that I referred to earlier on.

Of course, no month is truly complete without a quick overseas trip, and this month it was the turn of the MFL department to take 50 or so Year 7 and 8 students on a day trip to Boulogne. The student behaviour was exceptional, according to Mrs Clarke, and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves wandering round the Boulogne old town, visiting the sweet factory and the final obligatory stop at Cite Europe before returning on the ferry.

 On Monday we launch ourselves into the new academic year as we have made the decision to roll the timetable over early this year. This gives us the opportunity to start four of our new members of staff off before the end of term and also helps each year group start with their preparations for what lies ahead in the new academic year. I am very excited to see how the rollover goes and how the students take to it. I am also very excited to welcome our four new members of staff: they are Mr Elvy who will be teaching PE, Mr Bailey and Miss Davis who will be teaching Science and Ms Pitassi who will be teaching art. I must also mention here that we have had Mrs Masson join us as the new Head of History and Mrs Nicklin, join us as a technology teacher and leader of STEM at the beginning of June, so they are now fast approaching the end of their first half term with us. I am delighted to be able to welcome all these new staff to the College and look forward to them becoming immersed within the Crookhorn family.