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May 2021 Blog

May is traditionally a jammed-packed month as the main round of GCSE exams get into full swing for Year 11 and Year 10 Early Entry, transition for Year 6 steps up into its final phase and the rest of the College gets ready for the events planned for June and July. Well, we are not back there yet, but it has certainly been a lot more than the tumbleweed effect we had this time last year- thank heavens!!!

So, despite the restrictions, the College has been able to carry out the first phase of its transition programme. This involved Year 6 students who are due to start at Crookhorn in September, visiting the College in bubbles just involving their primary school. Once at the College, Mr Lemon and Mr Collins hosted the students and went through the most important features of the College ethos, namely the Cornerstones and the OPEN MIND of the Crookhorn learner. Where possible I dropped in to see the new students, and it was an absolute delight to see their excitement and enthusiasm for the next stage of their learning, here at Crookhorn. The next phase of the transition programme, unfortunately, has to be reviewed due to the ongoing social restriction requirements, but we are planning for every child to have a second visit to the College before the end of term.  Not only that we are, of course, planning our Summer School for the Year 6 into 7 students which is scheduled currently to take place in the last week of August. We launched the application process for this during May, and to date, we have had over 100 responses requesting a place, which is fabulous. Overall, by the time we have completed our SMART Start in September, I think the new students will have been fully inducted and absolutely ready to fly as Crookhorn Learners!

May has also seen the focus on Year 11, as it would be in the normal way, and although they have not had final exams, they did have to complete a very arduous assessment schedule across all their GCSE subjects. Year 10 EE has also had to go through the same process in their Early Entry subject. As a result, this has been a very focussed and rigorous time, a little more like normal, and I have to say how proud I am of the Year 11’s and the effort and commitment they showed to their learning right up to the end. It was also a great delight to be able to watch the Year 11 final music performances. In the normal way these performances would have been showcased at The Spring in Havant, but this year the performances were held in our Performing Arts theatre in front of a socially distanced audience of staff and Year 11 students. The students were amazing and the whole show sung out about resilience and determination!

I want to use this blog as an opportunity to share some of the excellent artwork that has been achieved in both the Year 11 classes and in the Year 10 EE. Bearing in mind the students missed approximately 2 terms of their face-to-face learning and access to materials (quite critical in practical subjects), the outcome of their endeavours is truly inspirational, and much of this was achieved because of the time and effort put in at the experimental stages at home through the sketchbooks and remote learning. The intellectual approach to the brief of Natural Forms demonstrates how far the development of art has come at Crookhorn over the last couple of years, mainly through the careful planning of curriculum by the teachers leading to a sequential progression of skills and analytical ability.

When it came to the actual act of leaving (apart from their carefully planned transition programme), Year 11 were exemplary, enjoying their virtual Leavers’ assembly before having time at the front of the College for shirt and book signing and photos with each other and members of staff. It was a lovely afternoon, and the students made the absolute best of a restricted situation in a mature and responsible way. It really brought it home to me how far this cohort of students have come since they joined us 5 years ago, in my first year of Headship, and most especially in the last 18 months through the difficult time of the pandemic. We learned and grew together and all for the better. I now sincerely believe, that if this group of students is representative of the ‘Next Generation', then our future, as a local community and as a world community, is looking much brighter. I told many of the Year 11’s that I cannot wait to see their Alumni posters up around the College and on the website in the years to come.

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Like last year we have been able to run our Head Girl and Head Boy application process, and we are currently right in the midst of the final election process for the 6 candidates who made it through to the election manifesto stage. My congratulations therefore to Courtney C, Skye D, and Karishma M who are our 3 final candidates for Head Girl, and to Alfie G, Joe B and Josh N who are our 3 final candidates for Head Boy. I have yet to watch the election manifesto speeches, and vote, but I am looking forward to doing so, and I am predicting a heavy emphasis on student voice as well as the mental health of teenagers!

June is proving to be a busy month with more and more activities underway involving enrichment and extra-curricular endeavours as we become more and more adept at finding ways to carry out events and activities alongside the main learning in accordance with the restrictions. As I said many times during lockdown 1.0 last year, adaptability is absolutely key and as time goes by we are proving as an establishment to be getting better and better at it!