At the time of writing, I am just starting the final week of my first half-term at St. Mary’s. I can’t quite believe how quickly the first few weeks have gone but I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far.
I have been using the initial weeks of my Headship to get to know your children and the staff who teach and support them. I have visited many of their lessons and find this not only a good way of building a relationship with the children, but of getting a sense of their daily diet of teaching and learning too. I always find that the little conversations with the pupils about what they are learning and how they are getting on to be the most useful in evaluating the quality of provision.
I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with what I have seen in classrooms around the school. Positive behaviour for learning is so important and I have enjoyed sitting in lessons with pupils who are focused and very keen to contribute. There are, of course, always things we can do to improve and I am excited at the prospect of developing things still further to ensure that St. Mary’s and all who come here are successful for many years to come.
The GCSE’s are well underway and those pupils in Year 11 have been exemplary in the way they’ve approached their exams. It is an intense time for them but they have made good use of the extra sessions available and demonstrated a real maturity towards the size of the task ahead of them. I’m confident too that this year’s Year 10 will follow suit as they seemed to take their exams very seriously. My attention, together with Mr Shannon, will shift shortly to Year 10 as we aim to meet them all individually to evaluate how they’ve done prior to starting their crucial final year in September.
There has been lots happening outside of the classroom too. Of particular merit were the three football teams from Year 7, 8 and 10 who all made it into their respective County Cup finals. I was lucky enough to see the Year 7’s who put up a spirited comeback, narrowly losing 4-3. Mr Shannon watched the other two finals; Year 10 fought hard but were beaten and Year 8 who were crowned County Champions after a fantastic performance in their final. In recognition for such representation in the finals and for our performances throughout the year, I understand that we have been awarded the overall football trophy for Herefordshire for 2017/18 which is a great achievement.
During this half term it has also been important for me to find out what the students think of their school and how they might like to develop aspects of it. Having attended my first Student Council meeting, it is clear that they care passionately about St. Mary’s and have some very good ideas for the future. I’m looking forward to helping them make some of their proposals a reality and to giving the students a significant say about what happens in their school.
We are full again for September 2018/19 and the recent Admissions Appeals meeting reminded me of the popularity of St. Mary’s. We will shortly welcome those children with a place for September for their transition day and within no time at all we will be recruiting for 2019/20. No doubt I will be calling on the services of your children for such events as Open Evening as they are our best form of advertising!
It is the last day for Year 11 on Friday, and whilst I have only worked with them for a brief period, I would like to wish them every success for their remaining exams and for the future. They have been working really hard and I am sure they will be rewarded for their efforts in August.
I was able to meet parents of Year 7 students at their recent consultation evening and I look forward to meeting many more of you as the summer term progresses.
I hope you have a restful and enjoyable half term break.