24th March 2023
Whilst the summer still seems so far away, we have already entered the final national examination season with orals and practical assessments taking place this week for students in years eleven and thirteen.
With only six full school weeks now between today and the start of the main examination season, it is vital that students in years eleven and thirteen are in the habit of regular revision and have a structured and quiet environment in which to learn. I would ask parents to ensure that they support their children in maintaining this regular routine and to ensure that momentum is not lost over the Easter break. We continue to provide intervention sessions within the Cygnus programme for students to attend and these will continue after the Easter break up until May half-term.
We have a number of vacancies for applicants with an enthusiasm for the school and working with children. There are opportunities to work in learning support, working with students who are provided with a supported programme, as well as opportunities within the senior team with our post of assistant head teacher - student progress.
We had further updates from the Department of Education this week in relation to the School Rebuilding Programme. The new build will have a focus on sustainability and low energy use as well as including the most modern facilities and resources to support teaching and learning. It is an exciting development and we remain patient in terms of when the project will commence. We will be undertaking an extensive consultation programme with staff and students to ensure that their views inform the design and development of the new build.
We had the unfortunate situation of a fire alarm this afternoon, just as a heavy rainstorm was finishing. Our students responded well in making their way to the temporary assembly point on the car park as the field was extremely wet! Our students continue to be ambassadors for the school in many ways and are a pleasure to be with. This means that we are able to focus attention clearly on behaviour that is not acceptable and we will continue to ensure that there is a strong message that disruption is not welcome at Chilwell.
There has been a focus on the school inspection system in the news over the past week and the impact of OFSTED judgements on schools and their communities. We have always been clear that our focus at Chilwell is upon the best provision for our students and our community and that OFSTED judgements ultimately should be seen in the same light as an MOT for a car. At Chilwell, we will continue to do our best to give a high quality experience for students, whilst at the same time listening to advice and criticism so that we can improve. I believe that an inspection system needs to be useful so that schools can continue to develop but there needs to be some reflection on whether the current reductive model helps or hinders.
Whilst we are now a school with waiting lists in every year, we know we have the capacity to improve and continue on our journey. It was only a couple of years ago that a parent spoke to me and said that Chilwell had not been her first choice but that she was thrilled with where her child had now come. She said, "It feels like you have your arms around the community."
I hope we continue to do so.