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WEEK 4 - Friday 29 September 2023

As I write this blog, we are now nearly four weeks into the school year and are settled into our timetables and routines. At this point it feels appropriate to think ahead towards what we hope to achieve during the coming year. For me, a successful Year 10 means happy and motivated students who have approached their first year of GCSE study with maturity and purpose, developing a strength of character along the way. For the vast majority of our students, they have started the year in line with this ambition and should feel proud of their efforts to-date. This is merely a foundation however and there are still many days ahead in which to build upon this start and achieve success this year. This leads me nicely on to my focussed school value for this blog: Aspiration, defined simply as our ambition to achieve something high or great. 

For me, aspiration links intrinsically to a desire to improve. In order to aim high, we need to always be looking for how we can take what we do and make it even better: we must want the best for ourselves. Working in education, this is part of our annual cycle of school improvement. With the changing contexts of our learners and their lives, to stand still can mean to go backwards and, consequently, we use this time of year to set targets and to refine our daily practice. In any walk of life, it’s important that in our conversations around aspiration we understand that to strive for improvement may result in looking inwards and facing up to some difficult truths about where we currently are. This is true in sporting fields, at home, in the workplace and as students in school. Over the coming weeks and months, our students will have numerous conversations with staff about their own aspirations and what they need to improve in order to achieve them. We will always frame these discussions positively, with a focus on helping students to be the best that they can be but there also needs to be an understanding from our learners to accept the guidance provided and to work towards improvements where necessary.  

On a daily basis, one of the most important people in your child’s improvement journey is their form tutor. They are the most constant presence a student will experience throughout their school year, meeting and greeting them each and every morning during our morning line-ups before heading to their form rooms or the assembly hall to start their day. As the Head of Year 10, I’m privileged to work with a dedicated team of tutors who know their students well and want the best for them. 

This puts them at a distinct advantage when it comes to identifying any signs of worry or anxiety shown by an individual. They are tuned into what is “the norm” for their students and, consequently, are able to spot when a conversation or any additional support is needed. Over the last week, I’ve shared a lot of information with the tutor team and discussed the current strengths of students in their groups as well as areas to improve. They are working hard to ensure that students’ efforts are being noticed and that those who are meeting or exceeding expectations are acknowledged and rewarded. They are also holding conversations around attendance, punctuality, behaviour and attainment to help students who need support in these areas to set targets for the coming weeks. 

To support the tutor team with this work and to ensure we can spend as much time as possible focusing on our aspirations for students, I ask for your continued support in ensuring students are adhering to our school policies on punctuality, uniform and jewellery. As always, the vast majority of our students are arriving to lessons on time and in line with expectations and I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for helping to ensure your children make the most of their time in school. 

Upcoming events: 

On a related note, the Year 10 Information Evening takes place on Thursday 5th October and will provide an opportunity for us to share our ambitions for Year 10 students with you in a face-to-face context. I hope that you can attend the event and I look forward to meeting you. 

As always, both Mrs Lacey and I are on hand to support students on a daily basis and you can contact either of us in the Student Services office by phone or email. 

Mr Riches

Head of Year 10

Mrs Lacey

Assistant Head of Year 10