Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 12th October 2018

This week has flown by and we have had so many activities happening.

We had our second week of exams for Business and it was clear our students have developed high standards when it comes to exam etiquette. More exams happening very soon for our students as well as on-going practical examination work too. It is Year 11 Parents Evening next week so we are looking forward to sharing our children’s progress and their next steps with parents. I know I am looking forward to meeting my children’s parents to discuss their homework, their revision patterns and their areas to really focus on and develop.

Wednesday saw the school close early so that we can organise ourselves for Open Evening. This year saw our Year 11s and Year 7s taking centre stage. Our Year 7s were involved in such a wide variety of activities in classrooms and our Year 11 Prefects were our tour guides. Our Year 7s were a credit to their school and their parents. They were confident, engaging and were so excited to be a part of our Open Evening – it is lovely to see how they have blossomed in such a short space of time and how they had no inhibitions in engaging with the parents and the Year 6 children.

Our Year 11 Prefects were absolutely brilliant. From the Head Girl/Boy and Deputy Head Girl/Boy speeches to welcome parents and Year 6s to Marsden Heights to the Prefects’ tour guiding, they really were a quality act. Their honesty with parents about our journey and where we are heading is always a pleasure to hear. Staff and students recognise that we are developing all the time and we never pretend to be anything that we are not. Parents and Year 6s would have been met with honesty and frankness throughout the night. Our Prefects are to be celebrated for their confidence, their eloquence, their ability to make children and parents feel comfortable and their enthusiasm. All our children and staff made me very proud on Wednesday evening, as they always do.

Thursday saw members of our Senior Leadership team training in Ramsbottom, looking at curriculum design with other schools. We are developing leadership at all levels and it clearly begins with the SLT. We have been on a course with Teachfirst for the last 6 months to develop our skills and our abilities in order to maximise the chances for our young people. This evening certainly gave us some food for thought.

On Thursday we also had a visit from United Learning to set targets with us for next year. Having gained 57% this year, clearly our next steps have to be the 60s and we are looking forward to the challenges. The learning walk undertaken was very positive about the curriculum we are offering our students and its breadth, the teaching and learning, the displays around the college and inside the classrooms. Combined with the improvement in our results from 37% to 57% in the last 18 months and our continual focus on teaching and learning, we are rightly proud of the changes we have made so far … we are really looking forward to our continued progress.

Friday saw us have a visitor in Textiles all day with Year 11, James Fox. I think it is safe to say that his work absolutely blew us away. Without a doubt I would have wanted to remain in Mrs Lees’ room all day. Our students were learning fantastic new skills and were so excited by his potential impact on their mock exam work. I am hoping in my next blog to be able to show you the impact. So for the moment here are a few pieces of his collection. The portrait is an example of freehand machine embroidered and is truly stunning.

Next week sees it being Red Week and our last week of term. During the holidays we have a Year 11 residential to Haworth, West Yorkshire, for deep revision and preparing for exams. This is the first of many different ways we will be working with our students to help support them on their journey to the summer so that they feel resilient, prepared and confident.

So with that … hope Storm Callum is kind to you and enjoy your weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 5th October 2018

A very busy week for our college this week.

All this week Mrs Pickering, Mash and our Year 8 Transition Ambassadors have been busy visiting our local primary schools to invite the Year 6 and 5 children to our Open Evening on Wednesday next week. Our Year 8s have been absolutely superb in terms of their confidence, their energy and their enthusiasm. A big thank you to our primaries for the warm welcome by the staff and students.

We are really looking forward to our Open Evening on Wednesday and really excited about meeting all those new students who might be thinking about joining us in September. There are some really great reasons why … it could be our improved GCSEs results at 57% … it could be our focus on KASH – knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits … it could be that we go the extra mile for our students … in fact the list is endless. On Wednesday all our students will be leaving at 12.25pm so that we can get ready for the evening and then we welcome back our Senior Students to act as tour guides for our visitors in readiness for a 5pm start.

Our Year 11s took their first exams this week in Business Studies – it serves as a reminder of how quickly time passes during Year 11. Our Period 6s have also started for our Year 11s and there are activities on every night except Wednesdays.

Wednesday found me in Nelson at the Ace Centre, with Mash and one of our Mums2Mum, Roxie. We were at the launch of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership which received a £2.5 million from the Lottery Fund. The Partnership has embarked on about 12 projects to safeguard the area’s wildlife and heritage and improve people’s access to Pendle Hill, ranging from archaeological digs on the Malkin Tower Cottages farm site where it is reputed the Lancashire witches may have met, to environmental work with young people, path repair and drystone walling projects.

We are hoping to be involved in some of the projects as every day we look out on the majestic and beautiful Pendle Hill and it would be wonderful to be so involved with such an area of outstanding beauty. The first thing I was told about Pendle Hill when I arrived here was: “If you can’t see Pendle Hill, it’s raining, if you can, it is going to rain.”

And of course, what a way to end our week … with our Red, White and Blue Day, celebrating our British Values as well as signalling our Make your Mark day. Our children were all voting today on the issues that matter the most to them with issues such as knife crime, homelessness, voting for 16/17 year olds, equal pay for equal work and many more. The votes will go ahead to the Youth Parliament. Well done to Positive Voices 7 for all the hard work and especially the wonderful video we showed to all the students.

Enjoy the weekend!