Welcome to my second blog and I hope that the two weeks that have just passed have been as interesting and enjoyable for all readers as they have been for the school.
On Monday 14 September the school was open to our prospective Year 7 students and their families. We were overwhelmed by the numbers in attendance and proud of the feedback that we received, in particular regarding the attitude, politeness and communication skills of the many student ambassadors who volunteered to help with the evening. There was a real buzz of excitement around the school as visitors toured with students, sampled the delights of Harrison catering and participated in biscuit decorating, Spanish lessons, trampolining demonstrations and so much more.
As the school is now in full flow, it is pleasing to observe the blossoming friendships of many of our new Year 7 students, as they settle in to life at Denefield, more confident in the way that they move around the site and eager to get to each lesson, anticipating the excitement that will be waiting for them. It is hard to believe that only a year ago, these youngsters visited us as the Year 6s have just done.
Many of you will have noticed our new strap line ‘Enabling potential, expecting the best’. I had the pleasure of elaborating on its meaning during my presentation to prospective parents/carers. The strap line is something that I am very passionate about, evolving from my fundamental belief that, as staff at Denefield School, we are here to tap in to the potential of every young person in our care and challenge them through expecting the very best. By setting the highest standards every day, we commit to providing opportunities for them to be the very best that they can be, in all aspects of school life. At Denefield we are driven to secure the progress of all learners and aim to instil the CHARACTER that they need to thrive in modern Britain. Identifying CHARACTER as we have here, acknowledges the many attributes and qualities that we feel a young person should be equipped with by the time they leave Denefield. We aim, through partnership with parents/carers, to create young people who are:
In assemblies during the week of 28 September, I will share with the students how the school will work with them to support the development of these characteristics and the wealth of opportunities available to them.
One of the current opportunities for students to further build CHARACTER is through applying for one of the many leadership roles. Students may choose to apply to be a subject ambassador, in an area where they feel they have a real love, they may opt to join the transition team (Year 7 only), the common room committee (Year 11 only), or take responsibility for the whole house on the House Council. In addition, the Sixth Form team have been busy recruiting a Head Girl. It was fantastic to see five girls in Year 12 ‘courageously’ present why they should be Head Girl for 2015/16 to students and staff. They demonstrated many of the CHARACTER values, showing ‘confidence’, ‘articulacy’ and without question, the ‘ambition’ to drive the school further forward, as part of the student leadership body. I would like to congratulate Kristina Sawers, Kate Mckim, Grace King, Olivia Holmes and Maia Dearling for showing the strength of character to be part of this democratic process. Following interviews on Monday 21 September 2015 I would further like to congratulate Grace King who has been appointed to the position of Head Girl and Kate McKim to Deputy Head Girl. I have no doubt that both girls will represent students and the school exceptionally well, and together with our Head Boy, Sebastian Biegala, they will complete our most senior student team.
To continue the theme of congratulations I shall turn my attention to the Great British Bake Off. I am not referring to the Mary Berry version, far more superior than that, Denefield has just hosted its very own, with entries that Paul Hollywood really could only dream of tasting. Embracing the theme of British Week, several young people spent extensive amounts of time and energy preparing their personal version of a Victoria sponge. As the entries came in, the Heads of House, Miss Stuckey and Mrs West gathered for the judging. I visited to ensure the staff were still going to be able to teach in the afternoon after consuming so much cake, and was astounded at the attention to detail of packaging, presentation and general quality of the entries. After great deliberation the following finalists were selected: Jake Hill, Grace Hagarty, Emily Gill, Olivia Kimbell, Caitlin Jackson, Georgia Thorpe, Constance Linning-Innes and Charlotte Jackson. On Wednesday evening, after an hour and a half baking their chosen ‘showstopper’ with a healthy twist, the judges of Miss Wright, Mr Boys, Mr Ellison, Harrison's chef manager and I arrived to sample the results and deliver our verdict. To say that it was a difficult decision is an understatement, so in my view the courage and confidence that they all showed to even participate is to be commended. However, I am delighted to announce that Constance Linning-Innes with her entry ‘a nice cup of tea’, was our Great British Bake Off winner, making a fabulous banana cake presented as a tea cup, with Grace Hagarty’s Union Jack chocolate and beetroot cake and Emily Gill’s Earl Grey and coffee biscuits finishing in second and third respectively.
In drawing this second blog to its conclusion, may I take this opportunity to thank all parents and carers for their support in enabling us to further raise standards of uniform and behaviour. Our students continue to represent the school positively both within and outside of school and many comments have been received from the public regarding how the new skirts and shoes sharpen the appearance of Denefield students. Clearly this feedback makes me, as the Headteacher, feel extremely proud, but it is only possible through a collaborative network of consistent staff and supportive parents/carers who work in partnership with us. With that in mind, parents/carers of Year 11 students will be aware that Parents Evening is on Thursday 1 October and we look forward to welcoming you all to discuss the progress of your son or daughter, in what is another important year for them.Return to blog