The deadline has recently passed for our Year 9 students to select their pathways of study for the next academic year; so it seems appropriate therefore to relate the final blog of this term to the CHARACTER value ‘ambition’.
At Denefield we continue to be extremely proud of our academic profile and we firmly believe that progress in the classroom and, consequently, the outcomes in examinations will provide students with a good grounding for their future choices.
Since taking up post in September, however, I have emphasised not only the need for young people to leave school with strong academic qualifications, but also to be equipped with the right skills and personal attributes to enable them to flourish in the world.
Talent will get you in the door, but character will keep you in the room
Aspiration and future goals are, for all of us, our motivation. It is, therefore essential for us to take advantage of any opportunity that we might get during conversations with young people to encourage them to think about what will fulfil them in life. What excites them? What engages them? What are their personal dreams and ambitions?
The CHARACTER values are key in supporting this motivation as they aim to demonstrate to young people that qualifications without any sense of direction, courage or confidence will limit progress.
Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings
My last blog highlighted the need to be ‘resilient’ and to keep pushing on even when things are a little harder than we would like them to be. For some students, this may be working harder in a subject that they may feel particularly challenges them; for others socialising at break time or simply coming to school can be a difficulty. However, showing a degree of ‘resilience’ and proving that barriers can be overcome, can often improve a students’ well-being as they may recognise that the ‘resilience’ they have shown, is a sign of achievement.
You never fail until you stop trying
Attendance is key to this well-being and happiness in every student. Attending school secures learning and progress, encourages the development of a strong social network and offers enrichment opportunities to extend each individual. The preparation that school provides offers young people the platform to be ‘ambitious’ for themselves for now and in the future. Any absence in any year of secondary school can impact on student progress. It is widely reported that a student who has 90% attendance might think that they are doing well. 90% attendance is the equivalent of half a day of school missed every week. When this figure is added up over the school year it equates to four weeks of school learning missed. Across a five year period this would be equal to half of a school year missed. With this level of absence, a student in this position is unlikely to feel ‘happy’, ‘ambitious’ or ‘confident’ - characteristics we believe to be vital for students’ future successes.
Two students who have had recent success through showing commitment and ambition are Ruth Obediah and Maisie Head in Year 13. They have been working on an installation, titled The Many, following a visit to Auschwitz last year as part of their combined AS History and Fine Art studies. Their memorial, a collection of stones packed in to a wooden frame, symbolises the many people, some six million in total, who lost their lives during the Holocaust. As a school we took time to acknowledge Holocaust Memorial Day through the delivery of assemblies and tutor time sessions. The art work can be viewed in our Sixth Form building. Congratulations to Ruth and Maisie.
As you will be aware, the start of this term following the festive break did not start as we would have hoped. We returned to school to find a water leak which had a huge impact on the school’s heating system. May I take this opportunity to thank all students for their maturity and cooperation over this period. The school was not at its warmest and a part of the school was blocked off. Students did not complain about the issues, they simply worked with us in the true sense of collaboration.
A further premises issue to report is that over the half-term break we will be having a perimeter fence constructed. The fence will run the full length of the back of the playing fields which separates us from the Sulham Estate. This will further improve security to the site. We are also in the process of evaluating the front of site and considering amendments to school access throughout the day which I will report on in the near future.
As I conclude this final blog of the term, we should look forward to what is to come during the shortest term of the academic year. Totalling only twenty three and a half days, next term will see the start of the actual GCSE examinations. Preparation therefore, over the half term break is vital to our Year 11 students’ life-long ambitions.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for
Dates for your diary:
Knowles and Son commence canteen extension 1 February 2016
Parents’ Forum 9 February 2016
Internet Safety Day 9 February 2016
House celebration assemblies 8-12 February 2016
Year 11 PPE results day 12 February 2016
Year 11 GCSE Art examination 9 and 11 March 2016
Miss L A Dawe