Setting ourselves goals, regardless of how big or small, provides us with both focus and challenge in life and often allows us to fulfil long held ambitions that we have.
Ambition is the first step to success. The second step is action.
It is, therefore, important for us as a school community, to provide opportunities for our students and have experiences that allow for personal, social and emotional growth.
One such opportunity arose last academic year, when a group of our Year 12 students volunteered to take part in a Thames Valley Police led Young Enterprise scheme and it is fair to say that it has been a life changing experience for them all. The Young Enterprise scheme for this team was different as it wasn't about making money from a product but launching a business called CoGen, whose primary concern was focussed on raising awareness to stop child sexual exploitation.
This was a tough subject to handle in a mature and thoughtful way, but the whole team has been outstanding in delivering a great business plan and delivering a great product. This included a video to raise awareness, a website, Facebook page and a range of quality products including pens, pencils, lanyards, wristbands and mugs.
I reported in an earlier blog that CoGen won the Young Enterprise West Berkshire Final 2016 and then went through to the County Finals on 3 May. Although they did not win a place in the regional finals on 14 June, the team won the ‘Business Innovation Award 2016’ and ‘Creative Marketing Award 2016’, one of only two teams to scoop two prizes on the evening.
This was an amazing achievement by a group of hard working team players who were all exceptionally passionate about what they were trying to achieve and an inspiration to us all. The lessons they have learned from Young Enterprise will last them a lifetime. Add to that the fact one of the members has now secured an apprenticeship with a major company off the back of his involvement in the programme shows how valuable this experience has been. We are all very proud of the team. My thanks also to Mr Wheeler and Mrs Williams who have supported the team throughout.
A group becomes a team, when each member is sure enough of themselves to praise the skills of others.
Another opportunity for growth was on Tuesday 3 May when ten Year 10 students went to 'try out' Oxford University. Hosted by The Queen's College as part of the Oxford Pathways Programme, students excitedly toured the city, the college and sampled an academic psychology lecture (after which I don't think any of them are going to look at advertising in the same way again!). The students were exceptional throughout the day, asking questions and taking part in all of the activities offered - even playing a very quick game of round table Ping-Pong during the college tour! Students articulated the benefits of such a visit, which allowed them to consider their individual future goals and aspirations.
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
Our PE department have been and will continue to be busy at the athletics fixtures over the next few weeks and I wish all students the best of luck for their events. My advice for any competition is give it your best, but most of all enjoy it!
Our Combined Cadet Force students certainly enjoyed their recent field day at Pangbourne College, dinghy sailing and attempting the high ropes course. What a brave group they are!
On the theme of growth and in an attempt to encourage our Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students to give something back to their local community, as well as enrich their own experiences, I have summarised below a short extract from the West Berkshire Summer Reading Challenge. They are seeking young people aged 15 or above to volunteer with the Summer Reading Challenge, which is a national event encouraging primary age children to read six books over the summer holidays.
The ‘Challenge’ is running again this summer, so they are once more looking for friendly and enthusiastic young volunteers. Aspects of the role include:
• encouraging children to take up and complete the Summer Reading Challenge
• leading them through a simple enrolment process
• explaining how the Challenge works
• talking informally to the children on each visit about the books they have read.
The commitment can be flexible to meet individual needs. Volunteering opportunities like this can help young people to develop skills and gain experience. It may even help with coursework or work towards an award or goal.
If you have any queries or would like to volunteer please contact Gemma, the Volunteer Co-ordinator, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01635 519533
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the heart.
All that remains for me to say in this final blog before the half term break is to wish everyone a happy and safe week. I expect students who are in the middle of the exam season will be working hard to ensure that they achieve their ambitions this summer and wish every one of them the greatest success.
Dates for your diary:
Year 9 Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition 21-22 May 2016
Sixth Form IT visit to Brookfields School 24 May 2016
Charity Week 23-27 May 2016
Year 8 Moselle Valley Information Evening 26 May 2016
Paris Sports Tour 30 May – 3 June 2016
Year 5 Tours 7 – 10 June 2016
Denefield School Summer Fayre 15 July 2016 5.00pm-8.00pm
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Miss L A Dawe