“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The beginning of a new year brings self-reflection. Like many teachers, I follow the academic calendar so I tend to make my resolutions in September rather than January, but each term provides an opportunity to make changes. On a personal level, I’ve joined the millions of people who flood the gyms and streets in early January in yet another determined effort to improve my physical fitness. On a professional level, there are areas of school life that I am determined to improve.

At the end of last term, we asked students and parents/ carers to complete surveys to gauge what the school is doing well and what we need to focus on to improve. All of this feedback has helped me update this year’s Annual Improvement Plan.

Headteachers are no different to anyone else- we prefer receiving positive comments rather than negative comments. That’s human nature. But constructive criticism is important for all of us if we are to learn and develop as a consequence. Afterall, that’s the basis of good teaching and learning and we expect the children to respond well when we highlight areas for improvement, so I shouldn’t be any different.

The parent/ carer and student surveys make it clear that there are five main areas that need our attention:

Behaviour:

Whilst the overall feedback is generally positive, it is clear from both surveys that behaviour is not as good as it should be at times in some lessons. This is also the feedback for behaviour between lessons. We have already taken steps to address this and I will write next week with more details.

Progress Reports:

We will look to improve the clarity of these reports to make them more useful to you in assessing how well your child is doing.

SEND (Special Educational Needs) provision:

I will write about this in a couple of weeks but we have already changed our professional development programme to improve the skills and knowledge of our staff.

Communications:

There are areas of communication with which you are very happy but some parents/ carers still find some of this confusing or difficult to access. Over the Christmas holiday, the new website was launched; we have also invested in a new system that allows us to communicate by text more often (which is something that many parents/ carers asked for). We also launched a new Facebook page last term, which I am told has proved very popular. My favourite feature on the new school website is the Communications button on the home page. When you click on this, you can now find all letters handily arranged by year group. I hope that this helps.

School uniform:

Some parents have asked the school to look at uniform. I am very proud of how smart our students look compared to other schools but we have had the same school uniform for over 5 years now so it is due a review. We will also look at the affordability of certain items, to ensure that the uniform is value for money. The cut-off date for Skoolkit is very early in the calendar year so it is unlikely that these changes will be in time for September 2022, but we will begin it this term and work with parents/ carers to reach a sensible decision going forwards.

Some quick covid updates:

  • Last week, we tested over 700 students on Tuesday 4 January and Wednesday 5 January. The students’ behaviour (and punctuality) was excellent. Thank you to everyone involved, but particularly the ‘Hamble Testers’, a small but dedicated group of staff who have run many testing sessions over the past year. Their commitment and attitudes have been amazing.
  • We have finally received the lateral flow tests that we ordered before Christmas. These should have arrived last week but finally turned up yesterday. We will send these out on Monday.
  • The national rules for isolation have changed again. We’ve provided a summary in the Weekly Message (which you can find at the bottom of the website home page or by clicking the ‘Latest News’ button on the homepage).  This article on the BBC website is also useful in understanding the latest change from this Monday:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-54239922

Have a good weekend.

ALARIC GOVAN
Headteacher