Head Teacher’s Blog 29th January 2020
I know that for many parents, when their children move on to secondary school, it can feel harder to have a feel for what happens each day. I try, through the Blog, to give you a bit of a ‘window’ into life in school so you have a sense of what is happening. With this in mind, I thought I would share some of the things I have seen recently during routine observations of lessons, without naming classes or teachers, as they do give a bit of a sense of some things that go on day to day.
I was impressed as always by the relationships in the lessons. It is great to see young people confident to talk to their teachers and teachers who know and enjoy working with the students in front of them. I heard some great questions asked by teachers, but also by students. When I spoke to the students about what they were doing I was so impressed by how well they could explain what they were doing and why. What is also impressive is how clear it is that they value the work they do, even when it is not their favourite subject or work that they find easy. There is such maturity there. I was interested too by the thinking and planning that had gone into small parts of the lesson that it would be easy to overlook. In one case, for example, great attention had gone into the specific questions that the teacher used to help hook the students and to help them to understand a difficult concept, without falling to many of the common misconceptions that can easily happen. It was great to see the young people in that class quickly getting to grips with a tricky idea, helping each other with it and enjoying the fact that they were having some success with something that is not easy.
As you will see from the dates at the end of the Blog, it is very nearly time for Readathon again. Y7 and Y8 students will be set the challenge of getting sponsorship to read as many books as they can over those two weeks. The money will go to buy books that are given to young people in hospitals, while the challenge is also encouraging our students to take some time to read themselves. We know that reading for pleasure has so many benefits, not least to making it easier to learn in every subject in school. We know that many of our students are avid readers and they get to raise money by doing what they love and every year we know that for some students, the extra motivation of doing something for others is the thing that helps them find a way into reading into reading where perhaps it hasn’t been part of their routine. Please do encourage your children in Y7 and Y8 to really get involved and thank you in advance for your support.
On Thursday 6th February, we will be having a visit from another company who provide Information Management Systems for school. We currently use E-Portal and we are looking at a range of others to compare them. We are very keen to include parents in the timetable for the day, so that we can get feedback from your perspective. If you would be interested and could be free to come into school at some point on that day, please could you email Mrs Parker Giblin (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your availability. We will then get back to you with confirmation of whether we can match your availability with the schedule for the day.
Finally, I would just like to highlight a fundraising event that is being organised by the St Wilfrid’s Centre. They are running a ‘Sleep Out’ on 13th March. Participants will seek sponsorship for sleeping out on stands at Sheffield United’s football ground that night, raising both money for and awareness of the work of the centre. Students, parents and staff from school have supported this event in the past, and we have shared with our 6th form students. If you are interested in taking part, standard registration is £20 and you can register at: stwilfridscentre.org/events
Dates for your diary
- Y11 Parents’ Evening: Thursday 30th January (5-7.30pm main building)
- Last day of half term: Friday 14th February
- Training Day (students not in school): Monday 24th February
- Students back in school: Tuesday 25th February
- Y8 Parents’ Evening: Tuesday 3rd March (5-7.30pm main building)
- Higher Education Information Eve: Thursday 5th March (6-7pm main building)
- Spring Concert: Tuesday 17th March (7-9pm in the Salle)
- Y10 Parents’ Evening: Wednesday 18th March (5-7.30pm main building)
- Y9 Parents’ Evening: Wednesday 8th April (5-7.30pm main building)
- Last day of term: Thursday 9th April
- Students back in school: Monday 27th April
Some events happening with students during school time over the coming weeks
- Shoah Service (Y9) Wed 29th January
- Remembering Sr Dorothy Stang Week beginning 3rd February
- Year 7 & 8 Readathon Last two weeks of this half term
- Ash Wednesday Services Wed 26th February
- Lenten Fundraising begins Wed 26th February
- Lenten Services Thursday 9th April
What’s going on in Social Sciences?
We asked some of our students to give a quick round-up of what they had been doing recently in their classes and this is what they said…
Key Stage 4 Classes
“At the beginning of the year we started learning about the different elements of development in children and were made aware of how these effect children, for example physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. We then moved on to learning about different types and examples of Early Years settings (statutory, voluntary and private). We considered the different things workers would have to keep in mind when preparing for placement in an Early Years settings.
We go on placement to the Old School House Nursery about once every month and it’s really fun working with the kids and getting the experience. It teaches you a lot and the kids and staff are really lovely to work with and you create quite strong relationships with them when you see them.” From Georgina and Juliette
Health and Social Care
“Currently in Health and Social care in Y10 we are writing our final piece of coursework all about carrying out creative activities in health and social care and early years settings. I am enjoying this piece of coursework and I am enjoying my lessons as this is different to any other subject I do. We get to watch 24 hours in A and E at times in class which helps me understand health and social care in a real life situations and settings. We also to get to visit a local nursery to show off our skills that we learn in lesson which is really fun and gives me practical experience.” From Loz
Sixth Form Classes
Year 13 Sociology
“We’ve just started our last topic in Sociology called ‘Crime and Deviance’ and it’s very interesting learning about the different perspectives and explanations about why people commit crime. Recently we have been examining Merton’s Strain theory which suggests that people commit crime because of society’s emphasis on materialism and consumption. In particular, we used Merton’s context of the American Dream and the ‘melting pot’ analogy to have a class debate about the relevance of the theory today. We’ve also been looking at the problems with relying on crime statistics as providing reliable data and understanding ideas like ‘hidden crime’ and the iceberg theory of crime statistics.” From Taifa and Juliette.
Year 12 Sociology
“We have finished our first topic called ‘Families and households’ which we really enjoyed. In particular, exploring the notion of ‘childhood’ enabled us to think about our own experiences and gather understanding which made the topic relevant. With one topic completed, we are now starting to develop new skills by attempting exam questions. These skills can be applied in our new topic ‘Education’. So far we have been learning about different perspectives of the functions of the education system and schools. Currently we are looking at internal factors and the micro-analysis of how schools impact on student experience.” From Luke and Lydia.
Year 13 Psychology
“In Year 13 we have been learning the final topics of A-Level Psychology. We started the year with Issues and Debates, a topic that explored current problems and discussions which occur within the field of Psychology. For example we discussed the issue of gender bias. We then moved onto the topic Relationships where we learnt the theories of what makes a relationship successful, factors affecting attraction and evolutionary explanations for partner choices. I particularly enjoyed this topic as the things we learnt were applicable to our everyday lives. After this we began the topic about Schizophrenia and learnt about the issues with diagnosis, the different explanations of this mental illness and the current treatments of this illness. Following this we will learn our final topic of Forensic Psychology and begin preparations for our exams at the end of the year.” From Abi.
Year 12 Psychology
“In Psychology this year, we have been learning about Approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology, Research Methods, Psychopathology and Social influence. This has given us a great insight into what Psychology is all about and really made us reflect on our day to day behaviour and lives. We have just started Social Influence, which is really interesting and our favourite topic because we learn why “normal” individuals may commit evil actions against others. For example we are currently studying famous psychological studies such as Zimbardo’s prison experiment and Milgram’s study of obedience.” From Kate and Abi.
Year 13 Health and Social Care
“Recently in Health and Social Care we have taken our exam on Anatomy and Physiology. This exam focused on the biological side of Health and Social Care; looking at the human body and its functions, as well as complications that can occur. Before Christmas we also completed our coursework on Public Health. This involved researching how public health has improved over the years and how it can be managed. Currently, we have just started our final unit on Mental Health. This is another piece of coursework that involves learning about the variety of different mental health conditions and the treatments available, as well as analysing and comparing the effectiveness of these with each other.” From Lucy and Maisie
Year 12 Health and Social Care
“In Health and Social Care we’ve just finished our first topic and now we’ve moved on to learning about health and safety and security measures in care settings and what procedures should be used to keep clients safe. We’ve been learning about the different hazards in various settings and the impact that can have on service users and also looking at how risks and hazards can be avoided. We’ve done some research about organisations and agencies that provide guidance about health and safety and learnt about the role of Health and Safety Executives and what they do. I also attend my weekly placement at a local nursery and I enjoy interacting with the children and understanding the benefits of different types of play and supporting their creative skills.” From Chyna.
Sixth Form Debate Club
“I attend the Debate Club every Tuesday lunchtime and it’s been a really good experience to explore challenging ideas and listen to other people’s points of view even if I don’t agree! It’s made me think about things I never would have even considered and I’ve enjoyed doing reading around topical issues. Our debate this week was on euthanasia which has made me think about legal and ethical dilemmas which I wouldn’t necessarily think about in my normal subjects.” From Taku