Perhaps most astonishing of all this week, though not with such obvious import, the US Congress elected a new Education Secretary who did not know the difference between assessing the final grades that students have achieved versus measuring the progress that they have made from their start point. As the Congressman inquisitor noted in her interview, he was surprised that she was not aware of this distinction since it was a central issue for schools all around the world. It seems that she simply did not understand what matters most in education: learning.
Our core purpose as a school is to support your children’s learning, through exciting learning experiences provided by outstanding teachers. We have great teachers and a great programme of coaching provided by our director of teaching and learning and all our senior leadership team. This supports teachers’ on-going professional development as lifelong learners to ensure that we consistently provide your children with the opportunities to develop their thinking and their skills on a daily basis.
However, we know that children learn best when parents are also able to support their children’s learning in an informed manner. To this end, I am delighted to announce that I will be delivering frequent seminars entitled ‘How We Learn What We Learn’ for all parents to attend so that we can support, guide and advise you on a wide range of children’s learning needs. These seminars will each follow a programme that addresses fundamentals, such as ‘How can I help my child’s reading’, or specifics, such as ‘How do we teach mathematics nowadays?’ or ‘How can I support my child’s self-motivated study skills?’ In the next couple of weeks you will receive an email detailing the dates for these ‘How We Learn What We Learn’ seminars and I encourage you to select those that are of particular interest and come along.
We also know that schools can best support parents through great communication. This is not easy to get right, and is quite easy to get wrong, and most organisations have communication as a constant ‘development point’ on their improvement agenda. It is on ours. We are seeking to improve our carbon footprint by making much better use of electronic communication. We are also shortly to release an app that will support better communication of sports events and results. However, very often what is required to improve communication is face to face contact. So, I am also delighted to inform you that, starting next month, we are going to establish a Parent Consultation Group for both Primary and Secondary Schools that will meet with me, and the relevant Head of School, every ‘half term’ to identify key areas of our offer that we would like to refine and improve. We will be informing parents very shortly about the process to nominate a year group parent representative to join this group, so please watch this space.
We have so many exciting developments in our school in the very near future, from appointing an elite, world class athlete to help coach our young sports stars, to developing a world class STEAM centre for science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. Thank you for all your support as we create these new opportunities to Be Ambitious!
Dr Neil Hopkin, Principal