The Importance of Assemblies

Assemblies are such an important part of the school week.  They offer an opportunity for the students and staff to come together in their own House community and they provide a forum for delivering important messages that we want everyone to take on board.  I will quite often use assemblies to pass messages on to staff as much as to the pupils.

Community

Last week my assembly was titled ‘From Special Measures to an ethic of Ernesford Excellence’.  This is a concept that we are working hard to develop across the academy.  I find that as staff we often get so engrossed in driving forward with the improvements we are making that we sometimes forget to highlight these positive changes to the students.  I wanted to stress how important it was to develop a cohesive school community, where everyone feels a sense of belonging and responsibility for the improvements that are being made.  I also strongly believe that if we are to continue to shift the peer culture to one of pride in being a member of the Ernesford Grange Community, that we need to reinforce that Ernesford Grange belongs to the students as much as the staff and that the success of our improvements are as much a result of the improved efforts of the children as anything else.

A Culture of Learning

One of the key points we are continually reinforcing with students is the development of the learning culture.  We are all lifelong learners and students don’t always recognise that.  We need to support our young people to build resilience and encourage them to make mistakes as it is from these small failures that we learn the strategies for success.  Children often fear failure and would rather not try at all than make a mistake; it is our job to encourage the mistakes and offer a safe environment in which to do that.  I also took the opportunity to remind students that no one has the right to stop anyone else from learning.  We are all privileged to be in a position where we are provided with a free education and no one has the right to deprive others of the opportunity to learn.

Respect, determination and kindness

Never wanting to miss an opportunity to reinforce our core values chosen last year by the students and staff collectively, I will always refer to them in every assembly.  They are the foundations upon which our school culture is built and it is my vision that all our students will live the rest of their lives with these values running through everything they do.

The final part of the assembly was a video clip of an American Navy Commander talking about a series of training exercises his junior recruits had to endure.  The essence of the clip was that completing the small tasks would lead to a feeling of success and encouragement to try to achieve harder tasks.  The video epitomises everything we are trying to do at Ernesford as we develop our young people into citizens who will go out into the world showing respect for everyone, understanding that they will fail often and that through perseverance and showing kindness to all, every single one of them is capable of changing the world for the better.  And if you have found that your child has been making their bed everyday recently, this clip might just be the reason why.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6OoCaGsz94

Welcome back!

It never fails to amaze me how quickly after the summer holidays we get back into the swing of things at school. Those days spent having fun with family and friends quickly pushed to the back of our minds as we dive straight back into our core purpose; developing excellent learning opportunities for all of our young people.

In a change to the standard first staff training day of the new academic year we chose to engage with developing our teaching practice straight away.  For those of you who follow us on Twitter @EGCS1973 you will have seen the tweets of teachers in classrooms learning.  I am a firm believer in the principle of life-long learning and if we want to instil this in our students then as staff we should be modelling the way.

For our students the start of term was also different. With the introduction of the new House system we wanted the opportunity launch it with the gravitas it deserved and so we had a House launch day with team building activities and a whole House assembly to begin this new chapter of competition and community within the academy.

The students were super and I have no doubt the House launch helped our new Year 7s integrate far more quickly into life at Ernesford than may otherwise have been the case.

Two weeks into the new year and we are already focussing on the outcomes for our Year 11 students, who have all been provided with a timetable of additional ‘upgrade’ lessons that will take place after school (parents will also receive a copy in the post).  In this most important period of their education so far it is vital that we provide the support and guidance that they will need in the run up to the summer exams which right now might seem a long way off but will be here before we know it.

One of the many privileges of being a Headteacher that I miss during the holidays is the opportunity to celebrate our fabulous young people and the effort they put into their studies.

This Friday I was able to resume my favourite activity of the week ‘Hot Chocolate Friday’ where a selection of students from each House are invited to join me for a drink and a chat about school.  It is always a delight to listen to their views and opinions and to take these on board and look to see how we can improve school for our most important stakeholders – the pupils themselves.

So, as another academic year begins I look forward to seeing what will be achieved at Ernesford as we continue our relentless approach to improve standards, develop our vision of excellence and focus all our students and staff on a culture of learning.

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