Head Teacher’s Blog 30th April 2021
Much of this week’s Blog is taken up by some reports from around school about how we have settled back into school life since the lockdown. There is news about development of curriculum, our spiritual life as a school and also some of the ways that we’re being able to re-establish some parts of the curriculum and extra-curricular life of the school that have been missing for parts of the year. I hope it gives you a window into life at school.
Attached with today’s Blog is a letter from our chair of governors and I regarding the work towards the establishment of two Multi-Academy Trusts in the Diocese of Hallam. The letter has been prepared for us by the MAT development group, who are supporting the Diocese in this work.
Schools in the Diocese have been exploring this issue for some time and we are now at a point where there is a clearer path emerging. As the letter notes, the Bishop, trustees and schools are committed that any development will not change the individual character and ethos of each school. The aim is to support the work of all schools through stronger collaboration.
Please do read the letter and see the link to the website that has been set up to share information about the MAT development as it happens.
Before moving on to the messages about life around school, I want to thank everyone who was able to respond to last week’s survey on staying with the remote parents’ evening system. The results were overwhelmingly in favour of staying with the remote approach, using the school cloud system, with over 90% or people who responded being in favour of that and a further 5% with no strong view either way.
We are in the process of confirming feedback from staff as well, though it looks highly likely that we will confirm this approach for parents’ evenings this year. I am mindful of the small percentage of parents who did not support this approach. We will be keen, as we develop plans, to hear and resolve as far as we are able any particular concerns or challenges that this approach causes for parents. No system is perfect, but we hope to have in place something that overall has improvements and advantages over what we have done before and to ensure that no-one feels cut off from feedback about their children’s education.
PE Extra-Curricular activities:
The PE Department have started to offer some extracurricular clubs at lunch times and after school. There are opportunities to play rounders, cricket or to practice different athletics events. We hope to begin being able to play some matches against other schools as covid regulations are eased. All students need to do is bring their kit on the day of the activity and if they are after school make arrangements to get home safely.
Please encourage your child or children to see your form tutor or PE teacher for further details.
This week, Extra-Curricular Drama Club has started again. The turnout has been overwhelming and it is incredible to see so many students doing what they enjoy. Y7 - Y12
students have been able to explore their creativity outside of the classroom, and will show off their hard work towards the end of the Summer Term (in some form or another!). Throughout these unusual times, staff are fully committed to ensuring extra-curricular Drama happens for students - a huge thank you to Miss Corbett, Mr O'Farrell and Miss Carrigan and Miss Green for making it happen.
And a few words from Miss Green ….
I work with the Y8s after school on a Tuesday and they have been doing so well. It has been great to see students getting to know one another, especially since the past year has been difficult for them to get to know people out of their form. Already they have been doing some great drama pieces and I cannot wait to see what they will be doing for the Summer Showcase.
Notre Dame History Department’s new KS3 Curriculum:
Our rollout of our new History curriculum for years 7 and 8 continues to go from strength to strength, and we’re getting great feedback from students. Year 7 have recently studied the impact of the Reformation on ordinary people and the causes of the English Civil War, and are about to move on to study the origins of European Empires. Year 8 have just finished a topic on the emancipation of women in the Victorian period, and are about to study Europe after the end of the First World War, and discover why democracies died and dictatorships thrived in the 1920s and 1930s. If your children at Notre Dame have suggestions for aspects of the world today that they would like to understand better, please encourage them to get in touch with their History teacher or Mr Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll do our very best to find ways to fit this into our new curriculum in the future.
Ramadan spiritual development day:
Some of our Muslim students created a resource that was shared with form groups on Ramadan. Sharing with the school community the importance of Ramadan and the impact it has on their faith. It was a great opportunity for our Muslim community here at Notre Dame to share their faith and expertise about this holiest month in the Islamic Calendar.
Biology Practical Work
And ….. Y12 Biology classes have been very enthusiastic about their dissection classes working on fish heads! They shared many photos with staff of their work, showing their enthusiasm and engagement with the work, getting back to some of the parts of the curriculum that have been more difficult in recent times.