Before half-term we all trooped outside onto the field to have our AKS photo (pictured). It was great to get together as a whole school, from nursery to sixth form. For me, it symbolised our unity of purpose. Whilst some junior and senior schools can have quite separate identities, I am delighted that at AKS these two parts of the school continue to grow together. Apart from the obvious progression of curriculum and assessment, we are seeking to develop greater sharing of staff and resources, developing elements of a common timetable to facilitate that. Music, sport, drama, art, science, design
I have found that as a teacher, some of the best professional development comes from visiting other schools. I am fortunate to have done this often over my career, in the UK and overseas. Many I have inspected, which can give quite a formal view, but most have been as a visitor where impressions can be made in the most random of ways. There is always something to learn, broadening our horizons and often challenging our assumptions on how things can be done. I am in no doubt that students can gain just as much by entering unfamiliar learning environments.
In an enrichment lesson last week I talked to Year 12 students about being a young teacher in Northern Sudan. It was there, on my 24th birthday, that I was looking for somewhere to live in a small town beside the River Nile, where I had been posted to a boys’ secondary school. The small one-roomed house I found was very basic but did have a great toilet. All toilets in those parts were ‘long-drops’, which one squatted over, with a pit beneath, simple but efficient. Mine was one of the best because it had solid walls and a door,
Now that the dust has settled from our senior school production, High School Musical, we can look back and reflect on an amazing achievement by our students. I have been delighted with the unanimously positive feedback from the audiences, including ‘the best school musical I’ve ever seen‘ and ‘as good as a West End show’. Compared to recent productions, this was a very young cast, with so many Year 7s and Year 8s having their first experience on stage. Lead roles were taken as young as Year 9. Such was the feeling of new stars in the making that the
Every cohort in a school is different. A year group of children, like any family, has its own character, built around the uniqueness of the individuals that come together to make it. Each and every child contributes to that character, allowing it to mould and change as the group develops. This is why the formation of a new cohort in school is such an important and exciting time. On Saturday we welcomed over 50 Year 6 students from local junior schools to sit our entrance exam. Added to the 40 coming from our own junior school, we can see the
I have always felt that learning is an emotional business. It requires a willingness to take risks, accept failure and have the tenacity to try again. It is important to understand not only the ‘what’ of learning, in our case the curriculum, but the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ as well. This week I observed a lesson called ‘Learning to Learn’, a new course in Year 7, which all pupils receive for one lesson per week. The overall objective of the course is to create more independent, active and reflective learners, who approach their work with the right mindset and motivation.