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 Headteacher's Blog

Friday
Dec152017

15th December 2017

Over the course of the term, our building projects have progressed and reached an exciting phase.  The main project at the moment, the new teaching block now looks most likely to open after February half term.  We had hoped to open after Christmas but it is certainly worth the delay if it means we can move into the building having had the time to ensure that all planning and procurement is properly in place.  As most of you will know, our new reception area opened after half term.  This has provided excellent accommodation for our administrative staff and we have a fresh new “front” to the school.  All of our recent visitors have been very enthusiastic and complementary about our new look.

We have just reached the end of our consultation on sporting facilities to go with the new sports hall.  The project itself is likely to begin in March.  We can now compile a report on the level of need identified through the consultation which will help us to plan beyond just the sports hall.  We hope to provide a range of facilities to accommodate a variety of sports and leisure activities.  This will be a project which will realise the sports hall first and then develop top quality facilities over time, for our students and for the local community.

Our staff and students have, as ever, been working hard.  Our Year 11 students have just completed their GCSE mock examinations (other than the ones missed on Friday due to our snow closure!).  I really do want to pay tribute to our Year 11 students.  They have been extremely positive and committed to their studies throughout this term.  I have observed a good number of Year 11 lessons this term and the attitude of the students has been outstanding.  I know students find Year 11 quite stressful at times but I am confident all their hard work and commitment will be rewarded with very good results next summer.  It will all have been worth it!

On the sports front, I want to congratulate our Under 16 rugby team who have reached the final of the Worcestershire County Cup competition.  The final would have been played on Tuesday 12th December but the weather has intervened on that front as well.  The team is very much an excellent team of young men working for each other and representing our school with pride.  Many thanks to them.

For this and all the other examples of hard work and achievement this term I thank our staff and students.  I wish them and their families a very happy and peaceful Christmas and hope 2018 is a successful and rewarding year.

Tuesday
Oct172017

17th October 2017

We are now seeing significant changes happening to the appearance of our school as a result of our exciting building projects.

Our new Inclusion Unit opened at the beginning of this term  This has provided improved facilities managed by Miss Elliott and Mrs Hinton-Bowen who are working really successfully in support of so many of our students.  The unit is part of a reorganisation and refurbishment of that section of the “Old Block” which will see the creation of offices and meeting rooms to be used by our Heads of Year.  There will also be a new office for Mr Walker, our Assistant Headteacher, who leads on Student Support. The Headteacher’s office will also be within this section of the school.

The Inclusion Unit has moved from Room 29 in the front of the “Old Block” because that is where our new School Reception has been created. This very impressive new area is where all visitors to the school should report to after half term.  The new School Reception is much more visible to visitors as they enter the school site and creates a very positive centrepiece to the whole school.

Our new teaching block will open for use after Christmas, at the beginning of the new school term.  I am sure you will agree that it is a very attractive building, which adds a fresh and exciting aspect to the school.  In this block, students will be taught English, Maths and Modern Foreign Languages in bright new classrooms.  I am confident this will enhance the learning experience already enjoyed by our students.

Following on from the opening of the new teaching block, we will begin work on our new Sports Hall and associated facilities.  This is a very exciting project in which we hope to engage the community through a consultation process, which will ask community members for their views on the most desirable facilities to be included within the new development.  I am really looking forward to this phase of the school’s development and really hope you will all take part in the consultation exercise.

Already this term we have seen a number of our students achieving great things in their chosen areas of interest.  Congratulations to Jacob Chance who has become a double world champion at the Under 14 Kick Boxing World Championships in Switzerland.  What a fantastic achievement!

We have two outstanding ballet dancers in Katie Gwinnell and Olivia Tonks.  Both girls performed in The English Youth Ballet performance of The Nutcracker and Ballet Etudes.  Well done girls on being selected for such a high profile performance.

We were delighted to welcome an international rugby star to Kinver High.  Aleki Lutui, former captain of Tonga in several world cup tournaments, visited us from Worcester Warriors to coach our rugby players.  Aleki was very complimentary of our enthusiastic players who work hard and show great potential. 

In addition, watch this space as Mr Wilkes seeks to develop a Sixth Form Rugby Academy…. This is a really exciting project which will provide great opportunities for our budding rugby players.

In closing, I want to congratulate our newly appointed Head Boy and Head Girl: James Keasey and Annie Fellows.  They are the first Head Boy and Girl in our new senior prefect set up in Year 11.  I know they will represent the school as great ambassadors and role models along with their deputy Head Boy and Girl, Josh Harrison and Izzy Tilby.  Our other senior prefects are Emily Meyrick, Jacob Moore, Noah Evans, Harvey Bowen and Tiegan Richards.  We are all really proud of you.

Wednesday
May242017

25th May 2017

Exam season is now in full swing.  GCSE and A Level students have been working tremendously hard with their teachers in preparation for their final exams and it is now that the hard work will pay off.  I wish all of our students well and hope their success leads to bright futures.

On the building front, work on our new teaching block has been ongoing for the past few months.  It is exciting to see the new building taking shape with the ground floor walls in place.  We can now begin to see what the finished block will look like and look forward to the fresh new learning environment for students and staff.

We can now happily refer to the building work as “Phase 1” of our building project due the fantastic news that our second Condition Improvement Fund bid, to build a new sports hall, has been successful.  The amount of money awarded will not only enable us to build a new sports hall but also create outstanding outdoor facilities such as all weather surfaces for a wide variety of sports.  We have great hopes that we can provide these facilities for the students in our school, where we have always excelled in sport.  In addition, we really want to provide recreation and sporting opportunities for the whole community.  I firmly believe we can have a transformational impact in school and the wider community through this ambitious project.  Watch this space!

Over the Easter break, staff and over 40 students visited Gambia to continue our work on Project Gambia.  Once again, students returned speaking of a life enriching experience.  To benefit so much from the project while providing the gift of educational opportunity to so many Gambian children makes Project Gambia an invaluable aspect of the learning experience at Kinver High.  We are now able to include students from our MAT partner schools in the project.  Students from Crestwood school took part this year and we hope more will do so next time, hopefully with other MAT schools sending students.

On Thursday 25th May, there is a special presentation evening for students to share their experiences of Gambia.  The aim is to raise a further £1500 to enable further building to take place in Gambia before the rainy season begins.  I am so proud that, while we have managed to secure millions of pounds to build great new facilities for our students, they are prepared to raise all they can to help develop education for others.

Another really valuable trip as a learning experience is the London trip for Year 7 students.  This took place over the May Bank Holiday weekend with students touring sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Millenium Bridge.  A trip to the Natural History museum was followed by a West End theatre visit to see Aladdin.  Our students really enjoyed this fantastic trip and as ever were highly praised for their excellent behaviour.

As always, I am very grateful to all our willing and supportive staff who give up their free time to arrange and take the students on these trips.  The added educational experiences for students are absolutely priceless.

Friday
Feb172017

17th February 2017

I am extremely pleased to be able to tell you that, following all the careful preparatory work, our build project will begin during the half term week.  During the week, our builders, Speller Metcalfe, will be setting out the routes to ensure safe transition around the school site for students.  We will make sure that students are fully informed of the changes to our normal movement around the school so that we can all manage our day to day routines safely and with as little disruption as possible.  I am sure you will agree that while the building work will obviously cause us some inconvenience, being able to see our new building take shape over the next few months is a very exciting prospect.

Also during the half term week, forty students and four members of staff will be enjoying our annual ski trip.  We wish them a safe journey to Folgarida in Italy and hope that they have a great time.

Another of our notable annual trips is the trip to Gambia which takes place at Easter this year.  I would like to congratulate our Year 7 students for their excellent fundraising work in aid of Project Gambia.  The proceeds from their Christmas Fayre, which saw Y7 form groups set up their own stalls selling their own produce and entertainment, amounted to £1,200.  What a great effort by all those involved.  Students used their skills and creativity brilliantly and gained valuable experience in the process.

Two of our Sixth Form students, Imogen Beddow and Ellie Smith represented the school when participating in a trip to the site of the concentration camp at Auschwitz organised by the Holocaust Education Trust.  While this will always be a difficult visit to make in many ways, both students responded very well to the experience and I am sure they will share that experience to the benefit of their fellow students at Kinver High.

I am delighted to reflect on the success of Kinver students in sport where our Under 16 Basketball team won the local league for the first time in around 10 years.  The fact that the team is made up of mainly Year 10 students makes this an even better achievement.  The praise received for the boys’ conduct as well as their skills is equally pleasing.  Our Year 9 debating team have won their way through to the regional finals of the Youth Speaks debating competition organised by the Rotary Club.  This was by virtue of winning the local competition held here at Kinver.  Debating skills are a valuable quality to gain and our students displayed them with distinction.  Well done to all our recent winners!

In closing, we are very much looking forward to the production of Jungle Book coming up in March.  This is a joint venture including children from Foley and Brindley schools as well as those from Kinver High.  I am especially pleased that the students from all Kinver schools are working together.  We anticipate sell out performances on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of March.

Wednesday
Nov162016

16th November 2016

Last Thursday evening provided one of those “feel good” moments which remind all teachers why they do the job.  Our Certificate Evening to celebrate the achievements of the “Class of 2016” reflected on last year and the GCSE achievements of our students.  The students and their parents were joined by our staff, governors and invited guests who all enjoyed seeing the students presented with their certificates and special awards for outstanding achievements in a wide range of fields.

In thanking many people for their contributions to the success of our students and their support for the school over the year, we were also able to pay tribute to our Guest of Honour for the evening, Alan Jones.  Alan retired as a Cover Supervisor at the end of last school year having previously been a teacher of PE and Geography and a Head of Year.  In all Alan spent an incredible 37 years working at Edgecliff/Kinver High School.  We all wish Alan well as he embarks on new ventures.

We were delighted with the positive response to our Open Evening and associated events for potential Year 7 entrants for September 2017.  Our Open Evening was extremely well attended, keeping staff and our very many helping students busy all evening.  As ever our visitors were full of praise for the friendly and welcoming atmosphere in school and, in particular, for our excellent students who spoke with confidence and enthusiasm.  The Open Evening was followed by four taster days on which we welcomed around 200 students.  We usually run three days but had to offer another in order to cater for the demand for places.  I conducted far more school tours than ever before which were met with much enthusiasm from the parents and children involved.

We are also pleased that students from our primary feeder schools find the transition days we offer so rewarding and enjoyable.  Earlier this term, students from Year 6 at St James’ and Cookley primary schools took part in a humanities-based day entitled “Where in the World” which involved finding out about Brazil.  On Friday 18th November over 100 students from Y5 at Ham Dingle, The Ridge and Cookley primary schools will join us for a day to study French with a food theme!

This week we began a programme for a group of students from Brindley Heath Junior School who will join us after school for a session in each of the next 5 weeks to experience GCSE style study in English and Maths.  The first session was last Thursday when the students enjoyed working with some short stories.

Some of our own students in Years 8 and 9 benefited from honing their creative writing skills while working with a professional author recently.  Former Edgecliff student and now published author, Adam Matthews provided some helpful creative writing tips and activities and talked about how he wrote his own book, “Pap – A 21st Century Dystopia”.

A group of Year 10 and 11 students, along with their parents will have the opportunity to visit Cardiff University for an Open Day experience on Saturday 3rd December.  This promises to be a highly motivating day as students begin to think beyond school towards university opportunities.