11th March 2014
I occasionally listen to news stories about education and wonder if I work in the same sector that the media reports on. One such moment came last week as I listened to the Business Secretary criticising schools and teachers for their failure to deliver appropriate careers education and to engage sufficiently with employers. That same week at Gordano we were marking National Education Week with a series of events including two employers’ briefings on Monday and Thursday when a host of employers from across the region came to the school to talk to young people in all year groups about their professions and businesses. We also had the Apprenticeship Roadshow visit on Friday. We have been highlighting ‘employability’ as one of our key aims over the last two years and I am pleased with the progress that we have already made. This is now showing itself in the success that our students are having in obtaining competitive training places and apprenticeships.
Education is of course an end in itself. At this school we believe that learning beyond the classroom is just as important and character forming as the progress that students make in their academic studies. The last few weeks have been just as busy as ever in our ‘all round education’ focus. The Creative Arts faculty, for example, are finalising their choice for next year’s Whole School Production, a musical this time but I shall keep you in suspense for a few weeks more. Last weekend more than sixty of our upper school students were out on Dartmoor for the weekend with ten of my colleagues. The ‘Sporting Week’ bulletin is as full as ever with sporting competition and often success and I need to congratulate Cecile Anderson, Alys Withers, Ben Cureton, Miles Chandler and Zac Holdaway for their success in the Avon County Cross Country event and their county places in the England Schools final this month. I’d also like to offer our best wishes to Callum Greenwood in our Sixth Form who has competed successfully for a place in the Amateur Swimming Association National Youth Championships in Sheffield this summer.
There is, of course, a huge amount happening on the academic front too. We were delighted to see so many Year 11 parents come along to our Parent Information Evening on Revision last week. I’m also conscious of the hard work of the great majority of Year 11s and Year 10s doing exams this summer and, of course, the Sixth Form. The ‘March Maths Mock’ last week showed that the work is paying off for those already working hard. As Tony Blair once said, “A lot done but a lot still to do”. Please do not hesitate to approach us for help at any time in supporting your sons and daughters with their exam preparation and revision as the time between now and the Easter Holidays is so crucial.
Lastly, I need to mention the threat of strike action on March 26th. The NUT have balloted on a National Strike Day and there are 52 NUT members in the school. I am currently assessing how we will be affected and am certain that we will be at least partly open on that day. I shall email later this week to let you know how you might be affected. The strike is not directed at this school or this community as the action is against the Secretary of State for Education and relates to a dispute about pension, pay and conditions of service but I completely appreciate the frustration that parents have when their lives are affected by a dispute to which they are not parties. I am not an NUT member so it is for their leaders to explain their reasons for taking this action to you. I shall do everything that I can, within the law, to minimise disruption to our families and I hope that you will appreciate that our governors and I are in an invidious position in dealing with a problem not of our making.