It never fails to amaze me how quickly the academic year goes by, but here we are again, on the cusp of the summer holiday break and it only seems like five minutes ago when the year started. It does seem, as ever, to have been an eventful and busy year.
The news at this time of year always has a story about the school holidays and the need for children to stay safe. Two story’s this time caught my ear. The first about swimming in unsupervised waters and how cold water shock can overcome even the ablest swimmers. This was a warning I heard when I was at school, to stay away from unsupervised swimming. But the second news story I heard is most certainly one of our time. It was about ‘SnapMaps’, a feature of Snapchat, which can permit those who wish to do harm know the location of a child. I would ask all parents to familiarise themselves with this new development and ensure your child has the correct settings in place so that only friends and family can know of the whereabouts of other friends and family members. So at this time of year, let’s all be mindful of the additional spare time our students have and enjoy this, yes, but also stay safe.
With that said, I would naturally like to wish all of our students and parents a restful and enjoyable summer holiday break and I all look forward to receiving all of ourstudents back in September, safe and well. Do please remember we start back a day earlier than the rest of Nottinghamshire, on Tuesday 5th September. Staggered start arrangements will appear on the website.
This academic year has, once again, been an eventful one. We started the year with the keys to our fabulous new buildings in languages and the sixth form. These two new areas have transformed the facilities available to our students in these two important areas of the school. Last autumn we received our annual health check from OfSTED (their inspection dashboard) which declared there were no weaknesses with our 2016 results, a testimony to the hard work of our staff and students.
Along the way we were crowned ‘Nottinghamshire Sports School of the Year’ which is a well-earned reflection of the talents of our young people and the dedication of our sports staff.
There were challenges to avoid closure and we were tested on a number of occasions when our water was cut off by the housing developers at the rear of the school. Only the herculean efforts of our site staff, on each occasion, kept us functioning by manually ferrying water to our school kitchens. On a bank holiday our IT staff also achieved wonders by beating the hackers with their ransomware and restoring access to our data. Without access to parental contact data we would not have been able to discharge our safeguarding duties to you.
Throughout the year some of our students were able to share wonderful experiences on our usual array of trips. Our annual ski trips at Easter are an established highlight. The New York trip is now in its 6th year but a fledgling compared with our German exchange in its 42nd year. The latter now faces difficulty to be maintained because of new government regulations which require us to DBS check every adult in a host family. The DfE never intended this to be the case and we have been pressing them, along with other organisations, to review this.
Our Italian Football Tour was a winner and shortly our students depart for Germany on our Music Tour. Then, of course, there is our Model Flying Club who always end their year with a flying lesson in a real plane. Sadly, the inspiration behind this club, Mr Green, is retiring after 32 years of service. He will be sadly missed by all but especially our flying enthusiasts.
Another member of staff who is leaving us this summer is Mr Vullier, our Head of Languages. Mr Vullier has been with us for 9 years but will become the Head Teacher of a British School in Toulouse. I naturally wish him well in his new and exciting challenge.
Our students who have recently departed us have faced unprecedented turmoil in the national examinations system. Not only are the examination specifications getting more difficult at GCSE, numbers, for grading purposes, will replace letters for the first time. Because there are more numbers than there were letters it will be much harder for children to achieve the highest grades, thus, in turn, making it more difficult to achieve the entrance requirements for college or sixth form. We can state with certainty however, that West Bridgford School has done its very best to shepherd them through this difficult time.
As a school we continue to do all we can to further improve our environment and our students will have already seen work has begun on the refurbishment of two more science labs bringing to 8 the number we will have now refurbished. Work will also start on relocating our Students Services area to the front of the school, making this facility much easier for parents to access. This work will also see us create a new additional computer room.
Parents will be aware that we are also a growing school, having moved from 8 forms of entry in year 7 to 9. This has placed pressure on our dining areas and Student Council requested some improvements to this area of the school. Consequently, we have commissioned our architects to look at extending our dining room and creating an additional outdoor catering area on the site of the existing student services porta-cabin, which is set to be demolished when Student Services move.
Our Post-16 continues to thrive and grow and as a result we have increased the number of staff in the Post 16 team. We are also looking very closely at the possibility of broadening our post 16 offer for 2018 to include A Level Law, Graphics, and possibly Government and Politics.
Of course, all of these challenges and developments are taking place in the back drop of an unprecedented financial challenge for the school. The funding of our public services did become an election issue and one can only hope that these concerns have been listened to. I understand that the overall school funding settlement from the Treasury is set to be announced this week and we can only hope for a positive proposal. The proposals which have been consulted on for the National Funding Formula do not look kind to us and the final details of this are set to be published in the autumn.
Regardless of this, as a school we try to never stand still and to always be better tomorrow than we were today. Only by doing this can we be sure we are offering the best service we can for our local community.
Have a restful break.
- The ability to combine homework and teacher gradebooks in a single platform.
- A specific app, with easy to use interface, for mobile phones and tablets.
- Communication tools allowing emails and announcements to groups of students from within Brightspace.
- Complete integration with Office 365, allowing single sign on for the school network and school systems.
- A specialist marking app allowing teachers to submit video or audio feedback of student work. MFL and English can’t wait to get their hands on this!
- The ability to closely monitor student engagement with the platform.
- Staff can quickly record snippets from webcams, which can be dropped into the platform at any point.
- Progress analysis tools, accessible by teachers, staff and parents.
- Guaranteed levels of responsiveness, reliability and function.
- Staff are very excited about the move to Brightspace and more news will follow in the next edition of the West Bridgford Post.
Year 11 have experienced their final celebration assembly and are starting their final journey towards Post 16 education, just a few hurdles are all that remain in front of them…….those fateful exams!
Beginning on Monday Year 11 are welcome to wander straight back into to school as students on study leave. They all have their newly converted ID security lanyards which will allow them access to the school site whenever they have a revision session they want to attend or an exam they need to sit – but don’t forget to swipe in folks! They can come in their own clothes, but remain mindful that this is a school and not a beach, and for many exams will need to be able to sit comfortably for a couple of hours or more. The Year 11 Revision Schedule is available by clicking here as well as the Year 11 Intervention Page on Moodle. Students can access any of the sessions that are running and we hope to see as many of them returning next as possible. During study leave if students have any questions they can still see Mrs McKee, Miss Toms, Mrs Sharpe or email and we will do our outmost, as always, to help and support. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say GOOD LUCK to all our Year 11 students for the upcoming exams, you have worked extremely hard and deserve all the success in the world! See you Monday!
Having worked so hard as a team since September - coming to all training sessions and taking part in matches, both the Central Venue League tourna-ment and organised friendlies, eight Year 9 girls went into their U14 County Competition on Tuesday (8th November) evening with determination, enthusi-asm and excitement!
There were 16 teams that had entered this county tournament, with everyone being split into four sec-tions. West Bridgford knew they had to win their section in order to progress any further as there were no runner-up spots available this year. With their strong-minded will and positive mind set from the beginning they went on to beat South Wolds, Emmanuel and Joseph Whitaker to progress into the semi-finals, where they were to meet Nottingham Girls High School. Due to the girls’ eagerness and focus they secured a convincing win over them, resulting in them getting into the finals- which turned out to be against Rushcliffe!
Over the past two years in Years 7 and 8, West Bridgford have always come second to Rushcliffe in netball fixtures – however having beaten them already this season in a warm up competition (which the girls also secured gold medals in), they knew they had it in them to do it again.
The final was fought after, with the win up for grabs by either team at half time, despite Bridgford having the edge, leading by one goal. Again with the sheer determination West Bridgford fought hard to keep their lead in the second half and didn’t disappoint. They ended up winning the game by two goals – with the final score being 7-5!
This is a fantastic achievement for the girls – not only becoming U14 County Champions, but also because it means they are through to the Regional Netball Tournament in Janu-ary joining the U16 and U19 teams who also progressed through earlier in the year.
The Department for Education has just released its revamped data comparison website, allowing parents to easily compare the performance of schools, using more sophisticated measures than just a ‘raw’ GCSE score. The West Bridgford School, Nottinghamshire’s best performing non-selective, state funded school, was delighted to see both the types of school it is ‘compared with’ nationally by the Department for Education and confirmation of its local standing. To see our school listed in the middle of the best schools in the country is a testament to the work of the staff and pupils. The table also shows no other School of this type, within 75 miles, performs better than The West Bridgford School.https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/school/similar/136628?phase=ks4