Head of School’s blog, September 2017
It’s been a busy and very positive start to the new term with our pupils retaining the best of the old and adapting to the new. The ‘old’ of course is being as polite, enthusiastic, cheerful and downright lovely as Chetwynde pupils have always been. The ‘new’ being fresh faces (welcome to all new pupils, to Mr Shuttleworth in Year 6, to Ms Lashmar in senior English, Ms Mcnamara in senior English and Ms Currie in senior Support) and some exciting changes to the senior school timetable. The Years 7 to 11 now have to remember whether it is Week A or Week B (lots of helpful signs up of course) and that lessons are now 50 minutes long with Form Time the period before lunch. The seniors have adapted astonishingly quickly and without complaint. The staff appreciate the longer lesson times, the form tutors like the new time with their forms and we all enjoy finishing ten minutes early every day.
Also new are the Year 11 prefects with their gold ties and I would like to thank them for the difference they have made already to the smooth running of the school. They clear the cloakrooms at breaks and lunchtimes, they supervise the lunch queues, they help out at after-school clubs, they run the School Council, they act as guides at open evenings and events; they are an invaluable asset to the school. Many thanks, as I say, to Amy Spry, Antoni Kudelksi and their team and congratulations also to the new Head Girl and Head Boy of the Primary school, Isabel Dewar and Thaddeus Holmes.
Also to be congratulated is Annabelle Cotton-Hill of Year 10 who was awarded the prestigious Baden Powell Award for her work in the Guiding Association.
Guiding is of course all about helping others and pushing yourself to reach your true potential, making a real difference to the world and to the people around you. With that spirit in mind, a group of Key Stage 3 pupils have joined together to form a fund-raising committee to arrange a wide variety of events to bring in much needed revenue to both the school and to local charities.
I congratulated our primary swimmers last year who became joint National Champions and now I am delighted to say that their Key Stage 3 counterparts have become North West Champions in both Medley and Freestyle, heading towards the senior Nationals at the end of the year. Well done to Lily Wilson, Felicity Boyle, Amelia Mardel and Jamie Leigh Tyson.
With all that is going on each and every day and the passion with which our pupils and staff pursue their successes, it is no surprise that pupils and their parents are keen to join the school next year in Year 7 and Reception. In September we held our annual senior Open Evening and although it is always well-attended, we were flabbergasted to see how many people arrived at the Theatre this year. Every single chair was put out and still there were people standing in the aisles. The classrooms and laboratories were full to overflowing all evening and many of us were still here well after 8 o’clock. I would like to thank the forty or so pupils who gave invaluable help as guides (especially those who had turned up to just walk round and who found themselves as guides when we ran out!) and to the wonderful Chetwynde teachers who put on such exciting experiments and activities. The Blue Screen special effects demo in the IT suite is always a crowd-puller as are the dramatic recitals in the library but my own personal favourite was having methane bubbles explode from my hand into a three foot high column of flames in the chemistry lab. Many thanks to Saul and Megan for avoiding my eyebrows…
One the most rewarding items in my Open Evening speech was highlighting how well our departing Year 11s did in their GCSE results this year. The vast majority of results were well above the national averages, for example in Chemistry, Biology and Physics, the national average for C grade or above is between 61% and 90%. At Chetwynde however, 100% of our Separate Scientists achieved a C or above. The English results were 20% above the national average, the Latin scholars all got A*s or As and in RS, the number of top grade students was twice the national average. I look forward to seeing all these wonderful students return to us for presentation of their certificates and other prizes at Speech Day in November. GCSE results of course count very much towards university application. However, what is not quite so well known is that music, speech and drama certificates from Grade 6 and above also carry valuable UCAS points towards university entry. So well done to the following;
Speech/drama – Subhash Chatterjee, Performing text – Adrian Lee Cheong and Lauren Conway, Communication – Sean Featherston, Acting – Cecilia Card, Olivia Macfarlane, Adam Kirby, Hugh Williams, Sean Edgley, Clayton Moore, Lauren Albery, Sophie Ward and Lois Morrell.
Success can be something we associate with national awards like the Baden Powell badge and competitions like the swimming nationals. We can applaud success in the form of external exam results and senior prefect appointments. However, we must also remember that success is also something we celebrate very much within school and on behalf of each other. In the Learning Development Unit, the pupils have created their own Wall of Success with golden bricks and certificates representing success in all areas of their school lives. Their Wall of Success takes pride of place in their classroom and is a constant reminder that everyone can push themselves to achieve goals and to help each other achieve theirs.
Head of School