The Principal's January News
I can't quite believe our students have now been back in school for three weeks, their first day back after Christmas started with a whole school assembly where I spoke about the importance of this term and specifically the next hundred days.
Every single one of our students will be sitting a formal exam between now and the end of June. For our Year 11 and our Year 13 students this next term is without doubt the most important three months of their academic lives so far. This is when they will be sitting the exams which take them to the next stage in their education, be that college, university, an apprenticeship or to a 6th form.
The time commitment and effort they put in over the next few months will absolutely determine what happens to them, over at the very least, the next few years of their lives. My challenge to all students, looking at our values is how do we respect the futures of our fellow students? How can we all enable them to have the best possible chance to perform well in their exams? How do you take responsibility for your future?
The question for each student must be, are you ready? Have you done everything you can to put yourself in the best possible position?
All our Year 11s and Year 13s have all of their exams coming up, but even our Year 10 and Year 12 students have exams that count, that matter, that means something.
I made reference to the Sliding Doors film from the 90s, how at the flip of the coin (or missing a train) your life can be so very different, and how, for our students opening that results envelope in August, it can make their life very, very different.
What I ask from our parents is 100% absolute full support towards ensuring that your children, our students, absolutely make the most of these next few months. We have longer school days here, but are they able to squeeze an extra revision session? Can they put aside half an hour here or there just to recap and go back over something they found difficult? Of course we will be putting on revision classes, but because of the length of our day it’s not as easy here as it is another schools. What are our students doing to take responsibility for their own futures?
In other news, we had our first ever employer engagement event this month and it was very successful. We welcomed over 70 people representing over 40 companies for an evening of champagne and canapés. They heard about the wonderful work that is happening here at the Greater Peterborough UTC and heard from one of our current sponsors, Anglian Water, who spoke about the great partnership they have with us and all the fantastic opportunities our students have. We were also proud to welcome the Royal Navy, one of our newest formal sponsors, who presented us with the Navy Field Gun trophy, celebrating our first place in last year’s tournament.
What pleased me most was seeing 20 of our learners from Years 11, 12 and 13 conversing with the sponsors and businesses. To see our students networking in ways that adults would be proud of was fantastic. Even more impressive is that as a result of this, a number of businesses are keen to engage with the Greater Peterborough UTC. More importantly, they want to engage with our students. A large number of the students who attended found themselves with apprenticeship offers, job offers, business cards and a real sense of purpose regarding their future plans. Hopefully this is the start of some new fantastic partnerships with local businesses and opportunities for our students to engage more and more with these influential people.
On a final note, the feedback I received in the recent parent survey (completed by over 60% of our parents) and feedback from my students and staff, is that the longer days are causing concerns. What concerned me most is that for a lot of our students this is causing burn out, stress and in some cases genuine mental health issues, as these young people are just not getting enough down time.
Therefore, I have decided to formally instigate a consultation process regarding modifying the timing of the school day (from September 2019). This consultation will look at all the options we have at our disposal and will of course take into account the bus times, and the fact that some students need a safe place to study between the end of the school day and the time the bus leaves. It will very much look at if the final hour of the day could be an optional hour for those that want to, or have to stay on site. Making this an hour focused on Enrichment projects, extra-curricular activities, exam revision or independent study. I will shortly be sending out a survey to gather more detailed feedback. I will also be working closely with our parent governors to host some evenings so you have the chance to come into school and speak to us in person about this proposal.
Thank you again for your fantastic feedback after our first edition. Hopefully this second edition is equally as informative and helpful.
Mr David Bisley