The Principal's Spring News
Welcome to our latest newsletter, a 2 month Spring special this time as Easter pretty much took up all of April this year!
Before I move onto general information and updates, I wanted to let you know that before the Easter break representatives of the governing body of the GPUTC, interviewed and appointed me as the permanent Principal of the Greater Peterborough UTC. Needless to say I am extremely proud to be entrusted with taking the school forward. Myself and my Senior Team are already working on the strategic plan to ensure our vision of an ethic of excellence is recognised across all elements of the organisation. I have always acknowledged there is work to be done, but our vision remains the same.
Our previous newsletter introduced two significant proposals to the school setup for September 2019. I'd like to give you a status update of both in this newsletter.
Firstly the uniform switch: your feedback to this has been almost unanimously positive. The few questions we did have raised are excellent questions and ones I'm happy to respond to here:
Q - How will we tell the difference between KS4 (Years 10 and 11) and the 6th form?
A - We are considering a few different options including having different coloured lanyards or maybe have their year group clearly stated on the ID card. One thing that won’t change is our personal relationship with students – the small size of our organisation means that our staff know our students well enough to know their year group (if not their name, friendship group and favourite subject!)
Q - Is this going to be an expensive change?
A - Quite the opposite! The current school jumpers are £16 each. Plain jumpers or ties are significantly cheaper than this. No other new uniform necessarily needs to be purchased as all our previous uniform items can still be worn. As before, we still have no compulsory PE kit.
Given the wholly positive feedback, we will shortly be distributing our 2019/2020 uniform flyers helping you in your summer purchasing. Please see the February newsletter for our proposed wording; it will not change much from this.
The second item raised was that of the change to how we use the last period of our school day. Understandably there were a few more questions about how this will impact on your children and their learning. The general consensus was very mixed with some parents feeling the longer day and subsequent lack of homework was a real benefit to their child, whilst others felt the length of the day caused stress and fatigue to their child.
There were equally interesting thoughts on how the longer day prepares our students for the real working world, with some parents feeling it was ideal preparation whilst others felt the modern working day no longer is reflective by the 9-5 hours, with home working, remote working and flexible working all being a more realistic experience.
Below are some of the questions raised as our response.
Q - Will the change impact travel arrangements?
A - Absolutely not, the buses will still leave at 5pm every day. The school remains open running enrichment clubs, sports clubs and independent study sessions right up till 4.45pm, meaning all students can remain in school until the buses leave. What it does mean is that if you want your child to leave at 3.45pm and they have an alternative way of getting home, they can do.
Q - Will students now start getting homework?
A - No, there is no change to the amount of lessons our students will get for all their accredited subjects. Instead, the final hour will now be when we have PE, Enrichment and independent study. All these lessons are currently on our students timetables but appear through out the week and not necessarily at the end of the day.
Q - Could you start the day earlier instead?
A - Unfortunately no for a number of reasons, the main one being about 50% of our students travel in on PRC or public transport and don't arrive on site until just before 9am. Also, because of the amazing distances some of students travel to get to us, there simply isn't transport available that early for them to access.
I really want to stress that the number of lessons your child will attend is not affected by these changes: they will continue to get more extended learning opportunities than at any other secondary school. All we are doing is moving non-accredited lessons (those that don't gain a qualification) to the end of the day, and giving students/parents the choice of attending these.
This change actually means we can focus more of our time on delivering great intervention and support for our learners as it frees up our staff to provided personalised revision sessions for our students in the lead up to their exams. It also means we can ensure our enrichment sessions are amazing - students won’t want to leave for fear of missing out on the next outstanding project happening!
Please continue to give your feedback on this via the link below:
Elsewhere in school, our Year 10s have recently enjoyed their work experience opportunities and our Year 11s, Year 13s and some Year 12s are starting their external exams.
On a final note, I wanted to say a huge thank you for all the lovely messages I've received about our early arrival! Sebastian is definitely keeping me and Emma on our toes, and I am grateful to be back for a bit of peace and quiet!
Mr David Bisley BSc (Hons)