‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ I doubt that Charles Dickens had being a school principal in mind when he wrote those famous opening lines, but it does describe the feelings of a school principal. Managing budgets, dealing with parental issues, discipline, school safety to name a few of the jobs that are part of my day.

One of the worst parts is making exclusions, and this term I have made quite a few fixed term ones because we will not tolerate poor behaviour that stops others from learning. This week I came across a pocket of negativity from some Year 11 students. Perhaps rightly or wrongly they didn’t understand my role – why was I walking around college? Why was I going into lessons? Why am I not in my office more often? Having explained to one of our Year 11 my role, I thought the blog would be a good forum to explain my role for all to read. It also highlighted to me that we need to share more good news stories about the small successes our students are making, not just the big ones. Therefore I am introducing a new weekly item called ‘Student of the Week’. This is nominated by teachers for students who have made the biggest impact on their progress. The reason I am more visible and in lessons is simply to hold teachers to account. It’s very easy for standard observations to be done and staff to create amazing lessons. ‘Blink’ observations are the key to ensure that teachers get good feedback about their teaching and I can ensure that students are getting the best possible outcomes.

Student of the Week

This goes to Logan Smith in Year 10C. Logan has been working exceptionally well in English. Gaining 100% in a Macbeth quiz and making two levels of progress improvement since September. What an achievement, well done Logan.

Good News Story

We would like to say huge congratulations to Michael Quick, a KS4 student, for raising £4,170 to help communities in Peru. Michael will be flying out to Peru for four weeks to help in projects which aid communities in South America. http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/plymouth-teenager-raises-4-170-to-help-communities-in-south-america/story-29950311-detail/story.html

Michael still needs to raise money for his kit and jabs, so if you have any spare money then please donate through his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Getmichael2peru/

What’s On in December

Parent Forum – starts at 5 pm

If your child is interested in a career with the Royal Navy – please come along (students welcome too) on Wednesday 7th December to meet CPO Paul Bennett who can answer questions about the process of application.

Garden update

A lot has been happening in the garden as we proceed with our project. Andy has been busy at work and has the support from one of our students, Harry peck, who will be completing a work experience placement with Andy. We were also lucky enough to have a greenhouse donation and that will be constructed as soon as a space is cleared.

Careers

Pete Bragg visited a Plymouth Manufacturing Group meeting this week and secured some great work experience placements for next March. We have good support from our employers, for example this week Gerry Knight from Babcock visited to speak to parents about the apprenticeship process.
This week a team of teachers including myself have been speaking with Year 11 about their next steps. Pete will be contacting parents over the next few week regarding actions from those meetings.
If students are interested in Level 3 courses at UTC for September 2017 they can come along to our next KS5 Open Evening on Wednesday 25th January.

Finally, you may have seen some students from Plymouth University walking around with film equipment in the last few weeks. Mengyan and our marketing intern Ryan have been videoing the college, students and staff to put together a brand new professional promotional film. We are really looking forward to seeing the results.
Don’t forget – Half day on Tuesday 6th December for staff to complete their analysis of mock exams. All reports and mock results will be sent out at the end of term to parents/carers. We are also including a FAQ Sheet to help parents understand the new criteria and grading systems.

Thanks for reading and keep warm!
Polly