Principals Blog, Week 32 of 2019

Welcome to the last Principals Blog of this half-term – Week 32.

I have been conducting 1:1 meetings with parents and students who are starting with UTC in September. It truly is a delight to meet all these new students and see their enthusiasm in making the move to us. One parents asked me recently, ‘Do you enjoy your role?’ It took me back as I am rarely asked this. I have since then tried to unpick what at times can be challenging role.

Before I started, I didn’t really know what a Principal did all day. I’m not being disrespectful to anyone I’ve worked with, but I just didn’t know. I’ve done the job for just over 3 years now and the time has just flown. It is a flurry of students and parents, staff knocking on the door, phones ringing, emails pinging, things needing signing… some days it seems like you don’t stop all day and yet achieved very little.

But somehow, the Senior Leadership team have managed to get the big jobs done: we have submitted a business plan to take Year 7 from 2020; become part of a MAT; written a new curriculum, created a new staffing structure and appointed some great new staff; created an intervention programme; monitored our students, looked at student’s work; planned and delivered staff meetings; revitalised parts of the building; visited other schools; written governors’ reports and delivered a balanced budget to name but a few things accomplished this year … when I think back now at what we achieved in a short space of time, I’m honestly amazed. No Principal could do it alone: you need to be a part of a team in order to succeed. I am truly grateful and the answer is a resounding yes I love my job, and my team and the students! This is the BEST place.

Intervention, Breakfast & Ice Pops!
Great to see students taking advantage of the breakfast club. Numbers have been 18 plus this week and we also ran an after school voluntary session with 6 students working until 6pm. That’s #dedication for you. Thanks Mike H for inspiring these young people in developing great learning habits!

CCF Visit to Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth
We were very lucky to be invited to Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth – it is the naval academy of the United Kingdom and the initial officer training establishment of the British Royal Navy. It is located on a hill overlooking the port of Dartmouth, Devon, England. Royal Naval officer training has taken place in Dartmouth since 1863.

Our CCF Cadets were given a tour around the site, given an opportunity to drive a warship in a stormy seas simulation in the Ships Trainer, and then we went down on to the water on the River Dart to drive some power boats.

They all had a lovely time and were totally work out at the end – they all had a lovely sleep in the minibus on the way home!

Photo shoot
So our plans for taking Year 7 from 2020 and now getting real as we invited Jess and Andy McCarron’s daughter Erin and Jasmin Chapple’s son Leo to take part in a photo shoot for our new prospectus. Leo and Erin had a great time posing for the cameras and check out their lovely blue hoody!

GDPR review and audit
We had an audit last week of how secure we and compliant we are with data. Well done to Helen, my VP who leads on this. Some lovely feedback from the team at ‘SchoolPro’
‘It was a pleasure visiting the UTC Plymouth. The UTC has clearly been doing work to achieve compliance with the GDPR. Well organised admin and use of ICT is enabling staff to adopt these working practices’

Staff Planning
Lots of furious working on our curriculum plans for next year and implementing our Visible Learning. Just noticed more posters going up across the college. This is how students are learning at UTC Plymouth, they completely understand the language of learning and what they need to do to make progress and be successful!

This week Year 12 have been on their work experience placements, and already getting some great feedback from our Head of Sixth form/Careers lead Peter Bragg – have some great photos from our students who have been working tirelessly at Alderman Tooling, BD and Bibby Engineering.

Two TEACHING Assistant Apprentices required for September
Want to join our amazing college. Be part of a growing team. Great Behaviour, supportive learning environment and great opportunities to grow your career. Apply through Skills Group here.

Finally, it’s half term and I wish all our students who are studying for exams the best in their revision.
Our first day back after half term in June 3rd and we have lots to look forward to including our visit to La Rochelle, our new student transition days, end of term awards and much more. I will be doing some walking and running around trying to keep up with a puppy that legs just keep getting longer! #iggymum

Thanks for reading and have a great bank holiday weekend!