Free Schools are an interesting concept. If schools are badly served by the education system then perhaps a Free School could provide an alternative for frustrated parents. It was , however, a little surprising to hear that a group is thinking of opening a Free School in West Bridgford. The schools in the area are academically very successful and it does not appear an obvious place for a Free School to emerge. Their argument seems to be centred around the perceived lack of places at the existing successful secondary schools. It has been agreed that children in Years 4 and 5 at local primaries will be offered places even if it involves the schools admitting more than the published number. Plans to extend Rushcliffe and, I believe, West Bridgford School would further increase the number of places available. Whilst choice is a good thing I am sure parents will be re-assured to know their children can join schools with a genuinely proven track record. A press release has been posted on the website to further clarify the school's position.
Last week 9 of our pupils spent the week at Hagg Farm Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Derbyshire. Three members of staff- Mr. Heywood, Miss Brinkworth and Miss Levy- accompanied them. On Friday they told me all about it. The experience sounds wonderful. They climbed rocks, went down potholes, played canoe basketball, went on night walks in the rain, cooked meals, hoovered up ........ In my 20 minutes with them I realised what a memorable time it was for them. In 20 years they will remembered the visit to Hagg Farm so clearly. I told them that a couple of years ago I was in Leicester City Centre near Christmas. A man came up to me- he was in his mid 30's- and said " Hello sir. Remember that trip to wales we went on ?". I remembered it so well- and I remembered him too. His name was David. The trip to Wales had been exhausting but lots of fun and I was so pleased that it had made such a big impression on him.
We are doing everything possible to ensure the quality of teaching at Rushcliffe is excellent- and so many lessons are- but there's no hiding from the fact that exceptional one offs, whether they involve guest speakers, visits abroad, sports events, drama productions or music performances are so very significant. Memories are made of this- as Dean Martin nearly said.
Thanks to the staff involved. And thanks for the pupils who responded so positively.
It's 3 years since OFSTED last visited Rushcliffe. That's an important period of time because it means they could call at any time - and turn up the very next day. I believe the school has improved so much since the last report. In 2009 the school was described as " good". Since then GCSE results and A level results have improved still further, behaviour- I'm told- is much better, teaching is better and the school has embraced the opportunities available by becoming first a Foundation School and then an Academy. Visitors frequently say they feel Rushcliffe is now an outstanding school. Clearly that's not for me to judge but I do feel the school is operating at a very high level.
I'm hoping that parents and carers will access the OFSTED website and complete Parent View. I know many parents are keen for the school to gain the badge they believe the school deserves and by passing on their views via Parent View they will certainly help the cause. There may be some who have concerns about things that are happening. If so I'm keen for them to contact us somehow to tell us what's troubling them so that we can try to correct it.
The views of parents and carers really matter to us
Over the last few months we've been working closely with Eastwood School. Last Friday the teachers from both schools met at the university to find ways in which we might work even more closely. It was a very interesting day. The schools are different- but similar. Both are trying hard to do the very best for their pupils and the overwhelming feeling was that we can learn from each other.
Hywel Roberts joined us from Barnsley. He gave an uplifting input which dealt with the different ways we can enagage pupils in their learning. Sometimes doing something a bit different is a great idea - as proven during yesterday's Bright Day. Everyone seemed to enjoy his words. Teachers from both schools then led workshops . We learned from each other.
The link with Eastwood seems to bring benefits to both schools and we are keen to heep it going.
I'm no golfer but I was gripped by the events of Sunday. It's always exciting to watch teams working together to beat apparently insurmountable odds and there were few better examples than the work of the Eurpoean team in Medina - ok I accept that maybe Wigan Athletic's escape from relegation last season was better !