Following on...


This week’s blog title isn’t in fact a reference to a typically dank and damp start to the English County Cricket Season!

Rather, it’s designed to headline an amplification of last week’s call for a truly rounded learning experience for our young people - and offer some insight into how we’re look to provide it here at school.

The great article in this week’s Newbury Weekly News describes the role of our commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme in this context...

Cate Robinson Slater in Newbury Weekly News

It really is fantastic to see Cate Robinson-Slater’s work recognised in this way, and I’m so proud of our new Head Girl Neve Sanders. Achieving your Gold Award in Year 12 is a remarkable achievement. I’m thrilled she’ll shortly get enjoy the really great day we also experienced at St.James’ Palace.

The DoE sessions take place as part of our Monday Enrichment Programme. Extra-curricular activities are of course also spread across the week, but it was almost five years ago now we took the decision to introduce different timings to the school day on a Monday. Still five one hour lessons, but a tweaking of break, lunchtimes and registration meant that we could finish fifty minutes earlier at 2.35pm to create the opportunity for a weekly block of sustained professional development for staff.

It’s been a win/win! I’ve no doubt that this block of shared training time, where departmental staff can either work collectively in teams to plan learning or we can come together in clusters or as a whole staff to consider a wider theme or initiative has contributed to the run in continuous improvement in performance that  led to our identification as one of the country’s top 100 state schools...

Nick Gibb

For students, we use this development time to provide an extensive range of elective enrichment options - such as DoE - provided by external coaches or providers as staff are obviously involved in their own training at this time. Exactly the sort of breadth of opportunity that richly compliments academic study alone.

How’s that!