Headteacher's October News Message.
22nd October 2014
Dear Parents & Carers,
It has been a very busy half term for all members of our school community. We have a new website which is now the main source of news and parental support at Greenbank. It can be accessed through all forms of technology which means you can be kept up to date about school news wherever you are.
Open Evening once again presented our pupils, as ambassadors, with the opportunity to showcase all the work that goes on in school. I received so many wonderful words of praise from prospective parents about the students guiding and the way staff welcomed and talked so passionately about what they are achieving with the girls.
As a Senior Leadership Team we are constantly touring the school with visitors and prospective parents to show a normal working day at Greenbank. During these tours and walking around the school on a daily basis, we have been very impressed with the standard of uniform, purposeful and creative classroom environments and the presentation of work in students’ exercise books. We have been very interested to see how students are improving their work through the formative Improvement Time (IT) targets given to them by their teachers which leads to them learning from their mistakes and making excellent progress. Please ask your daughters to see their work, of which they should be very proud. The high expectations we have for students work is displayed in the Student Planner under ‘Expectations of your Work’.
As a school we were recently visited by a representative from The Department for Education as part of their School Immersion Programme to investigate how government policy impacts on schools. Mrs. Lavery, who spent two days watching lessons and interviewing staff, commented “everyone made me feel so welcome, can you please pass my sincere thanks to your staff and pupils. I found the experience very positive; it was really good to see the brilliant work you are all doing”.
We have achieved sporting success once again this term. The Year 11 hockey team won the Merseyside Tournament and I was delighted to be able to watch our netball teams achieve so highly at Formby late in September. It was fantastic to see the two Year 7 teams gel together so well as a team and winning all their games! Year 7 have settled into school very well and are already taking so many opportunities outside the classroom in activities ranging from Gaelic football to dance with over 100 pupils attending some sessions. The new extra-curricular timetable can be found in the ‘Outside the classroom’ section of the website. It was also a pleasure to see the Year 7 pupils showing their parents around their school so confidently and with such pride on 22nd September. Parents met with their tutors who have worked hard to ensure the pupils have settled in so smoothly.
Developing leadership skills is now an integral part of our curriculum for all girls at Greenbank. We have planned all leadership activities through our Greenbank Leadership Academy. The booklet outlining the opportunities available is available on the website in the ‘Outside the classroom’ section. We have introduced a ‘Wandering Philosopher’ in some lessons and are now looking for Philosophy Champions in each year group as a further extension of these opportunities. Our Duke of Edinburgh students, who show such outstanding leadership skills, completed their Bronze Expedition in Tawd Vale, which was grueling though immensely rewarding for the students.
Reading has always been a cornerstone of life at Greenbank with pupils taking every opportunity to read. Our Learning Zone is heavily used and stocked with the most up to date fiction. This year we have introduced The Accelerated Reader Programme for Year 7 to 9 where every pupil has a reading book appropriate to her reading development. The letter explaining the programme has been sent out with the pupils by Miss Barnes, our Literacy Coordinator, and is available to download through the ‘Inside the classroom’ section of the website.
Our House system is now firmly embedded into the fabric of Greenbank. We are delighted to welcome 3 new House Leaders Mrs. Almond, Mrs. Clarke and Mr. Whittle. You will find the new criteria for awarding house points on the website. House points are accessible to everyone on a regular basis regardless of ability and are an excellent way of rewarding students for showing commitment to learning, pride in their appearance, excellent attendance and service to school.
This year we are striving to gain The UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award. In addition to the work we already do, we held an enrichment day to make students aware of their rights and the responsibilities. Assemblies have also been held regarding Jeans for Genes, European Day of Languages, British Food Fortnight and The International Day of the Girl linked to the UN Convention of the Rights of The Child. We are learning that with the rights, come lots of responsibilities which our pupils fully embrace. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is displayed throughout the school. It was a delight once again to welcome The Anne Frank Trust into school for two weeks. During this time new Anne Frank Ambassadors were trained and delivered sessions to the whole school community.
Last week, 40 Year 11 Scientists were lucky enough to travel to Cern in Geneva on a visit led by Mr. Howgego. Further details regarding the visit can be seen on the website in the ‘Life at Greenbank’ section but the students have come back incredibly inspired by their experience, with many wishing to pursue Science related study and careers after their time at Greenbank. The students also visited the United Nations in Geneva where so many important discussions and decisions are currently being made. Year 11 have recently undertaken their primary data collection for their Geography GCSE coursework and were lucky enough to travel to the Lake District to undertake the study and stay in a Youth Hostel overnight.
The More Able, Gifted and Talented (MAGT) Programme led by our MAGT Lead Teacher, Miss Rule, has started this year for Years 10 and 11 with Year 10 students being equipped with an A* toolkit to further their independent learning. This has been complimented by Oxford and Cambridge University visiting Greenbank to present sessions relating to study skills, the application process and university life. The lower school MAGT enrichment programme has started with Year 7 and 8 students embarking on extended projects through their extra-curricular club and Year 9 commencing GCSE General Studies, once again as an extra-curricular activity. Details regarding MAGT are available through the ‘Inside the Classroom’ section of the website.
In the ‘About us’ section on the website under OFSTED, there is a link to their online survey ‘Parent View’. I would be grateful if all parents could complete the survey to give OFSTED a fully representative view of the school. The link to the survey is https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk. If you as a parent or carer need support in dealing with a school related issue please contact myself or the Senior Leadership Team who would be happy to help.
I was delighted to accompany a group of Year 11 students who are members of The Greenbank INTERACT Club to Connell Court, a home for the elderly in Southport, recently. It was wonderful to hear our girls talking so maturely and laughing with the residents who were so appreciative of them giving their time.
I would like to draw your attention to a school funded, reliable online research resource, Encyclopedia Britannica that you can access as a family available through your daughter’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Your daughter must follow the link and create a username and password. Once this is created you may also download and access the IPad and IPhone app which allows you to access this excellent tool through your mobile technology. You will no longer need to rely on unreliable web searches! Your daughter can set up the resource according to her ability with a Foundation, Intermediate and Higher version available to support their independent learning.
To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the commencement of World War One we are creating a corridor of remembrance with poppies made by the school community and supported through the PTA. We are also creating a purpose built trench, in partnership with the Sefton Rangers for students to understand, empathise and reflect on the experiences of those who fought for democracy.
Attendance is once again excellent and I thank you for supporting your daughter in ensuring she is in for every session which in turn will lead to outstanding achievement.
I hope you and your family have a relaxing break.
Thank you for supporting Greenbank and your daughter’s education.
Mr. I. Raikes