Monday, 9 March 2015

Fire and Skill

What was I saying now? Got distracted for a minute. More like three months to be exact [since the last post]. But a lack of activity on the blog front doesn't mean stuff hasn't been happening in gov-land. It has. Lots of stuff, actually. All a bit of a blur really. I have a foggy memory that before Christmas senior governors had a high powered meeting with the Headteacher and School Improvement Advisor and then enjoyed  a slap-up Christmas dinner in the canteen with all the trimmings. Crackers included. After that we attended a CVQO awards ceremony to watch students receive their certificates from military top brass. All in the same day. 

After Christmas Oftsed came to call. And things haven't quite been the same since. Whoever said, 'all publicity is good publicity' evidently wasn't familiar with some of the stuff trotted out in the media around these parts. Less said on that front the better, I think.

School uniform. Some people have difficulty in accepting that our students made the running in wanting to change from the existing get up to blazers and ties. I mean, it's daft to think that they could have such high aspirations for themselves. Much easier to believe that the move was a dastardly plot dreamed up by the Headteacher with the connivance of the Governing Board. Westbury children wanting to look as smart as any school kid out there, whatever next? But they do, with 65% of our students backing the change. Good on them, I say. 

The school production Singing in the Rain was brilliant. Well acted, brilliantly staged and with some great singing. Still haven't worked out how they did the rain special effect. 

Last week it was back to school for the govs for another Visit Day. I attended History and Geography lessons. In History the subject was the American West; Cowboys and Indians and that. The lesson involved an interactive quiz using clicky things that resemble a TV remote, but can do more than just change channels and adjust the volume. A governor colleague and I got 60% between us. Mostly due to inspired guesswork on our part, I must admit. In Year 7 Geography one task was colouring in maps of the UK according to population distribution, but I didn't get to have a go at that. Just as well, as I was always hopeless at colouring between the lines.

During the Visit Day we also held some Pupil Voice panels in order to get students' perspectives on the school. We were not only interested in whether they are making academic progress in relation to their targets, but also what fires them up about education, and whether their time at school is helping to prepare them for life in the big wide world.

Last Friday night my wife and I went to see a Paul Weller concert in Swindon. The Modfather was in fine form. As teenager I was really into The Jam; Eton Rifles, Going Underground, Town Called Malice and all that. The band's motto was, 'Fire and Skill'. It was meant to encapsulate The Jam's explosive mix of fiery passion and skillful playing ability. And that kind of sums up what we're trying to do at Matravers. Not simply to give our students the right skills and knowledge, but also fire up their ambitions and give them a strong sense of moral purpose so that they will be the kind of people who make a difference to the world in which we live.

 'Matravers for education with fire and skill'.