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A Week Like No Other
20th March 2020
Our world has changed in the last week, we began the week worried about potential school closures, the potential of covering a couple of staff and reeling from the cancelation of the ski trip. There was also the small matter of a headship interview.
These things were just the start of what has been an unbelievable week of the like that no teacher in education has ever seen before.
Fortunately the interviews were a successful process and I am sure that I echo Miss Bradleys thoughts that we are proud to be custodians of our amazing school, the qualities of our Hastings Family have shone through adversity this week particularly as I have succumbed to a high temperature and have gone into a household isolation. This has made the week so difficult, no euphoria in being made a permanent Co-Headteacher (not even a pint to celebrate – just a cream egg!) just an overwhelming feeling of guilt that I am not in school to support staff and ultimately support all of our amazing students. Each day I have sat around 5pm to find out the next steps in combatting COVID-19 and hope that parents realise we only have the same information as them, from watching the press conferences and then trying to work out the best path. Sat at home it has felt at times pretty helpless.
On Wednesday we finally got the announcement that we had been dreading but expecting, schools were in effect to completely close. Teachers do the job we do as we want to be at work, to guide young people and to help them learn, to be told that we would not have this opportunity in person for a significant amount of time is a body blow.
Then came the bit no-one expected the cancellation of GCSE exams.
I am heartbroken, heartbroken for our staff with the huge amount of their lives they have invested in each and every year 11 pupil at the school, heartbroken for our parents who over the last five years have had to go through the emotional rollercoaster of dealing with a teenager leading up to the end point of exams but ultimately heartbroken for our amazing year 11 students over the last 5 years they have consistently amazed us. Yesterday they were upset, upset that they couldn’t prove themselves, upset that they couldn’t sit their exams, upset that they couldn’t make us proud with their results, upset that they couldn’t achieve those school record results for which they have been predicted to achieve for so many years. As time goes on that upset will fade and I hope it turns to both pride and determination. Pride in everything they achieved during their time with us, pride in the way they handled adversity, pride that they were and will always be part of our Hastings Family followed by determination not to let the current awful situation impact on their future and a determination to come and tell us in the future how successful they have become.
As a yeargroup we will make sure that they have the chance to come back together, be that at Prom, or if that is delayed at some other point, we will all need that closure and chance to celebrate their time with us.
Whatever happens over the next few months we will come out the other side, society will have changed, education will have changed but be assured we will be ready for the changes and will face the challenges head on and when the time is right we will be ready with open arms to open up those gates and help all of our students become anything they want to be,
Take care of yourselves in this time of uncertainty
If you work hard enough….
11th March 2020
This weeks blog is all about working hard, in assemblies last week we came in to a song with the phrase;
‘I know I can, be what I want to be, if I work hard at it……’
and this week that has been really apt. Across the school we have year 11 preparing for their GCSE exams, just 8 school weeks away but lower down the school there is a lot happening and a lot of hard work going on in consideration of our focus this half term of responsibility.
In our weekly rewards we celebrated not with Hot Chocolate but with birthday cake to celebrate Miss Bradley turning 21 (I know, again this year!) but the quality of pupils was amazing. We had pupils taking responsibility for the school site by collecting litter, others who had taken responsibility for someone in crisis who needed help by raising the alarm and another student who is going through a lot but is always involved in the school and helping others. Going back to working hard though it was great to reward some pupils who are really working hard to be what they want to be. We rewarded a lot of year 8 pupils for their work in French, a girl in year 9 for asking for and responding to detailed feedback to improve their results and work and got lots of nominations for year 11 pupils trying achieve the grades they need for the next stage in their lives, be that apprenticeship, a job or further study.
Both Miss Bradley, all of the staff and myself are working hard to make sure that the school is what we want it to be and it is great that the pupils share this both in their actions and the work that they are putting in. There are no limits to what someone can achieve, you just have to work hard at it, if the first time round it doesn’t go to plan you just keep working hard and as long as you listen to the feedback on the journey and respond accordingly then anything is possible….
“The price of greatness is responsibility”
2nd March 2020
“The price of greatness is responsibility” Winston Churchill
This term we will be focusing on our value of responsibility. Assemblies this week have asked pupils to think about areas in their own lives for which they could take more responsibility –packing their own school bag, making their own lunch or even washing their own uniform? I am not convinced that many pupils will be taking up this challenge, especially the last one!
On a more serious note we have also reminded pupils that only one person is ultimately responsible for their actions and their words and that is themselves. Taking responsibility for all of these things can often be one of lives most difficult lessons, but once mastered can lead to true ‘greatness’. On Tuesday, a lady by the name of Katherine Johnson passed away, at the age of 101 years. Johnson had worked for NASA as a ‘human computer’ and was responsible for the success of America’s first space missions. On her death a NASA Administrator said, “Our NASA family is sad to learn the news that Katherine Johnson passed away this morning at 101 years old. She was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten.” As a black American woman working for NASA in the mid twentieth century she faced many obstacles; including a 3 mile round trip to use the toilets that were allocated for black people. She overcame all of these to become one of NASA’s most talented and trusted mathematicians. She was recognised in 2015 by President Obama who said that she was someone, ‘who refused to be limited by society’s expectations’. She was somebody who had many reasons not to succeed but who was not interested in making excuses; she had a job to do and took responsibility for doing it to the best of her ability.
This half-term l very much look forward to recognising and celebrating these qualities in our pupils. If you want to find out more about Katherine Johnson the film, ‘Hidden figures’ is well worth a watch.
The Little Extra’s
14th February 2020
Good afternoon everyone,
This week sees the end of a busy half term. The photo below was taken early this morning as a group of Year 10 and 11 students set off for London. Their final destination? New York! Hastings pupils are incredibly fortunate to be able to access such fantastic extra opportunities, none of which would be possible without the support of the, equally fantastic, Hastings staff. All four staff are giving up their half-term break to accompany the pupils on this amazing trip. We wish them safe travels and look forward to sharing their experiences, upon their return.
We are now approaching the GCSE exam season and have our final few practice exams scheduled for the week after half term. I am constantly amazed at the efforts our staff make to ensure that every child has the best possible chance of achieving their best possible result. From providing support, guidance and the odd chocolate bar, to making themselves available before, during and after the school day, to revision goody bags to help over half term, they really do go above and beyond.
Finally this week, Year 8 have been involved in the ‘Reading Rampage’, run by Mrs Racklyeft. This reading challenge is being held across 22 schools in Leicestershire and pupils are being encouraged to read as many of the 10 books as possible. I have started reading ‘How To Rob A Bank’ by Tom Mitchell, We have talked in previous about raising funds for the school so was hoping for some tips! So far I am only on chapter 4, but it is fab!
I would like to wish everyone a restful half term and look forward to seeing everyone on Monday 24th February, ready to go!
Making Links with the Community
3rd February 2020
Good Afternoon All,
We are now over half way through the school year, time really does fly when you are enjoying yourself! This week marked our first Business Breakfast where local companies were invited in to school to network with each other and build closer links with us, it was a fantastic event and we were pleased to welcome:
Abbey Metal Finishing Company Ltd
Hinckley tennis Club
Hole in the Wall
Horiba Mira Ltd
O.L.D Engineering Co. Ltd
Thorpe and Brown Jewellers
After breakfast and a chance to chat to our amazing student council we showed everyone around the school before having some conversations on how we could support each other moving forwards. Our ambition is to give Hastings pupils the facilities that they deserve but which we are currently lacking. Alongside some partnerships made between businesses we are grateful to some of the companies who have offered us their time to work with students, either through practice interviews, offers of work experience or in a mentoring capacity. Others have offered us the chance to go and visit their businesses with our students or develop curriculum links. We would very much like to thank these businesses for their attendance and would welcome others to join them at future events (please contact Mrs B Brown if you would like to attend). Alongside this if anyone wins the lottery over the weekend we will happily name a new facility after you!
On Tuesday we had our third Personal Development Day of the year and during this year 10 were involved in mock interviews, though there were lots of nerves they came through will flying colours and received some great feedback for future interviews both for college places and jobs. One of the people interviewing commented “I would like to say what a remarkable cohort of young people I met today. An absolute credit to your school.” Comments like this make us all very proud.
Finally, this week we held our last year 11 parents evening where our pupils were getting the final detailed pieces of advice and feedback in the run up to their GCSE exams. There are just 9 school weeks to go and the ambition is that they all achieve their potential and go on to have the successful futures that they desire. There is lots of work for them to do but we will be supporting them every step of the way.