Sunday, 19 August 2012

Two Weeks and Counting

It's been a very busy few weeks, with lots of development in the background (and not just on site)!

From a curriculum point of view, as a body of teachers (& wider staff), we've met a number of times since other schools closed for the summer, working on:

  • Curriculum plans
  • Assessment processes
  • Trips and visits
  • IT training &
  • Statutory Child Protection Training
Also, plans are shaping up around other aspects, including catering provision, before and after school support and clubs for the students. I'm in the process of sending out packs of information to Sandymoor students and families, with lots of information - if you're a Sandymoor School family and haven't received your pack by the middle of next week, do let me know! I will also be following this up with details of our catering service, menus and how to 'sign up'The week of Monday 20th Aug is a milestone in Sandymoor School's timeline because the buildings (which have been constructed over in Ireland) arrive on site and will be put up ready for work to continue inside. I can only praise the firm, Roan, who have bent over backwards to work with us in the design and planning of the site and in the dedication to ensuring the site is handed over ready to go. It's been refreshing to work with a firm with such strong beliefs in 'doing a good job' (& I must also mention the firm they sub-contracted fixtures and fittings to, British Thornton, who also were keen to work to the tight deadlines and are in fact providing some items free of charge!)

Also, the outer perimeter fence will be installed, ensuring the site is safe and secure from early on. That and the alarm and sophisticated CCTV system that will be installed will ensure that the site is as safe as humanly possible.

The only 'fly' in the ointment has been negativity from a couple aspects. We are, as we always have been, willing to engage in genuine discussion and debate about the school, but when people start to tell blatant lies about the school, it is galling. We will do anything necessary to stop lies and rumours being spread about the school, but to address the key lies being spread:

  • We are only employing highly qualified staff, in all aspects of the school. Yes, we could employ unqualified teachers, but why on earth would we, when we had such a high quality field apply? And all Academies can also employ unqualified teachers - are they being challenged?
  • We have viable class sizes in both our year 7 & 8 streams. (not the 2 students in year 8 some people have been told....!)
  • We are delivering the National Curriculum, and then some! Our year length is the same as all Halton schools, and our school day is significantly longer, so we have time to deliver every aspect of the National Curriculum and enhance it with everything Sandymoor will become known for.
  • And finally, there is no flood risk! As part of the school designs (both temporary and permanent), we have had to consider the flood risks and mitigate them. In fact, the drainage infrastructure even on the temporary site will reduce the risk of flooding to the surrounding area.
I'm going to be posting more frequently over the last couple of weeks, as the fine detail of the school takes shape, so watch this space ....! It's an exciting time for Sandymoor, Halton and education in the region and I'm looking forward to leading the school into this exciting future.

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