This week I have had the privilege of seeing a great many learners through visiting almost every Maths teacher in the school. Maths has always been one of my favourite subjects. I think it has something to do with the challenge of problem solving and breaking things down into patterns. I do however find it to be a bit of a cliche when I hear a learner ask what they will need maths for in the future. My answer: everything. Maths helps us to think logically, to break complex things down into patterns, to understand the world around us, and to face challenges head on. Maths is core for a reason: it is a fundamental part of a successful education and a balanced curriculum and it really does connect everything.
My time in Maths this week really highlighted what learning is all about: that eureka moment. Whatever the topic that was being taught, I found it in every class. It is that moment when a learner suddenly ‘gets it’. When their face changes and everything clicks. When they overcome a challenge. When they suddenly understand the pattern, the method or the process. When they know that the answer they have is the right one.
When you break down teaching and teachers to the root, that is what counts. It is one of the few visual clues that tell you that real learning is taking place. And it feels good. As a teacher, as a learner, as an observer. We all benefit from that feeling of grappling with a challenging and coming out the other side with an increased understanding.
I would like to thank the Maths team and the learners I spoke to this week who have inspired me.
The Brilliant Club
This week we will be launching an opportunity to apply to take part in The Brilliant Club. This opportunity will be open to C9 and C10 learners. Miss Harrington will be leading this exciting project this year which achieved great success with our previous cohort.
So what exactly is The Brilliant Club? Through an application process learners will have the opportunity to attend a launch at one of the leading Russell Group universities this will be taking place at University of East Anglia (UEA), in Norwich, at the end of October. There, learners will meet their tutor, a PhD researcher, who will give them their first university style seminar based on his/her current field of research. Last year they worked with a PhD from Cambridge and studied Children’s Literature.
The researcher will then visit the school weekly to work with learners further – training them up as academics. The programme will culminate in the production of an essay on a specific topic related to the researchers field – some may even be published in an academic journal. The work will be assessed against university criteria and learners will receive grades that match that of degree classifications.
Our previous cohort all passed with 2:1s with the exception of two who achieved a First!
The programme ends with a graduation at another leading research university. Last year we had the privilege of attending Selwyn College Cambridge. We feel that this programme will really help to open up our learners eyes as to the possibilities for the future. We will only be offering this to a handful of cohort nine and ten learners through an application process. Details will be shared by Miss Harrington in assembly next week.
Sponsored walk
We are very excited for our annual sponsored walk on Wednesday 18th September. The theme for this year is ‘Our Planet. Our Future’. Learners will be in non-uniform for the day (a £1.00 donation) and will be preparing in their learning groups to respond to this theme. The weather looks good for this wonderful community event. The feeling of looking back at a sea of almost one thousand learners walking together is quite something.
James Saunders
Expectations
We would like to thank learners and families for such a positive start to the term regarding our expectations. We would like to draw your attention to a few things that have cropped up over the last couple of weeks.
Headphones
From Monday, Learners should be aware that wireless headphones will no longer be allowed. If the teacher gives permission for learners to use headphones during their learning sessions this will need to be done with wired headphones. We have had several incidences where learners have lost these very expensive items as well as a few other issues that have not helped learners to follow our respect code.
Hoodies
Hoodies are not to be worn during the school day. Learners are welcome to walk to and from school in them, however once on the school site hoodies need to be removed. Also learners should only wear coats and gilets when they have their school jumper on and coats/gilets should be removed when learners arrive at their learning sessions.
Mobile Phones
Please remember mobile phones are not to be used by learners during the school day and if seen by a member of staff they will be taken until the end of the day. Please remember mobile phones should be kept in bags in school to avoid any issues.
We thank you for your ongoing support and for helping us to create such a purposeful climate for learning this term.

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