West Bridgford School’s first High Level / Degree Level Apprenticeship Fair a great success
C Bowie – Director of Post-16
There is a paradigm shift happening in Higher Education that could potentially affect how 16-18 year old students access university – the arrival of the High Level and Degree Level Apprenticeships. Students pursuing a Degree Level Apprenticeship would need excellent A Level grades (up to 3 B grades) and would apply for this through their chosen company rather than through the UCAS, University Applications System. In return, companies offer students employment, relevant work experience and a guaranteed job after they complete their degree. Oh, and the small matter of paying a student’s tuition fees for them (typically £27,750 over a 3 year university course)!
Recognising that this represents an unparalleled opportunity for students, West Bridgford School were delighted to organise its first High Level & Degree Level Apprenticeship Fair which took place in the Main School Hall from 6-8pm on Wednesday 14th March. The event offered 24 High Level and Degree Level Apprenticeship providers (including Lloyds’ Bank, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Aldi, Rolls Royce and Boots) who were available to speak with students and their parents about these apprenticeships as well as the application process itself. The evening was a huge success – as well as West Bridgford School students, many others attended from other Sixth Form Centres in The East Midlands Educational Trust (EMET) and local schools, including both Rushcliffe and Becket. All felt that the evening was enormously beneficial, and many students left considering a new route that they had not previously thought would be relevant for them which they could apply to alongside their other university applications. The school was delighted by the enormous turnout and feel confident that all students and parents gained a tremendous amount from the expertise and advice given.
A very big thank you to Mrs Nolan and Mrs Butcher for organising and running such a professional event, to the outstanding student helpers who did a marvellous job welcoming the delegates as well as the parents, to the providers and, of course, to all those that were able to attend. The school looks forward to organising an even bigger and better event next year!
How did we make the decision to stay open when other schools closed?
Many thanks to the parents who have walked up to my staff over the last few days, and congratulated both them and the school for managing to stay open during the difficult weather last week. It required a huge team effort and total commitment from staff and pupils to make Thursday and Friday work, and when parents show their appreciation for this, you will be surprised what a real difference it makes to those concerned. Quoting from one supportive email from a parent, it read…
Just a quick note to say well done for managing to open today. Personally I think this shows commitment from the staff and pupils and sets an example about making every effort to get in school and later work”.
I shared this with my team and such words boost all our morale.
We also received a quantity of emails and phone calls questioning the decisions that had to be made during Thursday and Friday, such a volume that several staff spent their day responding to these rather than running the school, so I thought it may be of interest for parents to see ‘behind the scenes’ of how we make the decision to stay open.
When the weather forecaster speaks of snow there is one certainty, it’s a sleepless night for a head teacher who has to decide how this might affect the school. A forecast is one thing but nothing is ever certain until the day in question. It’s then an extra early start to get into school to assess the site and to gauge the road conditions in order to second guess how staff might be affected in their journey to work.
By 7.30am I will be in school looking at the site and judging if our site staff have made it safe for staff and students. This will always be our prime consideration. Last week the site team worked a minor miracle in preparing the school, by starting work earlier than normal at 4am. My staff showed immense commitment on Thursday and battled through the blizzard during the height of the rush hour, something I am so proud of them for doing. However, with the road network slowed by snow, many, understandably arrived much later than their normal time. Thus by 8am it becomes clear how many staff have been able to safely arrive in school and I am able to assess our ability to open fully, partially or not at all. Only then can I contact parents with the certainty of knowing if we can offer a provision.
A number of parents expressed their concern about this approach arguing that it is too late in the day for them and that I need to make a much earlier call. I have great sympathy for their viewpoint, but the only earlier call which can be made is to close and that might result in an unnecessary closure. I hold the view that a head teacher has a social responsibility to the local community to do all they can to keep a school open. By doing so they continue to provide a child with an education for the day and avoid the need for parents to take time off work to supervise their child and possibly lose a wage. Unless I face quite extraordinary conditions I will always do all I can to ensure the West Bridgford School stays open and this sometimes requires me to go close to the wire before I can fully assess the situation for both safety and staff attendance. As it was, Thursday and Friday saw the school run as normal, with the only casualty being our Year 8 Consultation Afternoon. This will now run on Thursday 19th April with further details being sent home next week.
On Thursday 1st March, we had our annual celebration for World Book Day. This kicked off on the Tuesday with a week of assemblies celebrating the joys and benefits of reading and giving the students a glimpse of what was on offer for this year.
Once again, undeterred by the snow, our staff members dressed up as characters from their favourite books and invited tutor groups to guess their characters in order to win a prize. The winning tutor group will receive their prize in assembly next week.
Pupils also had to guess where different quotes were from that were on display around school.
All pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 stopped what they were doing during one of their lessons across English, Science, Languages, Art and Humanities for 20 minutes to spend time reading their books that they brought in from home.
Every pupil in Year 7 to 11 received a £1 book token that they can spend in bookstores. There is a great selection of £1.50 full- length books aimed for young people these include An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge. If the selection of £1.50 full-length books are not what you are interested in, you can also put your voucher towards any other book and get £1 off the price. If you would rather get an audiobook, you can do as long as the audiobook costs at least £2.99. Do not forget to spend your voucher by Sunday 25th March 2018!
We would love to know what you have spent your £1 book voucher on and what you thought about the World Book Day celebrations. Please spend 5 minutes completing the questionnaire on Brightspace on the Assembly page so that we can hear your thoughts!
The West Bridgford School gardening club are setting ourselves a new challenge. We would like to develop an existing gardening club area and create a sensory garden. As a school we are encouraging us all to become more aware of our mental and emotional wellbeing and a sensory garden would provide a safe area where students could spend some time for reflection and get away from the stress and strains of teenage life.
We are hoping that different departments will support this venture and help the gardening club with fundraising, planning, designing, creating and maintaining the garden.
We would also like to hear from students and parents or carers. Perhaps you have some garden furniture you no longer want, or maybe some ideas or experience of creating a sensory garden? Any ideas or for more information please contact us.