I should have taken my camera (the photo on the right is nicked off the federation’s website) as the building is impressive inside and out and I can quite see why central and local government are proud of the investment going into renewing the physical fabric of institutions like schools.
As you’d expect with a school that has a sports specialism there are some excellent facilities for physical education – a dance studio that looks like it’d be a joy to work in and the controversial main sports hall are standouts. But it doesn’t end there. There’s a recording studio for budding musicians, and a very exciting studio space for theatre education, complete with fold away seating. But I think my favourite bit of the building was the Sixth Form work room which has panoramic views north and south.
As for the governors meeting, some interesting stuff there as well. As you’d expect there was a focus on staffing, student recruitment, attendance, behaviour, and community engagement.
You may remember there’s a stretching target about getting 80 new sixth formers into the school in September, and we had an update on how that was going. As we were receiving it we were able to see part of the strategy in action; as there was a room full of potential pupils being given the run down on what to expect if they come. We also got to meet the new head of sixth form – a PE teacher by trade – who seemed very excited by the opportunity.
One of the things that I wanted to raise with my fellow governors was to develop our relationship with the student body. If their needs and wishes are always mediated through the teaching staff or by stray meetings with individual governors I think we’d be missing out. Luckily there was strong support for my view and we’ve asked the school council to come and present at out next meeting.
We also talked about the perception of pupils by the local community, which is mixed. Obviously many pupils are the children of local people but as with young people across the country they get the blame for many things without receiving recognition for some of the things they do which are immensely positive. On the negative side we heard about some graffiti on the local funeral home, and I’ve offered to see if my old friends in the environment division would be prepared to talk with the school and students about graffiti removal. Much more positively we heard about how students had taken part in a walk, crossing 10 of London’s bridges to raise money for schools in Africa.
Our next meeting will be in October.