Sarah’s Blog – July 2019 A time for change!

Sarah’s Blog – July 2019 A time for change!

July has been a month of change across all sites. Our students have more than risen to the challenge showing a resilience we are proud of. The flexibility and energy of staff is always one of our biggest strengths and that has been needed and delivered in spades this month! Thank you to everyone!

At Blakiston both staff and students have been busy working together to transform the spaces ready for the vocational pathways. They have done a fantastic job and already the place looks and feels very different.

The Health, Social and Creativity department has recently started delivering the BTEC Tech Award in Child Development, and students have been introduced to the five stages of growth and development that human beings experience from birth to five years old. Students have really engaged with the course so far, they are excited at the prospect of involving some work-based learning further down the line. We have lined up some interesting workshops to embed into the course, including visits from local health and childcare professionals and holistic therapists, to help students gain as much insight into the childcare industry to support their theoretical studies.

We are also delivering an ASDAN Award in Hair and Beauty, that gives scope for students to gain practical experience and knowledge of a range of beauty therapies including manicures, pedicures and facial treatments. Students have already developed skills in nail art and manicure massage, and are excited when they enter the Salon at the prospect of learning new skills and being able to practically demonstrate their knowledge on each other.

Within Construction students are also off to a flying start and have impressed staff.

Each student has steadily gained the knowledge and confidence required to work with timber sheets and construction timber. From marking out, sawing the required lengths, drilling the precise holes and fixing materials together, their basic knowledge of what will be required for the new school year is forming.

The safety aspect and correct use of tools has been covered extensively so to make their experience in construction both meaningful and safe. This would include the following:

  • The correct way to hold and use a hammer.
  • The correct way to use a battery powered screwdriver.
  • Drilling holes as a pilot hole or a clearance hole.
  • How to secure a length of timber to the workbench and the correct way to use a timber saw.
  • Measuring and marking out specific work.
  • How to use the ‘hammer’ facility on a cordless drill and fix items, whether it is timber or a notice board, to the wall, using the correct fixings.
  • Storage of tools and the signing out and return of those tools via staff.
  • Preparation off surfaces and the painting of those surfaces to a finish.

Our KS3 learners who moved across from Blakiston to Breck House have shown some good resilience managing their move. Melanie tells me they managed to keep their focus and even complete some challenging assessments – well done boys! They are looking forward to a learning visit out to Williamson Park in Lancaster next week looking at the Butterfly House and Mini Zoo. Thanks to the Breck House staff for organising this.

At College House there have been changes too as new students have joined us. They have all settled in well, and a shout out from all of us goes to Nathan and Mason who made the decision to transfer over to the academic pathway at College House and are doing a great job.

During one of our sunny break times earlier this week staff and students joined in an impromptu football skills game of kicking the ball into a wheelie bin target. While it may not be glamorous, the moment summed up for me the relationships we build between staff and students and how important that is to us. It was great to see some of our newer starters joining in too and great fun was had. Best shot on target for me went to Rebecca, well done!

Our subject areas work hard to deliver inspiring lessons. This month both PE and Geography took students out of the classroom and out of their comfort zone! Thanks to Ben and Ashley for organising.

In PE students got the chance to try out new activities this month.

As part of our National Lottery Awards for All Project, we have recently run another adventurous activity trip; this time to Chill Factore, Manchester. The aim of the day was tied in with one of the bid’s key aims; to help build confidence and team work and ensure that all pupils have opportunities to participate. The day was an immense success, with the students taking part in skiing, climbing, sledging and tobogganing. It was great to see how much fun was had by all!

In Geography they have been outdoors in nature applying fieldwork skills.

KS3 Beacon Fell

Over the past term, KS3 have been studying map skills and using a compass. To practise these skills we decided to take an orienteering trip with a small group of students to Beacon Fell. After a short walk around the junior orienteering course, on an extremely hot day, we stopped for a picnic and ice cream at the nearby café.

KS3-4 St Annes Beach Coastal Fieldwork

As part of their course, KS4 students have been studying coasts and therefore we decided to take them on a trip to a local beach to explore its features. Whilst there we completed a number of tasks, before having a picnic in the sand dunes and a sandcastle competition. On the way home we stopped off at Notarianni’s for a well-earned ice cream. KS3 were invited along to introduce them to some key GCSE skills and as part of an introduction to their module “Where Land Meets Sea”.

Teaching our students about safeguarding is massively important and we were really pleased to be able to get them access to Dean Coady OBE and his talk and messages around gangs, knives, drugs, county lines and criminal exploitation. The students did us proud and here’s some feedback from Dean himself:

Can I say what an absolute credit your young people were to you. They were polite, courteous, engaged and engaging.

The issues we discussed, in relation to Criminal Exploitation affecting young people, was at times quite complex, however your young learners fully committed to exploring this in a very, respectful, mature and thoughtful manner.

Finally, some of the outstanding attendance, effort, achievement and progress of our students in their academic studies was rewarded in the Awards Assembly. Andrew, our head teacher, handed out well deserved medals and trophies and we were delighted to see many of our families there to support. We were also thrilled to welcome back one of our KS3 students who has recently moved on to a local high school and came back to collect his awards. We wish him the very best of luck.

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