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A yo-yo start to the week for a couple of year groups in the high 80s, Year 8 though have had a really strong start and continued to hold a high level of attendance.
Trying to keep a ‘glass half full’ attitude, it is always wonderful to see when we hit 95% and above which Year 7, 8 and 10 have managed at least once this week. Of course though the trick is to have the pupils attend as many of the 190 days across the year as possible.
We’re still struggling with approximately 30 pupils and their persistent lateness in the morning. This is of course so much better than the 250-300 late pupils that used to stroll through when I first started at Gateacre. To me, this is a sign of how much the culture and attitude towards school has changed and I can only thank the majority of parents who are helping us achieve this, but there is still room to be even better.
I also want to say that this has been a huge team effort by all the staff who manage the ‘Red Line’ each morning, go out into Belle Vale each day, the army of admin and pastoral staff who get on the phone to chase up when pupils are not in on time.
If we really all want this to be a ‘Good’ school then very simple and achievable things is where it starts: having good attendance (above 95%); getting in on time; being polite. These are easy things to get right.
Dragon Boat Race
This week our Y8s entered the annual Dragon Boat Race competition, held at the Liverpool Water Centre. Throughout the day the Gateacre team got faster and faster setting their fastest time of the day in the final. This was enough to get them the bronze medal. It was a terrific day and the students were a real credit to themselves, their families and the school.
… “I am convinced that it should be an aspiration that by the time every child leaves in Y11 they should have been on a trip” – Mr Collins, PE. We couldn’t agree more Mr Collins, learning can take place in any environment.
Liverpool Schools Athletics Competition
Our boys performed yesterday at the City Athletics competition. 21 schools turned up from Liverpool bringing 50+ athletes each. Many of the schools are well established high achieving schools with a rich tradition of English school athletes coming through the system with many athletes representing Liverpool Harriers, the county and the national athletics teams. Congratulations to all our boys who competed, representing Gateacre School, you did us proud. All performed their events to the best of their ability and we won 10 medals in all, which is a great achievement. Some of our pupils medaled in multiple events:
Max Webster (Y7) - 800m Gold medalist, Javelin Gold medalist (first time he had thrown it before) and 300m Bronze medalist. Superb.
Joseph Murtagh (Y7) - Shot Putt Gold - first time he had putt the shot before was 9am yesterday morning and he gets a gold!
Jaden Evans -McKay (Y8) - Triple Jump Gold medalist - performed brilliantly after swapping his event earlier in the day. Outstanding jumping to become City Champion.
Tom Webster (Y10) - 800m Gold medalist - tactically he ran the perfect race. Judging when to attack and ran away from his competitors in the last 200m of the race. Superb performance.
Jonas Kutniaskuas (Y10) - Discus Silver medalist - fantastic achievement after practicing after school. Jonas stepped up, ran his heart out for the school, showing determination and character.
Ethan Stopford (Y10) - 400m Silver medalist and 200m Silver medalist - came second to one of the best athletes in the country for his age. Ethan pushed himself so hard after his 400m event, but still managed to do the 200m (coming second) and relay for the school. Great Sportsman.
Harry Sweeney (Y10) - 1500m Gold medalist - a huge achievement from this young athlete who has made great progress over the last 4 years.
Updates on Homework initiative
Homework is a topic which frequently divides discussion. Questions regarding its worth, the potential benefits, the potential ‘negative’ effects and the sheer workload it generates for all involved: students, staff and, dare we say, parents alike, creates a debate few schools can agree on. Add to this, often misleading and misquoted, research evidence (both supporting and questioning the setting of homework) then the picture becomes even more confused. We at Gateacre have decided to revisit the topic and try to create an approach and a policy that is beneficial to all. In order to do this we have set up a working party that have been tasked with investigating, trialling and ultimately launching a new whole school approach to the subject.
The working party have met repeatedly over recent months in order that the subject may be discussed with sufficient rigour; in keeping with our whole school approach to teaching and learning, evidence based research has been used to support all discussions and decisions.
The outcome to date is an approach based on revision and the development of factual recall from long-term memory and, as referred to earlier, is evidence informed. Currently we are trialling a system (focusing on a series of year 7 classes) whereby students will be given a knowledge organiser focussing on a specific subject and topic (a sheet of subject specific facts and associated vocabulary). Students will be expected to revise using this knowledge organiser in order to embed factual knowledge into their long term memory; a blank ‘practice’ book will be provided to allow them to write in when self-quizzing.
Students will subsequently take part in short quizzes during the working school week to monitor the effectiveness of the revision. We want the system to be one which is clear for all, consistent across different subject areas, supports independent practice by the students, provides rapid feedback (as school quizzes will take place that same week), allows development of much needed factual detail, as well as allowing parental involvement (revision and quizzing is much more fun with two!).
We intend to ultimately implement the new approach to the setting of homework across the wider school on completion of a successful trial period.
School Meals - Food For Thought
We are very excited to be joining forces with Food for Thought (FFT) to support our existing in-school catering provision. FFT is a 'not for profit' school meals company that was set up by a group of local Headteachers, who wanted to provide healthy school meals at an affordable price.
Our partnership with FFT will start this coming Monday and immediately students will see a change in the lunch time offer, with homemade soup available every day. Indeed, all the meals will be prepared from scratch in the kitchen, using, where possible, locally sourced, organic ingredients. In addition to main meals, students will be able to look forward to beans on toast, Welsh Rarebit with crispy bacon bits and Mexican Quesadillas. We will of course continue to offer the ever popular roast dinner and other firm favourites.
We will be reviewing the new weekly menus on an ongoing basis (they are available on the school website here) and will be taking feedback from students and feedback from parents and carers would be very welcome too.
We will endeavour to provide samples of our food at open evenings and parents evening so hopefully you will be able to test out our menus for yourselves.
FFT has an urban farm (based in Garston) that we hope students will be able to visit and they also run free cookery courses which we hope to be able to offer up students and their families.
Mr J. Roberts
Dates For Your Diary:
2nd July: Jungle Book the show
4th July: Y10 Parents Evening 3:45pm - 6pm
9th July: Art Exhibition
16th July: Summer Concert 7pm
19th July: End of Term
Apply for free school meals online, it's easy. Click here: www.liverpool.gov.uk/free-school-meals