It is hard to believe we have reached the end of term; where does the time go? It is a sobering thought that the academic year has now ended and we are busily preparing for September and a new year with more changes imminent.
When I first came into teaching, preparations for the new academic year were minimal, as the new year was generally similar to the previous ones. Education and schools did not change much year on year; there would be new teachers, new classes to teach, perhaps a new exam syllabus to introduce but overall it was generally business as usual. Now, everything seems to change almost annually. At the moment we are preparing to introduce the revised National Curriculum, develop our Literacy and Numeracy provision, revise our assessment policies, prepare for new accountability measures, get to grips with the imminent changes to GCSE English and Mathematics and take our ICT programme to its next phase. These are in addition to our development plans for increasing community engagement and offering more opportunities for student leadership. Of course, we would not want it any other way, there is a tremendous momentum within the school and this can only benefit our students who clearly appreciate the efforts of Highfields staff.
It was an unusually long exam season this year with exams starting well before half-term but students coped admirably and conducted themselves very well. Year 11 enjoyed their end of school prom a couple of weeks ago and, by all accounts, it was one of the best proms ever. Year 13 had their prom at the end of term and will soon be moving on to new and exciting destinations. Many will go on to higher education but we are seeing an increasing trend whereby more students are looking for employment and higher level apprenticeships. We expect this trend to grow as more employers see the benefits of training young people who wish to avoid the growing debts now incurred though higher education.
One of the joys of education is seeing young people grow and develop as individuals and as we said farewell to our Year 13 students, and some of Year 11, we look forward to meeting our new Year 7 students who will soon be joining us in September. They will be joining us at a very busy time, but having spent two days on induction with us in July I am sure they will quickly settle into new routines.
A major development from September will be a re-focus on community engagement. The Wolverhampton BSF programme had anticipated that community use of the new buildings would be managed by an external provider. This has never materialised for a number of reasons and the school has now assumed responsibility for developing its own programme managed by Highfields. We have appointed a ‘Community Engagement Officer’ who will take up post at the start of September and be a member of Highfields Community Engagement team led by Mr Brook and Mrs Clifton. There will be a webpage for Community which will keep you updated on community events throughout the year. Another recent appointment was School Librarian who will also join us in September. The librarian will develop and manage our four Learning Resource Centres which will be very important in our continued focus on developing the literacy and communication skills of all our students, as well as creating new opportunities for students to work as young librarians.
As I write the sun is shining, so the holidays have got off to a great start. I hope the fine weather continues and that we all enjoy a brilliant summer holiday!