LEADERSHIP BLOG – JANUARY 2018
So, how are the New Year Resolutions going?
I think that staff at Ravenshall are on a serious mission………there’s lots going off and lots more ‘in the pipeline’ to keep us all very busy at the start of 2018.
We are delighted that our Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) students continue their studies and character building skills with Mr Smyth and the Ravenshall staff at Tong Woods. They’re hardy types in PfA, as Mr Caines discovered when he visited them recently on one of their weekly sessions. Snow, ice, rain and difficult terrain did not dampen spirits or learning potential!
Senior pupils too have begun the new term with gusto and enthusiasm. Mr Wright took his Pathways group (who are completing their Arts Award in Film Making) to the BBC studios at Media City in Manchester, despite the bad weather disrupting our morning transport arrangements. He tells me too, that The Zone is almost ready to start recording P5’s ‘Planet Rap’. Look out for that little gem. I’m sure that it will be ‘out of this world’!
We have welcomed two new teachers this term. Miss Charlotte Roberts is taking on the role of form tutor for S4 and is clearly enjoying her new class. It’s reciprocal too as S4 have told me lots of nice things about their new teacher. Mr Steven Sykes is going to take over Mrs Farrar Smith’s timetable as she begins her maternity leave soon. Good luck to all and we look forward to hearing about a new arrival in a few weeks or so.
As always, staff are forever coming up with great ideas to engage and excite all our pupils in their learning and, whenever we can, to involve friends and families too. So I’m delighted to be able to give you just a snippet of information about the soon to be launched “Read a long with Ravenshall”. Mrs Maclean and Mr Wright will be revealing all very shortly!
Finally, just a quick message to tell you about our forthcoming ‘Consultation Day’, which is to be held on Thursday 15th February. This is your opportunity to spend time in school, talking to teachers and letting your child show you their work and achievements. You’ll hear all about their progress and targets for the future.
A letter is coming out soon with details of how to book appointments with staff - between 1pm and 6pm, so everyone will be able to attend.
It’s a very special event which is important for us all for lots of different reasons. I do know however, you’ll leave the school feeling happy and immensely proud!!
Look forward to speaking to you soon.
Christmas 2017 Newsletter From The Leadership Team
Dear Parents, Carers and friends of Ravenshall School
Oh, how we love this time of year!
The school has been buzzing with all things magical over the last few weeks. Pupils and staff have got into the Christmas spirit and deadlines for the less ‘exciting’ things – assessment data, subject planning, performance management and staff development meetings - have still been done…….however grudgingly!!
Teachers have just completed a round of lesson evaluations. We have worked in pairs (a senior leader and teacher colleague) to observe each other’s best practice. We then met together to discuss and reflect upon what was seen and commented upon engagement, enjoyment, pupil progress and achievement. It was a great opportunity for all of us to learn from each other, to develop and improve our own performance, and to simply soak up the wonderful experiences which our children and young people enjoy every day in their lessons!
There have been some brilliant class and group efforts too this half term. Do check the website for all the latest news and photographs of what’s been going on recently. You’ll love the updates from Ravens Boutique. In just a short period of time they’ve managed to raise over £400 from their charity shop enterprise. All their hard work resulted in a visit from Ely, a resident of ‘The Donkey Sanctuary’ in Leeds who accepted the cheque with his human helpers. Throughout the year we appreciate the Sanctuary’s support and opportunities they give to Ravenshall pupils, so it is brilliant that we can give something back to them.
Give yourself a big smile and see the photographs and report on the website – they’re wonderful!
We must also thank our friends at Mirfield Rotary Club, who have again been so generous. Rotarians came along to the Primary, S1,2&3 Nativity on Monday morning to present us with a cheque for £1000. This will be used to buy much needed specialist play equipment for some of our pupils in upper school. Again, we really appreciate your support of our school.
Pupils in the Primary department have been ‘out and about’ making visits to places of interest to enhance their learning. They’ve been to a supermarket café, Leeds German Market and to visit our friends at Earlsheaton Infants. All classes in Primary also went to visit Santa at the Shepley Bridge Marina. So clearly they are all very good boys and girls!!
Similarly, students in the Secondary and Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) departments have been equally busy. Most of KS4 and PfA attended a special event in Huddersfield which looked at training and work opportunities open to young adults when they leave Ravenshall School. The ‘Local Offer Live’ event gave our learners a taste of things to come over the next few months and years, and we look forward to extending these further with families and work experience/FE providers.
I cannot end this letter without mentioning the amazing ‘Oliver with a Ravenshall Twist’ Christmas production.
Members of the school’s Performing Arts Club staged a brilliant performance which was loved by everyone who saw it. The cast members included a few ‘novice’ members of staff who were ably supported in their roles by Mrs Briggs, Mrs Cassidy, Miss Errett and Mr Wright who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the cast were word perfect, musicians were tuned to perfect pitch and the stage was designed and built to West End standards for the ‘lights, camera, action’ showstopper performances!
Mrs Caie ensured that our friends from Southgate School had a chance to shine too, Mrs Pryor did a great job with the costumes and Mr Ingham our very patient caretaker, helped get the show together. It has been a delight to see so many staff and pupils working together in the making of this wonderful event. Huge thank you to everyone involved – so sorry we cannot name you all individually, but you know who you are. You’re brilliant!
May we take this opportunity to thank all staff here at Ravenshall, who are committed and hard working professionals who give so much to their roles. The achievements and experiences which our children and young people enjoy every day, is testament to their dedication to the school.
We wish you all a joyous and peaceful Christmas!
Jeanette Tate Stephen Caines Gareth Owen
Headteacher Head of School Acting Assistant Headteacher
As English leaders we attended the Dewsbury Learning Partners moderation events for Key Stage 1 and 2.
Both sessions were informative about current developments to the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks and it was reassuring to work alongside mainstream colleagues to moderate pieces of work from our own and their schools to ensure accurate assessment and use of the end of key stage expectations and pre-key stage statements.
Looking forward to the next one in Spring term, and then our Maths leaders will be attending the Summer term moderation events.
INSET Day @ John Smith's Stadium with Professor Barry Carpenter
Monday October 30th 2017
All staff from Ravenshall School in addition to colleagues from Fairfield School attended a full day’s conference led by Barry Carpenter CBE OBE PhD with the theme of ‘Decoding Complexity: Who are the Children with Complex Needs in the 21st Century?’
Barry Carpenter has a vast knowledge base of SEND, having a career spanning 30 years, in which he has held positions of Academic Director, Chief Executive, School Principal and Director of Centre for Special Education at Westminster College Oxford. He was also appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project. He is the author of over 150 articles and texts as well as the author of a number of specialist SEND books.
His input covered looking at the changing complexity of children with SEND and how we need to adapt our teaching to meet their needs, the importance of engagement and how teachers need to ensure learning is taking place, the growing prevalence of mental health issues (particularly in girls) and how this impacts learning and well-being and the effects of premature birth on the brain’s development and how we must adapt our teaching to engage such complex learners.
Feedback from staff indicates the day was a huge success with new learning and the desire to increase their knowledge-base in a wide range of specialist areas. These next steps for staff will be a measure of the true impact of the day on the achievement and development of pupils here at Ravenshall.
So, 5 weeks into this first term of the new academic year, and what a successful start we have had!
Our new pupils are well and truly settled in, new staff members are now ‘old hands’ and life continues to be ‘full steam ahead’ for everyone involved with Ravenshall School.
We were pleased to share with Governors some great successes from last year, as exam results, accreditations and pupil performance over the whole year, continues to show Outstanding progress. The full analysis can be found on the website.
Students have now got used to our new school day timings as well as enjoying a new subject on the timetable.
‘CSI Ravenshall’ (how’s that for a title?!!) is our new Communication and Social Interaction session which happens every day at 2.20pm and is spent covering a wide range of subjects and topics in our class groups.
Mr Caines, Mr Owen and I have been monitoring the success of this new initiative and I can assure you that it’s FANTASTIC!! Do ask your children what they have been learning about in CSI recently.
Mrs Ellis’ PfA groups and Miss Ward’s teaching groups are enjoying great cookery lessons in our newly refurbished Food Tech Room. The waft of delicious aromas is only bettered by what the students actually cook. They have made some very tasty treats from Cheese and Onion Pasties to fruit kebabs, wholesome soups and muffins. Ravenshall ‘Bake Off’ every day!
The Primary department is enjoying their new Forest School sessions and seem to be relishing the opportunities to study and learn outdoors. This is such a creative and exciting development for us all and we look forward to sharing all coming events.
The Zone has undergone a ‘transformation’ this term too. Mr Wright has some brilliant plans for new topics and curriculum slots for all departments this coming year, so do look out for those too.
Parents and careers will get the chance to see some of these things in action very soon at our ‘Meet the teacher’ days next week.
Key Stage 3 & 4 teachers are available on Thursday 19th October and Primary will be celebrating their day with a Celebratory Assembly on Friday 20th October.
You should have received all the details already, so put it in your calendars and look forward to seeing you on both those days.
Wow……our first half term! How have we managed to fit all this in?
And there’s lots more to share. Ask staff about our Mental Health and Well Being focus, Donkey Sanctuary, the Raven’s Boutique, the Play Gym days, our Ambassadors and new Sports Leaders.
Jeanette Tate Headteacher
13th September 2017
Dear Parents & Carers
Here we are, refreshed after our summer holidays and ready for another fabulous year of learning and working together to ensure all our young people make progress and thrive here at Ravenshall.
We welcome a number of new staff joining school (see our Staff section on the website) and we are sure they will complement and enrich our existing team.
Leadership Team Blog
18th July 2017
Dear Parents & Carers
We are optimistically writing this cheery summer message in the sunshine reflecting on a very full and busy last term of the year for everyone connected to Ravenshall School.
As always there has been much to celebrate in school over this academic year, most of which has been documented in previous newsletters and on our website; more of which later. However, this term has seen our Y11 students celebrate their time at Ravenshall with special events and activities. The Leavers’ Celebration Day was splendidly organised by Mr Swaine and the KS4 & Preparation for Adulthood teams, alongside the hardworking and dedicated Friends of Ravenshall. The Hall looked resplendent for the occasion; Limo rides and a celebratory meal later that evening, ensured that our fabulous young adults were given a great ‘send off’. We wish them well for the future!
Across the school, pupils in all departments have been busy extending their experiences and opportunities. Several classes have been ‘out and about’ enjoying their learning at many different venues including, Canon Hall Farm, Bridlington, Lightwater Valley and Lakeside in Cumbria. Students have had an overnight camp as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award and several Primary students had great success at the Kirklees Swimming Gala.
Ravenshall School also took part in this year’s Kirklees Music Festival held at the Town Hall in June. The feedback from the organisers was incredibly positive and they are keen to include our ‘Makaton Choir’ for next year!
In May we had a very interesting and successful Drop Down Day which focused on Science learning. All classes investigated different themes and then shared their new skills and knowledge with their peers during inspirational and creative assemblies later that day.
This is also a good time to tell you that our new website will be up and running very shortly. Mr Caines and Mr Clayton have been working for some time with a local company to update and improve our school website. We are delighted with what we have seen so far and believe this new format is more informative and much easier to navigate. All school information will be available here as well as weekly and daily blogs, news feeds and other school related business.
The Governing Body have also worked extremely hard to ensure that Ravenshall School provides the best provision for all our pupils and their families. Recently we had a joint staff Inset session / Governors meeting to reflect upon the challenge and impact of their work in school and to discuss further improvements. At this meeting we also said goodbye to Margaret Lynn. Margaret has been a Governor at Ravenshall for over 26 years and has been a superb advocate of the school. We will miss her sage words and dedication to the Governor role.
We are proud and delighted too, to extend huge congratulations to our Chair of Governors, Helen Metcalfe. Helen has recently been awarded the prestigious accolade of “National Leader of Governance”. This is a well deserved award for Helen who has skills and expertise in abundance to share with other schools. Well done Helen!
With the privilege of working alongside so many talented teachers and support staff, it is with some mixed feelings that we share with you news of staff who are leaving the Ravenshall fold and others who will be joining us in September.
Firstly, we are saying goodbye to one of the school’s longest serving teachers. Mr Smyth has served the school for 28 years and has been the greatest advocate of the wonderful benefits of ‘Outdoor Education’. He has also led the Design Technology department for many years and more recently has been instrumental in designing many of the successful elements of the Preparation for Adulthood curriculum.
Rob is retiring at the end of this term to pursue many of his other interests and hobbies, however, he has agreed to continue working with the Preparation for Adulthood department for 1 day per week, to continue the brilliant work he has done to promote and teach the raft of Outdoor Education opportunities at Tong Woods.
Whilst his friends and colleagues will miss him greatly around school, we are delighted that his immense skill and expertise can be enjoyed by Ravenshall learners for a little while longer. Good luck Rob with your plans for the future!
Another long serving member of staff is also leaving the school to begin her well deserved retirement. Liz Crowther moved to Ravenshall from Hartshead Moor School and this year has completed 29 years service between both schools. Mrs Crowther has worked as an Educational Support Assistant, supporting pupils across the departments and Key Stages. Liz is well renowned and admired for her skills, passion and dedication to the pupils she support, and her presence around school will be sorely missed.
Similarly, Mrs Gray is starting her retirement after several years’ dedicated service in Special schools. Cath has been a brilliant member of our Preparation for Adulthood team, and has supported many of our learners to achieve additional skills from their work experience programmes. Her wit and sense of fun will be greatly missed by her students and colleagues over the 23 she has worked amongst us, however we wish her well for the future and a long, healthy and happy retirement.
Finally, we say a heartfelt ‘Goodbye and Thank you’ to Mrs Matthews. Louise has taught, first of all, at Hartshead Moor School, then at Ravenshall for over 14 years and has been class tutor to many groups of pupils who have been very well supported both pastorally and academically. Her skills and talents within the Performing Arts will be missed as Louise was the driving force behind many of the school’s amazing seasonal productions and performances. Louise is going to be undertaking new directions and challenges in her career in the future and our best wishes go with her.
New opportunities are opening for staff who will be joining us in September. Alongside a number of Teaching Assistants and Activity Support colleagues, the Leadership team and Governors are delighted to welcome new teachers to Ravenshall.
Miss Errett is our new Vocational Subjects lead teacher and will be teaching KS4 and PfA learners with a new and exciting curriculum aimed at enhancing skills for lifelong learning and adulthood. Also, Miss Hodson will be joining the staff team to teach a wide and varied programme of study units to classes in KS3.
We wish all our new staff a warm welcome to Ravenshall School and we expect that you will get to know them better through home/school communication channels, as the term progresses.
May we now take this opportunity to say that, as always, it has been a pleasure and an inspiration working with everyone involved with this wonderful school. Hardworking staff, enthusiastic students and supportive parents, carers and Governors all show the upmost dedication and commitment to Ravenshall School, and that is what makes it so successful. Thank you for your continued support.
Have an enjoyable summer holiday and we look forward to welcoming you back on Tuesday 5th September 2017
Jeanette Tate Stephen Caines
Headteacher Head of School