Principal’s Blog – 3rd February 2017

The Reconnect Project

Time To Reconnect With The Real World?

Last year I read a fascinating article in the Times Educational Supplement about a project being run in schools in which students – and staff – were invited to give up digital technology for one week to raise awareness about the time that they spend online. I imagine that for some of you, the very thought of this might cause you mild panic but it does pose an interesting question about how much of our lives we spend talking to online friends instead of engaging with real people. I contacted the project leader, Erin Cotter, to see if Minsthorpe could get involved in the massive study that she has had commissioned by Channel 4 to get students to think about their reliance on digital technology and the issues that are created when we start living our lives online. In March we will be delivering the Reconnect Project through our Computing and Digital Media lessons and will invite students, their teachers and their parents to limit their online activities for a week. Here is a video describing the project.

The ethos of the Reconnect Project is not anti-technology – the benefits of online connectivity are obvious to us all. At its best, digital technology provides a valuable lifeline to the wider world. But it’s a question of balance. When students spend too much time looking at their screens, there is a knock-on effect in terms of health, happiness, concentration and employability. It’s not surprising that so many industry leaders in Silicon Valley (most famously the late Steve Jobs) enforce screen limits within workplaces. In January France passed a law that allows staff the right to disconnect from technology when they leave work. Sometimes we all need to switch off and not be contactable – let’s see how we manage for a week here!

Prince Ea sums it up better than I ever could – plus I cannot rap!


On Wednesday I popped into one of the beGr8 sessions that are held after college. What an incredible atmosphere! 17 Year 11 students were working on home learning projects or revising or helping one another – all in a really mature way. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks all contributed to the adult learning environment and it was a pleasure to see our students acting so responsibly – I really hope that they stay with us post-16!

Wor lads was up a height, man!

On a heavy pitch in the North East that was still hacky with clarts, the Year 10 football team came up against a powerful team in the shape of Gosforth Academy and went down 6-2. You can tell a lot about a team when they win – but you can learn even more about them when they lose – and our lads never let their heads drop and competed until the final whistle. Well done lads – we are proud of you. As ever, only our resident football pundit and reporter, Mitch Cameron, can fully describe the event

Ray Henshaw