Inspects Roots and Leaves!
On Friday November 13th we were visited by representatives of the Northern Academies Head Teachers Board. The HTBs are new bodies created by the Department For Education and are made up of 6 to 8 members who are there to help the 8 Regional Schools Commissions to be the champions for academy freedoms, identify where new academies can be created and to help the small number of academies which are struggling. The Head Teachers Board has no links to Ofsted and their visit was not an Ofsted inspection. Their results are not published but are given to us as an external check on our progress.
The visitors were really impressed by the English and Maths lessons they visited and by the behaviour of students. They talked to a group of students and their passion for the college and the education they receive shone through. During the feedback, the lead commented that the students had been ‘exceptionally polite’, ‘highly positive’ and were ‘great ambassadors’ for the college.
A really good visit that also offered us some useful tips going forward.
At Minsthorpe we are preparing our young people for the next stage of their lives and on Monday November 16th we hosted the Careers Fair for Years 10, 11 and Post-16. Over 40 providers set up stalls to signpost the many career opportunities that are available after GCSEs and A levels. Careers education and guidance is a high priority for us and we are keen that our young people make informed choices about their futures – whether that involves further (or higher education), apprenticeships or employment.
Make a Noise about Bullying
Anti-Bullying Week ran from November 16th – 20th in the UK and was organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. Sadly, bullying is an ongoing problem that all schools have to deal with. It is not that common here because we take the issue very seriously at Minsthorpe. Nevertheless one incident for us is two too many so, to coincide with the event, we unveiled our new Anti-Bullying Ambassadors scheme to students. We now have a number of trained students who make themselves available to students who might be experiencing problems. We are a "talking college" and encourage all students to talk about the effects of bullying and to tell us if they feel that they are being bullied (or see others being bullied). What we are aiming to do is to empower our young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online.
On Monday 16th November our students were treated to an inspirational talk from Paul Broadbent. Paul Broadbent is a real star of Rugby League. In a career spanning 17 years, prop forward Paul represented England and Great Britain, playing over 450 first grade games for teams including Sheffield Eagles, Halifax, Hull and Wakefield. Paul freely admits that he was academically challenged but found sport to be the one school subject he enjoyed. Introduced to rugby at 11 years old, Paul found his sporting passion. He wasn’t as naturally gifted as some of his teammates and had to train hard to improve and compete with more talented players, but his passion and commitment to the game shone through. His message to our students fits exactly with the growth mindset that we are trying to create at Minsthorpe – "Passion, determination, self-belief and commitment can outshine any talent."