07 Jan Head teacher’s Blog 07.01.19
Although this greeting is almost a week late, I would like to wish a Happy New Year to all members of our community ahead of our students and teachers returning to school on Monday January 7 at the normal time of 8.45am after a well-deserved two-week break. In educational terms, of course, the beginning of the spring term (and yes, I know it’s still winter but that’s just what’s it called!) is not the new beginning that it may be for many others but rather a continuation of the academic year that started way back in the sunnier climes of September and which will continue into the (hopefully) much warmer months of real springtime and on into summer itself. Although new year’s resolutions are very much welcome from any of our community who have a desire to become better versions of themselves, I would argue that each calendar year brings at least three hundred and sixty five opportunities to start again and that a school year (if fully attended) brings just under two hundred chances to improve (depending on when the bank holidays lie each year), so trying to be better only once each year, at the beginning of January, doesn’t really make much sense and would offer us only limited opportunities to get better at something. At Daubeney, given the journey that we have been on over the course of the past few years, we understand not only the importance of aiming to make continuous improvements but also the reality that progress sometimes doesn’t happen in the linear manner that we would all expect it to; setbacks can and will happen, and learning from the difficult moments often leads to more progress than when things simply go to plan all of the time.
The first half of the spring term offers two important dates for our community: a KS4 course selection (options) information evening for parents of students in Year 9 (we would also expect the students to attend!) on Tuesday January 15 and a parents’ evening for students in all year groups on Thursday January 24. Letters with further information about both dates will be sent out this week. At the options evening on Tuesday January 15, parents and students will find out about what subjects they will be able to take at GCSE level at Daubeney as they make progress through KS4 and onto the post-16 world of further education or employment that lies ahead. Our outstanding subject leaders at Daubeney have made a great deal of wonderful progress over the past three years in terms of building the curricula of their distinct subjects into a cohesive whole-school narrative that informs the learning journey of each child at our school from novice in the early years to expert when they leave us, and I am looking forward to parents and students having the opportunity to find out more about how Daubeney can continue to support excellent learning over the course of the next few years. In all good schools, the curriculum should be viewed not as a chronology or a list of subjects but rather as a learning narrative that forms the lived experience of each individual student during their time there, and I know that all teachers at Daubeney now very much understand this mindset and are on the same page, working together to create a unique and effective offer for the young people in our community.
I would also like to remind all parents and students of what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of dress code at Daubeney. Our uniform is intentionally simple, not only so that the expectations are easy to understand but also so that it enables parents to source items relatively cheaply. Our teachers expect our students to turn up each day with the complete and correct school uniform items, which are black shoes or trainers (no other colours!), black school trousers (no jeans or leggings!), white shirt, black blazer with the Daubeney badge and a Daubeney tie. Although many students may have received glamourous items as gifts at Christmas, such as false nails, make-up or new trainers, it would not be acceptable for those items to be worn at or brought into school, just as it hasn’t been acceptable to do so since September, or indeed even earlier. In addition, I would ask that coats are worn instead of hoodies for school, as not only are the former much smarter but also because they offer much more protection from the harsher weather that we may experience over the new couple of months. Although I stand by my point made earlier in this blog that every day brings an opportunity to improve, in this instance I would insist that Monday January 7 is a perfect chance for anyone who has previously struggled to meet our expectations about our school uniform to make the new start that they really need to.