I had the pleasure of accompanying the Geography Department and a wonderful group of Year 11s to Iceland this half term to experience some of the awe and wonder of that incredible landscape. The students were a credit to the school and as I have found myself commenting on numerous occasions in my first half term as Headteacher, with such wonderful ambassadors all over our school, proving themselves in their sports fixtures, DofE expeditions and most critically in the classroom, it really does continue to be a privilege to lead this school.
I have some exciting news to share! The Cabinet Member for Education & Skills has now approved the prioritisation list for projects within Band B of the Council’s 21st Century Schools Programme, and I am delighted to confirm that Bassaleg School is to be one of the first to be addressed. Following a workshop meeting earlier this term which included members of our Leadership Team, Newport Norse has been commissioned by the Council to undertake a feasibility study which will determine the extent of the works on our site to ensure sufficiency of school places and improvements which could include replacement of demountable classrooms and the remodelling and rationalisation of existing teaching facilities.
This is really exciting news for the school and whilst I’m not in a position to share much in the way of practical details as yet, the project’s core purpose is to ensure that any new development on site should meet the needs of a dynamic, flexible and creative 21st century curriculum whilst ensuring that core facilities on site such as those for dining are fit for purpose for an increased roll number. Our students, staff and school community deserve the very best facilities and I make a pledge to you that I will work tirelessly to make the most of this wonderful opportunity. Over the coming months, I will consult with pupils, staff, parents and governors to enlist your thoughts and shall keep you all fully apprised of developments.
It doesn’t fail to impress me the extent to which our pupils manage “the challenge” of aspects of their learning environment on a daily basis and produce incredible outcomes despite this. In the first few weeks of term, I visited a fabulous workshop led by “Only Men Aloud” coaching and building confidence in some of our young musical stars. In History, I dropped in on the most creative political hustings I’ve ever seen, relating to claimants to the throne in 1066. Year 7 pupils were both hilarious and brilliant in equal measures rapping, singing and even offering interpretations through dance of their political viewpoints! Our bakers continue to impress me with their creative and meticulous methods in bread making and artistry in “knife-craft” …yes knife-craft! I wandered in on some of our Year 9 students delicately carving beautiful aesthetic structures such as swans made from apple as part of their module on developing hospitality skills. Our budding Scientists have competed with each other in building the most powerful rocket (something I have particularly enjoyed seeing “take-off” right outside my window!) Creative and perseverance skills have been in equal measure on display this term: I have nothing but respect for the significant number of Year 11 students who continue to invest energy and enthusiasm to their Maths lessons in particular on the run up to their November exams, not just in lessons but on Friday after school; I am confident that their hard work will pay off and wish them every success for their exams immediately after half term!
I had the pleasure in conducting my first Headteacher/Parent Exchange last half term and want to thank you in general for all of your constructive feedback about developments taking place across school. I know many of you have been particularly pleased by the increased level of communication; please be reassured that we have taken on board your recommendations about how to most effectively streamline this communication and as such, please always refer to our website for the most up-to-date information about calendared events taking place. We have built in links to our twitter, facebook and Instagram pages to our main website and I know many of you are enjoying seeing the successes of our pupils publicised in this way.
The Christmas term is always a busy one, with so much going on in the classroom and within enrichment activities. We have many events planned: Year 8 parent information evening, parent evenings for Year 12 and Year 7, Children in Need, Remembrance Sunday, Awards evening and of course our Christmas concert which never fails to get us all in the festive spirit. Health and Happiness@Bassaleg remains firmly at the heart of our priorities this term alongside our focus on developing the quality of student voice. As such, Miss Beer will be leading a workshop with our middle leaders and pupils on how we can further develop this crucial agenda.
I’ll leave you with some snapshots from what has been a wonderfully busy and productive first half term at Bassaleg! PS – The main image featured in my blog is the view from my office, located very much at the heart of the school.
Victoria Lambe (Twitter - @HeadteacherBas1)
Headteacher, Bassaleg School