Headteacher's Blog - Friday 13th December 2019
I’ve got to open by saying that it is difficult to know where to begin this week’s blog as so much has taken place over the past seven days.
Last Sunday evening Ms Rothwell, Mr Buckley and the vocal group brought the curtain down on their public appearances for 2019 with a roof raising performance at the Royal British Legion’s Annual Christmas Concert held at Gorton Monastery. In all they performed foursongs for which they received rapturous applause. Well done once again to everyone involved and thank you for being such fine ambassadors for the college throughout 2019.
On Tuesday Ms Murphy, Ms Bane, Ms Woolston, Mr Woodall and I were out in Manchester City Centre with a group of students from the college’s Charity Club. The purpose of the visit was to distribute bags of essentials to the homeless, illustrating once again that Wright Robinson College is an establishment that cares for the members of our community and for people city wide. The bags were made up from the many contributions that the charity club received from the families and friends of our students and the staff. I would like to thank everyone for their kindness in supporting this venture.
As you can imagine the bags were extremely well received and hopefully their contents made life a little more comfortable in the short term for their recipients. In all we distributed around seventy bags and in doing so we covered 11,000 steps as I am reliably informed by one of the students. Well done to the staff and students for supporting such an important cause.
In keeping with the topic of Charity, Wednesday saw the staff out again this time with the lead council on a visit to Manchester’s Children’s Hospital. On this occasion the students were delivering the vast array of presents which had been donated to the Charity Club throughwhat was a dual campaign this Christmas. The college also presented a cheque for £150 to the hospital which was money the students had raised themselves in college time.
The community theme continued into Wednesday afternoon when the college hosted its annual Senior Citizens Party. Thanks to Mrs Shaw, Mrs Jones, Mrs Worthington, Ms Penkethman, Ms Salerno and Ms Woolston for all of their hard work in organising the event and to the other members of staff who assisted on the day. Thanks also to all of the students who worked as chaperones and helpers throughout the afternoon and the catering and caretaking teams for helping with the food and set up. There were over sixty senior citizens in attendance and we have received many lovely letters of thank you to illustrate that the event was a huge success.
Whilst the festivities have started the college’s pursuit of sporting success has continued in earnest. This week there have been some notable team and individual successes. On Tuesday the Under 14 Boys Football Team won a tricky away tie at Thomas Telford 4-0 to book a place in the quarter final of the Elite ESFA Cup. Also on Tuesday the under 14’s Boys Basketball Team posted a notable win in the English Schools Basketball Competition beating our close rivals St Peters 82-49. These two results show the strength in depth the year groups have in terms of sporting ability.
The Under 15 girls continued the college’s run of success when they were crowned Greater Manchester Futsal Champions earlier in the week following victories against Flixton, Wellington and Whalley Range at Platt Lane. I have asked the PE Department to order in some more silver polish as the teams continue to add to our already extensive haul of trophies. The girls now proceed to the regional stage of the competition which will be held at the Beacon of Light Sports Centre, Sunderland on 12th March 2020.
The stand out individual sporting performance of the week must go to Favour in year 9. Earlier this year Favour competed in the Greater Manchester Indoor Rowing School Games competition becoming the fastest rower across all of Greater Manchester’sSchools. That success led to her qualification for the 2019 Mizuno British Indoor Rowing Championships which were held in London last weekend.
The event held at the Velopark in Lee Valley Olympic Village saw Favour compete in several rowing based pursuits. I am pleased to report that Favour won a Gold Medal in the 500m School Games row and a Silver Medal in the British Rowing Association 500m row, placing her second in the United Kingdom in this category. To complete the set Favour then went on to win a Bronze Medal in the 400m row. Well done Favour for flying the Wright Robinson Flag high in the capital.
Friday marked what I view to be the official start of the Christmas celebrations for the students. This year the Year 7’s set the ball rolling enjoying a Carol Service, Christmas Lunch and a Christmas movie before departing for home full of festive cheer. It filled me with great pride to see staff and students singing along to the Christmas carols and songs and it left me with the one thought, that nobody does it quite like Team Wright Robinson.
Headteacher's Blog - Friday 6th December 2019
Today the curtain falls on what has been an excellent two week ‘My Mind, My Body’ initiative. The focus has been on developing the students’ understanding of the mental and physical benefits that an active lifestyle can have on them.
Whilst Ms Collard and Mr Simonneau have orchestrated proceedings there have been inputs from a wide range of professionals. The morning ‘wake up walks’ did exactly that, particularly earlier in the week when the temperatures were very low. I am pleased that staff and students alike fully embraced the walks and this is something we are looking to continue in the future.
A ‘big win’ with the students was Ms Loh’s ‘duelling’ taster session, which thankfully was more akin to fencing with foam replicas as opposed to daggers at dawn.
The raft building and canoeing activities on Debdale were particularly well received by the students and there was some great feedback on the sessions run by the Army, The Fire Service, Audacious Church, Sala Soccer and Sale Harriers. My thanks goes out to them all for supporting the event. I must also thank the English, Science and PSHE Departments in addition to the Pastoral Team for ensuring that the message was spread across the curriculum. I would also like to thank Ms Moore and the kitchen staff for providing more healthy options on the daily menu throughout the campaign to encourage students to enjoy a heathy diet.
On Wednesday, Ms Naughton’s Spanish class enjoyed a traditional taste of Spain when a selection of Tapas was brought into college for the students to eat. With ‘la tortilla’, ‘el chorizo’ and ‘el jamon’ on offer the students got a sense of some of the culinary delights Spain has to offer. I believe that next on the agenda is a trip out for the group to a traditional Tapas restaurant at which time I am sure I will have a space in my diary.
This week also saw the launch of Mr Gunn’s Journalism Club. Accessible to students from years 7, 8 and 9 it is hoped that the experiences gained will help to hone the students’ journalistic skills. This week the group focused on preparing a press conference which I am led to believe involved the journalistic interrogation of Mr Gunn.
In a conversation on Thursday evening with a parent it was interesting to hear that one of our past students Dillon, is mid-way through a journalist based degree course. His studies have most recently seen him adorn the press boxes of several football league clubs, where he has been preparing match reports for publication. It is a field of work that has always interested me and hopefully at some point we may even see a member of our own Journalist Club reporting in one of our national newspapers. In the meantime who knows, we may even see a Journalist Club Blog. Well done to Mr Gunn and the students.
Remaining with the topic of parents evening I would like to thank all parents, carers, students and staff who attended Thursday’s Year 10 Parents Evening. Parents Evenings are a critical part of the education process providing a platform for all stakeholders to have informed discussions around student progress, attainment and well-being. As is always the case at Wright Robinson the event was well attended despite the inclement weather.
In keeping with the theme of attainment and progress well done to Boluwatife and Olateju from year 11 who won Ms Walsh’s Photography Intervention prize after each attended intervention sessions on forty two different occasions.
The sports and arts continue to play a major role in life here at Wright Robinson. On Wednesday Ms Davies, Ms Mooney and four students from years 7 and 10 were out working with the National Theatre. It was a great opportunity for them to explore pupil voice, develop campaign skills and bring awareness of issues to a range of audiences using drama and theatre.
On Monday Ms Ashton Smith and a group of girls attended the first workshop of the ‘Game of Our Own’ Programme which took place at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium. The presentation was delivered by members of the Youth Sports Trust Learning Academy and the FA PE Unit Staff. The Game of Our Own programme provides face to face training to support and engage girls in physical education through football. Furthermore, it identifies and develops life skills and supports girls to be empowered to lead football-related activities for others.
Lilly-Rae, Aisha and Natasha proved to be excellent ambassadors for the college at the event working with other schools to determine what motivates girls in sport and how they can overcome any potential barriers they may face.
In terms of sports performances this week’s stand out results go to the boys and girls under 15 football teams. The boys navigated their way through a very difficult Elite English Schools Cup Tie to beat Cardinal Heenan of Liverpool 4-3 on penalties after a hard fought game. However, possibly eclipsing that achievement, the girls were crowned Manchester Futsal Champions after defeating MCA, Newall Green and Whalley Range.
Well done to everyone who has been out representing the college this week.
Next week is potentially the busiest of the academic year to date as the festive period looms ever closer. Hopefully it will bring much for us to celebrate.
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Headteacher's Blog - Friday 29th November 2019
What a week it’s been at the college, as the pace of life quite rightly shows no sign of abating as we approach the run up to Christmas.
The year 11’s commenced their mock examinations on Monday and I think it is only appropriate that this week’s blog begins with me saying how proud the staff and I are at the way the year group have approached the whole process. The students have demonstrated a level of maturity beyond their years. Their behaviour and conduct has been impeccable and we have seen a real desire to succeed across the group. Hopefully this desire will bring the results our students deserve not only in the mock examinations but in next Summer’s external examinations.
This week saw the PE Department launch a new initiative in ‘My Body, My Mind’. I am pleased to report that it has captured the interests of staff and students alike. The primary focus of the programme is to raise awareness on the importance the role that physical activity can have on improving an individual’s positive mental health.
I must profess to being alarmed having watched the presentation that four in five eleven to seventeen year olds do not participate in the recommended one hour a day of physical activity.
I can say without hesitation that the college is determined to redress this alarming statistic and we will do everything within our power to encourage and enthuse our students to become more active.
This week students have been involved in a number of different activities both within their physical education lessons and across other subject areas. These have included bike ability sessions, group walks in the local community, the Joe Wicks form time work outs and presentations around how to improve sleep patterns and maintain a healthy diet.
Students have enjoyed finding new ways to be active whilst experiencing first hand the benefits these activities have had on them both physically, mentally and socially.
All students and staff have fully embraced the programme and I am certain that just like me they are looking forward to the wake up walks that will take place during form time next week.
In keeping with the theme of physical activity the last seven days have seen our school teams accrue many miles on the road with trips to Harrogate, Merseyside and the Midlands. Once again our wins have far outweighed our defeats.
The stand out team performances of last week must go to the year 8/9 boys and girls Athletics Teams who completed another historic double when they were crowned Manchester Indoor Athletics Champions.
The stand out individual performance must go to Stanley from Year 9 who cleared 1m 80cm at the Manchester schools Athletics finals to finish in Gold Medal position. In doing so Stanley broke the Manchester and Wright Robinson Year 9 High Jump record.
It has been another busy week for Ms Rothwell, Mr Buckley and the college Vocal Group. On Wednesday they recorded the college song ‘Not just when it’s Christmas’, as an entry into Virgin Radio’s Twelve Schools of Christmas competition. The winning groups will enjoy a Virgin Radio Experience Day which will include a pop-up cinema screen being brought into the college, hot food and drink stands and a movie premiere style red carpet. The overall winning school/college will also play host to the Chris Evans Breakfast Radio Show on Friday 20th December. I think the age old phrase of ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ certainly applies here and despite the certainty that the standard of opposition will be high, let’s hope for a successful outcome.
There was certainly no time for staff and students to dream of what might be, as on Thursday evening the Vocal Group were out on public duty once again fulfilling their role as Bridge GM’s official choir. In the company of the Mayor of Manchester they performed at an event held at the Consular General Iraq Offices in Manchester City Centre.
The college’s ‘Spanish club’ run by Mrs Naughton and Ms Benitez continues to be hugely popular with students. The group have learnt many new and interesting facts about Spanish culture and the Spanish language. They have also looked closely at countries other than Spain in which Spanish is the first language. As part of their studies they have looked at the history surrounding Mexico’s ‘Day of The Dead’ or ‘Dia de Muertos’ celebration. This multi-day holiday is a time where family and friends gather to pray for and remember the passing of those close to them. In addition, the students have translated a chart-topping hit and taken a look at some famous Hispanic celebrities. I think the only other task I would now set the group is to see if they can conjure up some traditional Spanish weather for us just before Christmas.
The MFL department are also keenly promoting language learning not only in their classrooms but also around the college and wider community. To help the department with this Mrs Naughton and Ms Khan have enlisted the help of a group of committed students who have undertaken the role of language ambassadors. The Language Ambassador Scheme has been initiated to support Ms Khan’s Erasmus grant. The students selected are all keen linguists and are determined to spread the MFL message.
As my Blog draws to a close for this week I would just like to say that I hope the college has inspired all that read this to take part in some form of physical activity not only this weekend but during the week ahead, in support of our ‘My Mind, My Body’ campaign.
For the latest news and events follow us on Twitter @WrightRobinson
Headteacher's Blog - Friday 22nd November 2019
It has been another busy week for staff and students at the college with lots of positives to reflect upon. For the first time in the colleges history, Wednesday saw four students from Year 11 enter the UK Mathematics Senior Team Challenge held at the University of Manchester. In a competition that is traditionally aimed at seventeen to eighteen year olds the team fared exceptionally well. They finished a more than respectable 26th out of the 50 teams who entered, the majority of which were from Higher Education College’s. Well done to Mrs Heeks and the team for putting Wright Robinson firmly on the Mathematical Team Challenge Map.
Whilst on the subject of maps, to many Corsica is a little known island situated in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the eighteen regions of France. This week as part of the school’s Erasmus Project managed by Ms Khan students from Mr Jones’ Year 9 French Class exchanged letters with students from the College Camille Borrossi, based in the small village of Vico. By participating in this process our students learnt more about life on the island, whilst ensuring that the name of Wright Robinson continues to spread far and wide.
Last week Ms Murphy took eleven students from year 10 to interview for a position on the Young Local Organising Committee for the Greater Manchester School Games. I am pleased to report that one of our Young Leaders Gabriella was successful following what I am reliably informed was a rigorous interview process. Well done to Gabriella on this much deserved success and also well done to all those who were successful in making the interview stage.
This week Ms Murphy was out with a group of year 10 students attending a peer mentoring network event. The group looked at several initiatives and ideas which will hopefully prove beneficial in their work back here at HQ.
Earlier in the week Mrs Seddon took a group of year 9 and 10 girls to the University of Manchester to attend a Youth Sport Trust workshop looking at ways to make sport and exercise more appealing to young females both within a school context and the community. Twenty-five professionals from the sports sector were also in attendance at the event. I look forward to seeing how the discussions shape changes in the future.
In keeping with the theme of students accessing community based events, Ms Thompson (Year 9) took a group of students to attend a youth summit facilitated by the personal care brand, Dove. Looking at self-esteem and body positivity students from years 8 to 10 attended the event held at Manchester Hall in the city centre. As a follow up to the course the group have now entered a competition to produce a media presentation that they will share across the college in the hope of winning a £750 first prize.
As is the norm at Wright Robinson since the last time of writing we have played some fourteen official fixtures in a variety of sports. In addition to this the Under 13 and Under 14 girls took part in a rugby tournament this week, promoted by England Rugby and held at Platt Lane. I am pleased to report that the girls ran out winners in three of their four matches.
Finally, Monday 25th November will mark the start of the Year 11 Mock Examinations. Whilst this is a particularly important time for students at the college it is important that stress levels are managed and that our young people make the most of their ‘downtime’. College staff have spoken to the students about the importance of this, providing details on a healthy diet, exercise and the need for consistent sleep patterns. Hopefully this advice will be heeded and the students will perform well. I wish them the very best of luck with their revision and the examinations. You can view your Mock timetable here.
For the latest news and events follow us on Twitter @WrightRobinson
The first Headteacher's Blog - Friday 15th November 2019
Welcome everyone to the first Headteacher’s Blog. It has been a very busy week with lots going on both in college and out in the community.
On Sunday 10th and Monday 11th November staff and students were involved in a variety of ‘Remembrance Day’ activities with visits to the Cenotaph in Abbey Hey, Gorton Monastery and Heroes Wood, Debdale. The choir had major inputs at all three events and they were back performing again on Thursday at John Lewis, Cheadle, in their new role as the official Manchester Choir following their appointment by last year’s High Sherriff. I must extend my thanks to Mr Buckley and the students who have accrued many miles this week showcasing all that Team Wright Robinson represents.
As always the traditional Remembrance Day Service here at Wright Robinson paid a fitting tribute to all who have passed in armed conflict. Many students attended in uniform that represented various groups including the cadets, scouts and guides.
I must profess to being extremely impressed at the performance of Macbeth by students from various year groups under the tutorage of Ms Lee and Ms Mooney this week. If I had to pick a ‘stand out’ moment, I think this would be it. The group performed in Manchester as part of the ‘Shakespeare in schools Festival’ on Thursday evening and they have received excellent reviews. The students command and recall of the Shakespearian language was particularly impressive.
On Thursday evening the ‘Careers Pathway Event’ was very well attended by students, parents and carers. We had a large number of outside agencies offering support and advice to those in attendance and the feedback was extremely positive. Thank you to Mrs Pugh for organising and coordinating proceedings.
This week saw a group of Year 10 students take their first foray into their new leadership roles as Peer Mentors. Working to support the year 7’s in a variety of areas, this marked the next step for the students in the college’s leadership pathway. This important initiative led by Ms Murphy is at the very heart of everything we believe in here at Wright Robinson.
As Parliament itself was suspended the college’s Year 9 and 10 students took part in UK Parliament Week facilitated through their citizenship lessons. Learning how parliament works and debating topical issues our young people have enjoyed a taste of what life is like for the candidates currently trying to secure votes from the public across the country in the build up to the General Election.
In the sporting domain the college has enjoyed another excellent week with high numbers of participation and multiple wins in different sports for both boys and girls. There are far too many to mention individually but to see the Under 14 and Under 16 Girls Netball Teams competing in the national competition this week was really pleasing. Equally so was the Boys Under 14 football win in the ESFA Trophy away at Sandwell in West Bromwich on Thursday in what the staff described as the worst conditions they have ever experienced.
It was great to see the PE staff throwing their full support behind this year’s Children in Need Campaign. Ms Ashton Smith co-ordinated events this morning including mass participation in the Joe Wicks inspired ‘Big Move’ and the ‘duck race’ all of which were shown live via video link in the Sports Hall. At the time of writing the PE Department had raised in excess of two hundred pounds. For PE updates follow @wrirobPE
Hopefully next week will bring more of the same and thanks again to every member of Team Wright Robinson for their contributions to college life.
For the latest news and events follow us on Twitter @WrightRobinson