Interest in the school has been extraordinary in the last few weeks; over 1300 visitors to open evening, and overwhelming interest in tours of the school. As well as this we have had our termly visit from the Department for Education, hosted theatre company the ‘Riot Act’, took to the stage at the Heath Robinson museum celebrations, enjoyed the second guest speaker in our Q?rius programme, held our ski trip parents meeting and somehow found ourselves at the end of the first half term of our second year!
Our Year 8 students were brilliant tour guides on Open Evening, with lots of feedback noting what excellent ambassadors they are. Seeing the school at work is a great way to see if it is right for your child, and a prospective parent left today saying that it is a ‘beautiful school’. With £4 million of refurbishment work taking place when Avanti House leave us in just a few months, hopefully even more of it will fit that description soon!
During tours of the school, students often talk about their favourite parts of school life. The Q?rius programme features in this more and more, and the guest speaker this week, Criminal Barrister Lucy Sweetland of 2 Bedford Row Chambers, shared some fascinating insights into life in Court, the legal system in the UK, and her time volunteering with a charity representing death row inmates in the US. Students were spellbound, and even had the chance to try on her gown and wig!
Continuing the theme of making judgements, the Department for Education during their inspection last week confirmed all the judgements we have made about ourselves since we have been open; there is plenty still to do, but the school has had the very best of starts. Being rated ‘Outstanding’ by parents, students and staff in all categories is certainly a very positive endorsement at this point in the school’s development. I shared with the inspector lots of our student progress data, including the remarkable improvement in student reading ages during our first year. Average student progress was to add 2.2 months to their reading age for every month they were in the school.
As well as our own students on stage at the Heath Robinson Museum celebrations this weekend, the ‘Riot Act’ presented their theatre and workshop around the theme of road safety last week. Secondary school students are statistically the most at risk group as pedestrians, and such safety reminders are hugely important. Safety, as well as excitement, were high on the agenda when we met with the parents of the students lucky enough to be going on our ski trip this year. With 25 students signed up for this trip, and 40 for the trip to Spain and 40 for China the year after, students at Pinner High School are going places!