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Headteacher's Blog

Here is a round up of our blog posts, keeping you informed about the life and times of Pinner High School.

 

October 2021

  • Chair's guest Blog

    Published 21/10/21, by Chris Woolf

    Chair of Governors Dr. Ahmed is the guest contributor of this week's blog, to round up our first half term of the year:

    "I am delighted to write to you at the end of the first half term of the year to thank you for your support through these complex times. I also want to let you know what your Governors have been doing to support and challenge our school leaders over the last term.

     The term started with the brilliant news of truly outstanding GCSE results. To be 24% above the national average for grades 7-9 this year is astonishing, and our Trailblazers, parents and teachers have so much to celebrate. However, rest assured, the governors are not complacent. We are always challenging and scrutinising data during our Students, Standards and Achievements Committee, holding the school to account. I know the students are enjoying the new building, especially the students who remember where we began in 2016 in just one corridor!  The Governors certainly remember, and we are immensely proud to see the completed product. The photo is from 1939! Our Finance and Risk Committee have overseen this since before the school opened, with the school management team. The Governors know how hard the school has worked to achieve the finished product plus how patient and flexible our children have had to be.

    It was a real honour for the Governors to be recognised alongside the School in the Harrow’s Heroes nomination in September. As Chair during this continuing difficult period, I remember how the school's response to managing Covid in the first wave was described by public health as 'exemplary'; staff delivering laptops to children on new year eve; our school being open to children of frontline workers from several local schools during the holidays; the endless hours of work that went into teacher assessed grades and you may recall how the school opened in August to begin Covid testing so that term could begin on time for all our students.  The governors oversee that the school are continually monitoring and assessing the Covid risk. 

    The term has felt like a welcome return to some sense of normality: we have enjoyed seeing the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions take place again, Harrow’s Music Service is back in the school, renewed and expanded LAMDA provision is available, we’re a part of a new Artist in Residence programme, and we have a full calendar of sports fixtures. Governors also recently had their first in person meeting in school since March 2020 and had a tour of the school. All this while continuing to ensuring Covid safety.

    With all of these activities going on, perhaps it is no surprise that interest in our school is greater than ever. We are the most oversubscribed school in Harrow for the last two years! Of course, all this success requires the support of you as parents, and the school and governors are extremely grateful for this.

    We continue to support and challenge the school to ensure we continually improve and grow.  This is done via regular meetings plus subcommittee meetings. We also have link governors monitoring areas such as safeguarding and SEN.

    As a local GP I am especially interested in mental health support, and I was pleased to have the chance to talk to Year 10 and 11 parents this week about supporting young people’s mental health. I also spoke to staff at school about the same topic, and  how to prioritise their own wellbeing so they can continue to offer outstanding care to our students.   

    I hope you will have a restful break, and thank you again for all your support this term. Pinner High has a strong community, and my Governors and I are pleased to be involved in it."

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  • Busy week!

    Published 15/10/21, by Chris Woolf

    Students have been really busy this week, covering a great range of activities. This includes completing the Duke of Edinburgh Silver award in high numbers, which is so impressive as the Award is very challenging and highly prestigious.

    I am grateful to Barclays Bank, who provided an introduction to employment session with Year 11 this week. Our Year 12 Engineering Scholars Group took part in a national summit designed to explore ways engineers can help solve the climate crisis. The Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Schools COP Summit saw over 50 students from across the UK come together, coinciding with the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow later in the month. Students heard from inspirational engineers at the forefront of reducing the effects of climate change and then held discussions hosted by broadcaster Fayon Dixon and former BBC presenter Susan Bookbinder that mirrored those being held at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. All students were given the opportunity to focus on areas of interest, such as protecting wildlife from the worst effects of climate change or motivating more young people to be more eco-conscious. They brainstormed ideas for how engineering can reduce the carbon footprint of the UK and how they can make an impact on reaching net zero themselves.

    A group of enthusiastic Year 10 students were able to participate in the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out’ Challenge. The fantastic Emily Pollet hosted an onsite workshop about confident public speaking which allowed students to improve their literacy and oracy skills. Students spoke about a range of subjects very close to their hearts, which included aspirations to be a chess grand master, wanting to address homophobia and racism in British society, and why they would want to be a whisk if they had to be a kitchen utensil!  Five students will be competing in our school assembly to see who can move on to the regional finals early next year.

    Our History department has been working hard to ensure that the history of black and ethnic minority people has been interweaved into the historical narratives that we teach; recognising the importance of capturing our nation’s diverse past in our curriculum all year round.  October is Black History Month, which we wanted to use as a focal point to draw more attention to the contributions of black and minority ethnic people that have often been overlooked or neglected in history. The History team put together a selection of different key people and stories that we want to share with our students. At school we have also begun to hold diversity awareness meetings to open up the conversation and to amplify students’ voices.

    Our Year 11 CCF students are back working alongside John Lyon School students looking at propulsion systems.  Their task is to create an aerodynamic wheeled vehicle that will travel furthest when propelled by an electric firework!

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  • Harrow's Heroes!

    Published 01/10/21, by Chris Woolf

    The week began with the celebration of our nomination as ‘Harrow’s Heroes’. Harrows Heroes “celebrates the hard work, dedication and achievements of local people and teams who make Harrow a special place to live and work.” It is a great honour for our school and Governors to be acknowledged in this way. More details of the award scheme can be found here: Harrow's Heroes 2021 – Harrow's Heroes – Harrow Council

    Our first ‘Artist in residence’ event takes place this afternoon. We are delighted to be involved in this scheme, set up by Andria Zafirakou, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner: About Andria - Artists in Residence. We will host Armando Alemdar who will be leading an oil painting workshop today. Our A Level art students will be involved, as well as all the trainee art teachers working with the Hillingdon School Centred Initial Teacher Training programme. This art programme is led by our Head of Art. Art is already a strength of the school, and I am excited to see how this continues to develop.

    We had other visitors this week, from the Amy Winehouse Foundation. They led a workshop for Sixth Formers on drug and alcohol awareness, with a focus on the pressures that young people go through such as self-esteem, fitting in, peer pressure, social media and body image. They heard a ‘life share’ from a speaker who had experienced drug and alcohol dependence and overcome this. Students were so engaged in this session and had lots of questions for the speakers about their life experiences. Brook also delivered a session on consent and healthy relationships. The focus of the session was on empowering students to recognise unhealthy relationships and to ensure that students feel empowered to stand up to any situations in their relationships where they do not feel comfortable.

    The image this week is from our Origami House event- a big contrast to House Tug of War, and great to see so many students involved.

    Our open events for Year 7 entry to the school in September 2022 take place next week. All six in person sessions are now fully booked, but if you know anyone interested in finding out about a Pinner High School education who has not been able to book a place, there are live Zoom presentations on Monday that they may be able to join. We also have a new school film available that gives a good insight into our school if you cannot be here in person: Pinner High School 2021. 

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