Obviously, our Vision for the School and our students is important. The last 6 months have been dominated by developing our curriculum, exploring our assets and implementing change for the better for all. Our exploration set out to affirm the existing aspects of Broadlands Hall School that everyone loves, embracing its caring nature, along with the genuine belief that everyone is important and the inclusive ethos. We have also been working on a wave of change, preparing the ground for the long-term, with a revised curriculum and enhanced facilities. The School has investigated pedagogy and partnership opportunities and we now feel we have a truly holistic package of learning opportunities, enabling us to confidently offer a truly excellent provision for all our students. Our challenge now is to articulate the long-term Vision to everyone connected to the school and its students, also creating a simple message that everyone can ‘get’. So, after months of thinking, here is our initial headline statement: Ambition for all – helping all students to be the very best they can be and enjoy life as much as possible. I would honestly welcome you comment and input.
This term we have focused on the core Values of RESPECT and RESILLIENCE. The boys are not just being encouraged to think about how they can show respect for others but also how much self-respect they have. We are showing them, with what they have achieved, that there is something to be proud of and also, how healthy eating and taking care with personal hygiene is a way of showing their own bodies respect.
To support students vocational learning, our school has grown an extension (well nearly – it will be finished by next half term). The extension will house a wood workshop. Some students will be able to make bird-boxes and work with wood, which will help develop their motor skills, creativity and sense of achievement.
Next half term, the events calendar is really exciting. Following on from the success of our trip to see War Horse, students will be off to London to see The Lion King in the West End. We will also visit the Natural History Museum in Tring and Ivanhoe Beacon. (We are hoping for a windy day so we can have a go at kite flying.) Early in March, a group will participate in the Careers Fair at Colchester and the term ends with Broadlands Hall’s Got Talent, an event to which you are all invited of course. Acts will include magic tricks, singing, dramatic performance, Master Chef, football skills and RAP.
The wind and rain this half term has not deterred Cook House members from continuing their learning in the community. They have visited the Whipple Museum in Cambridge, the Suffolk Regiment, Hollow Trees Farm and Colchester Castle. Just last week, students from Raleigh and Scott House joined them for a trip to Duxford Museum where they experienced life in WW1 trenches and we were given a bespoke information tour by one of Duxford’s experts. The day not only supported this term’s history study of WW1 but was great fun.
There is no doubt that actually meeting people who have been successful is motivating and inspirational. We are lucky enough to have secured the services of Dan Bentley to teach them Boccia. www.bentleyboccia.com . Dan has won medals during two Para-Olympic Games. In addition, Lucy Holder is visiting the School to explain her training routine to some of the boys. She plays Hockey for England and used to play for Cambridge United FC.
Our own physical education provision continues to develop. The weekly Sports Centre activity comprises circuit training and fun team relay games, as well as ball sports, while at Broadlands we have taken ownership of a new piece of apparatus that allows the students to develop their fitness on site. Furthermore, the grounds have been mapped so that students have 400, 800 and 1500 metre walk/job tracks that they can complete.
Some students are now learning to ride horses with the RDA and will achieve certificates based on the riding and horse care skills they develop. The boys have really impressed the instructor both in terms of their ability to learn but also their excellent manners.
Marathon: most exciting of all, is the forthcoming sponsored Marathon that all the boys are taking part in: really, they are! We are walking to raise money for Children with Cancer. However, the Marathon will be walked / jogged during the whole of April and we are ‘clocking’ their miles all day every day using Smartphone Aps. The central event will be a day out and a walk around Grafham Water – with picnic, weather permitting (http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/leisure/water-parks/grafham/). Upon completion, the boys will receive a Marathon medal, which we hope will give them a great sense of satisfaction.
We were so proud of our student who starred in the local Pantomime. Most of the students went to see the show and I know they were entertained and inspired by his performance. In fact, without any bias whatsoever, I believe that he was the best performer in the show. In March, he will be competing in a regional Arts Festival, that will include a solo monologue, solo Shakespeare and the ‘in the news’ improvisation class. I am sure many of his fellow students will be going along to support him again.
Next half-term, several students will start work on their Arts Council Bronze Arts Award, with all students enjoying our new Therapeutic Art and Design programme. So far this term the boys have created 3D sensory trees. The students are being taught Art in small groups which has the added benefit of developing their social and interpersonal skills.
Duke of Edinburgh Awards
Yet another exciting development: After half-term, we will start an afterschool club, where students can work towards the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. All boys are eligible and will be enrolled. Those that would like to, will progress to the full DofE medal stage and even those that do not take part in this particular stage, will receive an award that acknowledges their participation and progress. The boys will attempt at putting up tents, cooking outside, volunteering, country crafts and orienteering.
As I was able to announce in December, we had a lovely visit from Ofsted and it’s worth mentioning again! The Inspector’s report states:
This inspection of Broadlands Hall found that the school has fully implemented its action plan in order to meet the independent school standards. Revisions to the curriculum ensure that pupils are given work that presents each of them with a suitable level of academic challenge and also promotes, more systematically, their personal development. There have been notable improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, based on higher expectations and a more rigorous approach to monitoring the quality of provision. The headteacher has successfully implemented the necessary changes to ensure that the school meets all the previously unmet independent school standards, and has quickly raised the expectations of pupils and staff. Staff have worked hard to embrace new systems and have been well supported with guidance and training.
I hope to see as many of you as possible next half term.