Sunday, 15 July 2012

Seven weeks and counting


So much has happened since the planning permission was granted, it’s been a whirlwind of activity. On a personal note, I don’t need to split myself in half anymore, having celebrated my last week at my old school. No more half a week here, half there, although I still seem to be working 16+ hour long days … I would like to record my thanks to my employers for negotiating with Sandymoor School to release me on secondment for the time they did.


One exciting thing early on was the finalising of the tender for all the ICT requirements for Sandymoor; a lot of our fresh approach will rely on high quality ICT and we have selected from a competitive process a company to provide all our requirements. One of the things that impressed me about them was how much they appeared to understand the fact that we want to do everything differently, building processes from scratch to best support our students. Along with this, our ICT Network Manager has been able to be involved and it is also good to see that Chris has the understanding of the Sandymoor ‘way’.



Last Friday was a big day, however, as we had the first full staff and governors induction day, where everyone (apart from Lucy, our Humanities teacher, as she’s finishing off her school’s term out in Germany) met together for the first time. It was fantastic to see everyone getting on and discussing ideas together! One of the main foci of the event was to plan the school’s contribution to the Sandymoor Village Fair. It was all a bit of a worry, during our Induction event on the Friday, looking out of the windows at Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre’s boardroom as the rain came down, but Saturday came and so did the sun! What a great day that was and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. All the Sandymoor School staff who were able to be there were, in my opinion, splendid and threw themselves into the event with the passion that I saw from all of them during the interview process and since.


It was also great to see the site of the Temporary school fenced out, ready for work to commence. Just last Friday, I drove over to Wakefield to meet with the contractors tasked with getting the school ready forus and had a very productive meeting. It was great to hear the commitment from them to the school; they had done their research and read the website (and this blog) to get a feel for the project. It is really good to meet with people who care about the projects they work on and I have absolute faith in Roan’s ability to deliver the school to us. As an example of the level we’ve got to,we were discussing where we wanted carpet, as opposed to vinyl flooring, locations of student lockers, and other, sundry details about the fixtures and fittings.


As an aside, this last week, we were also down in London, attending a reception in the House of Lords for Free Schools opening in September, where Michael Gove and Rachel Wolf (from the New Schools Network) praised the hard work of all the project groups to get the schools to where they all were. A good celebration of the Free Schools project and great to be part of it.



Alongside all that, I am still visiting Sandymoor School’s prospective students in their homes and primary schools, and continue to do so. If you would like me to visit, all you have to do is drop me an email through the school’s website and we will arrange it.


And finally, we are putting the finishing touches to our next event, a joint event during the day hosted at the Daresbury Labs, onFriday, July 27th. A lot of the teachers, including myself, will be there, working with the education team at the labs, to run a cross-curricular event along the theme of Reflections. This is aimed at providing our students the chance to meet and get to know each other, but is also open to every student currently in years 6 and 7 living in the area. There are limited places, however, so booking will be essential.


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