Head of School’s Blog – 15 July 2022

15 July 2022

Welcome to my penultimate newsletter for this half term. 

We were delighted to host our new Year 6 into Year 7 students this week for their transition days. They had two packed days of activities, the first involved an assembly and a tour, as well as some taster lessons in subjects across the curriculum. The second was a sports activity morning and an arts based afternoon. We very much enjoyed welcoming them into our learning community and the feedback we have received indicates that they very much enjoyed their time too. Thank you to everyone who made these days a success. 

Thank you to all of the current Year 7 parents who took part in the Parents’ Evening on Wednesday, we hope that you found the feedback from the teachers helpful. 

We had the final day of our Federation Games on Monday, which saw Medina College students taking part in activities at Carisbrooke College. All three days have been great examples of Federative working at its best. 

The formal consultation period ends at 3.30pm today. Thank you to all those who have provided feedback. We will update you further once the Governors have had time to look at the representations made. We are also in a period of due diligence which means there are many other avenues of questioning and conversations taking place to ensure that once we have all of the information collated, a full picture can be reviewed. 

The weather has been exceptional this week and I would like to thank the students, parents/carers and staff for their ongoing support during this period. Please can I remind you that we have given the students the option of wearing their PE kit until the end of term. There are two clear choices, their normal school uniform (tie and blazer are optional, for this period only) or their school PE kit (Green Medina College logo t-shirt and black shorts). Other forms of clothing are not permitted and we will contact parents/carers if they are worn. Please remember to make sure your child is applying suncream, bringing drinks/water bottles to school and wearing a hat if they are out in the sun for a long period of time (hats are not permitted indoors). Thank you in advance for your support next week. 

I will be sending all parents/carers across the federation a letter next week covering reminders of details for September. 

I hope you enjoy the weekend and take appropriate action to remain as cool and hydrated as possible. 

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Head of School’s Blog – 8 July 2022

8 July 2022

Welcome to my update for this week.

Yesterday evening saw our Year 11 students reuniting for their Prom. It was a fantastic event with Year 11 looking very much less like students and more like the young adults that they are becoming. They took full advantage of the celebratory event, but were impeccably behaved and I am very proud of them for representing Medina College in such a positive and exemplary way. We look forward to welcoming them back in August for their results. 

The Year 7 and 8 students have been part of the Federation at its best this week, as the Federation Games has returned to the school calendar. Yesterday, all Year 7 students, and today, all Year 8 students, from both Medina and Carisbrooke College have had a day of friendly competition, based here at Medina College.. The students have enjoyed and fully engaged with the activities, giving them a fantastic opportunity to be outside of the classroom for a day, using different skills and providing many students with opportunities to excel. Monday sees the same opportunity for the two groups of Year 9 students, but this time will be hosted at Carisbrooke College. Thank you to the staff who have made this high participation event possible and we look forward to additional reports about these next week.

Thank you to all of the year 7 parents/carers that have booked appointments already for the Parents’ Evening next Wednesday. If you have not yet done so, please make sure you take advantage of this opportunity as it is important to know the progress that your child has made this year. 

As a reminder, the consultation process is open until next Friday 15 July. An update from our Governors about questions regarding Governance and a little more detail about the process so far will be shared early next week. The consultation information can be found on our website here

I hope you have a lovely weekend and we look forward to welcoming our new Year 6 into 7 students next Tuesday and Wednesday. 

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Head of School’s Blog – 1 July 2022

1 July 2022

This week we have had the pleasure of welcoming our new Year 6 into 7 students to their Transition Evening. It was exceptionally well attended and gave the students and parents the opportunity to hear brief details about what they can look forward to on their Transition days and at the start of term in September. Thank you to everyone who attended. As a reminder, Transition Days are Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 July.

The majority of Year 10 students sat their final trial exam for this period today. There are a few creative arts sessions next week. Overall, the students have been very well behaved and approached each exam as we would expect. We hope this has given them an insight into the logistics and practicalities of the process that they will be going through in less than a year’s time. Results of these will be fed back to them over the coming weeks and the main message is, there is still time to make a difference.

Next week sees the return of our Federation Games. This is a great event and epitomises the Federation at its best. The sporting activities see Medina College and Carisbrooke College come together for round robin tournaments, followed by ‘finals’ in the afternoon. As we have been unable to run this for the last couple of years, we are giving Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 a separate day each to enjoy this great opportunity, as usually this is a Year 7 only event.

Next week our Year 11 students will be reconvening for their Prom, which I know is the highlight of the year for many of them. We look forward to welcoming them to Cowes Yacht Haven for this celebratory event.

Year 7 Parents’ Evening information has been shared with parents/carers this week, which is booked for Wednesday 13 July. Please take this opportunity to book virtual appointments and discuss how your child has settled in and been progressing in each of their subjects this year.

Please remember that we will be holding a consultation meeting for parents/carers next Tuesday, 5 July starting at 6pm in the Theatre. There will be a brief presentation if you wish to attend. There will be staff available to also either answer questions or make notes of questions which we can feed back to.

I hope you have a good weekend.

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Head of School’s Blog – 17 June 2022

17 June 2022

It has been a mixed week for year 11, with their exams continuing in earnest but also having their leavers assembly. It was a very emotional event for some (Mr Williams!), as it is the culmination of five years worth of hard work and investment. These five years have been different to those experienced by decades of previous Year 11s and I am proud of how they have risen to each of the challenges that they have faced and approached them with maturity and resilience.  Please continue to remind the students that they do need to be in full uniform for their exams and ensure that they are on time. We are still here to support them so please do contact us and remind them that they can do the same if they do have concerns or questions. 

This week you will have received the notification of our consultation to merge with HISP MAT.  I would like to reassure you that this is being done with the best interests of the current and future students at the heart of it. I want the opportunities and experience that all students who attend an Isle of Wight Education school to be the best that they can have. They deserve it. We feel that this provides the opportunity to further develop the journey that we have started. Please remember there is a parent/carer FAQs document, which may answer many of your questions/concerns, this can be found on our website here. If you have a comment that you would like to contribute, please do complete the consultation form which can be found here.  This can be a concern but can also be a message of positive support, both are important to know. If you have questions or would like to discuss your concerns then please email, anna.mursell@iwef.org.uk who can arrange a phone call with me. This may then help inform a representation you may wish to make. 

Many parents/carers are asking about the return to school in September. The following dates are now set.  Thursday 1 September, Friday 2 September and Monday, 5 September are development days.  Tuesday 6 September is the first day back for what will be Year 7 and Year 11, Wednesday 7 September, all year groups return to school.

From Tuesday 21 June we will be pushing a bit harder on late students. In each half term, any student who is late three or more times will receive an after school detention of one hour that day. We are trying to remind students of the need for good habits.

As a reminder, this Monday 20 June is our reassigned Bank Holiday in lieu on the Queen’s Jubilee. Therefore, we will be closed to all students except Year 11 who are sitting exams. Work will not be set as it is effectively a Bank Holiday. As communicated, the buses for Year 11 will run as normal, both before and after school. Please continue to allow time for the one way system that will still be in place on Monday morning. 

We look forward to welcoming all other students back on Tuesday, in full school uniform and ready to learn. 

Enjoy the Festival if you are going, if not then enjoy your weekend and some sunshine. 

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Head of School’s Blog – 10 June 2022

10 June 2022

I am pleased to say that Year 11 continue to be taking their exams seriously. Parents/carers will have received a letter today with details about their leavers assembly and final day of teaching. I would like to stress again here how important it is that they remain focused until their last exam, particularly after their leavers assembly. Arriving on time is essential, so please ensure that they allow extra time for travel if traffic is likely to be busy. Students should continue to contact their subject teachers with any questions or requests for support if they need it. 

Some of our students had the honour of performing at Osborne House on Tuesday evening with students from Carisbrooke College and a number of Island Primary Schools at the Junior Prom, celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. All of the performances were fantastic, showcasing some exceptional talent. The students had clearly worked very hard and they should be proud of themselves for their performances; we are very proud of them. 

Thank you to all of the Year 8 parents/carers who took part in Parents’ Evening this week. These events are always important as they offer the opportunity to discuss your child’s progress. Year 7 parents/carers will be receiving a letter in the next couple of weeks with links to book appointments regarding your children. 

Year 10 trial exams are w/c 27 June. Students will receive information from their year team over the next couple of weeks and will also have a message about exam logistics, protocol and behavioural expectations explained in assembly the week before. We will be treating these as an opportunity for the Year 10 students to experience the same exam conditions that their Year 11 peers are currently working to. 

A copy of the letter previously sent to parents/carers regarding Friday 16 June and Monday 20 June can be found here. Please use this link to access traffic relating to the IW Festival. The one way system will be in place from 10 am on Wednesday 15 June 2022 until 4 pm on Monday 20 June 2022. 

Finally, a plea from me about the car park/bus loop at the end of the school day. It is exceptionally busy with lots of students, cars and buses. Please drive slowly and be extra aware when manoeuvring of the potential hazards. This is for your protection and that of our pedestrians. 

I hope you have a good weekend. 

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Head of School’s Blog – 27 May 2022

27 May 2022

Welcome to the final blog post of this half term.

Yesterday, I had the honour of being one of the judges for our Year 10 Isle of Wight Education Federation Business Innovation Challenge. The students had been tasked with researching the breakfast market and then designing and creating a product which they felt could have a place in the market. There was a large variety of ideas on offer including smoothies, one of which was a full English breakfast smoothie(!), breakfast/protein bars, modified versions of cereals including some using locally sourced produce, some ethically manufactured and a new concept butter utensil for making hard butter easier to spread on toast. The students had obviously all worked extremely hard in their groups to produce these products and were very brave in showcasing them and explaining their reasonings to a group of staff and external industry professionals. 

Year 11 are another week into their GCSE exams. Please continue to encourage them to use half term to both revise and recharge, so that they give themselves the very best opportunities when they return. It is vital that the students are on time to these, so please also encourage them to take advantage of the free breakfast offer in the canteen on the morning of their exams. Details of the Year 11 Leavers assembly will be shared after the half term break. As always the full details regarding exams can be found on our website, linked here.

Letters regarding Year 8 virtual Parents’ Evening on Wednesday, 8 June, have now been shared so please do book your appointments.

Please make sure that you are familiar with the plans for the IW Festival weekend. The letter that has been sent to parents/carers can be found here.

We return on Monday, 6 June and I will expect to see all students arriving on time, in full school uniform, with their equipment, ready to learn.

I hope you have a lovely extended Bank Holiday weekend when it arrives.

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Head of School’s Blog – 20 May 2022

20 May 2022

The whole of Year 11 sat the first of their English, maths and science papers, amongst some of the options subjects this week. They have all done remarkably well, showed maturity and respect for each other. I would urge you to encourage them to continue to focus on their revision and maintain the good routines that they have started. Revision sessions are still running in school and breakfast is being offered to students who have morning exams, every day in the canteen from 7.45am. We are aware that parents and students are contacting the staff in the year office if they have worries or concerns and I encourage you and them to continue to do this.

Our Year 7 ‘Tempest’ literacy event has been successful this week, a more detailed write up will follow. I would like to thank the students for embracing this activity and the staff for their leadership of this exciting week long event. It has been an innovative way of exploring a play by an author whose writings remain timeless in their themes, 400 years on.

Year 10 will be having a trial exam week after the Year 11 GCSE season has finished, which will be w/c 27 June. We would encourage all year 10 students to prepare for these, as it will be a good opportunity for them to experience exam conditions in exam venues and then have the chance to review their progress and understanding from the feedback they subsequently receive.

Some of our students are going to have the fantastic opportunity to take part in a Platinum Jubilee Junior Proms event at Osborne House on the evening of Tuesday 7 June. Further details will be shared via our social media sites.

Year 8 parents/carers, please look out for the Parents’ Evening letter, and book appointments to discuss your child’s progress.

I hope you have a good weekend.

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Head of School’s Blog – 13 May 2022

13 May 2022

Welcome to the third newsletter of this half term.

I would like to start by saying well done to the Year 11 students who have now started their exam season. Their behaviour and attitude this week has been superb. Next week sees the bulk of the exams start in earnest. This includes English Language, Maths and Biology. As I shared last week, the full exams timetable and details can be found here. It is now more important than ever that the students have good routines, both with their revision but also with their sleeping, eating, drinking, as well as taking time to relax.

Next week, a small group of Year 7 students will be taken on a Tempest adventure to develop their understanding, engagement and enjoyment of literacy. This is part of our literacy development strategy. They will read Shakespeare’s Tempest at the sea and in a forest, work with an Island based artist, as well as two drama and music specialists. This will help develop their understanding and knowledge of literacy through a range of mediums. The students will write stories, act, create rhythms, create art in 2D and 3D forms and then in a finale on Friday they will exhibit their work to their parents, peers and staff. This is an exciting activity which we hope the students will enjoy.

Year 8 parents/carers will have the opportunity to meet virtually with their child’s subject teachers on the evening of Wednesday 8 June. Details of this will be shared over the coming week. Please take this opportunity to check and talk about how your child is progressing.

You will have received a letter regarding the IW Festival weekend, but as a reminder, for safety reasons, Medina College will not be open to students in person on Friday, 17 June. The only exception to this is Year 11 students taking exams, in which case these will be taking place on site as planned. For all other year groups, teaching will be delivered remotely via Google Classroom. It is important that their learning continues and they submit the work that is set. Additionally, in line with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee we are entitled to an additional bank holiday this school year. As this event falls within our current half term we are taking Monday 20 June as our additional bank holiday. Therefore, Medina College will not be open to students on this day. As with Friday, 17 June, the only exception to this is Year 11 students taking exams, in which case these will be taking place on site as planned.

I hope you enjoy the weekend.

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Head of School’s Blog – 6 May 2022

6 May 2022

Welcome to the second newsletter of the Summer term. I hope you managed to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.

I would like to start on a very positive note, by congratulating our Dance Live team for their performance on Tuesday evening. They worked incredibly hard and did themselves and the Federation proud. They competed against Dance and Performing Arts schools and did not look out of place sharing the stage. Well done to all of the students and staff involved. I was and am a very proud Executive Headteacher.

Year 11 exams start next week with a couple mid week, and then in bulk the following week. Students have had reminders in assembly today about expectations, guidance reminders and some positive motivational messages. The exam guidance tip for this week is that students need to empty their pockets before their exam. They must not have any written materials, mobiles, watches or any internet enabled device on their person. They must only take into the exam room what they need for the exam. Important and useful information can be found on our website here: Examinations. Please encourage your child to revise, do leisure activities that they enjoy and feel relaxed doing, eat and drink regularly and sleep well. As always make sure they talk to staff if they have concerns.

Thank you to all Year 10 parents/carers who had meetings with their child’s subject teachers yesterday evening. These meetings were important and I hope you found them useful.

Please remember to follow us on social media as you will be able to regularly keep up to date with activities that happen during the week, and see useful reminders and general information. These posts include activities such as the Be Spark programme run by the Isle of Wight Cricket Board, PE club reviews, upcoming trip opportunity reminders, transport updates and careers opportunities. Links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, as well as our website are available at the bottom of the emailed newsletter.

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Head of School’s Blog – 29 April 2022

29 April 2022

We are now in a pivotal term for our Year 11 and Year 13 students. The exam season is very nearly here and it is important that students are focussed on their own learning and revision schedules. If they have concerns, please encourage them to talk to their tutor or the year team. The top tips for this week in relation to the process and revision are:

Make sure they know the dates of their exams and to be on time. Allow themselves plenty of time to arrive at school and get to where they need to be. While they will be allowed to sit the exam if they arrive late, the exam board may refuse to mark the paper.

Set goals they want to achieve every time they sit down to revise. This will ensure they are getting something out of every revision session and will provide an inspiring sense of achievement throughout.

Final reminders will be given to students as time goes on so please be assured that we are here to encourage, motivate, and support them.

Next Thursday is Year 10 Parents’ Evening. If you have not already booked appointments then please do so. This is an important time for this year group as they will be sitting trial exams at the end of June. Knowing how your child is doing at this point in their GCSE journey is vital to making sure they address any challenges now, rather than delay these conversations until Year 11.

We have an exciting event next Tuesday evening, the Dance Live final. It is being held at Portsmouth Guildhall and I am very much looking forward to going to watch this. All of the students have worked so hard, and whatever the result, they should all be immensely proud of themselves. I would also like to extend my thanks to all of the staff who have worked tirelessly to support this entry. This is an example of The Isle of Wight Education Federation working as one team, at its best. I look forward to updating you next week.

Please remember we have Bank Holiday on Monday, so all students need to be recharged and arrive on time ready to learn on Tuesday morning. Details regarding the IW Festival weekend will also be shared next week.

I hope you have a good weekend.

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