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Holmleigh Park High School

Letter from the Head - 5th November 2021

In this issue: A spotlight on assessment

Dear all,

We've had a very good first week back. A particular highlight for me was hosting around 30 visiting teachers on Wednesday, who came to look at our high standards of teaching and learning. It's wonderful to see how the school is beginning to establish itself as a beacon of good practice in teaching and learning, and while we've still got lots to work on, it was great to hear how impressed our visitors were with the departments they spent the day shadowing.

We also marked Diwali on Thursday, and I'd like to thank Ms Martin who produced a video for all students to watch on the festival. Ms Martin has been appointed chair of our Equality and Diversity steering group and is going to be leading our efforts to make sure we are as inclusive a school as possible; I'm hugely excited to see the impact of their work in the coming year and will keep you updated.

I also want to highlight that Thursday 11th September is Remembrance Day. We will be holding a short service in the playground on Thursday morning to mark the day. Students who attend cadet units may wear their uniform to school for the day if they wish.

The main focus of this week's letter is assessment though, as there's a lot of it going on at the moment!

First of all, a big well done to Year 11 and Year 13 who have made superb starts to their mocks. They've been incredibly focused and although it's too early to have any results in, our first impressions look very promising. Particularly well done to those Year 12 and 13 students who sat resits this week in GCSE English and Maths, and we of course with them all the best for when their results arrive.

On Tuesday, Mrs Barrett launched our new Rank Order Assessment programme with Year 8. Over the rest of the year, we will gradually roll this out with Year 7 and Year 10 too. Ms Barrett will write to each year group with further details nearer the time, but essentially this will involve moving away from in-class assessments, and instead having two timetabled assessment windows a year. Students will be issued an Assessment Manifest several weeks beforehand, summarising what they need to focus on for each paper.

After each assessment, we will send home a report letting you know their position in the year, and how this compares with their previous assessment window. We'll also let you know about how they've been working in class. We'll also use this to adjust student streams in Year 7-9, making sure that all students are in the appropriate groups for their abilities, and that this is regularly reviewed. And of course, there will be lots of certificates and prizes to be won for students climbing up the leaderboards!

The reason we're doing this is that regular assessment is hugely beneficial to students, giving them the chance to consolidate their learning and make sure they retain information - so that by the time they get to their exams, they have the best possible chance of success. It's also a chance for us to make sure we know what students can and can't do, so that we can adapt our planning to make sure we're always making the most of lessons.

That's all for this week - I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes,

Mr Farmbrough