• Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use
    to change the world
    Nelson Mandela


St John’s chosen to help train the next generation of teachers

Classroom-sqSt John’s Marlborough has been selected to become a National Teaching School.

Teaching Schools take a leading role in recruiting and training new entrants to the profession. They identify and develop leadership potential; they provide support for other schools, and work with schools across their alliance to raise standards of teaching. 

St John’s is one of 54 schools in England to be granted teaching school status in the latest round.

Introduced in 2011, Teaching Schools are all rated as “outstanding”. They work with partner schools in an alliance to ensure high quality school-led initial teacher training and professional development opportunities for teachers at all stages of their career.

They raise standards through supporting other schools, engage in research and development, and ensure that the most talented school leaders are spotted and supported to become successful headteachers.

Nicky Edmondson, Principal of St John’s said:

“I’m delighted that St John’s has been afforded this opportunity.  It will allow us to build on the work we already do to train and develop new teachers. By working closely with our partner primary schools and Bath Spa University, Excalibur Academies Trust will become a leading edge provider of professional development for teachers and others working in schools, and a centre for training new entrants to the profession.

This is an exciting opportunity for our staff, many of whom are already experienced mentors of trainee teachers, and will give us a considerable advantage in recruiting high calibre teachers at a time when there is a national shortage of teachers in some curriculum areas”. 

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has responsibility, in partnership with headteachers from the Teaching Schools Council, for the designation and quality of the teaching schools programme.

The latest designation round takes the number of Teaching Schools to over 700.

Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said:

“I’d like to congratulate St John’s Marlborough – they should be very proud of this achievement. Teaching schools have shown themselves to be at the heart of school improvement. They’re supporting other schools, attracting and training the best new teachers and developing the next generation of leaders. At NCTL, we want to do all we can to support their work”.

Popular author Cathy Cassidy offers expert advice & signs books at FHS

Popular children’s author Cathy Cassidy visited Fairfield High School in Bristol the day before the publication in paperback of her two latest books. Cathy, who has twice won the Queen of Teen title, has written more than 20 books, which have sold more than a million copies. The latest, Fortune Cookie, is the sixth and final title in the Chocolate Box Girls series. Also published this month is Looking Glass Girl, a reworking of Alice in Wonderland.

Cathy, who used to work at Shout magazine and before that was fiction editor on Jackie magazine, is a former art teacher. She tours extensively around the UK, meeting more than 10,000 young readers every year.

She spoke to Year 7 and 8 girls from FHS, students from Elmfield Secondary School, and Year 5 & 6 pupils from Glenfrome and May Park primary schools, and signed copies of her latest books. Cathy was on the third day of a two-week tour to promote her books; her next title is The Broken Heart Club, which comes out in April.

She told the students how she literally dreams up her stories, and how she develops her characters by drawing sketches and making mood boards.

Asked for her advice to budding writers, she said: “Write lots. Write a little bit every day, maybe a diary or journal. Don’t just write at school. It’s like everything – you have to practise. “Write from the heart, about the things you care about. I always knew I wanted to write. I write because I have stories  in my head and I get inspiration from all around me.”

Cathy encouraged those with ambitions as authors to share their daydreams by penning entries for her Dreamcatcher blog, which is written by her readers for other readers.

She signed books for students and encouraged them to explore her website, www.cathycassidy.com for more information and inspiration.

Natasha Edmunds, Head of English at FHS, said: “It was wonderful for the students to meet such a successful author. Cathy’s visit encouraged them to continue to enjoy reading and inspired some of them in their own writing.”

St John’s choir reaches national competition finals

The St John’s Academy Choir travelled to London yesterday (9 February) to take part in the final of the Barnardo’s National Choir competition at the Royal Festival Hall.

The choir, consisting of 29 girls from Years 8-13 and directed by Max More, St John’sSt John's Festival Hall reduced DSC_6981 Director of Performance, had won the previous round to reach the highly competitive final. The choir found themselves against stiff opposition from schools across the UK. Despite not winning the competition, the final was a great experience for the students, who all enjoyed performing at a major national venue. In getting through to the finals, the St John’s choir had pushed out several other choirs that had regularly been finalists in previous years.

Mr More is very proud of the choir’s achievement. “I was immensely proud of what the girls achieved yesterday” he said. “They have been telling me for weeks that it would all be OK on the day, and it most certainly was! For a choir that has only been in existence for just over a year, and with limited rehearsal time, we have done commendably well. As ambassadors for St John’s, the students were simply exemplary. For a number of the Sixth Form choir members this was their last performance before their examination schedules take over; I wish them every success and thank them for their fantastic contribution to the choir….”.

Nine members of the choir now have just a few days to rest their voices before they head into final rehearsals for the St John’s musical, the schools version of We Will Rock You. The show is being performed over four nights, 23, 25, 26 and 27 Feb and is also directed by Max More. Tickets are on sale from Ticketsource: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/112536