I love this time of year. Both of my children have birthdays; we’ve had Halloween, bonfire night and then there is the run up to Christmas! This autumn has been a bit of a challenge for me to fit all this in alongside my substantive post and trying to get up to speed with the Free School. I join the John Taylor Free School in January so I am keen to make sure that I am fully prepared for the new role.
The Free School team has been very active over the last few weeks; visiting local Primary Schools in and around the region. Headteachers have been very welcoming and want to make sure that their Year 6 children have a genuinely open choice for their secondary school place. Although the local authority admissions have now closed, we are still accepting applications – you can download a form here. If any other primary schools would like us to visit and talk to pupils and parents, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Thank you to those schools who have already hosted us – it was a real pleasure to visit your schools.
The children we have met so far are amazing! They are polite, inquisitive and curious about what opportunities are on offer at the John Taylor Free School. The way in which they engaged with us showed maturity and independence – they weren’t reliant on their teacher to direct or lead them. These are exactly the qualities we value and will develop at the Free School.
Many of the children’s questions were about “extra curricular activities”. I don’t use this phrase – I believe that all the opportunities on offer at school are part of the curriculum. In fact, everything that goes on, which results in learning, is the curriculum. Our extended curriculum will involve sport, music, drama, dance, science, debating, art and technology. Most of the sessions will happen at lunchtime to ensure that everyone can do something – we don’t want anyone missing out. We will also expect the staff to join in, as well as leading sessions. Our school community will learn and grow together.
Some children were asking about induction, particularly because we won’t be able to hold events at the school in the summer term. I think that they were concerned, as many Year 6 children are, about finding their way round and not getting lost. To reassure them, we described the activities planned for the first few days in September. Activities will include navigation (we will all need to find our way round the new site and building!), team games to get to know each other and sessions which develop the key skills of the STRIPE programme. This means that we will be ready to learn, feel happy and confident with our surroundings and excited about starting secondary school education.
The building is on track and we are now choosing colour schemes and furniture for the interior. The Hall/theatre/drama space is going to look fabulous. Tiered, retractable seating which seats a year group of students, with industry standard lighting and sound equipment – this means that performances at the Free School will be superb. Not only will the students be able to develop their stage skills but those who are more interested in theatre technology will be able to learn how to stage manage events – there really will be something for everyone. More details on the sports facilities next time but have a look at the recent photos of the Sports Hall – it is looking good!
As always, we are happy to talk to you individually about your child so if you would like more information, or have a discussion about the Free School don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Head of School Designate