- Happy Christmas
- Friends of JTFS
- Learning Conference
- Professional Learning at JTFS
- Local Governing Body of JTFS
- "The First" by Jayne Williams
- National Young Mathematicians' Award Results
- National Young Mathematicians' Award Round 2
- JTFS visit the National Forest Adventure Farm
- University of Nottingham Visit
- What a Display!
- Rugby News!
- Netball Team meet Beth Cobden
- Football Team Reach the Final of the Burton and District Cup!
- Children in Need
- Race for Life 2018
- 100 Days
- Christmas Poll
- Christmas Concert Extravaganza!
- Christmas in the LRC
- Christmas Dinner Day
- INSET Day
- Terms starts for students
Christmas wishes from the team at John Taylor Free School
As the term draws to a close, we would like to wish all of our students, their families, our staff and the local community a very happy Christmas. We continue to build on our vision to enable all of our students to succeed and thrive in everything they do. The articles in this newsletter exemplify the effort that the children make within their lessons and as part of our extended curriculum. From the Student Learning Conference to fund raising to Young Mathematicians Award – they have been busy getting involved in all aspects of school life.
Our staff have also been able to succeed and thrive here this term – role modelling for our young people that this process doesn’t just stop. Mr May has had an article published on the use of MathsSpace in "Teach Secondary" magazine, Mrs Broughton has achieved her National Professional Qualification of Senior Leadership, Mrs Barnby has been awarded an academic qualification in SEND and Mrs Plant was fortunate to be awarded a Fellowship of the Chartered College of Teaching. We are very proud of our staff as well as our students – together we make a great JTFS team!
It has been a busy term and the holidays are just around the corner; whatever you are doing, have a great time with family and friends. We start 2019 on 8th January and look forward to another successful term at John Taylor Free School.
From everyone at JTFS
Update on Friends of JTFS
The Friends of John Taylor Free School have had 2 meetings over this term. The constitution has now been agreed and the positions of Chair and Vice Chair have been nominated and the following people elected to the positions:
Chair of JTFS - Ms J Fargher
Vice Chair - Mrs D Young
An AGM will be held on 30th January at 6pm, where the committees will be established and future events discussed. Click here for more details.
The Friends of JTFS are confident that their involvement in the school will enhance the education of the students, provide much needed support and resources as well as plenty of opportunities for social events for all members of our community.
We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting.
On Tuesday 13th November, we held our first Student Learning Conference at school. The students conducted themselves with maturity and responsibility, they were all engaged and able to talk about their learning throughout the afternoon. This event was extremely valuable for all involved.
We look forward to the next conference to see how the students have developed further!
Each Wednesday, the teaching staff at JTFS have 2 hours of Professional Learning time. This term they have been focussing on “What does excellent practice look like?”.
Sessions covered so far include:
- Leaving evidence of high quality learning – what does the research tell us about displays?
- High quality spirals of enquiry – how to conduct micro research in school.
- Developing coaching to facilitate learning; The challenge of being excellent.
- Personalising Learning – meeting the needs of all learners
We have two hours every week to draw on the latest research, plan together and develop coaching capacities to enable each and every member of staff to be the very best that they can be. The teachers take part in practical activities to stretch and challenge their thinking, share best practice and develop their strategies for use in the classroom. The teachers are reading books and articles and using the sessions to debate and discuss. Time to plan collaboratively is also an important part of the professional learning programme. We know from the research that:
“Leaders who create a stimulating and collaborative professional environment, with a shared school vision and goals, are those who can best raise student achievement.”
Helal and Coelli (2016)
The impact of these sessions is on the quality of teaching and learning. The lessons at John Taylor Free School are high quality, engaging, challenging and stimulating for our young people and the evidence is shown in the work they produce. Whether it is a reasoned argument in History, a complex mathematical challenge or a piece of artwork; students here are focused on delivering their very best effort and the highest standards.
Professional Learning time is a valuable part of what we do at JTFS. We are building a learning organisation where staff and students discuss, share and debate both content and approach to learning; where innovation and creativity are welcomed, research informs delivery and excellent practice is celebrated.
We are pleased to announce that following the recent elections we now have a parent governor and a staff governor.
- Mrs Charlotte Hopkins was elected as parent governor
- Mr Peter Robinson was elected as staff governor
Their details will be added to the Governors section of the website shortly. We look forward to welcoming them to the next meeting.
Mrs J Hodgkinson
Chair of Governors
All of the students at John Taylor Free School recently went to watch an amazing play called The First by Jayne Williams. It featured James Keningale playing all of the roles accompanied by Gemma Fuller who played the trumpet, drums and a variety of other instruments.
The play, which followed the story of two young friends from Leicester as they enlisted in the British Army just as the First World War broke out, was written as a dynamic poem to both make us laugh and to pull on our heart-strings.
It was a fantastic performance and definitely not one to miss! After the show we were given the opportunity to ask questions to all of the cast as well as the playwright herself. We were also given a copy of the script to take home with us!
Overall it was an amazing experience and a great chance to see some live theatre.
A huge congratulations to our Maths team who have managed to get through to Round 2 of the National Young Mathematicians' Award!
This is a remarkable achievement for our team of 4 students who competed in Round 1 against other schools across the whole country, including selective Grammar schools. Not only this, but the competition is aimed at students in Year 8 and below, meaning most other teams were composed of students in the school year above.
Despite this, our team of 4 Year 7 students took this as an opportunity to succeed and thrive. They competed with a resilient attitude, demonstrating their STRIPE skills with a new mathematical puzzle around the use of dice.
We are very proud of the team and we wish them the best of luck as they embark on Round 2 on Thursday 6th December.
On Thursday 6th December, our Maths Team competed in Round 2 of the National Young Mathematicians' Award.
Our students puzzled through a tough mathematical problem for an hour and at the end presented their results and strategies to the judges. It was pleasing to hear the judges comment on how well the team were working together and communicating their ideas clearly, noting that they had obviously acted on their feedback from Round 1.
The puzzle in Round 2 was extremely challenging (and kept Mrs Broughton and Mr May busy for a while too!), yet despite this, the students faced their barriers with a positive attitude, showing their desire to succeed and thrive.
We are waiting on the results of Round 2. Regardless of the outcome we are very proud of how the students represented John Taylor Free School and pushed themselves to be the best mathematicians they could. Well done!
We were very fortunate to be able to take a group of students to the National Forest Adventure farm in Tatenhill, this week, for our first farm workshop. The visit began with a tractor and trailer tour around the grounds of the farm and an opportunity to see the reindeer and highland cattle.
Following the tour students visited the apiary with its two beehives and learned how the bees were busy making honey from plants and trees around the farm. Having spent some time in the outdoors we retreated to the barn where we were able to watch a milking demonstration and learn about where our milk comes from. This was followed by the opportunity to feed the many pigs, cows, goats and sheep which our students thoroughly enjoyed and the animals were very well fed!
Finally we visited the guinea pig village where students made lots of new friends with the guinea pigs who were very happy to see them. The students developed their team work skills and also their ability to ask questions, developing their confidence in working with others - all important STRIPE habits. Before we left students completed a quiz about everything they had learned at the farm, with all of our students scoring a very impressive ten out ten! Well done!
We had a fantastic time visiting the National Adventure Farm and would like to thank all the staff at the farm who made the visit so exciting and interesting. We are very much looking forward to our next visit.
On Tuesday 11th December our students were given the opportunity to take part in an interactive session delivered by the University of Nottingham designed to introduce Key Stage 3 students to Higher Education.
Our students participated well, asking lots of sensible questions, such as about tuition fees, routes into Higher Educaton and societies on offer. Our students are clearly keen to succeed and thrive beyond their time at John Taylor Free School too!
We are very pleased to see that the building is starting to come to life with some amazing displays of work. Students have been working hard and using their STRIPE skills to produce some fantastic pieces of work, which we are very proud to see around the school.
The school rugby team have made an excellent start to the season, competing in the Burton and District rugby festival held at Burton RFC on 14th November. With four schools from across the district entering, the competition was tough.
Our students performed excellently throughout the competition displaying exceptional team work and showing their resilience to win the first two games. In the final game, having gone two tries down, the team had to dig deep and work extremely hard against very tough opposition. Once again, students demonstrated excellent resilience and secured a well-deserved draw and joint first place in the competition.
We are very proud of the students who demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship throughout the competition and played some excellent rugby. We would like to thank parents for their support in making it possible for us to train and compete in this event. We are looking forward to a successful year of rugby at John Taylor Free School.
Well done to all involved!
The JTFS netball team were lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a training session with England Netball player Beth Cobden. The girls were extremely excited at the prospect of meeting Beth, and she did not disappoint!
The team took part in some drills and picked up some tips to improve their skills. They were then able to put their new skills into action against other netball teams from the local schools.
A big thank you to the staff and students at John Taylor High School, who were very welcoming and excellent role models for our younger students.
The school football team have made a very impressive start to the season after an exceptional performance in the semi-final of the Burton and District Cup resulted in a 2 – 0 win away from home. The team played some excellent football, attacking with pace and creating a number of chances, whilst remaining well organised and strong in defence to keep a clean sheet. Once again, our students demonstrated fantastic teamwork and sportsmanship and we are extremely proud of their achievement.
The final is due to take place on Monday 21st January at Burton Albion Football Club.
We have had a great day celebrating Children In Need to day. Our catering team from Mellors Catering provided a cake and we had to guess the number of spots, Mrs Barnby dressed as Pudsey for the day and we have raised lots of money along the way. Thanks to everyone involved!
This half term, all of our students have been developing their fitness as part of developing healthy, active lifestyles; a key theme to the PE curriculum at JTFS. The students have tested themselves, tried different training methods and developed their pacing skills whilst increasing the distances they have been running. Mrs Barnby and Mr Vardy then set the students a challenge: to complete a Race for Life. This involved a 5km run and students were asked to either make a donation or gain sponsorship in aid of Cancer Research UK.
So in the final week of term, they completed their challenge. The achievement of all of the students was amazing. Whilst some challenged themselves for times (fastest girl was Charlie, fastest boy was Owen – well done!), others challenged themselves to run as far as they could (some choosing to run further) and others to complete the 5km. A challenge was also presented to the PE staff when on the final day, the field was not fit to run on due to the heavy rains over the weekend. Not wanting to disappoint the students, Mr Vardy and Mrs Barnby quickly measured out a new course, which was fortunate as we had some celebrities joining us. The JTMAT staff (including Mr Donoghue) put on their trainers and were keen to set a course time.
The attitude of the students was all about succeeding – and many thrived too! Particular mention needs to be made to one young lady Grace, who raised £67.50 in sponsorship. This was an incredible achievement, adding to the total of more than £370 raised for a really worthwhile charity.
Please keep up the training as we are planning to make this an annual event.
Well done everyone!
Often in leadership development training, the facilitator will ask the question; “’what will you achieve in your first 100 days and how do you know you have made an impact?” This has made me reflect carefully on the past 3 months. It also made me realise that I didn’t really know when my 100 days was up and that I didn’t really have time to count!
Mastering the ability to halt time is definitely something I haven’t achieved. Whatever your role in school, time is always precious, there is never enough of it and you always want more! I have though, developed my skills in prioritising tasks, multi tasking and delegating. As Principal Designate, I was used to doing nearly everything myself; it has taken me time to adapt to having highly competent teachers and leaders working alongside me. All of these colleagues are as dedicated as I am to making a success of our school.
We are a small team and as such, regularly talk about having “all hands on deck”. This also makes me highly conscious of asking people to do things; every time I ask for their help with something, it means they cannot do something else. Consequently, I am learning to pause and consider what is really necessary before I ask. I think about the impact of decisions on students, staff and the families we work with and if it directly supports our culture of “succeed and thrive” then we do it.
I was asked recently about whether I have a wellbeing programme and whether staff participate. Succeed and thrive applies to adults as well as to students. It isn’t so much about having yoga, pilates or a staff football team, instead it means that staff are happy in their role, feel trusted and supported to do the job well, that there is an investment in their professional capabilities; that they are enabled to develop into the very best that they can be. For staff to thrive, they need to know that they are an important and valued part of the team, that their family life and time away from school is important too and that when a crisis hits or life gets tough, they will still be supported in whatever way is right for them. So no, I haven’t developed a wellbeing programme in the last 100 days but I have invested in getting to know the team I appointed so that I can be an empathetic leader.
Getting to know the students has also been my priority. I welcome them into school, ask them about what book they are reading in the library, and talk about sport over lunch and how they are learning when I pop into lessons. I feel so proud of the students; their confidence has grown substantially over the last 100 days and not that I want to wish time away but I can certainly foresee a time when I am waving them off to great success at the age of 18!
So what has been achieved in the last 100 days? A strong school community is already evident; our students wear their uniform with pride and our parents tell us that they would happily recommend us to other families. Our staff team is fabulous. Each and every member of the team does everything possible to ensure the students receive an excellent education. Our school is becoming part of the community; relationships building with other schools, businesses and members of our locality.
In the last 100 days, I think we have built the foundation stones on which our school will continue to succeed and thrive.