Mrs Piesse’s Monthly Blog

May 2018

Bullying

This is a really important question and one that every parent, carer teacher and governor ought to join me and ask on a regular basis. It is true that some of your children are the victim of bullies. It is true that some of your children are bullies. It is also true that sometimes a child can be a bully in one part of their life and also a victim in another.

As adults we have no excuse to be a bully, to harass others, to be rude, to be obscene or to be deliberately nasty. When adults behave in this way they lose their jobs, their friends, their reputation and others’ respect.

But children are different. Children are works of art in progress. They are not yet finished and, like a great work of art, they have the odd smudge and the odd blemish along the way. Children are by their very nature imperfect, learning how to be kind and thoughtful as much as learning how to read and write. Every child has the capacity to be both wonderful and unpleasant; some are better than others at staying away from that dark side, but some, occasionally, bully, harass, mock, intimidate or sneer at others.

Unpleasantness is not a new thing. It is as old as humanity and exists in every school and in every street. Sometimes your children don’t make you or me proud. Sometimes your children say, do, type, text, WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram something they will regret because it hurts someone else. Sometimes your children forget what it is like to be bullied or harassed, or temporarily shake off that feeling of being bullied and harassed by making someone else feel as bad as they do.

Bullies often start on what someone is wearing, or their hair-colour, or maybe their skin colour, their beliefs, accent, gender, sexuality or sometimes simply what phone they have in their pocket or the arrangement of stripes, ticks or crests on a pair of trainers. Bullies often keep going until they find the thing that hurts their intended victim.

At KSA, if a child is the victim of bullying or harassment they will be supported, protected and trusted. At KSA, if your children are proven to be bullies they will be punished and, if they fail to mature and treat people with kindness and respect, then they will find themselves wearing a different school uniform and walking in the opposite direction of their friends to school…

Your children are entitled to as much privacy as possible, even when they make terrible mistakes. Unlike adults, children need to be protected, even when they have become a bully so that they can reflect and reform and be the adult their parents and carers dream they will become.

  • If your child is a victim of bullying, or you suspect he or she might be bullied, then call us or email us today! Let us show you how effective we are at ending the pain another child is inflicting on your own.
  • If your child is a bully, or you suspect he or she might be a bully, then call us or email us today. Let us show you how effective we are at helping all young people reflect on why they treat others in this way, what impact they are having on others, explore why they are doing it and learn ways to stop making others’ lives a misery.

KSA is not the building. In fact it is not the parents, carers or the staff, really. KSA School is your children. KSA is only as good as the children who go to KSA. Behaviour at KSA is only as good as your children’s behaviour. Bullying at KSA is only as bad as your children’s failure to be kind and considerate.

We are proud to work at KSA School and I am proud to lead KSA School. I believe that we are a good school that can be a great school. However, let’s be clear on one thing, being a great school means being full of great kids. Those great kids need great adults around them, explaining the difference between right and wrong and teaching them how to read, write, calculate, think, reason and create in ways that would make all of us adults proud. It takes a community to educate a child.

So, when your own children make their mistakes we still believe in them; even if others do not.

 

April 2018

Developing Independent Writers

at KSA

What is independent writing? Why is getting writing right a massive challenge?

I have always loved writing and I have always loved teaching writing to develop writers. On a daily basis, I see structure strips and models of what teachers want students to produce. All are really valid and important scaffolds in the development of writing. What I want to see in Year 7 and 8 is the students themselves creating their own personal toolkit for writing that they can use at school, but also at home. Stepping students beyond the scaffold is the one of the hardest things to do.

So how do we encourage more independent writers at KSA?

1) We give them something interesting to write about.

2) We give them the knowledge to write about it effectively. If it’s a story, the time spent planning is key.

3) We create purpose. We give students a reason to write. (Audience’s for work are immensely powerful.)

4) We underpin with lots of talking first, whatever the age range or ability, so that students have practiced the vocabulary, ideas and structures so they can fully understand the requirements. 

5) We read really good books. Talk about really good books with them. Guided reading does not just benefit reading. Models are vital, using great models allows students to understand the flow of writing.

6) We teach grammar as a tool to improve writing, not a bolt on. Use examples when appropriate- we don’t shoehorn it in.

7) Sometimes we let them just go for it. A first draft is just that…let them splurge their ideas and get it down on paper.

8) We don’t ban words. Sometimes sad is the right word, not melancholy, not lachrymose, not distraught, just sad.

What should students do at home?

All of the above and more!

Practice. Rinse and repeat to revisit forms of writing they’ve done before.

 

March 2018

Career Pathways

At 13, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Possibly not, I certainly had no idea. My mum tried to get me to go into medicine because I was good at Science, but I just wasn’t interested in a career in medicine!

Like all schools, we are required to provide students with impartial careers education and advice from year 8. However, we fully understand that many students still will not be sure what career pathway to take when they leave school, college or university.

That is why we hold events such as our Options evening, post 16 information evening and our fabulous, ongoing career events. Around 30 different employment sectors have set up 'shop' in our school this year and shared information with parents and students about their professions and how students can best prepare themselves.

At this stage in their education, students should keep their options open and have the flexibility to choose any or many career pathways. The key to successful future employment is good qualifications, skills and personal attributes.

Qualifications: Most employers, colleges and universities will require students to have a grade 5 in English and Mathematics plus at least 3 other good GCSE passes. Students need to appreciate that their GCSE outcomes remain with them throughout their lives, e.g. anyone wishing to pursue a career in teaching must have the appropriate GCSE grades in Mathematics, English and Science to even get on the teaching course. Their success at KSA can be the cornerstone of their future career.

Skills: The kind of skills that employers are looking for, are reflected in our KSA Learner.
Reliable: excellent attendance (+95%) & punctuality (<15 lates)
Hard working: good attitude to learning
Responsible: taking responsibility for their own success (positive behaviour reflected by achievement points)

Personal attributes: These are what makes one candidate stand out against another either in their application or at interview. All students are expected to complete at least one hour of enrichment - this could be developing a musical talent, trying a new sport or joining a masterclass. There are lots of opportunities for students to develop themselves here at KSA.

Qualification, skills and personal attributes: the keys to a successful future.

Over the weekend I reflected on my own career pathway and how I ended up becoming a teacher more by chance than design. Nonetheless, making this decision in my life was easier because I had the qualifications skills and attributes but I also had the determination and passion for teaching children.  I now have the best job in the world! This is what I wish that for every one of our students and I'm glad KSA will play a part in them achieving that goal.

 

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