The Headteacher's Blog - Friday 13 October 2017

I’m late penning this blog given my attentions have been elsewhere following recent events, which causes me to begin on a sad note.

Many of you will have heard the news about the sudden and untimely death of our former student Johdi Russell. My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of our staff and students in school have been with her family and loved ones at this very sad time. We never know what life has in store for us, and it reminds me our time on earth is precious every single day and we should always love and cherish one another. I am hoping Johdi’s mother and sister Aimie are finding some comfort in the love around them at this time and in the days to follow.

Johdi left Kings last summer at the end of Year 12, before I joined Kings; but it is clear she will always be remembered. Indeed, I have been moved by the lovely words spoken by so many staff and students and the words by Head of Sixth Form Miss Hopwood describe Johdi so beautifully:

“...an eternally happy, beautiful girl… excited by life and always saw the positive in everyone and everything. She was funny, bubbly and friendly, and could light up any conversation. Even when Johdi was faced with adversity she did not allow it to define her, and was determined to make the most of every situation. Johdi had the broadest sweetest smile that will always be remembered by those who knew her.”

We are supporting students and staff in school and I am so glad the Sanctuary here on the campus has been a refuge to so many to take time to reflect and find peace and I thank our Christian Leader Mrs Alden, and Governors Rev. John Angle and Rev. Stuart Burns for all their very real and caring support.
We will remember Johdi…

School business has continued, even in this shadow of such reflective sadness. We were visited on Tuesday and Wednesday this week by two HMI’s for a no-notice Ofsted Inspection (Section 8) to look at safeguarding. During the two days, the Inspectors visited tutor sessions and lessons and met with staff, students and Governors in a rigorous programme to scrutinise our academy policies and practices. It’s fair the Inspectors were challenging, but fair and amicable and engaged in discussion with us. We now await the final report; but I can say, indications of the verdict are positive and constructive and I will, of course, keep you all informed. I thank Team Kings and also those Heads who visited from the Cheddar Valley Schools, as we worked together on this important mission. I also thank those students who met and spoke with the Inspectors and thank you to those parents for your Parent View feedback as part of Ofsted collecting information and evidence.

On the Wednesday evening it was Open Evening. At which point I would like to recognise the commitment and dedication of our staff at Kings who showed themselves to be true stars! You’ll have realised the evening was at the end of the two day inspection. But, enthusiasm intact, Team Kings were still en forme and showcasing their Departments as parents asked questions to find out more about subjects and life at Kings and about how we nurture the whole child.

It was great to see the Main Hall packed for my welcome and introduction to Kings (for my first Open Evening here!) and I was gratified to hear parents found the evening to be so informative and interesting. Thank you to all the staff and students for being there and being part of Kings and for making our visitors feel so welcome. It was wonderful to see some Digital Leaders demonstrating the Raspberry Pi and introducing the BBC micro:bit and Minecraft. Musicians were making music and singing, keeping spirits high; whilst in Technology, students made key fobs, computer aided design flexible fish and laser-cut jelly babies, chocolate buttons and digestive biscuits. There was more delicious excitement as Food Preparation and Nutrition students helped Miss Beacham and Food Technician Mrs Orchard bake and decorate over 300 biscuits - which were happily eaten by all the guests! To name but a few. I know their teachers are all very grateful to our students for putting on such a fabulous display.

A quick plug now, if I may – for all Year 11 parents and students for the same time same place next week:
Wednesday 18 October 2017
for the Sixth Form Open Evening!

This morning I visited Draycott & Rodney Stoke and Shipham First Schools and had an inspiring conversation with Headteacher Mr Jory. Amongst many lovely glimpses as they begin their education in the Cheddar Valley, I saw children wearing paper chef hats (the Jamie Olivers of the future, maybe??!), Year 1 and Pre-School students signing and a group poetry session.

Meanwhile back at Kings there’s been an enticing aroma wafting down from the Food Technology classroom. As you’ll remember from the cake topper competition I’m very drawn to this Department and I thank Miss Beacham and Mrs Orchard again for their preparations for a special foodie investigation.

Come with me to the scientific world of baking as Year 11 Food Preparation and Nutrition students investigated gluten formation of bread dough with five separate studies looking at different breads, the structure of plain flour compared to bread flour; strong white and wholemeal flours; the amount of liquid; kneading; as well as looking at adding salt, sugar and fat. A heroic baking well done to Miss Beacham and Mrs Orchard who baked 20 different breads for this tasty experiment! See the photos in the news section to follow.

So I’m sure you’ll appreciate my mixed emotions this week. But we remain steadfast and devoted to our students here and across the Cheddar Valley in the happy highs and the very sad lows and once again, our thoughts and prayers are with Johdi’s family, not least for her funeral next week.

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