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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Head's Words Lent Term Week 10

This week my words start with a few words about staff changes and the new National Curriculum for English and Maths...

On the staffing front, I can inform you that Mrs Parr, our part-time music teacher, will be leaving us at the end of this term. She has produced some excellent work from our younger pupils and we will really miss her. Mr Rowan and Mr Goddard will be taking on the music responsibilities for the summer term. I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that Mrs Sayer, our outstanding SENCo, will be retiring in July at the end of the academic year to spend more time with her husband and the rest of her family. Mrs Sayer has been instrumental in developing our superb Learning Development Department (LDD) and she has been a wonderful support to me over the past few years. We will really miss her. I can announce that Mr Daniel Gillespie will be stepping up to become our new SENCo from September and is very keen to continue to develop the LDD having experienced himself Mrs Sayer’s inspirational leadership.

In other news, I sent Mrs Vine and Miss Jones to London earlier in the week to establish along with other Independent school subject leaders, how the new National Curriculum for English and Maths has impacted on all schools. They came back with some interesting findings. When we created our curriculum for the boys at Claires Court, we ensured that we captured the core elements of subjects which provide the building blocks and templates for pupils to apply to new situations, most of which are found in the New National Curriculum. However, not being ‘bound’ by the Curriculum, we are able to do more - to develop other skills which extend, which inspire, and hopefully which engage the boys more readily. We are also continually analysing the curriculum and adapting it to suit our ever changing world. On Wednesday, when I saw Year 2 actually burning their model of London in their investigation of The Great Fire of London, it brought home to me how important it is for our boys to be able to write creatively from their own experiences, rather than just from things they have heard or read.

I was disappointed to learn that our Assessment group who provided all of our summer standardised tests have removed creative writing from the papers. For me, the notion that boys cannot write creatively or do not like to express themselves in a piece of writing is nonsense - it is by challenging our pupils to ‘up level’ their sentences, their vocabulary, their planning, and their thinking that we get the best work out of them. In our summer assessments at Claires Court, we will be including a longer piece of writing for Year 1 and above as an extra paper, and you as parents will have complete feedback on this as well as the other tests.

So, to our pupils. The highlight of the week for me has been the Thursday evening Workshare where the boys proudly took you through some of their work. I hope you all enjoyed seeing this one aspect of the education your sons’ are receiving. I am also hatching ways to allow you to see some of the more practical academic work that is not always reflected on paper……...I will get back to you on this!!

And finally to the weekend ahead. Three sports tournaments for our Under 9, 10 and 11 teams are running alongside our Easter Egg Hunt, and I hope to see lots of you there!!! Have a super weekend!

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Ridgeway, The Thicket, Maidenhead, SL6 3QE

(use SL6 4QQ for satnavs, enter via Cannon Lane)

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