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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Spanswick's Words Autumn 6

I read a very interesting article yesterday written by Amanda Spielman, the Chief Inspector of Schools for Ofsted, who summarised her thoughts of the primary state school curriculum (the National Curriculum) in one scathing word - ‘hollow’. She alluded to schools being forced to concentrate on achieving results for the SATS at the expense of breadth of subjects and enjoyment of learning, and even stated that teachers were having to adjust their own pedagogy significantly to ‘teach to the tests’.

In my opinion, the teachers in the maintained sector cannot be blamed for this. They are forced to work within the boundaries of narrow, sometimes retrieval driven assessments, without having the time, resources or support to engender a lifelong love of learning. Striking that balance between offering a broad curriculum and also achieving all of the salient academic targets is the key to a successful and happy school, and it is something that we strive to achieve every working day at Claires Court.

From my perspective, we have a duty to offer our boys choices, guidance, structure, chances to explore and opportunities to excel. From my reflections on this week at school, I would like to  think we have done just that for every pupil….it may have been in a Maths lesson, a spelling challenge, a chromebook task, a playground discussion, a music performance, a rugby match or an assembly…..and it is sometimes in the smallest of details where boys can find their inspiration. In a week where some parents will be opening envelopes with results of 11+ transfer test outcomes, I reminded all of our pupils this morning that they are so much more than a test result, a dictation mark, a times tables score or an essay grade. I would like to think that we always judge our boys on the content of their character, and this is why I firmly believe they go on to excel in life, in whichever area they choose. Claires Court pupils have empathy, compassion, values, modesty, a tolerance and appreciation of others,  and a confidence without being pretentious. It is another week where I feel very privileged to be working with such wonderful pupils, such supportive parents, and such outstanding staff.

So, onto our last 5 days at school. My pictures will tell several stories, and please watch out for coverage in our local paper of the ISA Art successes from last week and pictures of our boys who qualified to play for Berkshire chess at Under 9 and 11 level, a wonderful achievement.

On Tuesday I attended a board meeting of the Claires Court PTA. Our new Chairperson, Louise Notton-Brown, has already been very busy with her team and we are looking forward to a number of events this term, starting of course, with the Firework Display tomorrow evening. I hope to see many of you there. Please do click further down on the bulletin to read about important dates and information, as well as hearing of how the PTA are working and the wonderful items we can buy for your children due to their fundraising efforts.

Coming home in bags for Year 4, 5 and 6 parents is a questionnaire from one of our former pupils who is currently studying for his A-levels. Part of his Business project is to research parental thoughts on children’s use of Social Media. If you have the time, please fill in the form with your thoughts and return them to us on Monday by boy post.

Next week looks very busy! Year 6 are away for the week in Dorset for their Field Studies, Year 4 have a trip to Hampton Court, Year 5 have rugby matches galore, and our hard-working lower years will continue to bring every subject they study to life!

Have a super weekend.

Justin Spanswick

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Ridgeway, The Thicket, Maidenhead, SL6 3QE

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

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