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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Wilding's words Lent week 2

After my experiment with a ‘talking head’ last week, I’ve reverted to some ‘easy-to-read’ lines of text this week.

Working with senior boys and their teachers, without having genuine contact with many over the week does feel very much like standing on the shoreline, steering a swan on the water with a long barge pole in the middle of a fog. I have a clear understanding of my intentions, but whether the right ‘bobbing object’ is being pushed, let alone whether it is willing to move in the right direction is largely an act of faith. This is why receiving feedback from pupils, teachers and parents is so helpful, and as we have just run our first tutor/parent mentoring sessions for Year 8, with more year groups to follow this half-of-term, I do feel the opportunities to listen and tweak are very much there.

At assembly on Thursday, I did explain to the school how we are managing feedback for the first half of Lent term period; we will pop out an Attitude to Learning grade card after half-term - you can catch my explanation from 12:38mins onwards in the recording here After half-term, we will have our CT2s, Mid-term assessments which either in-school or at home, will give us all an update on progress made this term. 

One of the questions we are frequently asked to address is with regards to academic standards - ”how do we know at what level a student is working?”

This term sees the second series of Common Tasks set in every subject, so by close of term, looking at the 20 weeks covered, we will be able to confirm that by teacher observation, ongoing feedback and performance in CTs, we’ll be able to give judgement on the work covered. That grade predicts nothing by the way, because the work of the third term has not commenced and the compiled performance on the year covers all three terms, three CTs and the student’s performance on what are called ‘synoptic questions’ which turn up on the third Common Task. A synoptic question involves the explicit drawing together of knowledge, skills and understanding within different parts of the year’s programme, and asks essentially, ‘what does it all add up to?”

Given my current ‘myopic state’, I cannot currently give a definitive answer to questions arising for the Summer term, but I am really confident we are covering the right ground, at the right pace and with sufficient feedback from our educational compasses to know that, when the fog lifts, we will be on target of our planned destination. I can express this confidently because this is the second time around with remote learning, that we have almost 100% attendance and our backroom teams meet reliably to check the progress of our most vulnerable pupils.

Moreover, those boys in school provide the local feedback we need too that good progress is being made.

And finally, we have two exciting opportunities commencing for next week:

For Years 7, 8 and 9 to follow a four week course in Food Technology with our Food Tech teacher, Mrs Irons. These four sessions are scheduled for Period 5, 3pm Thursday 21, 28 January and 4 and 11 February. If nothing else, it sounds a tasty way to end of the day. Further details will be shared with Year 7 and 8 directly, as some food components will need to be assembled prior to the lesson. 

For Year 10 and 11, and focussing on Making a Difference, the MAD club meets Friday 1pm to 1.30pm under the auspices of Head of Economics, Mrs Astrup, to see how we can make our own ‘baby steps’ to save the planet. It is an opportunity to share ideas, make changes and develop skills in teamwork, leadership, project management (great for UCAS and employability in due course). For more information and to join, please email Mrs Astrup at

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