Mr Keith Mortimer-Hampson, Governor of the Month for June, spent the day in school on Friday, 5th June visiting RCS, History & Geography classes. Here are some extracts from his report to the Board of Governors:
‘My tenth visit to Coombe Dean: where does the time go? As per usual, the day started with SLT briefing. The business of the day is coordination of diaries for the next two weeks, led by Mr Frean. Paper format is still just winning over electronic format, but for how much longer, I wonder, as i-Pads replace thick, well-thumbed, paper diaries?
‘My first lesson was Geography with Mr Green. Students are in the process of compiling a piece of work on Dubai, looking at changing cities and how modern cities evolve. It is a fantastic example, with some of the most impressive buildings in the World. Students are able to recognise some of the more famous examples and are equally adept at identifying some of the more exotic police vehicles used in Dubai. We discuss the Burgess Model of different land-use patterns, identifying the four zones that spread out from the Central Business District of a city. Using these different zones, the students are then tasked with selecting properties from a Plymouth newspaper and placing them in each of the different zones, based upon property type and appearance. This they seem to be able to do with some ease and I am surprised by their knowledge of differing parts of Plymouth and their ability to classify them. The wide spread of residential areas from which the students of Coombe Dean are drawn is clearly illustrated here.’
‘Lesson 2 was RCS with Mrs Murray. This group are looking at ‘Believing in God’, using the film ‘Bruce Almighty’ and studying how Bruce changes during the film, when he is given the powers of God and the effects these bring to his life. I found this a fascinating lesson. By using a comedy film that the students are familiar with, they are able to relate to many key religious questions.’
‘Following break and Tutor time, I went to Year 7 History with Miss Collings, where they are studying ‘The Medieval Church’ and I am immediately impressed at how engaged this Year 7 group were. They demonstrate some excellent subject knowledge and discuss their individual opinions on why people were so deeply religious during this era in a calm, but very enthusiastic manner.’
‘Lesson 4 was Year 13 History with Mr Nutter, a final revision session for six A-level students on the last day before they take their final exam on the following Monday. Their subject is the French Revolution. They are split into pairs, with one facing the back of the room, with the other facing the white board. A significant event is then put up on the board for one to describe, until the other correctly identifies it. The depth of subject knowledge and myriad of dates to remember is quite astonishing. What is very apparent during this lesson is what an impressive facility we now have for our A-Level students. It is clean and efficient, but, more than anything, a calm and quiet place to enable learning at the very highest level.
‘Lunch – as it is Friday, it must be Fish and Chips; brilliant as always and an even bigger array of food than the last time I was here. After all, you can’t learn on an empty stomach!’
‘My final lesson of the day was Year 8 RCS with Mrs Firth. Students are looking at how religion exerts authority on people’s lives, using the film ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ and studying the character Jesminder, a Sikh girl, with strict parents and a love of football. Again, the film works very well as a medium to help them understand the subject. We are tasked with making and recording a series of observations from a section of the film.’
‘All too soon my day is finished. Over the 11 years I have been a Governor at Coombe Dean I have witnessed many changes, but one thing that never seems to change is the overwhelmingly positive nature of the school. Students were positive, courteous and most of all, fun to be with throughout my day.‘