It has been a superb start to our new school year. During the first week I have felt proud of Coombe Dean students and staff, of their hard work and good spirits, and of the way in which this has helped us to quickly return to effective learning in challenging circumstances.
I hope this news lifts your spirits. I know that for many of you the start of this new school year will have been a time of uncertainty and questions, and you are no doubt wondering about me, the new Headteacher, and how I will lead the school.
My educational priority for the school is teaching and learning. This means:
- using the best research to help students learn quickly and effectively;
- ensuring that our students understand and can talk about how they learn;
- helping our students to motivate themselves, take responsibility for learning and choose behaviour that promotes good learning;
- ensuring students benefit from excellent feedback in their books and in the classroom.
In order to support teaching and learning, we will focus on four areas:
- excellent attendance;
- excellent behaviour, using an approach called Ready to Learn;
- improving reading comprehension through an approach called Forensic Reading;
- excellent leadership at every level, amongst staff and students.
Staff at Coombe Dean began the year with training that focused on these priorities and gave a clear route map for our work on them.
The approach outlined above is based on my experience of successfully leading two other local schools and on reliable and authoritative research about what makes a difference to young peoples’ success in school – not just in academic terms, but in terms of personal growth and mental well-being.
As the year progresses, you will be hearing more about our priorities and approaches – especially Ready to Learn and Forensic Reading. We will have to adapt our ways of communicating to take account of best practice for dealing with Covid-19 and student safety. For example, Parents’ Evenings for Year 7 and Post-16 students will take place online.
I want to thank our students for the excellent quality of their start to the new school year. The newest members of the Coombe Dean family, our new Year 7 students, have been well behaved and smartly presented. The older members of the school have been equally impressive and I want to thank them for offering such a warm welcome to our new students.
I am especially pleased with the changes to the uniform. The new skirt looks smart and professional – right in line with our Ready to Learn approach.
Finally, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed having the opportunity to see and listen to so many students and parents over the first few days. I look forward to meeting more of you soon.
K Dyke – Headteacher