"King Edward's has survived and thrived since 1551 because of its ability to adapt to change"
Planning For A New Normal.
The impact of the global pandemic has had a dramatic effect on our collective pysche and on the way in which we view education, life, work and the world. For everyone the pandemic has wrought some element of change and re-evaluation of the old norms. To any Historian this shouldn't come as any surprise, it was Leon Trotsky in 1922 who said that 'conflict is the locomotive of history'. That phase has been coined by Historians and commentators across the decades to refer to the speed of change that occurs in a society following some form of disruption to it.
New Methods of Working
The world for which we are preparing our students for has and is undergoing a fundamental digital change that has been turbo-charged by the pandemic. Add this underlying trend to the global concerns about the environment and digital presents new ways to work and to learn whilst enabling us to reduce our carbon footprint. This summer exam boards are trialling Digital Exams with 100 secondary schools and their goal is to work towards phasing this in for all schools as the normal method of taking exams by 2030.
Wednesday 23rd February Digital Testing at KEVIGS
At KEVIGS 21/22 is all about investing in our digital infrastructure as we rip out old hardware, cabling, systems, filtering and Wi-Fi and renew it. We are now at the stage where we need to run whole school testing of the network at the same time, in every classroom, with every student device - Kindle or other tablet. We are doing this so that we can learn what is working well, what isn't, and then use this information to identify Wi-Fi dead spots or similar issues so we can continue with our upgrades.
Our first whole school test will be on Wednesday 23rd February where all students will need to have their Kindles in school with them to help us to run these tests.
Our Digital pages and Digital FAQs provide more details about our plans and provide some myth busting information as well. There can be no doubt that for all schools digital methods of working and learning are not about if they happen but about when they happen: how long will it be until the Victorian cry of 'get your books out' is replaced with get your 'devices' out?
Evolving Enrichment 2021-2023/4
As part of the KEVIGS new normal we intend to continue to evolve, develop and structure our Enrichment plans. 2021/22 has been about re-booting Enrichment since the pandemic disrupted it's introduction in 2019/20.
This dedicated slot has enabled us to structure House events, Sport, Activities and Y11 and Y13 Workshops into our curriculum to help give meaning and provide another vehicle for us to deliver our Holistic, Academic, Education values. As we look ahead we are also excited about and planning for the use of this slot to develop our provision for equipping students with the time and skills for independent learning; provision of Y12/Y13 one to one and small group mentoring for all Y7-10 students, and the provision of targeted support for those who need assistance with getting their reading comprehension up to Grammar School standards.
In addition to this we are also looking at expanding the range of external community options - we currently have Tennis, Golf and Climbing. If you run an event, activity or have links to an activity, group or organisation in the community that you think would benefit the school and our students as part of our Enrichment programme then please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to listen, and learn and in the coming months a small group of staff, students, and parents will be led by a new Director of Adventure to commence planning out the development of our 22/23 Enrichment programme. This work will also include a return to our extensive subject trips, visits, DofE, World Challenge, Cultural, Sporting Tours and Exchange programmes.
As we progress to a new normal one of the impacts of the pandemic has been the wearing of PE kit on those days where students have PE. This in turn has led many staff, students, governors and parents to question the role of uniform in schools: at the same time the Government has introduced legislation requiring all schools to review, retender and reduce the cost of school uniform.
Over 900 people responded to our Uniform Survey and you can see the details here
A majority of respondents favoured some form of uniform with approximately 20% all respondents in favour of no uniform at all: 5% parents, 7% teachers, and 40% students. In terms of uniform preference traditional uniform polled at 47% with a modern/casual alternative polling at 32%. When asked about attitudes towards uniform and reasons for it then only 18% saw a traditional uniform as an essential part of a Grammar School education. There were a pleasing number of intelligent and articulate arguments about different aspects of both the current uniform and improvements to it as well as passionate arguments by students for wearing either no uniform or something more modern.
A student, staff and parent task and finish group will meet to consider the consultation responses, the government's legislation and requirements for schools and present some options back to everyone for their thoughts.
A major part of our new normal will see King Edward's Sports Hall come to life from September with its massive 5 badminton court sized hall, separate Dance & Activity Studio and Cardio Vascular and Weights Room and external viewing gallery overlooking the fields and St James' Church. This new sports hall will provide the much needed enhanced changing facilities so that we can accommodate an entire year group for changing and will likely signal an end to students coming into school in their PE kit and thus influence our uniform discussions.
Engineering and Design Block
As part of the wider Sports Hall development we are now working up the plans for the re-development of the old Activity Hall into a new Engineering and Design Block. This is a very exciting project which we hope will involve significant support, collaboration and contributions from Engineering industries in the local area.
The new block will consist of four resistant materials laboratories and a large open plan engineering workshop on the first floor, thus enabling us to retain a large hall on the ground floor for use as a much needed whole school assembly and examination hall space.
This initiative will finally enable us to provide a much needed dedicated curriculum pathway from Year 7 through to Year 13 for those interested in Design Engineering and in gaining future employment in automotive engineering, environmental engineering, as well as traditional engineering careers.
In addition to the new Sports Hall we have successfully received around £2million of additional Government Funding to invest in essential site maintenance for the Quad Heating systems and also to re-roof the 'Studio' located on School House Lane: the site of the original school that Tennyson attended. We will also be rolling out a planned series of refurbishments and redecoration to teaching blocks, corridors, learning walls, displays and signage across the site during 21/22 and 22/23 as part of our return to a new normal.
The Locomotive of Change
Well done for getting this far on the locomotive of change journey and thank you for taking the time to read about the plans that we have in hand as we all continue to evolve King Edward's towards a new normal.