Monthly Archives: January 2018
26th January 2018
How can we best prepare our children for jobs that don’t even exist yet?
It has been estimated from a variety of sources that up to 65% of the jobs that will exist in 2025 don’t yet even exist in the present, and up to 45% of the activities that people are currently paid for will be automated using technology. Who would have believed just 10 years ago in 2008 that there would be job titles such as ‘social media manager’ or ‘mobile app developer’ now advertised and that we would be concerned about issues such as ‘cyber-security’ and ‘phishing’?
Schools need to prepare young people for a digital revolution and a fast changing jobs market says England’s new Education Secretary, Damian Hinds. This accelerating pace of social and technological change presents our schools and education system with a real dilemma. What skills are required to best equip our children with the challenges that lie ahead? Literacy, numeracy and scientific knowledge will always be critical. But recently the World Economic Forum asked executives from some of the world’s leading companies what they thought the most important job skills would be in 2020. Their number one response? Critical problem solving. Other skills mentioned included critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and emotional intelligence.
‘Yesterday’s classroom won’t prepare our kids for tomorrow’s job market’
Our school curriculum therefore needs to be not only current and relevant, but forward thinking and both flexible and dynamic in order to help place our students at the front of that future job queue. I believe that one of The Chase’s key strengths is its curriculum, and as a new GCSE Options process gets underway in school, I am both excited and enthused by the school’s strong curriculum offer at Key Stage 4. We offer a mix of traditional academic subjects together with an increasing number of more vocational and skills based qualifications. All of our KS4 courses are taught by specialist qualified teachers who in many cases continue to teach their main subject to A Level. Indeed, we are one of the only schools in Worcestershire to be offering a full range of Computing and Media qualifications at KS4 and KS5. Our Faculty Leader for Computing & Business is John Palmer who is a Lead Ambassador both locally and regionally for Computing, and supports centres all over the West Midlands to develop their teaching of the subject. John recently gained Chartered IT Professional status in acknowledgement of all his work and is one of only five teachers nationally to have been awarded with this status. Indeed, The Chase bucks the national trend when it comes to students, especially girls who are choosing to study Computer Science at GCSE and A Level, and our progress rates in this subject is impressive. This year we have expanded the amount of time in the school curriculum for the delivery of IT and Computer Science at KS3 from one to two units per week.
The school has developed close ties during the past few years with a number of the hi-tech companies located on the Malvern Hills Science Park, located opposite The Chase. A number of our students not only serve apprenticeships with these companies but a growing number are now employed across the road. Our aim is to continue to develop The Chase as a centre of excellence for Computer Science and Digital Technology in order to supply the next generation of ‘brilliant brains’ which Malvern has gained a reputation for, since the establishment of DERA during the Second World War (now QinetiQ). We need to make sure that our students are ‘tech-ready’ for a bright future.
M J Fieldhouse
12th January 2018
I want to start this first blog of 2018 by wishing everybody a very happy, prosperous, rewarding and fulfilling New Year. I very much hope that 2018 lives up to our high expectations and delivers for all of us.
To start the year on a positive note – I would like to focus this blog on how the school rewards our students. As we are well aware – all of us thrive on being given praise. A simple acknowledgement of thanks or saying ‘well done’ can make all the difference to our day.
It is expected via the school’s Rewards Policy that teachers seek out opportunities to publicly praise students for behaviour that enhances learning. ‘Rewards, obtainable to all, are an effective way of improving and maintaining good behaviour and should be applied fairly and consistently by all staff. Praise should be genuine and in most cases public’ (The Chase Rewards Policy).
Within the classroom, on a day to day basis, there are numerous ways in which teachers can reward students for their efforts. This might be in the form of non-verbal praise, such as a simple smile or a round of applause, or verbal praise including the use of positive encouraging language. Where possible, teachers are encouraged to award House Points, which are recorded, together with an email message sent home to notify parents. Teachers can also issue Praise Postcards which are sent directly home. Personally, I think this is a great way to acknowledge and reward students and they appear to share this view, when rewards have been discussed at student council meetings. In certain cases, a letter from the Headteacher may also be used in which I can personally thank or praise a student for their endeavours.
During the Spring and Summer Terms, we also have year group commendation events, in which two students are selected by each form tutor for noteworthy reasons. Parents are then invited into school for a commendation presentation, in which I publicly acknowledge and award the students in question. House Assemblies are held on a termly basis to celebrate student successes, including awarding those students who have achieved 100% attendance during the term.
Towards the end of Year 10 students are invited to apply to be prefects. Becoming a prefect acknowledges a student’s record of behaviour in school and highlights their honesty, trustworthiness and reliability. Prefects play an important role in helping to ensure the smooth running of the school and are rewarded for their efforts with the opportunity of leaving the school site at lunchtimes after February half term in Year 11.
Perhaps the most prestigious awards in school are handed out to students at the annual Awards Evening, held in December each year. These are mainly achievement awards, focussing upon GCSE and A level performance, though student progress is also acknowledged and rewarded. Where possible, we aim to invite former students back as our guest speakers. They are well placed to provide words of inspiration and wisdom to our current students as they start out in the world post-Chase. We were delighted to welcome back Adam Hatton, Creative Director at Jaguar to be our recent guest speaker. The evening was a tremendous success and it was great to catch up with so many former students and staff who attended the evening’s celebrations.
We are also planning to introduce a Celebration Event for the end of the summer term in order to reward and acknowledge the successes of our Key Stage 3 students and showcase their skills and talents. More details to follow shortly…
I would like to think that all students are rewarded in some way during their time with us at The Chase. We will continue to do our utmost to ensure consistency and fairness is applied when rewards are handed out to students, and we will try and celebrate success in all its various forms.
M J Fieldhouse