Welcome back to another year at LECA.
For the first time in a long time, we begin the year with huge optimism, looking forward to our first ever cohort of Year 11s taking their final exams and our new Year 7s bringing us up to full capacity of 600. How quickly has that time gone and what hurdles we have overcome to get here. On Thursday I stood in front of the full staff team and couldn't help a smile. 83 people. We started with 6!
This year is also the year we will be inspected by Ofsted. The last two years, much behind closed doors, we have been refining our curriculum, recruiting specialist teachers, adding to the support team and updating our policies to ensure everything we do reflects the vision and values we set out right from the very beginning. We want our students to be INSPIRED and we expect our staff to do everything they can to instill those core values into our students. We know that Ofsted judgements aren't the be-all and end-all but we will still be striving for the best possible judgement when the time comes.
Year 7 were absolutely brilliant this week. Some were nervous, some looked at home straight away, some gave little away, but they soon in and enjoying their new space. Once the testing was done, we brought them into assembly and welcomed them formally. All of them listened beautifully and hopefully they left with at least some of the INSPIRED embedded into their memories. After that they had activities in their tutor groups, tours of the school, the all important break and lunch, and some reading tests so we can begin to build a picture of how good their reading is and support them straight away.
To further support reading, Mrs Starling has also launched Accelerated Reader - to help rapidly improve reading ages - and DEAR time every day (Drop Everything And Read). This initiative is used widely in lots of schools and promotes quality reading time at a set time every day. Everyone literally drops what they are doing and reads for a set time, which again will improve reading ages and expand vocabulary over time. To support this further the library has been completely reorganised over the summer and now looks absolutely fantastic. With two teaching spaces and a fully catalogued book collection, the students have a brilliant resource to use before, during and after school, when they all return.
Following the two years we've had and then thinking ahead to the busy year in front of us, wellbeing is one of our core priorities. We have some superb systems and staff in place to support student wellbeing and have access to a wide range of services we can tap into if necessary but it is also the staff we need to look when those busy periods kick in. To support them, we have bolted on some daily perks to make their lives that little bit easier but more importantly, our drive will be to be aware. Aware of stresses, aware of our interactions and aware of workload. If we get this right, the community at LECA will thrive and consolidate and ultimately the progress of the students will improve. A happy school is a successful school and our mission this year is be both in equal measure.
To Year 11 - this is it! We can't wait to see you all on Monday and you will have Mr Tatham looking after you and driving you forwards every day to ensure you achieve the best possible results. Focus on the things that require no talent: being on time, 100% effort, 100% growth mindset. Get those bits right, and you are well on the way. Have a great year all of you.
Head of School, LECA