From the Principal
For just under 5 years from 2007, I worked as an Education Adviser in the UK. I was initially involved in working with schools and Local Authorities in improving student behaviour and attendance. This was interesting and I was able to observe pretty much every type of school imaginable. I then got a promotion into what was called the 'Narrowing the Gap' program and my eyes really opened.
The aim of this was to close the educational gap between the wealthy and the poor. In the UK (as in almost all countries) this gap can be really significant and it gets bigger as students get older. The gap is stubborn, it is often generational, it is linked to postcodes as much as people and for many students we were trying to help other contexts such as health issues and learning difficulties made accessing education even more difficult.
I mention this because one element that we highlighted as positive was parental involvement in education. This can take many forms. For our most successful learners though, it starts immediately after birth. The first two and a half years of direct parent talk has a transformative impact upon how a child will engage with vocabulary and development of functional literacy. This remains true all the way through school. Generally, children who have their school life mirrored and supported in home conversations have greater advantage over those who do not.
Meaningful engagement with parents as educators offers incredible fuel to what we can achieve as a College. This year, we have launched two major initiatives - Inspire Maths and Write that Essay. The purpose of both is to take our learning in numeracy and literacy from good to great. I urge you to learn more about these - and to speak to teachers about how you can support this learning at home.
On the topic of parent engagement, we had the inaugural meeting of the Parent Partnership Forum on Tuesday evening. A key first action of this group is to baseline current College successes and areas for development. I have developed a survey which will be emailed to a random sample of teachers, students and families. If you would like to be added to the sample, please email me and let me know. The survey itself will take about 15-20 minutes to complete.
Many thanks for the support you are giving us.
Mr Chris Gabbett