I can’t quite believe it was pre-Covid when I last reported on our parental survey via the newsletter. It seems like so much has changed since then. Certainly, much has changed in the world since then but in reviewing our parental survey, it seems that much of what you love about the school has remained or improved!
In terms of non-academic criteria, from your perspective, you rated the following five areas to be the main strengths – school communication, levels of homework, school discipline, developing moral values and school security.
The following areas had made significant improvement: school communication, teaching quality, availability of resources and truancy control.
None of the criteria reviewed showed a decline since the previous survey two years ago.
Parents considered that the school had made significant improvement in rewarding and celebrating achievement.
More parents (89%) rate the school as good or very good than in the previous survey.
92% of parents would recommend this school.
The survey highlighted the fact that three criteria have increased in importance to you over the last two years; these are the happiness of your daughter, her confidence and the care of teachers. I feel that this reflects society and the influence of the pandemic, but rest assured, these areas are of great importance to school also. All similar schools performed in the same way.
In terms of the 12 Parent View questions asked, outstanding ratings were given to many elements – too many to mention! Of note though are the following areas which were rated outstanding – control of bullying, developing potential, teaching quality, the right amount of homework and regular marking of work.
The report also equated some of the scoring to Ofsted areas of judgement. Under behaviour and attitudes, all areas were rated outstanding. Under personal development, I am pleased to report that the following areas, amongst others, were rated outstanding – treating all pupils fairly and promoting racial harmony. Overall, the rating for the school is outstanding.
On behalf of the school and of the governing board, I would like to thank you for your contribution to the questionnaire. Your views remain a highly important indicator to us, along with the views of your daughters and of their staff, in showing us whether we are prioritising the right areas. It would appear that we are! I am especially pleased to see the increase in satisfaction with the way school rewards and celebrates achievement; I feel this should be influential in helping your daughters to increase in confidence and happiness after the turmoil of the last two years.
Finally, the governors would like to wish you all a happy, restful and safe festive period.
This term, a group of our Year 10 Photography and Year 10 Art students visited Runshaw College to attend their prestigious Horizons Master Class sessions. It has been nearly 2 years since we were last able to visit and what fun we had! On the Photography workshop, students were able to use Dark Room facilities to create Photograms and in the Experimental Drawing workshop, our creative pupils worked on gesso boards developing mixed media paintings. Well done to all those involved.
Miss Morris, Lead Teacher for Art & Design and Photography
Loneliness is a growing problem among older people, and in care homes it can be a particularly difficult issue to resolve. Figures from Age UK show that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month, and 60% of people in care homes get no visitors at all.
As a school, we wanted to take part in the campaign that was launched encouraging people to send Christmas cards to residents in local care homes and embraced the task during our recent drop-down day. As a school we made almost 300 cards to send to a variety of care home in the north west region to make a connection with the residents. Reducing loneliness is a crucial part of improving their physical and mental wellbeing and we additionally wanted to promote out school value of compassion and social responsibility.
Mrs Hooke has taken the very difficult decision to retire after teaching Piano, Keyboard and Theory here at Penwortham Girls’ for over 20 years. As well as being a talented pianist, Mrs Hooke also enjoys writing her own music and this is one thing I know she is looking forward to in the future.
Mrs Hooke has been a tremendous support, not only to the many hundreds of students she has taught in her time here but also to the other peripatetic staff and not to mention myself and my colleagues in the Music Department.
In her time with us, Mrs Hooke embodied every single one of our PGHS Core Values. She is ambitious for her students, always encouraging them to reach their potential; She is compassionateand always has a friendly ear for anyone whenever they need it. She is dignified- always treating everyone with respect (even if they forgot what time their lesson was!) Mrs Hooke encouraged her students to be curious by seeking out new music and new styles to play. She encouraged students to show social responsibility by working together effectively with each other in musical ensembles and our school productions. Most of all, Mrs Hooke was resilient and encouraged her students to be too. To be a successful musician, you must be resilient; learning to play an instrument is not easy and can only be done by practising over and over and over again.
Mrs Hooke, we will all miss you tremendously, your kind, caring and gentle nature and welcoming smile. We wish you a very happy, enjoyable and musical retirement and cannot thank you enough for everything that you have done for us all at Penwortham Girls’ High School.
Mrs Cattanach Associate Assistant Headteacher Curriculum Leader for Music
We were absolutely delighted that the Christmas Celebration was able to take place on Wednesday 8th December in the School Hall and that the corridors of school were once again ringing with the sound of music. The students and staff have worked extremely hard over the past few weeks to pull together some superb performances. Well done, everyone!
There was an eclectic mix of music featuring ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’, ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’, ‘Santa Tell Me’, ‘Underneath the Tree’ and ‘Mistletoe’ to name just a few! There were also some fantastic dances and a very spooky drama production of ‘Smee!’. All the students performed extremely well after such a long period of silence and now we can’t wait for the next one! Best wishes to you all for a peaceful Christmas.
‘Lumio’ (formerly known as SMART Learning Suite Online), is a digital learning tool for today’s changing teaching environments. This web-based software helps to create engaging lessons that students can interact with in class, remotely or on their own time all on their own devices.
Now that we can once again book devices in the classroom, we can use Lumio to create engaging and interactive lessons. All lessons can be enhanced using the customisable components including games, collaborative workspaces and much more. The customised activities and games provide automatic feedback to keep learning on track. These can then be delivered to student devices quickly and easily, all from a browser. Using Lumio, students can take ownership of their learning independently and the game-based activities, keeping students motivated and actively learning through interactive content on their own devices.
All learning is visible to the teacher and the class with a dashboard master view of each piece of work.
The example shows an interactive activity ‘Rank Order’ where the students are ordering solutions interactively from smallest to largest. Immediate feedback supports learning. Pupils can then work through other pages at their own pace so that no time is wasted. This is also an example of teaching for mastery. The activity makes pupils think mathematically about the size of the answer.
In our weekly functional skills lessons, year 10 use Lumio for a range of activities to improve their working memory, helping them to recall key facts and formula alongside working interactively. Students also answer functional skills questions using ‘Response’ so that I can identify areas of weakness to target during the following weeks or target misconceptions and improve exam technique.
The word search is a great tool for recapping key words and an additional sheet is used to match the definitions.
More recently, during our ‘Drop down day’, our buddy group made Christmas cards collaboratively using Lumio for our community project . These are going to be printed out and sent to residents in our local care homes.
Mrs S Bennett (UK Smart Ambassador / Assistant Maths Hub Lead for Abacus NW)
As part of their learning journey, students in Year 7 and Year 8 have been taught about calculating with negative numbers using double sided counters. These manipulatives have been really helpful in making this topic visual and interactive, so the pupils understand how, and more importantly, why we arrive to a particular answer.
Pupils were first introduced to the concept of a ‘zero pair’, which is a pair of numbers than when added, equal zero. For example, we have that 1+ (-1) = 0.
Pupils then completed different calculations involving negative numbers using the counters.
Here is a comment from some of the pupils:
‘When I first saw the questions, it looked really hard at first because of all the negatives and positives- it was very confusing! After using the counters, it helped me visually see the calculation I was completing, making it a lot easier to understand.’ (Year 7 student)
‘I have seen calculating negative numbers before in Year 7, but I found it really hard. After seeing the topic again with counters, it has been much easier to understand, I can use the counters in lessons to help me understand how to add and subtract negative numbers.’ (Year 8 student)
It has been a busy term for both students and teachers in the Mathematics department this term. As we come to the Christmas holidays, most pupils are completing their assessments in Mathematics. The department thought it would be a good idea to update you all as to what is being done.
Years 7, 8 and 9 are currently completing their “Progress Tests in Mathematics”.
The Progress Test in Maths (PTM) assessments accurately measure how the school and students are performing – student by student, class by class and year by year.
Standardised on over 45,000 children, the easy-to-use tests assess students’ mathematical skills and knowledge, helping you to understand current levels of attainment and identify any gaps in learning at both an individual and cohort level.
Understanding and applying mathematical processes (process category)
The tests are used at the start of the year to set a baseline and then at the end of the year to measure and track progress.
Year 11 have recently completed their first set of Mock examinations.
Year 11 have now had their first full experience of what GSCE Mathematics exams will look like, having completed a full exam style paper and receiving the “formula sheet” which will be available to all pupils this year.
Results so far have looked very promising and the department is looking forward to the awarding of grades after final set of mock examinations which will be undertaken in March.