Welcome from Mr White, Headteacher

Published on 13 September 2018

Dear Parents and Carers

I begin the new academic year feeling very privileged to have been appointed as the fifth Headteacher of Leventhorpe. From September 2018 the school will be entering a new phase of development and I am excited by the potential and prospects for the school and its students as I take over from Jon Locke.

I joined Leventhorpe in January 2000 and have had responsibility for leading many aspects of the school’s development during my time here. I have worked closely with my colleagues and governors and fully understand what makes Leventhorpe such a great school for the students, staff, parents and our local community. As you will be aware, we are growing in terms of student numbers and will shortly be starting a £7m building programme to increase and improve our classroom facilities. As the school grows there will be challenges to overcome and many opportunities to take advantage of.  The careful management of our expansion will be one of our key priorities over the coming years.

Leventhorpe is fortunate to have such committed students and staff who work together to provide so many experiences and opportunities for growth and development. This sense of community and being part of something very special is what makes the school such an exciting place to be. We will continue to focus on everything we do in terms of our curriculum, teaching and all of the other extra-curricular activities and events to ensure we continue to provide the optimal environment for all of our students to grow and thrive.

Over the next year we have several key areas for development. In terms of lessons and learning time we are launching two initiatives this year. The first is ‘Ready to Learn’. I will explain this in more detail at the Parental Information Evenings in the first half term and we will post materials on the website to support parents and students in this initiative. The focus of this project is to set very clear expectations to ensure that lesson time is fully utilised in terms of learning time. We want students and staff to be collaborating to ensure that the 60 minutes in each lesson are used as effectively as possible, with no lost learning time. The key areas are:

• being properly prepared for each lesson
• making sure lessons start efficiently
• listening carefully
• and then engaging in the tasks set by staff

The second area related to learning is ‘Thinking Maps+’. We have launched some additional thinking tools to assist students and staff to move towards a more consistent approach to the different types of thinking that are required in lessons. Research shows that these tools, once embedded, will assist learning and lead to not only better academic performance, but also to better developed life skills that will enhance thinking and problem-solving ability. These skills will be of enormous benefit to our students, not just in the classroom but in their further education, in the workplace and beyond.

We are also looking at developing our work in terms of student resilience and the broader mental health agenda. We will research and then put in place clear activities and opportunities for students to develop a toolkit of strategies to cope with the changing environment that they are growing up in. This includes social, technological, economic and environmental changes. This will be delivered through PSHE, tutor time, assemblies and other one-off events and activities. We are also looking for student groups to develop support systems and peer support and mentoring. Our students will also lead work to improve our environmental footprint.

Open Evening

I and the rest of the staff look forward to welcoming prospective parents and students to the school Open Evening on Wednesday 19th September at 6:00pm. I will address parents at 6:00pm, 6:40pm, 7:20pm and 8:00pm.

All classrooms and specialist areas will be open and parents and children are welcome to view work and talk to staff and students.

During the coming year I will be starting a process of consultation over a broad range of issues to help establish and agree the future direction of the school. I am confident that there is no need for radical change as the school is already performing well and is a vibrant and exciting place to be. However, we always need to reflect and consider what we could be doing to improve the welfare and opportunities for our students. I will take a measured approach to making any significant changes and hope to agree these areas with governors, staff, students and parents over the coming year.

Thank you all for continued support of the school.

Malcolm White


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