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Awards, opinions, remembrance

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Blog - Awards, opinions, remembrance

Wednesday 9 November 2011

It was exciting to see the whole school photograph we had taken before the holiday which has just arrived in school, and is on display for students to identify themselves and their friends outside the small hall.  It looks great in its frame and is a great souvenir of the school’s special anniversary year.  Students have been given information on acquiring copies of the photograph in varying sizes, which can be ordered directly online by following this link: https://www.myschoolphoto.org/ – you will need the code numbers on the information sent home.  Please do contact us if you have any difficulties with this.
As I have mentioned before in this blog, Bennett will almost certainly receive an Ofsted inspection during the course of this school year.  Being ready for the inspection really means doing what we need to do as a school with as much care, energy and commitment as we possibly can, which is of course what we endeavour to do at all times anyway.  An established part of the Ofsted inspection process is giving parents of students at the school the opportunity to express their views on the school by using a short questionnaire which is administered in paper form across the two days of the inspection.  The average response rate to this nationally is very low – around 15% only in secondary schools.  I would very much hope that we would be able at Bennett to produce a much stronger response rate than this!
As a way to build up a fuller picture of parents’ views of the school, Ofsted recently launched an on-going online questionnaire, using the same questions, for every school in the country.  It is called ‘ParentView’. Above this blog on the front page of the Bennett website we have put a link to this questionnaire, and we hope that parents will take a few minutes to complete it for us.  The more people do, the fuller the picture will be.  There is always a risk with this kind of feedback that people who are unhappy about an issue are more motivated to fill in a questionnaire than those who are broadly content or happy, so we would encourage as many people as possible to complete it.  We would obviously hope that anyone who is unhappy with some aspect of the school’s work would tell us that so that we have a chance to address the issue.  The results of the questionnaire are published online live, as soon as there are three responses or more. Thank you in advance to all those able to commit a few minutes to this task.
We are always very proud of Bennett students who are able to complete the full Duke of Edinburgh programme and achieve the Gold Award while still at school.  Matthew Goldsmith, Michelle Cosh and Alastair Burt are the latest three to be presented with the prized Gold certificate at St James’ Palace by the Duke of Edinburgh himself; they did their whole Award at Bennett, and left in summer 2011.  During this last holiday, forty-one Bennett sixth formers undertook the gruelling three-night Gold expedition (walking and camping, carrying everything!) in the Peak District National Park, overseen by Nic Ramsden, our Duke of Edinburgh co-ordinator, and Mrs Gleaves, our librarian.  At least ten of these have completed all other aspects of the Gold Award (service, skill acquisition, physical recreation and residential) and so should soon be joining those receiving their awards at the Palace.  There are very few schools where so many students get as far as Gold whilst still at school. Congratulations to all of them.
On Friday this week we will, as usual, be observing the traditional two minute silence for Remembrance Day at 11am. As part of this, we will be praying for the victims of war across the world, and for peace amongst nations.  The Last Post will be played on the trumpet for the whole school community to hear, a solemn and fitting way to remember the sacrifices of war, and an important issue for young people to be invited to reflect on.
Finally, congratulations once again to the Bennett year 10 boys’ rugby team; I have just heard that this evening they won away in Canterbury 45:5.  They now go into the semi-final of the Kent Shield. The same team is competing and doing brilliantly in the Daily Mail Vase and the next game in that tournament (the fourth round) is at Bennett on 15th November. Supporters always welcome!