Principal’s Blog, Student Focus – Bullying, Friday 17th May 2019

This is the first in a series of blogs in which the views of a cross section of the student population are shared. The young people involved are a representative mix of students in terms of year group, gender, academic levels and ethnic back ground. They choose topic areas, crafted the questions and agreed the summary responses.

They provide an interesting insight into the views of our students and the responses of the academy to support these young people.

The first topic is one close to the heart of every young person, parent and teacher, bullying.

This is what our students thought.

What causes bullying? – Bullies cause bullying, they normally pick you out if you are different. They often do this because they are jealous or they have been bullied. Sometimes they do it because they think it will make them look good or fit in. Often it is because of the way they have been treated in the past.

How does bullying make you feel? – Different people feel different things at different times. Angry, isolated, self-conscious, upset, vulnerable, confused and even enraged are all common.

How common is bullying at Hazeley? – It happens less than in other schools, but it does happen, it is normally dealt with well, it tends to be relatively small groups of students that do it. It gets less common as you get older. It is important that it remains a priority for teachers to spot and deal with.

How could Hazeley deal with it more effectively? – Students need to understand what restorative meetings are and how they work. Bullies who don’t learn from these need to know that they will be punished. Staff need to make sure that they always close the loop and have the time to sit down with students and deal with these things properly.

As a result of the feedback from the students we will introduce a series of lessons on restorative practice, looking at how it works and why it works. This will be linked in with Anti Bullying Week.

Finally don’t forget to pass on the message that the first step to stopping bullying is informing a member of staff, this can be done through Tell, Text, Email….

Tell any member of staff – they will pass the message on to the correct person

Text us on 07923 866007

Email us on – AB@thehazeleyacademy.com

Principal’s Blog, Character, Confidence and Creative writing and The Dad Test, Friday 10th May 2019

There are all sorts of ways to measure what a good lesson looks like, but the most valid and reliable one for me is the dad test, it’s a simple one, would I want my own child to be in this lesson? If it is a yes then it is a good lesson, if at a later point I am talking about the lesson with my children it was a great one.

I am fortunate enough to be in and out of lessons every day at Hazeley, the consistency in which lessons pass the “dad test” is extremely reassuring. Possibly the most consistent area is English, (although due to the competitive nature of our subject leaders I suspect many others would want to argue their case!)

Reading and creative writing seem to be favourites with our students; the opportunity to explore different lives and places from the safety of their own classroom, sharing them with others appears to enrich the experience further.

The teachers come up with all sorts of creative ways to heighten student interest and enjoyment, one of them is entering competitions. Through this a number of Hazeley students recently earned the privilege of having their work published in the young writer publication “Poetry Escape” edited by Jess Giaffreda.

One of my favourites is The Moon and Sea by Marta in Y7

The Moon and Sea

Whilst moon decks herself in Neptunes’ glass,

And ponders her image in the sea,

Her cloudy locks smoothed on her face,

That she may be as bright as beauty be,

It is my wont to sit upon the shore,

And see with what grace she glides,

Her two concurrent paths of azure,

One in the heavens, one in the tides.

Y7 students whose work was also published included:

Emma
Ashelyn
Michelle
Lily
Laia
Zahra
Keira
Grace
Adam
Zenovia
Yaser
Marta
Brandon
Gabriel
Daisy
Stephanie
Mikel
Mohammed
Ashton
Olivia
Keira Lee
Elissa
Rhys
Charlie

A lovely example of a great lesson leading to a very special experience those students remember for the rest of their lives. It certainly passes the dad test.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, Being a role model, Friday 3rd May 2019

On Tuesday I left my office carrying my jacket instead of wearing it, our expectation at Hazeley is that students always wear their blazer in the corridor from the start of school until 3.15pm. It was 3.15pm so I thought little of it. Before I got to the end of the corridor, a lovely Y8 student, in the politest possible way asked me, “Mr Nelson, where is you jacket? You should be wearing it as you are in the corridor”, I explained to her that it was the end of school and therefore the rules are relaxed, she smiled and went on her way. As I entered the stairs an equally, polite Y10 boy asked me “Where are you Mr Nelson?”, “I am walking up the stairs” I replied in a curious tone, “You should have your jacket on” was their mildly mischievous response.

This small episode, made me smile; partly because our students are so full of character and confidence that they feel that they can, in the right way challenge the Principal as he walks down the corridor, but much more importantly it reminded me of the importance of being a role model.

I cannot recall who said, “Being a role model is not one form of leadership, it is the only form of leadership”. It also reminded me that we have to do our best not just to model what we expect of our students, but also to try to show them the next level. In this example, I thought that it was good enough to model my expectations of the students, when what they needed was for me to show that I have even higher expectations of myself.

Teachers and parents share the privileges and pressures of being role models. We have to do this whilst also understanding that we are neither perfect nor “normal” (whatever that is), but this should not prevent us from always aiming to be the very best versions of ourselves for our young people to learn from, and importantly be willing to learn from them when they give us the opportunity.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, What was your most memorable school trip? Friday 26th April 2019

Over the Easter break I journeyed back to Northumberland, the location of my first school residential trip, it was lovely to revisit the places that I had seen almost 40 years before, it was surprising to see how little things had changed, however I was looking at ancient castles and beaches! Even more surprising was my realisation of how that single week away had influenced my future, through it I gained an interest in geography, geology and history. I went on to study in these areas at A-Level and they heavily influenced by future career. I suspect if many of us spare the time we will be able to unpick how school trips and visits influenced our lives.

The primary school that my sons attended have been very brave for many years, they arrange overseas exchange visits for children as young as nine years old. My wife and I experienced a strange balance of enthusiasm and apprehension about letting our boys go. To get on a plane with a group of other pupils and a few teachers, then land in a foreign country and go and live with another family for a week seemed a real challenge and opportunity. But we weighed up the risks, we understood that nothing is risk free, but had faith that the school would take all reasonable steps to make it safe and enjoyable and placed our trust in them. I can say without doubt that they had the best week of their school life so far, they came back with pockets full of stories, bags of confidence and a pile of unused clean socks! The visits have led to us, as a family, visiting the families in Spain and Germany and in turn hosting them in our own homes. Both of my sons now have real interests in German. Truly life changing.

This might you ask, so what trips do children do at Hazeley? The list at the end of this blog outlines the trips over a twelve month period. It was only when I saw them in one place that I realised how many opportunities our young people can access over their time with us.

There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into organising these trips, from doing research, completing risk assessments, organising letters, planning the learning, supervising the children and dealing with the odd hick up. We are very lucky at Hazeley at how willing our staff are to do this, it’s not in their job description, they don’t get paid any extra money, they do it because they believe it is the right thing to do for the children in their charge.

Remember the academy will always go above and beyond to support families who have a genuine need for financial support, we even have one parent who always pays for one extra place whenever she pays for a place for her own child. I hope that you are able to do all that you can to support your child in taking advantage of these opportunities and in supporting the staff that lead and organise these trips. Small things like returning reply slips on time, paying voluntary contributions whenever you can and a simple thank you email to a member of staff who might have given up a week with their family to take your child away can make all of the difference.

Interviews for Engineering Education Scheme National Maritime Museum
Caldecotte Xperience 4 KS4 (Geography) East London Fieldwork
Malaga 2018 Student Pixl for MFL
New York Young Leaders Training
Globe Theatre – Orthello Curious Incident Theatre Trip
MK Big Debate Caldecotte Xperience 6
Engineering Education Scheme launch event HealthTec Aylesbury College
Oxford Art & Science Outreach Tomorrow’s Engineers Robotics Challenge
University of Loughborough Caldecotte
Warwick Castle MK Rotary – Swimathon 2019 – inter-school competition
Caldecotte Xperience 5 Apprenticeship Show
Senior Team Maths challenge Duke of Edinburgh Bronze DofE Day Hike (12th)
Churchill War Rooms and Parliament A-Level swimming assessment
Young Enterprise Oxford University Bioengineering day
Future Chef MK Rotary – Technology Challenge
Girls Active – Youth Sport Trust. MK Futures 2050
SMC visits for Engneering Education Scheme D of E Westbury Arts Centre
Sociology Conference D of E volunteer community activity
Network Rail STEM Day Visit Duke of Edinburgh Bronze DofE Day Hike (26th)
A Level Economics Strong Foundations Workshops Duke of Edinburgh Bronze DofE Day Hike (29th)
Public speaking competition Maths Strive for 5
Safe Drive Stay Alive Year 12 Cambridge Trip
MFL Masterclass English strive for 5
MK College Taster Day Junior Team Maths Challenge
Engineering Education Scheme – Cambridge workshop Economics Masterclass
MK Trade Fair Law Revision Conference Trip
Duke of Edinburgh bronze practice expedition 2019 Holland Sports Tour
French trip to the Europa Centre for Y10 students of French EES build workshop at SMC Pneumatics
Duke of Edinburgh bronze practice expedition 2019 Engineering Education Scheme Celebration and Assessment Day
Bushcraft 2019 Year 8 KS4 (Geography) Amersham Field Centre
Year 12 UCAS Fair CERN Hadron Collider Trip
National History Museum Oxford & Pitt Rivers Year 10 Oxford University
National Space Centre Year 7 G&T Trip Hazeley Wood
MFL trip to Priory Rise in partnership with SBE YE County Finals
Tate Modern Museum Stowe House Art trip
British Culture & History for EAL students French trip to the Europa Centre for Y10 students of French
Year 9 Loughborough Trip

 

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, Students deserve much more than exam grades, Friday 5th April 2019

One of the best things about teaching is reflecting on how individual students grow in character, confidence and creativity while they are in your care. As they leave you feel a strange mix of pride and sadness, knowing you will miss them, while also being warmed in the knowledge that you have done all you can to prepare them for their next steps.

The Y11 and 13 classes of 2019 have had a slightly different Hazeley experience to previous years. We have focused much more on helping develop their skills and attitudes, focusing less directly on exam outcomes. Staff have also worked hard to support student’s mental well-being by increasing our emphasis on developing healthier lifestyles and positive approaches to problems solving.

As we approach the Easter break I am confident that students are more independent and resilient, they have greater clarity on their next steps and importantly they appear happier, although I think few would refer to the run up to exams as joyous!

Of course we won’t know until late summer how their actions translate into exam outcomes, but we have every reason to be hopeful. We are certain that they are turning into young adults full of character, confidence and creativity, well equipped to not just succeed, but to also enjoy the next steps of their journey taking on a positive role in their community.

That is what Hazeley is about.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, Work Experience, Friday 29th March 2019

Work Experience is an integral part of The Hazeley Academy. Every year 240 of our Year 10 students venture out into the world of employment. Some find a placement in the line of work they wish to pursue after education; others select randomly and often find a passion for a career they did not expect. Either way, key skills and attributes are explored and developed, through this opportunity.

Every year we look forward to the feedback we receive from employers who kindly offered a placement to our students, a few of the examples from last year are below.

“Very happy with Ellie’s performance in our Year 5 class. Very professional and great communication. Asked questions and sought clarification. Was able to take a small group for maths and challenged them accordingly. Welcome back any time!”

“The most polite, mature and kind young man we have ever had for work experience. We have offered him a part time position whilst he continues his studies, as soon as he is 16. He is a true example of a bright, intelligent young man. He will go very far”

“Rebecca was a great addition to our team, she was eager to help and understand more about our work. She showed initiative and completed tasks to a high standard. She already has lots of skills and qualities, which employers look for. Thank you for all your help.”

“An excellent student. Paul used his initiative on every occasion. He worked well both in Year 4 and 6 classrooms and in sports camp on Friday. Paul engaged brilliantly with staff and pupils. He completed displays and mounted work to a very high standard. He took the role very seriously and really rose to the challenge. A pleasure having such a competent young man in school.”

“He was a real asset to the department. Please send more students like him!”

The work experience process can feel lengthy, and sometimes frustrating as students start their journey whilst still in Year 9, but students agree that once they have successfully been placed with an employer and their placement begins, the positives of the week’s experience and the view of life as an employee really do outweigh the possible trickier aspects they may have experienced. A great way to develop Character, Confidence and Creativity.

Principal’s Blog, The traits of a super teacher, Friday 22nd March 2019

I came across an interesting article by John Dabell, entitled “The traits of a super teacher”. In it he essentially suggests that there is no such thing as a super teacher, but that all teachers should recognise their own talents and bravely enjoy progressing into better versions of themselves.

His traits included:

  • Organised and are always thinking ahead.
  • Prioritisers and do the important stuff first.
  • Accountable and take ownership of mistakes and short-comings.
  • Explainers and can clearly articulate their thoughts, ideas and explanations.
  • Patient and understand that learning is full of mistakes and something can’t be rushed or happen by “magic”.
  • Optimistic and believes that all students can learn and get better.
  • A listener and really tuned into what people are saying.
  • Creative and is able to produce memorable and exciting learning moments.
  • Versatile, flexible and always editing their feelings and responses.
  • Assertive and say “no” if they have to, not least in order to protect their wellbeing.
  • Networkers who surround themselves with successful people and role models.
  • Self-monitors who invest heavily in their own personal and professional development.
  • Risk-takers who spearhead new ways of working and battle classroom complacency
  • Believers who nurture themselves by being confident practitioners.

He talks about the importance of balance, confidence and accepting our own humanity as teachers. I agree with him whole heartedly about the importance of school leaders and governors in creating a climate for teachers to become amazing versions of themselves. Avoiding becoming some grey version of normal or impossible version of perfect, instead focusing on evolving into an amazing version of themselves.

I read the article on the same day as receiving two emails from parents praising staff and another letter from a student doing the same. I know how much these small acts of recognition had meant to the staff involved. It made me think about the power of parents and students in creating the culture for teachers to be amazing as well as the teachers creating it for the students a great example of a virtuous spiral. A reminder of the importance of community, a reminder of how lucky we are to be part of the Hazeley and 5 Dimensions communities.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, The Importance of Great Careers Advice, Friday 15th March 2019

This week’s blog is brought to you by our Assistant Principal for Pathways, Mrs Mayles. It focuses on the importance of careers advice, highlighting some of the ways in which the staff at Hazeley connect with others to make this come to life for our students.

Mr Nelson

Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of interviewing our Year 11 students, as well as Year 11 students from across the city who wish to be part of our sixth form next year. It has been fascinating to hear the different range of careers that students wish to go into, Forensic Psychologists, Doctors, Pilots, Teachers, Computer Programmers, the list is endless. No matter what the career, it is fantastic to hear the aspirations the students have and the research they have carried out, so they know the best route for them in the future.

This week some of our Year 10 and Year 11 students have visited the National Apprenticeship Show at Arena MK. There is an ever increasing number of apprenticeships across all different sectors, from entry level through to Degree level, some amazing opportunities for our students not only to continue building their qualifications but also earn and potentially secure a job at the end. Many of our Year 13s have been busy applying and going through rounds of interviews for apprenticeships- Mercedes Benz being a popular choice by many and competing against each other for that placement.

At the same time many of our Year 13 students are finalising their university choices, with most universities having to make their offers by the end of March, our students then have to finalise their first and second choice. A big decision for any student to make.

It is so important that our students are inspired and have aspirations, to support our younger students to think deeper about this, our Year 12 students have been visiting our lower form groups to share their aspirations and chosen pathway. In English our Year 7-10 students will be using their literacy skills to write letters about their chosen careers and the pathway they will take to get there.

We are collectively working to ensure they have the right information and guidance about how to achieve their dreams. Understanding where they are heading is a great motivator for students to achieve their bests and be the best they can be. Talking and engaging with young people about their aspirations is critical in supporting them to achieve this.

Years 9-13 now all have access to Unifrog, our online careers platform, students can use this to search different careers, which includes up to date labour market information. They can build their own personal profile of their key competencies and activities, as well as create CVs and search apprenticeships and universities. Students can access this both in and out of school so parents will be able to work with students on their account. We have also created a parent login, parents can sign up www.unifrog.org/code using the form code HazeleyParent. Year 7 will join the Unifrog platform later in the summer term.

Over the year students will also have been looking at careers within specific subject areas, taken part in form time activities, Worktree career breakout sessions, as well as many subjects inviting employers into the class room. Late this year we also hope that many of our year 7 students will take up the opportunity to take part in ‘Take your child to work day’

This term we have also welcomed our 5 Dimensions trust Career Advisor, Mrs A Harris, who is working across Hazeley and SBE to support students with their career choices and pathways for the future.

Our aim is to provide our students with multiple opportunities to find out about different careers prospects. If you feel you can support any delivery of careers or would be willing to speak to some of our students about careers, please let us know.

Thank you,

Mrs Mayles – Assistant Principal

Principal’s Blog, 8th March 2019, World Book Day

This weeks blog is written by our Learning Leader for Literacy and KS3 English, Mr Lane.

Having taught English for a number of years now, I wish I had a pound for every time a parent said, ‘My son always loved reading when he was in primary school, but now he’s just glued to his Xbox and I haven’t seen him read since he wore shorts to school’ or, ‘My daughter always loved reading when she was little, but now it’s all Instagram this, YouTube that or Snapchat the other’.

We hear you and we agree.

That’s why at Hazeley we are really pushing out the boat against this and doing our best to swim against the tide of digital distractions, algorithmic amusements and internet interruptions. As such, we celebrated World Book Day on Thursday 7th of March in a big way this year and bridged that gulf between students’ wonderful and memorable celebrations in primary school and the usually tokenistic experiences of the day in secondary School.

World Book Day is not something that should end once our students pass through secondary school gates. And how have you been able to get them to relive some of the fun of childhood? How else? We dressed up. Cognisant that some of our adolescents might be self-conscious, the staff at Hazeley have proved anything other. We had a huge range of literary characters: including both George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men; most of Hogwarts; two Dolores Umbrages; Lady Macbeth; Gangsta Granny and many more. But let’s not forget Professor Dumbledore, with an accent from the North East! Students were really buzzing when spotting literary characters and some didn’t even recognise Mr Nelson…

Sofia Vecina-Tercero in Year 7 remarked that it ‘was like being in a movie or a book and it was fun guessing who was who’ and Eiden Toscano-Buzenet observed that ‘all the lessons were different to usual as they were related to books, which was a really good idea, and even the teachers were reading in silence in period 5’.

Hazeley celebrated a wonderful, productive and thrilling day in which students’ appetites were whetted as they sampled from a wide range of tasty texts on the menu at our library ‘restaurant’; had the opportunity to purchase at our book sale; had their teachers read out and discuss their favourite books; had reading flashmobs regaling them with snippets of literature; and engaged in book quizzes during form time.

But what was arguably most beneficial and productive of all was the DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) hour. It was truly a calm, soothing and peaceful atmosphere in which over 1500 young people and adults read in silence. Undeniably a dream for most teachers!

So, this year, World Book Day was big. Next year it’ll be even bigger!

But we didn’t just keep it to the day itself. Oh, no, all week, tutor groups have been involved in reading activities: quizzes, podcasts and online reading and writing masterclasses.

You see, at Hazeley, we want to continue to cultivate a culture of reading, through our fortnightly Accelerated Reader lessons, the first ten minutes of reading in English lessons and thrice yearly DEAR sessions. For us, even though that day sparked off a lot of enthusiasm, celebrating reading is not just about celebrating it once a year.

I really do think the more we do this, the far fewer comments we’ll be hearing about Playstations before prose, Nintendos before novels. Slowly but surely, we really might just get there. I may never get those pounds… but that’s okay.

Principal’s Blog, Secondary School Placement day, Friday 1st March 2019

Today’s blog has been written by Assistant Principal, Mr Whitney.

Today is the day when across the country Parents and children have woken up and found out which secondary school they will be going to in September.  There is no doubt that a range of emotions and thoughts will have been experienced today as this next stage in the transition process is reached.

There may be relief, excitement, disappointment depending on what school has been assigned, joy that friends are going to the same school or sadness that they’re not, planning routes to school and who to get there with, thinking about what times things will need to happen in the morning in September, opportunities to make new friends, new teachers and new subjects to meet and experience.

Where concerns are experienced, these are often down to perceptions of a school that may be based on Oftsed ratings or league table results. These snapshot measures can never truly reflect the care and dedication that teachers and other staff go into school with each day; no matter the school, they will want to do the best that they can for your child.

It is also worth noting that having worked in other local authorities over my career, the secondary schools in Milton Keynes are really good at working together and sharing best practice for the benefit of all students in the area.  This is true whether in a Multi academy trust like ourselves and Shenley Brook End or from the regular meetings that happen between all schools in a range of contexts.

So please, if you are one of those who is currently disappointed, don’t let it turn into worry.  Be reassured that the school will want to do the best for your child.  Know that they will do everything they can to make the transition process as smooth and successful as possible.

If your child has been assigned at place with us here at the Hazeley Academy, a letter should be with you very soon with some initial information and what to do next.  You can also keep an eye on the admissions area of our website where copies of all the correspondence and information will be kept.

Mr Whitney

Principal’s Blog, Friday 8th February 2019, Snow – Challenges, opportunities and good old simple fun!

The risk of snow normally evokes in head teachers the prospect of being dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

Keep the school open and be criticised for putting students and staff in danger as they try to get safely into school and then navigate the site. Close and be criticised for forcing students to miss their education and creating child care problems for parents. Make the decision too early and the weather might change, make it too late and you prevent people from arranging their own plans.

Even if the weather in Milton Keynes is reasonable, you need to be aware of massive local variations as our 150+ staff come from a radius of around 40 miles, of course the weather in Luton can be very different from Kettering.

One of the worst situations is when you have the school full and the prospect of snow suddenly increases and you need to consider everyone getting home and closing the school before 3.15pm can create extra stress for some of our students getting picked up. Of course we reduce the risks by having safe systems of work and communicating with other local schools.

The snowfall last Thursday evening was a difficult one for Hazeley. Northampton had hardly any snow, Milton Keynes had a reasonable layer, enough to make getting out of some of the estates tricky, while South Buckinghamshire had a number of roads blocked and schools closed, making things difficult for many of our staff, we had the added challenge of having our site supervisor absent.

However, one of the best things about adversity is how it can bring the best out in people, by 7am we had a group of staff volunteers clearing the car park and paths, we were then joined by some enthusiastic students. Many staff volunteered to do extra duties at break and lunchtime to allow students to either have fun playing with snow balls on the back playground or enjoy some fresh air in the other outside spaces without the risk of being caught in the crossfire. The absolute joy on the faces of some of the students really was something to behold, staff put their other activities on hold and in doing so created opportunities to chat with each other and the students. It ended up being a pretty special day.

A good lesson on how often in life, opportunists often come along dressed up as challenges.

Mr Nelson

Principal’s Blog, Friday 1st February 2019,Growing through Giving

We are very fortunate to have so many students, staff, parents and members of our wider community who are willing to give up their time to support other members of the community. From student mentors and mental health ambassadors to our Governors, people are willing to give generously of their time.

If you ask them why, they often give an initial response of “I enjoy it”, when you explore more deeply they frequently fit into one or more of the following categories:

  • Self Confidence – Doing something worthwhile that is valued by others builds self esteem
  • New Skills – Doing something new helps you to develop new skills and interests, which is both useful and fun
  • New Friends – Working with people provides opportunities to create friendships
  • Being active – Many volunteering roles involve being physically, socially or mentally active, all of these are great for both physical and mental health and happiness.
  • Building your CV – Employers often look positively on those that volunteer and it strengthens CV’s
  • Making a difference– Knowing that you are helping others can be a great reward in itself

The vision for Hazeley and the 5 Dimensions Trust is to allow our students and local community to benefit even further from volunteering, making it a central part of what we do, through this we hope to create a vibrant community of exceptional people. Increasing participation in the arts and sports, helping people through difficult times, improving the environment and helping others learn. What could be more worthwhile?

Finally, have you volunteered lately? How did it make you feel? Are you interested in volunteering more? If so please drop my PA Miss Cooke an email ecooke@thehazeleyacademy.com

Mr Nelson

Principal’s blog, Friday 18th January 2019, Social Media – Part 3

This week’s blog is brought to you Mr Whitney (Assistant Principal) and is the 3rd instalment on the important and topical areas of social media.

Social Media – Part 3

Firstly, Happy New Year!

With the fact that a number of students may well have got new electronic devices over the break, I thought it would be timely to blog once again about social media and young people.  Even more so with the recent release of guidance about screen time for young people.

Many thought that the research was not strong enough in its conclusions or advice.  Yet if we think about the nature of the review it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Rather than being a fresh study, it instead collated together all of the existing research about screen time and its impact on young people’s health and well-being.  With the proliferation of social media taking place in such a relatively short time, there is currently very little research out there about the specific impact of it; existing research tends to be about the more generic screens such as television and computers.  The one guidance offered about limiting exposure before bedtime echoes that which I have mentioned in a previous blog.

Although as yet there is no evidence of a causal link, I find the following graph, taken from the BBC’s website to be very much worth contemplating.

Science, quite rightly and importantly, makes conclusions based on evidence; you will see the evidence of how your child responds to social media as they use it.  There is no need to wait for a scientific review to take the right steps for you and your family when it comes to social media.  If you can take these steps before your child signs up to anything it will make it easier to respond to the rapidly developing and changing world of social media.

You may also find the following website useful www.net-aware.org.uk. It gives indicators for the most popular games and applications in terms of their risks of sexual content, violence and hatred, bullying, suicide and self-harm as well as drink, drugs and crime.  This will be really useful for those informed conversations with your child; these risk factors have been based on people who are already using them.

I will end by wishing you have a great 2019 and repeating my suggestions from my last blog:

  • Have rules about technology and social media that everyone in the household follows
  • No mobile phones at dinner (Frankie and Benny’s are apparently giving free children’s meals if you hand them in at the beginning of the evening)
  • No social media within an hour of bedtime-tiredness impairs judgement and when posting online without the ability to read people’s reactions this can cause major issues
  • Make social media social.  Have a room where it is accessed together at the same time, but more importantly discussed between you
  • Monitor the apps that are downloaded and the age restrictions that apply; they are there for a reason
  • Follow the NSPCC’s guidance of working as a TEAM:
    • Talk about staying safe online
    • Explore together
    • Agree rules about what is OK
    • Manage the settings and controls

Principal’s Blog, Tuesday 8th January 2019, Your children are not your children

Before you get too worried by the title of this week’s blog I will tell you that it comes from a piece of work by Kahil Gibran, the Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist. I came across it on the same day that I had been helping/encouraging my own son’s with their holiday homework. It was a timely reminder of the balance that we must strike between directing/supporting and pushing/empowering. It’s sometimes all too easy to be tempted to push too hard, and  by doing so, ending up moving more slowly.

It also strongly resonates with our core purpose at Hazeley of seeking to develop Character, Confidence and Creativity in our young people and each other so that together we can gain fulfilment by playing a positive role in our community.  This cannot be achieved by simply pushing/controlling our students with a rigid set of rules and expectations. Instead we need to create a place where they can grow, develop, find their own inspiration and path. Of course, as the analogy with the bow in the poem suggests this also involves creating stability and security from which they can launch.

I hope that you enjoy reflecting on the poem as much as I did.

Mr Nelson

Khalil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.

Principal’s Blog, Friday 14th December 2018, In Pursuit of Excellence

At Hazeley we work hard to ensure that we invest in linking with other people and organisations. One such organisations is PiXL (Partners in Excellence), many of the strategies we use to help ensure that all of our students make good academic progress originated from this partnership. This weeks blog is unashamedly adapted (as are most good ideas) from Sir John Rowling who is one of the founders of PiXL, I hope that you enjoy it as much as me and I also hope that you agree that despite Sir John never visiting us, it feels very Hazeley. 

“There are plenty of ideas on what creates excellence but I was struck by one I read recently posted by an Indian Professor, K. Srinam.

Excellence can be obtained if you:
Care more than others think is wise;
Risk more than others think is safe;
Dream more than others think is practical;
Expect more than others think is possible.

Caring seems to me to be the heart of what as parents /educators. Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying first that ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ Benjamin Franklin, regarded still as a Founding Father of the United States, put it another way, ‘Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge.’  Sometimes others think the level and intensity of our caring unwise, for sure, because it costs and might be taken advantage of. It takes courage to care and, equally, ‘from caring comes courage,’ attributed to Lao Tsu.

These days we are deterred from taking risks. We have risk assessments, and nothing wrong with that, yet safety first and risk aversion are not likely to create inspiration or success. Mark Zuckerberg put it this way, ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy test that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.’ Calculate risk certainly but taking initiative and action, where others may not, may well bring success that others may never see.

As for dreaming, T E Lawrence commented, ‘All people dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous people for they may then enact their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.’ Many of the great landmark events of history started life as dreams. Martin Luther King’s for one, ‘I have a dream…’ Dream on! But let us be bold enough to enact the dream. Execution, we call it: make it happen.

‘When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece,’ said John Ruskin. When I look at many of the parents/ leaders I know pursuing their calling in homes/ schools across the land I see deep care, call it love if you want, and enormous skill. They are producing masterpieces not all yet discovered! 

Sir John Rowling