In the next few weeks I will be sending out details of the Summer Academic Projects that I invite pupils to attempt over the holidays. Often parents want their children pushed more academically and these are another way to do this. The summer break is necessary, but also relatively long and pupils need some work to keep their brains sharp.
As in previous years the current Year 7 pupils will be invited to write a carefully planned story; resources to help them and a range of titles will be available. Year 8 will be set a project on a notable person and for Year 9 a new competition will be introduced - they will be invited to read a book from a selected reading list and write a detailed book review/report.
There will be a selection of brilliant prizes to win, including, for the Year 8 winners, a trip to the British Museum and lunch out with Me and Dr Hipshon.
These competitions are voluntary. I would, though, like all parents to encourage their pupils to enter. As a school we try to inspire and excite learning, believing that pupils are naturally curious and want to learn, but we rely on parents to create a a culture of curiosity at home, with quiet places to work and resources available. Boys, in particular, need to see parents reading and valuing academic work. We all have our parts to play.
I applaud the Government's desire to create academic rigour and academic challenge; we now have GCSE exams and A Levels that can really stretch the most able. This means that as teachers we have to differentiate more and teach those necessary skills that allow pupils of all abilities to achieve their very best.
I hope to receive many entries to these competitions and look forward to reading them.