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Year 10 & 11 Newsletter

Secondary Year 10 & 11

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” - Earl Nightingale
Traditionally resolutions are made at the start of the New Year. However, at the beginning of our academic year many of our students aspired to achieve an Award for Young People. Last weekend was the final expedition and I was delighted to return to school on Monday and hear about the grit and determination that this group of students evidenced. Equally, how well they represented the school and modelled our school values of respect, support and teamwork. Their ambition and commitment is a great example of how setting a goal at any time of the year and supporting it with clear manageable steps will lead to success.
Research tells us that the human brain has an on-going struggle between rational and impulsive behaviour. Many teenagers struggle with establishing beneficial learning habits, which is an inevitable part of growing up. This area of psychology was first studied in the 60s. ‘The Marshmallow Test’ studied a group of children and tested their ability to resist eating marshmallows when they had been left in a room with them on a table. The study was followed up several years later to find out how successful these children became in their adult life. It concluded that the children who exercised the most willpower were more successful. This shows us the importance of practising willpower every day to help us achieve our life goals.
More recent research tells us that the brain is able to ‘bundle’ together rational and impulsive ideas to foresee future payoffs. Psychologists have learned that the brain’s ability to ‘bundle’ is strengthened by making small positive changes that increase in difficulty over time. This idea was shared with the Y10 and 11 students during their year group assembly. Students were asked to envision their future selves and then tasked to make two academic and one non-academic goals. From this they formed Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound (SMART) targets based upon them. We hope that by thinking about their dreams and ambitions, along with clear and bite size actions to get there, our students will not only enhance positive learning habits, but take a significant step to achieving their life goals.

I was very pleased to award 27 students with a drinks voucher this week to use in the canteen. I had an overwhelming amount of nominations from teachers and these were given to students that have evidenced significant and sustained efforts over time, or that have made a significant and positive change that is enabling their progress.
Finally, we are at a point in the year where there is a window of opportunity to make changes that will lead to positive outcomes. A number of our Year 11 students are currently involved in a mentoring programme with a curriculum or pastoral leader, this is for subjects where they require active encouragement and support. We also have a one to one tutoring programme for all students and they have been reminded of the importance of attending these sessions. We have a very supportive team of teachers and pastoral staff and we invite both students and parents to speak to us with any questions or concerns you may have.

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