This week we have been celebrating our learner power of Independence, reminding ourselves that we are both wonderfully individual and in control of our own destiny! It helps to stop and reflect in a world where there is a lot going on around us, with moments where we might feel powerless or unable to change things, that we possess the wonderful gift of being control of ourselves (most of the time). Our actions, reactions, choices or decisions are ours to make – we get to choose what we do, say and even how we feel. Because these are very often tricky things to do, that need strategies and practice, we need to create time and space to develop these skills. School does this brilliantly in multiple ways every day.

We have been out and about around the school observing great examples of independence this week, with a particular focus on our children when they are being scientists (more on that in a moment). What we have seen across the school are children who are developing their awareness of self, who know what they like, who know what they think and feel and can articulate this when needed, in an appropriate way. Our children know their roles and responsibilities as pupils, as friends and as change makers.  They continue to recognise what they are good at and what their goals are and they are, without doubt, “remarkable”. Friday’s assembly celebrated some great examples of independence, with a beautiful piano recital from Bethany, impressive county athletics achievements from Jacob, snowboard medals for Ella, swimming certificate for Jax, Grade 2 piano for Darcie and Caitlyn’s violin performance at Croydon Performing Arts Festival.

You will know by now that reflection and review are important aspects of life at BPS in everything we do and our adventure with our scientists this week is just one such example. Our School Development Plan this year has subject reviews as one of our key objectives, and having completed brilliant preliminary planning meetings after Christmas, this week we held our first deep dive review with Mrs Clark’s science department, with other subjects following in the coming weeks. We spent the week observing lessons from Reception to Year 6, we spoke with children and staff and reviewed curriculum content, reviewed books and assessment data, explored subject developments and discussed our plans for the future. It has, in every single way, been an excellent review and immensely inspiring. We have a school of superb scientists! Their subject knowledge, scientific vocabulary, methodical approach to experiments and curiosity were simply brilliant. The standard of teaching was first class with staff across all year groups inspiring the children to explore and experiment with ideas and knowledge with a hands-on approach that inspires engagement and learning on another level. Add to this the environment our STEM centre creates and it is perhaps no wonder that the progress our children make in this subject area remains a source of immense pride, and I am reliably informed that Year 6 were covering GCSE level subject content! After what I witnessed, we might need to look at some A-Level work after Easter! WOW! Huge credit should go to Stella Clark, the most incredibly passionate and inspiring science leader you could hope to meet – thank you and well done.

I shall of course share with you our findings when the process is complete along with many of the other areas across that school that we have adjusted and adapted following review or feedback. We welcome into school next week a team of fellow headteachers and leaders from across United Learning to help us with our preparedness for the next cycle of school inspections, which will be before the end of the calendar year. Another very useful opportunity to reflect on what we are doing well and how we can continue to improve.

All in all it has been a very positive return from half term, with our staff and children continuing to impress us with their hard work and dedication. I have enjoyed showing off our school to a dozen prospective families this week and all have commented on how happy and engaging our children are. Perhaps that is why they are doing so well.