Year 11 Mock examinations

These start tomorrow (Monday 3rd December).  The purpose of mock examinations is to enable students to tackle recent past papers under conditions close to those of the real exams.  It is very important for parents and carers, along with us, to manage Year 11 well during this period.  Young people react in a range of different ways ranging from "I don't care" (they usually do underneath!) to real anxiety.  You know your child best and we know what they need to do, so it is important that we work together to send the right messages to each student. Some need to be told to work really hard, some need to be told to slow down a bit.  I always work on the basis of an average "working day" - students do 5 hours work in school (sometimes 6 with "Period 6") and therefore another couple of hours makes a "normal" working day.  Sleep, rest and relaxation are also important - you cannot tackle tricky GCSE questions when half asleep.  We have a duty of care to our students' mental health and we have to balance that with the need to put a certain amount of pressure on them so that they perform at their best.  I always quote Mohammed Ali to Year 11 - "the fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym..." - it is all in the preparation!  Please get in touch with your child's individual mentor if you want to discuss the support for your son or daughter. 

Year 10 Parents' Evening

I really enjoy parents' evenings!  The conversations with parents and carers about each individual is one of the key ways in which we can support each child's learning and quickly address any issues.  The Year 10 evening last week was exceptionally well attended and very positive - thanks to everyone who came and thanks for the positive online feedback (published here -  

Enrichment Day 2

This is on Thursday - these days where we "stop the clock" to allow us to do something different are really important parts of life at Walton-le-Dale.

Regular updates


To conclude.... the image at the top of this blog is from our Teaching and Learning "Advent Calendar" which encourages teachers to try something new each day over the next few weeks.  Continually improving the quality of teaching and learning is absolutely our top priority! 

Have a good week...

James Harris