An update from Chatsworth's Headteacher
Helen's Half Term Blog
Whilst we all love working with your children here at Chatsworth, we have also looked forward to a good half term holiday where we could re-charge ready for this next half term.
Last half-term a number of students returned from Bendrigg – an outdoor activity centre, and seem to have had a great time. It's been a whole-school effort to enable this, but I'd like to particularly thank the staff who have given up their time to organise and staff the visit. I'm really impressed with how many residentials are offered by Chatsworth as I know how important they are to students and their families. Much as the respite will be welcomed, I understand it must be a wrench as you wave them off on the day.
The last week of half-term was International Week in school, and I'd like to thank all those who supported us – staff, parents, community links and, of course, our talented students. I enjoyed seeing the performances in Friday's International Assembly. We have a number of links with schools overseas, and I look forward to students sharing stories of their new 'friends' and doing some joint projects with their link schools in the near future.
This last term has been relatively calm, as students are more settled in their new classes (largely) and working hard. As a school, we are currently focussing on Positive Learning Environments. This is nothing new to us, but I intend to have a focus each term to keep things fresh in our minds amongst all the plates we have to spin in school. I have delivered staff training on the 'hand-brain' model, which you can find on the Internet for yourselves. It's about using calming techniques during a crisis, and trying to address behaviours when the person is calm - usually much later that day or even the next day. A number of you have attended our Positive Behaviour Support sessions which are going well - big thanks go to Michelle for arranging these sessions via Together at M44.
To further support behaviour (alongside wellbeing and learning), a number of staff have volunteered to go that extra mile and have joined our Communication, Sensory, Visual and 'Love of Reading' teams. We have some exciting plans as a result: a sensory library; sensory profiles for all students; stimulating and calming resources and strategies to promote learning. We aim to have a number of sensory, communication and visual champions who can spread knowledge across school. Hopefully I'll be able to share lots of photos of our newly-transformed environments in the Easter newsletter. In the meantime, you can support us in our Love of Reading by talking about, reading or telling stories, and encouraging reading (The Beano is absolutely fine) if appropriate. This is an inclusive, ongoing project, and we have lots of plans for non-readers too.
Also this term, we have had Emotional Wellbeing and additional Sport sessions delivered by Tom from Manchester United's Foundation Learning (in line with our Emotional Friendly Schools project). He has been busy getting to know our students, with whom he's very popular – especially when he wears his Mascot outfit. As a blue, I can't see what all the fuss is about... (Sorry Tom – just kidding!)
I have looked forward to welcoming our students back on 24th February, and hope they all have a safe and happy break. Thank you for your continued support. I feel that the Chatsworth Community is a close, welcoming one, and that is, in part, due to your involvement and ongoing contributions.
Helpful information: There are two Apps/websites which I highly recommend for you. www.hubofhope.co.uk is a directory of all local mental health support services, and www.citizenaid.org provides life-saving information. It was designed in light of UK terror attacks, but has some useful First Aid advice and instructions – always handy to keep to hand.
I hope you have enjoyed the half term as much as we have.
Helen (Still a proud Headteacher)