My First Few Days at The Aquila School
As I sit in my house in Liverpool (UK) all alone, I have taken some time to reflect on my first few days as the new Head of Secondary at The Aquila School. Never did I expect my first few weeks to be working from home, literally thousands of miles away from my new colleagues, pupils and their families. However, despite not being able to travel to Dubai yet, I am in awe of all things Aquila. All staff are unceasingly optimistic, and their positivity is infectious – this is one infection I am looking forward to getting!
The school truly puts learning and its learners first. I have been extremely impressed with the quality of the home learning provision at The Aquila School. I have also greatly admired the sense of camaraderie between staff and the palpable sense of community, as all staff work closely together, valuing happiness and school connectedness. Teachers at The Aquila School are relentless in ensuring pupils make the most progress possible – their creativity and ingenuity in ensuring learning is ‘amazing’ (even at home) is clearly having a positive impact on pupils’ progress and wellbeing. I have witnessed this with my own eyes as I have had the pleasure of observing many excellent ‘live lessons’ using Google Hangouts.
‘Amazing’ learning is at the centre of everything we do at school and teachers are skillful in ensuring lessons are engaging, memorable, fun and relevant, while still being underpinned by academic rigour. Year 7 pupils have been reading the novel, Animal Farm, in English while in mathematics, pupils have explored how to work out the circumference of a circle using household objects and some string.
The smiles on the faces of pupils and enthusiasm for learning when they interact with their teachers and school friends is evidence of how strong pupil and teacher relationships are at the school. Many of our families have expressed their thanks and gratitude as they too see the demonstrable impact distance learning is having on their children, both academically and emotionally during this difficult time. It was particularly heart-warming and emotional to read an email from one of our Year 7 pupils who has taken part in the Accelerated Reader programme, as she was thrilled to find out that she has read one million words since September. This is a phenomenal effort and one that she was quite rightly proud of! I look forward to working with our teachers and pupils, to ensure all pupils reach this incredible achievement and make outstanding progress.
For now, I will continue to work from home, washing my hands and remaining in self-isolation, knowing that I have something to look forward to when I am able to fly and join the Aquila family!