Thoughts from the Headteacher’s office

Keeping Everyone Informed

With 1200 students and over 150 members of staff it’s a daily challenge to keep everyone updated and aware of everything that is going on at Woodcote. We are aware that not everybody gets to hear about all of the wonderful things that our students are doing. In the old days “pupil post” was the only way to communicate and the inner depths of students’ bags were the graveyard of many a letter home. With modern electronic communications it is much easier to reach a wide audience

Communication channels with stakeholders (students, parents, teaching staff, support staff, Governors and the local community) have been a priority this year and many new initiatives have been introduced to help improve communications.  At the same time some existing channels of communication have been enhanced and improved.

 Examples are:

1)                   Twitter

The school uses Twitter very regularly to communicate with all stakeholders. The evidence is that this is very successful. Woodcote High School has well over 1000 followers many of whom are parents, students, governors and teachers.  We have sent over 1400 Tweets since the account was created, many with links to important documents, such as urgent letters and latest news items on the website.  The Sixth Form Twitter account is growing fast and has sent over 200 Tweets and has over 100 followers.  The school Twitter feed gets plenty of feedback from followers and causal users alike and is often used to ask questions and seek further clarification on events.

2)                   Online Communication

The school website is an important way of displaying current information. and the home page always shows the latest news, Tweets and the school calendar.

3)                   Web advertising

We have been experimenting with some web advertising by asking Google and Facebook to direct general searches directly to our site. This works on a geographical basis and automatically direct searches such as “Sixth Form” or “School Admissions” to the WHS site from a 5 miles radius. There is evidence that this dramatically increases the number of hits on our site at times before the Year 7 and Year 12 open events. 

4)                   Student Focus Groups

We are in the process of setting up several student focus groups to provide direct feedback about student experiences. These will be run by the Heads of House/Year and will be direct meetings to obtain feedback and listen to the student voice. A pro-forma has been designed to capture the views of the students and to be able to track feedback over time. 

5)                   Headteacher’s Blog

Following requests from governors and parents, the Headteacher has set up a blog:

http://head.woodcote.high.org.

The blog was formed in July 2013 and the posts have been fairly frequent covering a range of topics of interest to parents, students and teachers.

 

6)                   Emailed half termly student assessment data (WASP)

From the 2013/2014 academic year the half termly assessment data for each student in the school is emailed both to the students themselves and to their parents. Previously students recorded this data in their Planners. The WASP data (Woodcote Assessment of Student Progress) contains targets for all subjects, recent assessments and a colour coding system shows if students are on track.   In order to develop this system it required all email addresses to be completed and up to date. We have worked hard on this by texting and tweeting all parents to ensure that we have their correct email address.  After the mail out the system reported that 72 students still have no email address in the data base and 46 email addresses were incorrect of out of date.  All these parents will be rung individually to update our records.

 

7)                   Up-dates on Teaching & Learning

The Teaching and Learning Newsletter is a new initiative to keep teachers and support staff informed of the latest developments in teaching and learning and to ensure that the teaching and learning is kept as the highest priority of the school.  They are issued half termly and have been published in Summer 2, Autumn 1 and Autumn 2.  They have been very well received by all staff and governors.

                             

8)                    Weekly briefing bulletin

Woodcote Weekly is a new email briefing bulletin that is issued each Friday.  The aim is to keep colleagues informed of the latest developments and remind staff of calendared events coming up in the next week. The Woodcote Weekly is also used to praise and share good practice and to highlight positive events that have taken place or will take place.

                     

9)                   Woodcote World

Woodcote World is our termly magazine for all stakeholders and celebrates all of the positive activities that have occurred over the previous term. It is produced at Christmas, Easter and summer. The magazine is in full colour and is emailed to parents and paced on the school website. Links to the Woodcote World are tweeted so that everyone has the opportunity to look at it. The magazine also contains important information such as term times and uniform requirements. The magazine contains plenty of photographs of student activities throughout the year.

 

10)               Texts Home

The school has a comprehensive database of mobile phone numbers and has purchased soft-ware to be able to send out texts to all our specific groups of students. There is a small cost to this so it is only used to impart important information.  It was used to alert all parents that the assessment data would be sent by email and provided a link to update their information. Many parents did this and this enabled the assessment data to be sent to a much higher percentage of parents.

 If we don’t have your up-to-date email address or moblie number please let us know via this link: http://www.woodcote.croydon.sch.uk/106/contact