46 students and 25 teachers and Learning Support Assistants ignored usual weekend pastimes to study crucial skills at a Cardiff Hotel this weekend. Mr Mark Kennedy targeted the boys very carefully, with the ultimate goal being that all 46 learners achieve a maths and English qualification and at least 3 other GCSEs.
The school has run a programme like this for 16 years, but changed the format dramatically to ensure that there was a bespoke maths or English focus for selected students. The other significant change was the small group focus; the students really valued this, as no group was bigger than 6 and some were 2 or 3 students. One student said, ‘Working in small groups has meant that I know exactly what to do and how to do it.’
The programme for the weekend was intense, consisting of structure, focused group sessions, motivational sessions, peer mentoring training, maths apps support and a Webinar from a maths specialist in Dubai. Julia Carmichael and Laura Morris (specialist English and maths advisors from the consortium) also visited and were clearly impressed by the commitment of staff and the positive attitudes of the students involved.
However, this weekend is only the beginning of this final drive in this intensive stage in the boys’ training and the students know they will be meeting their curriculum mentors every two weeks in order to monitor progress and attitude to learning.
We wish our learners every success in this final 5 months of focused work and every faith that they will ‘finish strong’. We also thank a small army of staff who made the weekend possible and for their continued hard work and dedication in providing an ‘Opportunity to Succeed’ for every student.