Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

This week was a great week for our newest House Broderers. Firstly, they held their first ever charity event, a bake sale and they raised over £80, which is remarkable.

As part of that sale, they awarded prizes for the tastiest cake and the best made cake.

Here are some of the students looking very pleased after their first big event. Well done to 7B and thanks to Mrs Bernadotte.

7B were again in the “news” after coming second place in the computing department’s House competition, “A day in the life of technology”. It was good to see so many entries; they each had to write about a day in their life with the technology they encountered! The winners were 7T and along with Broderers, the other runners up were 7G.

Well done to them and all the entries. Here are the winning posters.

On Friday we also started the preparations for the Holt Christmas Fair. This event will be on Friday 7th December from 2.30pm and is our major fundraising event of this term.

It was great to see so many contributions brought in by the students in exchange for wearing non- uniform clothes that day. Mrs Perry, our School Business Manager and Mrs Simmons, our Deputy School Business manager were on the greeting committee and were definitely swamped with donations. It looks like we are going to have some great Tombola stalls! Thank you all for your kind donations.

This photo was taken before the bell had even gone for registration on Friday morning!

Yesterday, a group of Year 11 French students attended a special language speaking event at Havering College in Kent. The centre is a mock-up of a French town complete with shops and public buildings all labelled in French. The idea is that students get to practise for the role play part of their speaking exam.

Miss Howgill organised the trip and said the girls were a real credit to the school and challenged themselves to answer lots of questions and really have a go! Thanks Miss Howgill for leading this trip.

Last week, at our first whole staff meeting of the year, I shared with staff some of the findings into some research Mrs Kennedy and I did on the different generations. The aim was to share some typical traits that research suggests our future generations are going to show, with the idea that we support their changing learning habits.

I thought that parents might also be interested in the findings, so here is a summary of what I presented as “The Generation Game”. Can you spot yourself, your parents, or younger members of your family?

I firstly mentioned the “Baby Boomers”; this is you if you were born between 1945 and 1964.
Thought to be the wealthiest generation, who are meant to be enjoying a nice life due to soaring property values and a wild time as the first “real” teeneagers!

Next came “Generation X”, born between 1965 and 1978. This generation lived it up, enjoying independance in their youth but still managing to get on the property ladder before prices went stratospheric!

The “Xennials” are next. This is you if you were born between 1975 and 1985.

This generation bridges the overlap between Generation X and the Millennials. – Xennials were guided by the Generation X culture, but came into the tech savvy world when they were still young adults.

The “Millennials” were born between 1982 and 1994. They are also known as “Generation Y”. They grew up with dial-up internet, but became a digital native by early adulthood.

Between 1995 and 2012, “Generation Z” were born. These are our current students and so of particular interest. Scarily, these youngsters have never known a world without smartphones and the internet.

The “Generation Alpha”, are our newest generation and these are those born between 2013 and 2025. Our future students, your future children and grandchildren. Research shows that this generation and perhaps to some extent Generation Z are in no hurry about anything…… They are growing up more slowly and going out less! They are less likely to have boyfriends and girlfriends than previous generations, possibly because they just do not go out, preferring instead to stay in the comfort of their own room. However, they are more likely to go out with their parents than any generation before them.

These last two generations have seen the decline of the teen job, perhaps they are less risk taking, but then if they go out less, they need the money less?

If these characteristics run true for you, then we should consider what this means for us as parents and teachers and how we treat this generation. Potential issues could be that they leave school with little experience of “adult” life before university or college and perhaps a fear of “adulting” which is anxiety about growing up. Social media and the rise in “virtual friends” which in turn can contribute to poor mental health and unhappiness of course do not help this sometimes.

So, how can we protect our children from anxiety, depression and loneliness in the digital age and help them transition to adulthood?

The key message from the experts is that it is about building and sustaining positive relationships at all levels and having open communication channels.

In school, we seek to build positive relationships so our students feel they can answer and ask questions in class. We take into account shorter attention spans with a variety of classroom activities and sound current pedagogy. We also adapt to take on board more eBooks and internet learning, but at the same time, we train our students to persevere with more traditional methods of learning such as via textbooks and teacher questioning.

We also focus a lot on character education by encouraging those intrinsic values of stoicism, humility and gratitude and ultimately we encourage the enjoyment of learning through discussion and debate.

I really enjoyed this research, and if you are interested in reading a bit more about it, I can thoroughly recommend the book called “the iGen” by Jean M. Twenge.

Katie Pearce