Sunday, 20 October 2013

Parents, perception and why communication (spelt correctly!) really matters

This week we had our "open evening" for pupils in year 5 and year 6. This a very important event in any school's calendar but seemed particularly important for me as a new head teacher. After all this would be my first real opportunity to meet parents and try to get across to them my vision for the school. As I explained on the night this involves lots of "blue sky thinking" since public perception seems always to be a bit of an issue for LSP. Many people seem to have some very entrenched views of what a boys school must be like, LSP is a school that rightly takes pride in its heritage but change is something that any successful institution needs to embrace and that is something everyone at LSP acknowledges. Events like the one on Thursday allow us to begin to break down any negative public perception and replace it with a better understanding of the inspirational, dynamic and extraordinary place I know the "new" LSP to be. the challenge of maintaining our links to the past whilst at the same time moving forward to even better things is something I'm very excited about

The build up to the open evening had been particularly pleasing and enjoyable for me. In order to spread the word I took our wonderfully talented year 11 band "the Baileys" on a tour of some of our nearby primary schools. As you would expect they were a huge hit with everyone and the visits showed yet again the importance of our excellent relationships with local schools. The visit to Greenhill was particularly emotional for the boys (some of whom attended that school) with family members coming to watch and some fantastic audience participation (see below). I'm very much looking forward to more visits like this in the future.

The open evening itself was a great opportunity to show off the school and I would like to thank everyone who helped out. It was fantastic to see so many staff giving up their own time to promote the school and even more pleasing to see the large numbers of pupils who volunteered to stay behind to answer any questions and generally help out. I really believe its a sign of a really healthy school community when everyone pitches in like this, the pictures below hopefully allow you to get a flavour what went on.

Drama and Music

RE and History


My presentation that night had focussed on the need to work with parents so we could give them the school that they wanted to see. We talked about the importance of communication (for anyone at the event -  yes I CAN spell this word and I corrected it later like all good students do!) and how word of mouth on social media platforms like twitter and facebook is  really important for us. It was therefore really pleasing that following the event we had so many lovely message of support and appreciation from the hundreds of parents who attended. 

"Thank you for a lovely open evening last night. I was really impressed and after visiting a few different high schools in the area I was more impressed with LSP with what you have to offer and the achievements of the students"

Perhaps even more important than the praise we received was the opportunity for me to chat with parents as they walked around the school. One thing I'm very pleased about at LSP is the fact that we have a community of partners that can in no way be described as shrinking violets! I had one particularly in-depth conversation with a parent about homework, we covered so much ground on this issue that i think it will need a blog to itself! it also meant that I spent much of Friday discussing our strategy for homework and I hope that parents will see different approaches to this issue in the very near future.

All in all the event re-inforced my belief that LSP is very much a school at the heart of its community, this is the real reason for the recent significant progress we have made. We need to continue to develop ways to be keep up a constant "conversation" with parents. This conversation can take place online or face to face but what is important is that happens more regularly. I've never really understood why a secondary school can't have a the same relationship with parents as a primary school does. I know we don't really see parents at the "school gate" but couldn't facebook or twitter be our online school gate?  Only by working in partnership with you will we be able to develop a school that has aspirations beyond even the most optimistic members of our community. Perhaps then we can finally begin to embrace the realities and opportunities of a New Lewis School Pengam and moving forward together.

If you would like to apply join us at LSP:

a) Pop into school anytime to pick up an application form (if you have any questio
ns, queries or concerns please contact us tel: 01443 873873 or email:


b) Contact admissions at CBC offices by tel:01443 864870 or email:


c) apply on line (click on the link below)