Head Teacher's Welcome

    I am delighted to be able to introduce you to Arnold Lodge School, a leading co-educational school in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Arnold Lodge educates boys and girls aged 4-18 within an environment that places the happiness and confidence of children at the heart of our ethos; we know that this is central to our pupils’ learning and achievement.

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    • 'Back to school' with a difference as three ex-pupils return to Arnold Lodge

      date posted: Thursday 24 Sep 2020

      (left to right) Sophie Davies, Evelyn Yick and Holly Patterson. 

    • 'Back to school' with a difference as three ex-pupils return to Arnold Lodge

      date posted: Wednesday 23 Sep 2020

       

      (left to right) Sophie Davies, Evelyn Yick and Holly Patterson. 

    • Heads Weekly Update 18th Sept 2020

      date posted: Friday 18 Sep 2020

      Dear ALS Community,
       
      It continues to amaze me the speed with which new pupils have settled in to Arnold Lodge. Whether it’s our new Reception, Year 7 or pupils joining in to other year groups, it already feels like they are a full part of our school community. I know it’s one of our real strengths but it’s still wonderful to see new pupils smiling in their lessons and spending time with their friends on the playground. In many ways, the way in which our pupils welcome new friends is testament to the culture and ethos of the school.
       
      Another week and another Covid-19 update. There’s a lot of confusion out there about what to do in different scenarios. To help with this, please find our FAQ for pupil absence here. The next few months are going to be challenging without appropriate testing capacity; children, if they display symptoms, have to go home until they have a negative test.

      This is right and proper for the protection of the community. But, if children can’t get a test, they may be at home unnecessarily. To counter this, we’re working hard to secure a range of tests that we can supply to parents and pupils in the community that will help us all get back in to school in an efficient manner as I know that there have been significant delays.

      We are also contacting local private companies to see if we can host a testing clinic at Arnold Lodge for the school community. It may come to nothing but I want you to know that we’re doing all we can to go even further beyond our remit as a school to protect our wider community.
       
      I can’t speak for the whole of the independent sector - and I know that many Headteachers are worrying about future pupil numbers - but we have never had so many enquiries. It’s a little cliché for me to say this as it seems to be each year that goes by we are snowballing with the volume of enquires.

      For Year 7, we already have 35 external enquiries (without counting our own Year 6 of 20+ pupils) for just 40 spaces (across 3 classes). When I first took over as Head in January 2016, it was important to me even when we became full (and I knew we would) to never be a school that ‘ranks’ children. So, we will continue with the policy that we had to implement last year for the first time of first come, first served. For me, if a child wants to join Arnold Lodge and is able to pass our admissions criteria, they should be offered a place.

      Children shouldn’t be forced to wait on the off chance a “better” application comes along. It isn’t very child centered, it isn’t very Arnold Lodge and, to me, it just isn’t very kind. Given the volume of external applicants, I’d like to encourage current Year 6 parents to come for a tour of the Senior School and to confirm their place in Year 7 ASAP so we know how many places we can release for external candidates. To book a tour, please contactadmissions@arnoldlodge.com.
       
      Next week, our mantra comes from Veritas: Live the school values; don’t just talk about them. Whilst Dedicas and Amicus are relatively straight forward in their mantras (work hard and be kind), Veritas goes deeper than ‘tell the truth’ as it also reflects on integrity and introspection. Making sure we back up the words we use with actions that reflect them is an important part of our school culture. We have all bought in to working in an environment that stands for hard work, honesty and kindness - and I know that everyone in school community can talk about that - but making sure our actions always live up to those standards is that much harder.
       
      I’m sure most are connected with ALS on social media but for those who aren’t, do pop along to Facebook (here), Instagram (here) and Twitter (here) to keep up to date with the goings on at Arnold Lodge. We’re increasingly using the platforms to share introductions to teachers, pupil achievements and video updates where necessary.
       
      I don’t think we can avoid that there are Covid-19 cases rising around us and I know that this will be causing a worry for many. We can’t control what else is out there - we can only control what we can. So, please know that ALS will continue to keep on top of our risk assessments, cleaning and measures to keep children and staff safe in school. We will be stringent in sticking to guidance and, I know for some, this will cause frustration when I say a child has to go home / can’t return to school. However, we will do this for the good of the whole community. I know we’ll be stronger for it the other side. If, at any point, there’s anything we can do as a school community to support you, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
       
      Have a lovely weekend.

    • Heads Weekly Update 11th Sept 2020

      date posted: Friday 11 Sep 2020

      Dear ALS Community,

      As we come to the end of the first week back in school, I couldn’t be happier with how the return to site has gone. Like my email from the last week, the core note is the same; children are back to loving being in school, the corridors are full of laughter and there is a lot of learning going on. From Yoga lessons through to Food Technology and core learning in Maths and English, it feels like our children haven’t really been away from site. I must share my gratitude for the amount of support we’ve had from the parent community and to the staff team in school for making our return so successful. It is through the commitment and dedication of the team on site that we can have the school operating as we do. For children, the school day will feel safe and settled but this doesn’t happen without a significant amount of work on behalf of the team in school. There are things that we have to compromise on but compared to what is happening elsewhere, I know pupils at Arnold Lodge are getting a vastly superior education experience.

      It is now that we must be our most vigilant in school to keep our measures high. The more successful the return, the easier it is to become lax. This week, we have had a full review of the risk assessment and, on the whole, it seems that the measures are working well. That said, there are things we can improve; we are looking to increase our cleaning team to put some slack in (our rota which hits everywhere twice in the day is working but it’s busy) and we will be flipping the one way system through the Senior School buildings after pupil feedback. We will continue to do this in the weeks to come to ensure we keep everyone in our community as safe as we can. Please note that we do high encourage pupils to wear masks during lesson changeover (though this is not compulsory) in the Senior School. Teachers will continue to encourage this.

      This week, our mantra comes from Amicus: Respect everyone and their contribution. In keeping with this theme, I’d like everyone to make the effort to say thank you to someone that helps you out next week. I’ve challenged the staff to do this and I hope you’ll take part, too. In school, we are a whole team and the school doesn’t function without each aspect (Operation, Junior and Senior). I want to particularly reach out to thank the operations team (catering, cleaning, Reception) because they very much keep the school going and have been excellent since we returned children to site. Our new day cleaning team, Wendy and Claire, are working tirelessly to keep children and staff as safe as can be and so they deserve a special mention.

      Earlier this week, several Year 10 pupils asked whether they could purchase additional sportswear (such as a varsity jumper, hoodie, leggings or thermal jacket). As we have pupils wearing their sports kit for a full school day (and I recognise the weather is going to get colder), the pupils argued that it makes sense for us to provide a range of options for pupils to purchase. It’s wonderful to be able to respond to pupil voice and so I was happy to acquiesce to the suggestion. The P.E kit as it is will stay that way - we are simply introducing a range of optional items that supplement the existing kit for pupils to purchase should they wish. Today, pupils in Senior have received an information sheet (a copy is attached) and Junior aged pupils can also purchase should they wish.

      As you may have guessed, we will not be holding an Open Morning this term. We had planned for an Open Morning on October 10thbut given the rise in cases, it seems unnecessary to run an Open Morning. Even to do so without children (which would be pointless - children are the heartbeat of any school) would still add risk for staff. As we will not be running our usual Open Morning, I’d like to ask a favour of the school community to support our ongoing growth: please tell others about ALS. Our very best marketing is word of mouth. I’m sure you’ll have friends and colleagues looking at independent education for their children for Reception or Year 7 next year. They may be frustrated with their current school or it may be their child is doing ‘ok’ where they are. If so, encourage them to call ALS see how their child could flourish here, too.

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    • Heads Weekly Update 4th Sept 2020

      date posted: Friday 4 Sep 2020

      Dear ALS Community,

      It feels wonderful to finally be writing a proper weekly email with a school full of children. There’s been much learning and laughing throughout the site over the last two days. I’ve tried to see each child at least twice in that time (and, no doubt, ruining more than one lesson) and I hope that the start to term has been one that has helped all children to feel safe and happy in school ready for the full Autumn Term.

      The past two days have, as you can imagine, been a bit hectic (the first days of term always are). Reception, Year 7 and Year 12 are learning their way around, there are timetable clashes to sort out and new members of staff to settle in to the school. Whilst the ‘normal’ issues that emerge at the start of term have still done so, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly our pupils and staff have adapted to the new Covid regulations. Regular handwashing? No bother. One way system? Absolutely fine. Cleaning down desks? Easy. Masks on buses? Don’t worry at all. For the pupils, I think that the first two days have been a roaring success. New pupils have settled in well and I really couldn’t have asked for more from our school community. I’m sure, this weekend, you’ll have some tired children at home as they’ve made their way through two full days. I hope they rest up well on the weekend ready to hit the ground running on Monday. 

      Next week, Dedicas: inspire others by aspiring to be your best. For parents new to the school community, each week we have one of the school mantras as a focus for pupils, staff and parents (via the weekly email) so that the whole of our school community can share in the same values and ideas. I think it’s a particularly fitting start to the school term to open with a Dedicas mantra. Though the first few days have been a delight (and the new measures have worked smoothly) this doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work. My thanks to all parents who supported the children to watch our return video, read our regulations and prepared for the return as well as to the team in school who are working diligently to make the system tick. This shared dedication and hard work from the adults will, I think, be inspirational for children.

      I can’t explain the joy at having all of the children back in school. Seeing them come to school the past two mornings with smiles on their faces has been wonderful. When lockdown began all those months back, I promised that the next time Arnold Lodge pupils properly stepped foot in school, it would be an even better place for them to be. I absolutely believe we have achieved this and I want to pass my heartfelt thanks on the Operations team who have made this happen in challenging circumstances. Similarly, I want to thank the staff at ALS who have made the past two days such a delight; their commitment and enthusiasm for their school is wonderful.

      To the whole ALS community: welcome back. Your school has missed you.