Dear Parents,

I do hope that the unexpected longer holiday weekend was one in which you were able to spend extended time with your family. As we move further into the school year, I thought that I would share with you some of the areas of focus for our teaching teams this year:

1. The importance of collaboration

Anyone who has been on a team, whether it be sporting, musical or work team, will tell you that nothing feels better or is more effective than a strongly effective team. One area of focus this year for the secondary at Uplands is teacher collaboration, because teaching too is a team sport. That is, finding and making structured time to discuss and share teaching strategies, develop and grade work, plan and write curriculum. It sounds simple and logical, but is actually difficult to achieve in a busy teacher’s timetable. So why is teacher collaboration so important? Professor John Hattie, a well-respected educational research specialist, cites collaboration as the single biggest factor that teachers can directly influence in improving student achievement. We know that teachers who take time to work together to discuss student work and strategies to improve student learning can build more learning growth in students more quickly.

2. Building the all important home and school


Parents in partnership with schools is one of the most powerful factors that can support student success. Communication is key to this partnership. This is why we are working on a system to build access to student and learning information for parents and students. In fact the system, called SEQTA, has been in Uplands for the past few months and we have worked hard to update and establish the foundation of this system. At the moment we use it to take attendance and perform other important background tasks to support our day to day functioning. Over the coming months we hope to roll out aspects of this platform to both parents and students so that they have a window into student’s daily learning and their overall process. As always, with a large system change or enhancement, it takes time to do this sort of well. We ask for your patience while we establish good practices and processes. In the meantime, many of our teachers use Google classroom to share work and classroom content. I would encourage you to sit with your child and have them show you the google classrooms that they are a member of. This is a rich opportunity for you to hear from your child about their learning, their passions, their challenges and their progress. A student’s capacity to describe and reflect on their learning is a key indicator of progress and understanding.

Reminder – Uniform

I would like to draw your attention to the student dress code which is found in the Student Homework Planners. We would appreciate your help each morning in ensuring that your child is dressed appropriately and ready for the day.

Joanne Loiterton
Head of Secondary