Northwood School mentoring programme

Diamond Education Service was asked to mentor a group of year 11 boys at Northwood School in Hillingdon as part of a development programme aimed at keeping the boys on track, motivated and with the aim of helping them reach their full potential at a crucial period in their GCSE preparation.

The programme was held over a period of 15 weeks and the boys were involved in both group and individual sessions with their mentor. Support was given on a number of identified areas such as study skills, anger management, meeting deadlines, and managing difficult situations.

The boys responded extremely well to the attention! Staff at the school were very pleased with the improvement in the boys’ attitude to learning over the mentoring period.

The headteacher, Mark Anderson, said: “I just wanted to say a massive thank you for bringing the mentoring programme to Northwood. The students really found it beneficial and in the final few months we saw a real shift in their self-belief and determination to do well. We’d love to be involved in any similar projects in the future.”

The boys were rewarded at the end of the mentoring programme with a game of bubble football on the astro turf pitch at school (see photo), followed by pizza and brownies.

The boys’ year tutor, Dom Beer, said: “I just wanted to let you know that the football was great fun and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Just want to say a massive thank you to you for organising, the boys and myself really appreciate your hard work.”

Mayor of Haringey visits DES

Councillor Ali Gul Ozbek, the Mayor of Haringey, visited Diamond Education Service on 16 December 2016 to hear about the launch of our new company in the borough.

The Mayor is appropriately using his year as the mayor to boost the effectiveness of health and education in the borough and so he was very interested to hear about our work with schools, academies and colleges.

The Mayor is planning to hold another careers fair for Haringey school children in early 2017 and has invited DES and our sister company, Diamond Build plc, to attend; we look forward to assisting the Mayor in his endeavours as education is close to our hearts too.

It was an honour to host the Mayor and we are grateful for the time he took out of his schedule to meet the staff and visit our office in Stamford Road.

 

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The Mayor, Councillor Ali Gul Ozbek (centre) meets DES staff (l-r): Lesley Tucker, John Gray, Linda Prince and Robert Hawker.

 

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The Mayor of Haringey, Councillor Ali Gul Ozbek, in our boardroom, with DES chairman, John Gray.

Diamond Education Service Launch

Transforming School Food

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Read the inspiring story of one governor’s experience to transform the quality of their school dinners.

“It’s not necessarily something you think about: you sign them up for school meals and off they go! The fact that they complain about soggy chips or lumpy custard seems inevitable – after all, school meals are hardly expected to be exciting or liked. And the thought of making packed lunches every morning is a chore you can do without when you’re busy trying to get everyone out of the house.

In becoming a governor, I was principally motivated to help the school achieve outstanding status and I was prepared to help the head as much as possible in this shared goal. When it was brought to my attention that the quality of school dinners and uptake by the children, had a direct impact on their academic performance and thereby the school’s results, I took a keen interest.

So with the head’s blessing, I joined forces with a like-minded mum to find out more. We visited local schools, interviewed their heads and kitchen staff, held meetings with the current catering contractor, the local authority, School Food Matters, and a variety of companies who were providing individual contracts to local schools.

The outcome was a report to our board of governors recommending a change of contract from the incumbent as they were providing a completely unsatisfactory level of service; we’d discovered the quality and quantity of food was lacking in all respects. Staff and the children were equally unhappy. The board accepted our recommendations unanimously.

But we faced a challenge, the number of children on role and also choosing school meals was not enough to interest any of the catering companies offering cook from fresh contracts. The local authority was keen to keep us on board as they too had upped their game and were now seeking a borough-wide cook from fresh contract – so we stayed. But to provide cook from fresh, we needed a bigger kitchen and equipment as the incumbent contractor owned what we had. We shared our ambitions with the school community and the PTA, who agreed to fund raise for new equipment, and the head explored how we could accommodate a larger kitchen space. Achieving our ambitions seemed a long way off.

However, and fortuitously at roughly the same time, the local authority asked the school to expand to permanent two-form entry – this involved substantial rebuilding work along with a new kitchen and new equipment. It was an amazing stroke of luck.

We now have one of the best school kitchens in London (and is used by the new contractor as their training base), our meals are cooked from fresh, they’ve achieved Gold standard and the uptake is around 80 per cent. Staff and children are much happier. We also recognised that creating a healthy and happy food environment went much further than just the school meals. We worked tirelessly to ensure that we took a whole school approach to food running growing and cooking classes and even keeping chickens!

And the final icing on the cake (excuse the food based pun!): last year we achieved ‘outstanding’ status from both Ofsted and the Diocese.

Robert Hawker, Parent Governor, Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, Richmond

For more information visit: www.schoolfoodplan.com

 

Robert Hawker is the Director of Marketing for Diamond Education Service.

Copy taken from Governors for Schools blog: www.sgoss.org.uk