Miss Musgrove: Incredible You – 140 Years of educating inspirational Girls

I have loved this term, yes it has been busy, but a vibrant, happy school, is going to be busy as we want to learn, we want to introduce new ideas about how to make our school even better and to be the best we can be. Last Friday, in Homework Club, as we were reading and discussing our weekend activities, the Year 4 girls asked me why I am not a scary Head. Their description of this type of Head, as I asked them more…although a little scared myself! can only be described as an authoritative Head that you see from Victorian times. Hmm….I pondered – ‘Who wants to be Miss Trunchbull, when you can inspire people to be their best through positivity instead of fear.’ I have never wanted to be the Head who only sees pupils for detention, I want to be the Head that sees the triumphs, the learning, the progress. So, recently, it has been pure joy to see so many Open Homework projects both in person and online. I do look at them all, it does take me a while to see nearly 300 and with the help of our amazing teachers, write a comment about them in your daughter’s school report.

As a school, we introduced Open Homework a number of years ago, and the format has grown and developed, as we all learnt how to implement a new idea. I shamelessly ‘magpied’ the idea from the Sixth Form Independent Project Qualification iPQ including adapting the assessment scheme. I am not sure if parents love me or hate me for this project, as it is time consuming, and tends to involve weekend working! But I am so grateful they can see what we are aiming to do, to create fiercely independent girls, because the outcomes are inspirational.

During this ‘Open Homework’ fortnight, no other academic homework is set. This time, girls were given a theme ‘140’ (in honour of our school’s 140th Birthday in January) and they were set the task of creating anything they like associated with this theme. There is no right or wrong way to approach ‘Open Homework’ and it provides our pupils with the opportunity to be creative in an area of learning they particularly enjoy, whether it is Art, Music, Science etc. After all, if you can discover a passion and go on to have a career inspired by your passion, how amazing would that be?

This time, as the fortnight progressed, talk of different projects emerged and it was just so exciting to hear their enthusiasm and for them to be motivated and proud of what they were doing. It generated a conversation or two! During the two weeks, they had to record their progress and justify their decision making, they then had to create a presentation of their project and use their speaking and listening skills (thanks to our Super Speaking Assemblies) to share with their class.

Courage, Truth and Joy are at the heart of all that we do at Sutton High School, our school motto goes back a long way – and through seeing the Open Homework projects, it was interesting to see our values quite naturally develop through their projects along with our SHS Superpowers:

  • Independence – their project in their time, which conveyed something about them as a person
  • Time management – planning and working to a deadline…not leaving homework to the last night!

Creativity – how did this manifest itself through the Open Homework?
Confidence – working on a project from start to finish
Resilience – it wasn’t going to be easy but it was going to be worth it
Reflective – What worked? What would be even better next time?

Sutton High Prep School

86 Grove Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AL
T. 020 8225 3072

Sutton High Senior School

55 Cheam Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AX
T. 020 8642 0594