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Severn Vale School

An Academy

A night at the theatre

Learning from the disappointment of a world cup defeat and the importance of sleep!

It’s been a week since England’s painful defeat in the Rugby World Cup Final and reflecting on the game it made me appreciate the importance of the basics. In the game, South Africa dominated the set pieces: the scrums, the line-outs. They did the basics perfectly and as a result won the game comfortably.

There is a clear link to academic success which I have spoken to the students about this week. To be successful in school the basics are essential: attendance, good study habits, reading, developing knowledge, knowing your times tables, knowing the key formulae. Look after these and you will be well on the way to delivering success. Importantly, all of these are factors which the vast majority of students can make a difference to. Many of the changes we have introduced this year have been aimed at supporting students develop these basic skills. They are also skills that parents can help their children develop.

Another “basic” that students need to get right is sleep. I think everybody is aware of the need for good sleep habits for our well-being. We all know how grotty we can feel when we are tired or haven’t slept well. What is less well known is the potential impact of sleep on academic performance. Over half-term I was reading a study from the US. In this study, the researchers had attempted to measure the importance of sleep and its impact on academic performance. They took a group of 100 students and gave them activity trackers to measure their sleep and its quality. They then looked at the results the students achieved in a series of assessments. What they found was fascinating. Overall, better quality, longer duration, and greater consistency of sleep correlated with better grades. Interestingly, there was no relation between sleep measures on the single night before a test and test performance; instead, sleep duration and quality for the month and the week before a test correlated with better grades. Sleep measures accounted for nearly 25% of the variance in academic performance. It is well worth knowing and discussing this with your child. You can read the research in full here.

Finally, the absolute highlight of my week has been my visit to the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury to see our students perform their production of Romeo and Juliet as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. It was a pleasure to watch the students perform. I was hugely impressed at their performances and the production. In particular, it was a joy to watch students from different year groups combine in such a fabulous performance. Probably the best bit has been seeing the students in the days after their performance; they are so obviously full of pride and what they achieved. A massive thank you goes to the students for their commitment to this project and to the staff: Miss Evans, Miss Embling and Miss O’Neill for their tireless support for the students.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Richard Johnson
Headteacher