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Headteacher's blog 9-10-20

Good luck to our DofE students taking part in their qualifying expedition this weekend

Headteacher’s blog

The penultimate week of term is drawing to a close. It is amazing just how quickly the term has flown by and that our Year 7 students have nearly completed their first term of secondary school. Despite the challenges, the overwhelming majority of students are showing remarkable resilience and fortitude. They are just getting on with it; focusing on their learning and making the most of the opportunities presented.

For our KS3 students next term will see the first of their order assessments. These an integral are part of our assessment and tracking of student progress at KS3. This has been a key focus of the school’s work over the past two years. We have developed an assessment system which helps to identify student progress across Years 7, 8 and 9. Where the data shows a student hasn’t made sufficient progress the school is able to arrange support to help the student get back on track. We believe that much earlier support at this stage in their education will have a significant impact in the long term. 

As part of this system, students sit exams in Maths and Science alongside ongoing assessments in English. The first of these sets of exams will take place in mid November. Details on what to revise will be given to your child via Show My Homework. Full details of the exams and the procedures involved will be sent nearer the time.  If you have any questions regarding this process, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Ball or Miss Winchcombe. Thank you in advance for supporting your child in their preparation for these exams. 

Ventilation update….a phrase I never thought I would write as a Head!!!!!! We have received updated guidance from the LA. Their advice, which we will be following, is that when the weather allows, we should be keeping windows and doors open to ensure as much ventilation as possible. If it is cold it, just keeping a window open will provide the necessary ventilation and so will be sufficient. Similar ventilation could also be achieved by shutting windows and opening an inside door. This should mean that we do not have the problem of cold classrooms as the temperature drops. It also means that students will not need to be wearing coats in classrooms.

Talking of coats it is worth reminding parents that we do not allow students to wear hoodies in school. As outlined in our uniform expectations, students are encouraged to wear an outside, waterproof coat for the journey to and from school and during break time and lunchtime. Hoodies are not allowed and if seen will need to be removed. It is far easier to avoid this so please do ensure your child has a coat and isn’t using a hoodie as an alternative. Thank you for support with this.

Normally in my weekly blog, I would provide details of examples of the extra-curricular activities that are taking place within school. Just this term we would normally have had a visit to Skern Lodge involving 80 students; 150+ students would have taken part in various visits to the Cheltenham Literature Festival.  Our extra-curricular sports provision is in place and is attracting very large numbers – over 100 Year 7s attended yesterday -  but, in the current climate, many other activities have unfortunately had to be cancelled or postponed.

One great activity that is taking place this weekend is the qualifying expedition for 36 Year 10 students working towards their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Also taking part (separately) will be 6 Y11 Silver Award students. The activities will be taking place from the school and will not involve an overnight camp. However, it will provide an appropriate challenge for the students and will go a long way in simulating the requirements of a normal expedition. The weather looks set fair. We wish them all a successful weekend.

Finally, my weekly reminder about Free School Meals eligibility. If your financial circumstances have changed, your child may be eligible for Free School Meals. If you click on this link you will find guidance on the eligibility criteria and the application process. It's a quick process and we are notified of all FSM entitlements by Gloucestershire County Council each Monday. I would urge you to take a look if you think you may benefit from financial assistance.

I do hope that you and your family enjoy a great weekend.

Richard Johnson