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Headteacher's Blog 26-3-21

It's been a busy week for KS3 students with their order B assessments taking place

Another week has flown by. It has been a very busy one for our Key Stage 3 students as they have been taking the order assessments in English, Maths and Science that were missed during lockdown. Normally we would give notice of the assessments to students and parents and encourage them to prepare fully for them. On this occasion we took the decision to get the students to take these assessments “cold” as that would give us the best opportunity to see where the students are in their learning following the period of home learning. This assessment information will be used by staff to identify gaps in learning and will allow them to plan for how best to address these over the coming months.

Given we had to delay the order assessments it does mean that the Year 7 – 9 grade cards will now be issued in the first week of term after Easter. This is to give staff sufficient time to mark the assessments and submit their data. Grade cards for Year 10 students will be issued next week. In term 5 we will be having a parents evening for Year 10 and Year 8. The parents evening for Year 7 and Year 9 will take place in term 6. Full details will be sent to parents at the beginning of next term.

Our Year 11 students have been continuing their ongoing assessments as part of the evidence gathering which will enable the school to accurately enter centre assessed grades in the summer. Details of the final stage of the assessments will be distributed next week. I would like to commend the Year 11 students for the excellent attitude, effort and resilience they have shown throughout this period. Their KS4 has been the most disrupted imaginable and at times they must have felt like they didn’t know whether they were coming or going. They haven’t let that prevent them from putting their all into each task. They deserve enormous credit for that.

This has been the first week after testing switched to home-testing. I hope parents and students alike have found the process straightforward. That has certainly been the case for my daughter who is home testing as a Year 12 college student. The Government are keen to maintain the momentum of home testing and have asked all schools to encourage students to keep testing at home throughout the Easter holidays and into the summer term. Their message to all staff, students and parents is to:

  • test twice a week at home from now on
  • report results online as positive, negative or void. This information is critical in helping the Government to understand the prevalence of the virus across the country
  • continue to test twice weekly over the Easter holidays
  • test before returning to school or college for the summer term, either the night before, or morning of, the first day back, to find and isolate any positive cases

The Government are also keen to ensure parents and carers of children who are advised to self-isolate by their school or by NHS Test and Trace know they are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment of £500, if they meet the eligibility criteria. This change is intended to ensure that eligible parents receive financial support if they are unable to attend work due to childcare responsibilities. The eligibility criteria are listed in the link above.

I would like to make all Year 11 students aware of a fantastic opportunity available to them. It’s called The Cotswold Challenge and it provides students with the opportunity to take part in a creative and educational initiative that is absolutely free to enter. It offers students the chance to shine, gain a sense of achievement and self-worth at a very difficult time and maybe also win a monetary prize with 4 top prizes in each category of:

1st       £500

2nd      £300

3rd       £150

4th       £50


As well as 4 Highly Commended prizes of a £25 book token in each category.

Students from Severn Vale entered last year and some even won prizes. The competition will be launched on Tuesday 1st June and the closing date will be Tuesday 6th July. The categories include: Art & Design; Creative Writing and Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking. Details of how to enter can be found at This website will be regularly updated with more information as and when it comes in.

After school sport restarted this week with excellent turnouts in all year groups. The activities will continue all next week with days allocated as follows:

  • Monday - Year 8
  • Tuesday - Year 9
  • Wednesday - Year 10
  • Thursday - Year 7

Details of the summer programme will be sent home by parentmail next week. They will also be available on the Severn Vale PE Twitter and Instagram accounts.

As always, I include 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.

Remember next week we break up on Thursday 1st April (really!!). The end of the school day will be as normal.

I do hope you have a great weekend.

Kind regards


Richard Johnson