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Headteacher's Blog 21-5-21

We bid a formal farewell to the class of 2021 this week

I write this piece as I am preparing to welcome our Year 11s back to school for their Leavers Assembly. It will be a delight to have this opportunity to formally say farewell to the students. It seems frankly unbelievable that their time at Severn Vale is coming to a close as it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were welcoming them on their Year 6 Induction day. In saying farewell to this group of students my overwhelming feeling is one of pride. Pride at the amazing progress they have made; pride at the academic success I know they will achieve; but most importantly pride at the fine young men and women they have grown to be. As they move on to the next stage of their education I have every confidence that their time at Severn Vale has given them the foundation to go on to achieve many great things.

Now the Year 11 assessments have been completed the not inconsiderable task of marking them begins. As part of that process we have moved the Inset Day originally planned for later in the term to June 7th to enable us to complete the standardisation processes required prior to the submission of grades to the exam boards. This means the first day of next term for students will be Tuesday 8th June.

Our KS3 students continue their assessment into next week. As explained before, the nature of these assessments is such that there is no specific preparation that the students need do other than to get a good night’s sleep the night before and to have the correct equipment (two black pens, a pencil, a ruler, a rubber, a sharpener and a calculator all in a clear pencil case). I have been impressed with the mature way the students have tackled these assessments and am confident this will continue with the remaining assessments, the details of which are shown below:


Reading Tests 

Maths Progress Tests 

Year 7 


Monday 24th May 

Year 8 


Monday 24th May 

Year 9 

Tuesday 25th May 

Tuesday 25th May 

As we have been moving out of lockdown I have been monitoring the data locally very carefully. In the last week the case numbers were at 5/100,000 across Gloucester, a rate significantly lower than that seen nationally. Given the data is at such a low level I feel the time is now right to take steps to re-establish many of our normal routines at school. This means that from Tuesday 8th June we will be returning to teachers teaching in their individual rooms with students moving about the school rather than remaining in fixed locations. I will provide further details of this change in a communication next week.

Returning teachers to their individual classrooms will have a significant positive impact on teaching and learning. Whilst our current arrangements have worked, they are a sub-optimal way of organising lessons. We have had virtually no practical science lessons all year; we lose significant learning transitioning students from their base rooms to specialist rooms in many subjects; it has also placed a considerable burden on staff having to move between rooms and set-up each and every lesson.

Reorganising 60 plus classrooms is not a quick and easy job. We need to transport over 10,000 exercise books; thousands of text books and a significant amount of other resources. To do this the Governors have agreed that we can close early on 28th May to enable this process to take place. This means school will finish at 12.40pm next Friday. We could of course have waited for the summer holidays to complete this move. My feeling is that the teaching and learning benefits of making this move now will outweigh the loss of two lessons for the students.

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.

There are some signs that better weather may be on the way at last next week. This weekend still looks a bit wild and woolly!!  I do hope you enjoy it.

Kind regards

Richard Johnson