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Headteacher's Blog 8-4-22

The staff netball team defeated the Year 11s in a charity game for Ukraine this week

Another very busy term draws to a close today. It was a term in which we passed the second anniversary of the initial Covid lockdown with the very real hope that the worst of the disruption is behind us and that we can now look forward to a much less disrupted future.

Of course there are still Covid issues; the most challenging for us currently is staff absence. That does mean that too many students have had lessons covered this term which is far from ideal. It is also why unfortunately we had to move Year 9 to remote learning for the last day of term. The latest figures from the public health authorities do suggest that the “peak” of the latest wave to hit the south-west should arrive in the next week. Hopefully the Easter break will hasten the decline of that peak and Covid becomes much less of an issue in Term 5 and beyond.

As I explained in my message last week, the rules on self-isolation have changed significantly. Given those changes, the DfE have also ended the requirement for schools to provide remote education to students in all but exceptional circumstances. The new rules mean that essentially if students are well enough to learn they can be and should be in school; hence there is no need for remote learning.

Those of you who have used our sports facilities will know that our AstroTurf is looking very tired. Originally installed in 1997 with a lifespan of 10 years, careful maintenance has enabled us to keep it going for 25 years!!! It is though very much passed its best. That is why I am really pleased to say that we have secured funding to enable us to replace it this summer. Work will begin in July so that the new surface is ready for our students and for community users in September.

In other good news, we have also been able to replace our mini-buses.  We have taken delivery of the two new mini-buses in the last two weeks. With fixtures back up and running and other extra-curricular activities now able to take place, I know they will get a lot of use.

The big sporting event this week was the staff versus Year 11 netball match that took place on Thursday. Organised to raise funds for charities supporting those affected by the war in Ukraine, it was great match played in fabulous spirits. A player of the match performance by Ms Wright, our Head of Languages, led the staff to a hard-fought victory. Bien jugado Ms Wright!! Thanks to the staff and the Year 11 netball team for putting on a great game and to Jasmine Blench for umpiring. Thanks also to all those who attended and helped raise money for such a worthy cause.

My highlight this week was presenting certificates to the highest achievers from KS3 in the recent Order B assessments. Certificates from me went to the 3 overall highest achieving students in English, Maths and Science and to the 3 students who made the most progress in these subjects. There are 270 students in each year group at KS3 so finishing in the top 3 is a real cause for celebration. It was a pleasure to congratulate these hard-working students and to recognise their superb achievements.

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.

I do hope you and your family manage to have some quality time over Easter. We will see the students again on Monday 25th April which is a week B.

Kind regards

Richard Johnson