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Headteacher's Blog 14-7-23

The summer Music showcase was one of many activities that took place this week

Yesterday we received the news that we had been waiting to hear for a number of weeks; namely that the Government has accepted the findings of the teacher review body’s pay recommendations. This is likely to see the industrial action that has been taking place (and was likely to get much worse) called off. It is great news as the potential for significant disruption next year was very real.

In school it has been another busy week with a wide variety of activities taking place.

On Monday we held our annual summer Music showcase. We had students from across the year groups performing a wide range of musical genres. The quality of the performances was superb. A huge thank you to the Music department for their work in staging the event, to those that attended for supporting and most importantly to the students for their great performances.

On Tuesday, 60 of our Year 10 students attended Cirencester College's Taster Day. During the day students were able to trial up to five different academic subjects, covering over 60 subject areas from Accounting to Uniformed Services and everything in between. Students were able to compare A-Level subjects to BTECs and the new T-Levels plus they had a chance to experience what it would be like to attend Cirencester College post-16. One of the highlights of the day was their Animal Management Taster where "Jester" the Python made a really big impression. Cirencester College is very popular amongst Severn Vale Students with around 30 - 40 students enroling each year and so it was a really great opportunity for current Year 10s to be able to see what they have on offer. 

This week also saw our annual Awards Evening for students in Years 7 – 10. It was a delight to celebrate the fabulous achievements of our students across the curriculum. Recognising both the students who have performed at the top of their year group and those students who have made the most progress in each subject, it was a pleasure to see so many parents able to share in this celebration with their children.

Our Year 10 Geographers have been completing the first of their GSCE field trips this week. Based around Minehead, the students are carrying out data collection to see the impacts that coastal management have on beach morphology and sediment characteristics. This knowledge will support them in the fieldwork section of their exam. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really been beach weather!! 

There were a series of fixtures this week including:

  • Year 7 Cricket – the Year 7 cricket team travelled to Churchdown to play their last cricket fixture this week. All involved got to bat, bowl and field and everyone left with a smile on their face. They even managed to dodge the showers!

  • Year 8 Cricket – the Year 8 boys cricket team had their last fixture of the season against Churchdown on Tuesday. In a high scoring game Churchdown scored a formidable 241 runs. In a spirited reply we managed 232, losing by 9 runs.

  • Year 9 Cricket – the Year 9 boys finished off an outstanding season of cricket by beating Churchdown comfortably on Wednesday. They have only lost one game this season and that was by 1 run against Marling. Every player has played their part this season and participation numbers at training have remained high throughout. Stand out Player of the Season goes to Mason F who has inspired and encouraged the team all season.

  • Year 8 / 9 Cricket – the Year 8 and 9 girls cricket teams both travelled to Newent for their final match of the season. The Year 8s lost by 19 runs and the Year 9s won by 28 runs. The girls have made so much progress since the start of the cricket season and played with confidence and a great understanding of the game. A special mention to Grace G for hitting 4 6s off 6 balls! Our batters of the match for each team went to Grace G and Maisy G. Our fielders of the matches went to Millie S and Sophie B.

  • Allstars Cricket - the Allstars team played Churchdown this week. After an uncharacteristically frantic opening, the boys settled into a good rhythm scoring a total of 143 runs. Our bowling made up for our poor batting, which saw Churchdown bowled out for 53. There is one game left for the Allstars in Swansea next week.

  • Also on the sporting front, more success for Year 10 student Zane Hunt. Zane recently competed in the South West Tumbling Championships in the 15+ category (against 16 to 20-year olds!) Incredibly he came first and is the South-West Champion. Congratulations Zane.

My regular reminder that a recent analysis showed that approximately 10% of those who are entitled to Free School Meals are not currently taking advantage of this scheme. If you think your child may be eligible for Free School Meals you can click on this link to find guidance on the eligibility criteria and the application process. It's a quick process and we are notified of all FSM entitlements by GCC each Monday. I would urge you to take a look if you think you may benefit from financial assistance. 

Of course, I could not write to parents and not mention the dreadful incident that occurred at Tewkesbury School this week. I know that you, like I, will have been completely shocked at what happened. Thankfully the member of staff was not seriously injured and was released from hospital the same day. I have passed on the best wishes of all at Severn Vale to the Headteacher and the whole Tewkesbury School community.

Whilst incidents like this are mercifully rare, it does bring home the importance of preparing both staff and students to deal with them. We have completed initial staff training on lockdown procedures. We were fortunate to be supported by one of our parents who is a member of Gloucestershire Police’s Fire Arms Unit who was able to offer useful advice and pointers on how we could develop our systems. We already had a full practice scheduled for September with both staff and students ahead of Monday’s events. We will talk to students about this prior to the practice and will share details with parents as well. We hope to never have to use this training.

Finally, some very sad news we received last week. Jane Smith, one of our TAs, sadly passed away. Jane was an absolute superstar. She supported students, largely in Key Stage 4, and was an amazing ray of light, brightening the day of anyone who worked with her. She had been unwell for some time. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.


Richard Johnson