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Headteacher's Blog 12-1-24

The new year is a fabulous opportunity for a fresh start for those who have struggled to maintain regular and high attendance

A Happy New Year to you all!

It has been a pleasure welcoming the students back after the festive break. Overwhelmingly, they have made a really positive start to what will be a busy, but short term.

For our Year 11s the countdown to the summer exams is well underway. Two key milestones are coming up for them. Firstly, we have our Year 11 parent evening taking place on Thursday 18 January. This will be our first in-person parent evening since before the pandemic. It will run in what we hope is an improved format. I am keen to get feedback from parents regarding how well these revised arrangements work. This will help us refine procedures for our other parent evenings, including the Year 9 evening that takes place on Thursday 8 February.

The second key milestone for the Year 11s will be the Option subject mocks. These take place in the fortnight beginning 22 January and will give students vital feedback on their progress and what they need to be doing next in their option subjects as they prepare for the summer exams. Thank you in advance for ensuring that your child is preparing properly for these key assessments.

After an unbelievably wet December, this week has brought some proper winter weather. With this cold weather due to extend into the rest of January, it is important that students have coats. I would like to remind you that a hoodie is not a coat and we do not allow students to wear hoodies in school. Thank you for your support with this.

This week the Department for Education has launched a national campaign aimed at improving school attendance called moments matter, attendance counts. It is obviously a campaign that we fully support. The new year is the opportunity for a fresh start for those who have struggled to maintain regular and high attendance.

We know good attendance has a huge impact on attainment. We also know that regular school attendance can facilitate positive peer relationships, which is a protective factor for mental health and wellbeing. Where there are barriers to attendance, please do speak to the school so that we can see how, by working together, we can remove those barriers.

Given there are lots of common winter bugs and viruses circulating at the moment I thought it timely to remind you that the NHS have published guidance to help parents decide whether their child is too ill for school. The guidance can be accessed from the following link: Is my child too ill for school?

Sporting fixtures begin next week with a bumper set scheduled. It is also worth highlighting the fantastic range of sporting activities that are on offer every day as part of the PE department’s extracurricular offer. Full details can be found on the PE Twitter / Instagram page (@SevernValePE).

As always, I end with 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 have a great weekend.

Kind regards,

Richard Johnson