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Headteacher's Blog 12-4-24

Students took part in the  annual Flying Start Challenge Regional Finals at the Jet Age Museum, Staverton this week.

The summer term started this week, although there has been little sign of summer weather. Hopefully, the glimpse we have seen today is a sign of better things to come weather-wise. In school, it has been a positive start to the new term. The students have demonstrated a good attitude and have returned to our routines effectively.   

Attendance is an issue I have written about often. It is one of the biggest challenges faced by schools across the country. I was pleased to see that attendance this week was much higher than we saw in Term 4. This is a pattern we really need to see continue.

The link between attendance and attainment is well established, and we know that students with lower attendance will, unsurprisingly, achieve well below their potential. We also know that by improving attendance, students can catch up academically. We do have support for students who are struggling. Please do contact the school if you think your child would benefit from this. Thank you for helping us to improve our students’ attendance.

In school there have been a range of activities taking place. On Tuesday, 3 teams took part in the annual Flying Start Challenge Regional Finals at the Jet Age Museum, Staverton. It was an exciting and busy day of engineering activities, challenges and talks, and of course the Regional Fly-off, where our teams competed against other schools to see who had designed and built the best glider. The students had to race against the clock to reconstruct Safran Landing Gear, use instrumentation to land a virtual plane, and be able to answer questions on their glider design, budget and materials choices. They were able to sit in the cockpit of various planes, learn from people who flew them, and ask representatives from local engineering companies what it is like to work in the industry. Although our teams did not get into the top 5 to go through to the finals, we did manage to get into the top 10 on the leader board. Everyone had a fantastic day, and we are already planning on how to improve for next year!

On Thursday, the students in our Year 10 Health and Social Care classes had the benefit of a visit and presentation from the South-West Air Ambulance team as part of their “heart starters” programme. This programme aims to create a generation of lifesavers in our region by teaching lifesaving skills and CPR.  The students learnt about the air ambulance charity and what an important impact their service has on saving lives. All the students got involved and had the chance to put people in the recovery position and use the resuscitation dummies to perform chest compressions, as well as being able to practise using a defibrillator using a realistic AED model. We are immensely proud of our Health and Social Care students for the enthusiasm and the maturity in which they conducted themselves and are grateful for the air ambulance volunteers giving up their time to deliver this fantastic session with our students.

All week, chosen students in Year 11 have been completing their English spoken language assessments as part of the moderation process. The topics covered have been many and varied, with a favourite of mine looking at challenging the fear of maths. The way the students have risen to the challenge has been really encouraging, and bodes well for their summer exams. The GCSE PE students are the next to have a key moderation event. Next Wednesday we will be hosting 5 local schools as part of this. Good luck to all the students involved.

Good luck also to the students beginning their practical exams in Art and Design next week. These 2-day assessments form 50% of the students’ final mark. The students have been busily preparing for these over the last few weeks. I have every confidence that they will perform brilliantly. The assessments continue for our MfL students. Their oral exams start next week. Again, we wish them all the best for this key element of their course.

On the sporting front, the big fixture this week was the District Football final for our Year 11 students. The game against The Crypt was played at Meadow Park, home of Gloucester City. It did not disappoint. The Crypt raced into a 3 – 0 lead in the first half. Luckily, the Severn Vale team really rallied, and their battling performance saw them completely turn the game around. The catalyst for this was Henry D-D who scored 4 goals before Zak J scored a fifth to secure a fabulous win, 5 – 4. Congratulations to all who took part and to Mr Blacklock, who secured a District Championship in his first year at Severn Vale.

Also on the sporting front, congratulations go to Year 11 student Zane H. Zane recently competed in the South-West Tumbling Championships and once again he smashed it. Despite little practice and jet-lag due to a visit to New York, Zane achieved his best scores to be crowned champion. Well done Zane!!

Our extra-curricular sporting clubs have now restarted. Details of which can be seen below:

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 hope you have a great weekend.

Kind regards,

Richard Johnson