Dear Parents and Carers,
I’ll start by saying well done to those students in our local primary schools who finished their SATs this week. No doubt they will be pleased to be finished. We look forward to seeing you later on this term for our transition events.
Although there have been some smaller exams already, the GCSE exams begin in earnest next week with science, English and maths, amongst other subjects. Year 11 have taken their preparation very seriously and have every chance of doing very well indeed.
There will be breakfast available free in the canteen every morning before an exam. I hope students will take advantage of that to help maintain their concentration throughout some of the longer papers. As well as breakfast, there will be the chance to talk with teachers and have one last look through notes.
As I said in my last letter, we will hold a leaving event for Year 11 on Friday 17th June. Students will not be required to wear uniform on that day, though they should still dress appropriately. We are looking forward to sharing that day with them all.
Year 11 students will not be required to attend school from Monday 20The Year 11 Prom is on Thursday 7th July at the Arts Centre.
Year 13 will be starting their round of exams the week after Year 11. We will make sure that there is breakfast available for them too. Year 13 are in the extraordinary position of not having sat GCSEs on the journey towards A-Level or BTEC. Although those exams were cancelled due to covid, the students worked hard for the grades they were awarded and absolutely deserved them. They have been preparing for this year’s exams carefully and have every reason to be confident. The sixth form team will share details of leaving events with Year 13 directly.
We are concerned there are some students who are not as punctual to lessons as they could be. Where students are missing small amounts of lesson time at the start of every lesson, this can add up leading to a significant amount of learning being lost. For example, if a student arrives 5 minutes late to every lesson, by the end of each week they have missed 125 minutes of learning - more than two whole lessons every week.
From Monday 16th May, we will be implementing an automatic after school detention for those students who are persistently late to lessons. The 20-minute detention will be held every Tuesday after school, from 3pm to 3.20pm. If a student has been issued with a ‘late’ detention, they will be informed on Monday morning in tutor time and reminded on Tuesday morning. Parents will receive a text message confirming the detention on the Tuesday.
Students who arrive late to school and therefore to tutor time in the morning, will be expected to complete a Head of Year lunchtime detention on the same day, as has been the system for some time.
We put a similar arrangement in place last term to address students not bringing the right equipment. It has been effective and I am happy to report the number of students who are not fully equipped for their learning has reduced. If a student fails to bring the correct equipment, they will automatically be placed in a 20-minute detention after school. Where this detention has previously been issued on a Friday, we are now moving it to a Tuesday. Parents will receive a text message confirming the detention.
I want to congratulate the vast majority of students who get everything right every single day. From those who do not, I expect better.
A reminder to parents that we run a homework club every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 2.50pm to 4.00pm in B31. This gives students the opportunity to check their homework on Go4Schools, complete online homework such as Dr Frost Maths and complete work in their exercise books with the support of two of our LSAs. If your child scored a '3' or '4' for any of their homework attributes in the most recent progress report, we'd recommend the homework club as a useful way of getting them back on track. If you have any questions about homework, please contact Mr. Sumner.
We have an ambitious plan to redevelop the site of the old A Block with some new buildings which will allow us to expand the sixth form and enhance our curriculum offer for art, drama, dance and engineering. The work is in several phases and each phase will take place as we managed to secure the funding. The first phase, which we have secured £3m to complete, covers the main hall and the new admin and sixth form block.
The work to renovate the main hall will begin towards the end of this term and should be completed by October half term. I’d have liked it to be done before that but we are restricted in when we can start by the exam season being longer than usual this year – obviously, we can’t start building work while there are GCSEs and A-Levels going on.
The next stage of the work is the re-landscaping and levelling of the site of the old A and B blocks and the building of a new admin and sixth form block which will include reception, meeting rooms, seminar rooms and a sixth form library. That will also become the main entrance to the school and will be visible from the gate, making a bit more sense of what is currently a very spread out site. This project has been several years in the design, so I’m really pleased that it looks certain to happen now, unless something very unexpected happens. This first phase of the plans should be finished by this time next year. The picture below shows what the new admin and sixth form block will look like as you walk down the existing path with the current sixth form block behind the flagpoles to the right.