Dear Parents and Carers,

I’ll start with a request. We’ve noticed an increasing number of parents parking in the bus circle at the end of the day, waiting to pick up students. On a number of occasions those parked cars have made it difficult for the buses to get to the bus stops. It would also be difficult for an emergency vehicle to get onto the site should it need to. I would be grateful if parents would not park in the bus circle at the end of the day.

It is always good to see students travelling to school by bike and it’s something I’d be keen to encourage more of. In order to keep everyone safe, though, it is important that students walk their bikes out of the school gate and make sure they are past any crowded areas before they attempt to get on and ride off.  There is never a need for students to cycle through the car park – the road and path exits are perfectly adequate. Those of you whose children travel by bike. Please make sure that they are suitably equipped with lights and visible clothing before the darker nights start to draw in. I would hate for there to be an accident.

A number of you have been asking about how to spend reward points. I’ve never intended that we would have a system of spending points – the purpose of the points is to recognise students’ hard work and achievement and to communicate that with parents and carers. Personally I think that we as a society have gone too far towards expecting everything to have a monetary value; the most important things are worth doing for their own sake. However, when I was helping a student in Year 7 to log into her Go4Schools account I saw the student page, which I haven’t seen before, and it quite clearly shows that points are available “to spend” which explains the confusion. I have asked that those words be removed. I am happy to discuss rewards with the student council and hear their views.

On the topic of rewards, one hundred and twenty of the most highly rewarded students from last year went to the Science Museum yesterday in recognition of their hard work. I’m told they had a great time. Well done to them.

We held a Year 11 information evening this week which was very well attended indeed. I can’t tell you how encouraging it is that the studio was almost full for both presentations; if a community wants its children to succeed, they will.  Thank you to all those of you who came. I hope you found it useful. Mr Butterworth will be sending out a copy of the presentation.

Thank you as well to those of you who attended the Year 7 Meet the Tutor evening on Wednesday.  This is a new event for us, designed to bridge the gap between starting the school and the full parents’ evening much later in the year. Although we have been busy with a lot of evening events recently, we felt that this was a good use of time. If you have any feedback on the evening that you’d like to share, please email Mrs Powell at

I said last time that, following requests from students and the parents’ forum, we have made a commitment go as single use plastic free as we possibly can over the course of the next year. The initiative is being led by a group of green-minded students, supported by Mrs Bramhall and Mrs Newman. They started by doing a litter pick around the school and analysing the contents of their bags. They discovered that the majority of litter is brought in from home in the form of snack wrappers, so we are investigating joining the Walkers crisp bag recycling scheme. The other common items of litter were trays and cutlery from the canteen. We can get non-plastic versions of both of those things but they are slightly more expensive. Because we use an external catering firm that cost would be added to the price of food so we need to think carefully about that. The Eco council have also recommended to me that we set up used pen collection points so that we can recycle them and that we sell sustainable metal water bottles through parent pay, which we would be able to do at a significant discount to high street prices. We are investigating how easy it would be to adapt the water fountains to make it easier to fill a bottle from them. Thanks to Izzy and Max, two of our new Eco Committee, for all of their work on this initiative.

Because reading is so important, I’ll repeat this paragraph from the last bulletin. As part of our whole school drive to encourage our students to read more and more widely, we have, as part of our revised student handbook, included a number of pages dedicated to logging the reading they do every day. This has two forms- an individual reading log where students can log the title and author of any texts they have read and a group and paired reading log which will be used, predominantly, in class which is accompanied by guidance on reading aloud in an increasingly fluent way. It is vital for our students' outcomes, in all subjects, that reading is a regular part of their daily routine but also for their opportunity to experience and understand more about the world in which they live and that which has shaped it. Please encourage your child to read as often as they can. Twenty minutes a day can make a real difference to a child’s reading speed. As exams get longer and longer, the ability to read rapidly gives students an enormous advantage.

You might remember from last year that we held a Haverhill –wide careers event called Aspire_USP at the Arts Centre. It is a chance for students and parents to come and meet local businesses and education providers and start to think about what kind of a career path to follow. One visitor will win a laptop donated by SJP Contracts. The event is on 13 November from 4-6pm and is open to students from all year groups. It would be good to see many of you there.

Finally, as I mentioned last time, we agreed at the last parents’ forum of last year that there was no longer the urgent need to meet every half term, so we would move to one meeting per term and see how that goes. The first parents’ forum of this year will be on Wednesday 20th November at 6.00pm in B Block breakout area. Any parent or carer is welcome to attend. The others will be on 11 March and 3 June.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter