Head’s letter 1 May 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back to the summer term. We hope students in Years 11 and 13, in particular, used their Easter breaks successfully and we were delighted with the numbers who joined our Easter revision booster sessions over the holiday. Thank you to my colleagues who gave up part of their holiday to support our students as well. I have chosen to delay slightly my letter to you giving time for you to receive letters from individual Heads of Year.

Start of Term Letters from Heads of Year
By now I hope you have received your start of term letter and have been provided with additional and useful information; not to mention the topics your children will be studying in this final term. Hopefully, you will be aware that all timetables will change after half-term and therefore our Year 9s will formally commence their GCSE options in just over four weeks’ time.

Staffing Updates
Mrs Tandy has decided to step down from her Head of Year role with the current Year 8s at the end of the academic year. I wish to thank Mrs Tandy for her extraordinary commitment and affection for her year group and know they will miss her greatly. Moving forward, we are delighted to share news that Mrs Collyer, who many will remember was a teacher and acting Head of Year here at CNS several years ago, will be returning and will take over leadership of this year group. Meanwhile, Mr Franklin has also been appointed as a Head of Year and will begin the handover / takeover of the current Year 7s who have been such a success this year under Mrs Faulkner’s leadership. Mrs Faulkner is of course a ‘static’ Head of Year 7 and now begins the crucial period of transition with our new Year 7s alongside Mrs O’Brien (Pastoral Support Assistant), Mrs Evans (SENDCo) and Mrs Smart (Assistant SENDCo).

New MUGA Surface
As many of you may have seen, our multi-use games area (MUGA) surface has recently had a fantastic upgrade to an all-weather, sand-dressed, AstroTurf pitch. This is a great addition to the sports facilities already at the school and will provide an opportunity within school and amongst the wider community to take part in sports such as hockey and tennis. Head of PE, Mr Thomas, said, “We can’t wait to get the students started on the new surface. We particularly look forward to the chance to introduce tennis into the curriculum and also envisage it helping to take students’ hockey skills to the next level.” Students will be able to access this space at break and lunchtime from September but have already been having lessons in there since the start of term.

The Importance of Careers & Enterprise Education – Aspirations AND Expectations

Meanwhile, following the departure of his Year 11s, Mr Parker will be devoting all of his time to being our Careers & Enterprise Lead at CNS. This follows his decision to step down as a Head of Year after he says farewell to his year group in a few weeks’ time. We wish to review and then expand our opportunities for students to take part in meaningful experiences with employers so that they have a sophisticated understanding of future study options and the local, national and international labour market. Very, very few students lack aspirations. Most desire a well-paid job, offering stable opportunities that enable travel, a nice home and a comfortable life. But some students do not expect that to be their life and it is our collective responsibility to not only raise aspirations, but also ensure every child expects to live a good life and has confidence that this is the path they are on during their time at this school.

There is much the school can and will do to achieve such goals, but some of this has of course got to come down to our students, supported by their families, to take advantage of amazing opportunities that are out there right now. For example, Jake, in Year 10 applied for and has since been given a place on a two week German course in July – as part of his Year 10 Work Experience. The courses are run by the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst and administered by UK-German Connection. He has done so well to be awarded a place as there are only twelve places available to Year 10 students across the entire country. He will be spending two weeks in Bavaria from 13-27 July attending two to three hours of German language lessons a day as well as lessons in German with German students on other subjects (History, Geography etc). Imagine how his aspirations will rise and how his expectations of leading an exciting, adventurous and fulfilling life will also grow.

Parent Teacher Consultations – what do you think?
With the final PTC of the year now complete, it is time to begin thinking about their format and your experience in the past 12 months or more. We are looking at refining the PTCs next year and we welcome your thoughts on how we might do this. For example:

 Is the time with each teacher about right?
 Should we space out the meetings across more classrooms?
 Should we introduce an on-line booking system led by parents and carers?
 Do you leave with information that you deem to be really helpful?
 Would you like us to provide reasonably priced meals for families to reduce pressure?
 Should we run drop-in sessions and presentations on a range of relevant topics?
 Is there anything else that would be welcomed?

If you would like to influence our thinking on this, then please send those ideas to a special email address that will be open until the end of May: ptcs@chipping-norton.oxon.sch.uk

Uniform and Appearance Update
I wish to remind all parents and carers that in September 2019 our lenient approach regarding black trainers will end completely. Please bear this in mind when the next school shoes are purchased. I hope we can all agree that the 12-month lead in time means there will be no excuses in September and we look forward to that being the case… Meanwhile, the updated uniform and appearance policy and guidelines will be made available to all families shortly before half term.

Yours sincerely

Barry Doherty