Head’s letter 13 May 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

Farewell and Good Luck to Year 11 and Year 13

Last Friday our Year 11s enjoyed their final assembly (opposite) with Mr Parker and what we hope was a memorable day. As in all schools, they are emotional days with feelings that whilst nothing will ever be the same again, it’s time to start some new adventures. Whilst we are very excited about the numbers who will be returning to our sixth form in September, we know that for some it will be a whole new world for them in September…

This is certainly true for all of our Year 13s who will also have their final formal lessons this coming Friday. Most have been at CNS for seven years but they are ready to graduate and take on the world as well.

We hope they all get the balance right in the coming weeks to work really hard, never wasting a minute, yet take the time to look after themselves and get the best out of their remaining time to revise and prepare. As formal lessons now come to an end, their teachers will remain available for small group and one-to-one tuition. They are never alone and their teachers are waiting to help.
Both the Year 11 and Year 13 proms take place on Friday 28th June and bearing in mind that is just over six weeks away, the immense pressures of all those exams in a short period of time will be keenly felt – but like all demands, they too shall pass. Good luck to them all.

Reports, Recognition and Rewards
We are reaching that point in the year when we begin making plans for some changes to how we normally do things here at CNS. We had a really lovely celebration evening for the Year 13s a few days ago that was really special and memorable. But we want to develop similar ideas for the rest of the school. The trouble is that a one size fits all approach to how we celebrate and reward students doesn’t work and we need to have different things for different age groups and know when an idea has grown tired.
Next year we are looking at more regular celebration events that enable parents and carers to join us and get involved. Instead of once per year, we wish to hold something special at the end of
each term. When we asked the students about this back in February / March (in “The Big Conversation”), they were pretty clear on what they didnot like (anything that embarrassed them…) but not so clear on what they did like, or want.

One of the things we shall do is to broaden the things that we celebrate. There will always be a place to celebrate academic achievement in schools, but also academic effort and progress – ensuring that all students can be equally recognised. We are exploring celebration events that recognise and reward achievement, effort, progress, involvement in teams and performance (see below), community service and special awards for one-off acts that deserve special recognition. And also enabling students to nominate one another when they think the eyes of the world should know about a great friend or classmate.

We are not a school that only celebrates the best, but rather the focus should be always on those who are being the best they can be – whatever ‘best’ is for them!  Tied to this will be the development of the reports we send home to you four times per year. We also have some emerging ideas on the development of an additional “CNS Personal Scorecard” that gives students and families a better sense of their child’s broader commitment to the ethos of the school and will form the foundation of a new awards system.  We shall trial aspects of this new approach at the end of the summer term and involve all year groups and not just KS3. This means that our planned KS3 evening will be rearranged for late July and take place during school hours – whilst maintaining invitations for parents and carers to attend.

In future years, we may create a more formal and traditional celebration evening, perhaps at a local venue. But we’ll take one step at a time.  If you have any comments, ideas or thoughts on how we report to you, or the way we currently recognise and reward students, then please send those comments to rrr@chipping-norton.oxon.sch.uk at any point until the end of May. Any ideas, no matter how big or small, no matter how silly or serious – please send them in for us to consider.

Congratulations and thanks are due following the success of over forty students in securing Distinctions in their various LAMDA Acting Grades. Following twenty weeks of fun and commitment we thank Pippa Phillips for all of her work in inspiring and leading the children and also Mr Nolan for giving up so much of his time to support the students as well. Between them, another generation of students’ love for the performing arts has been strengthened and we look forward to seeing their talents on the stage for a wider audience.

Yours sincerely

Barry Doherty Headteacher