Head’s letter 18 March 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

Over the past six weeks we’ve been very busy listening to families and students regarding many aspects of life at CNS. The uniform consultation is now over and a summary of the final recommendations appears below. In addition, we have been asking the students about many other topics including how we reward and recognise their efforts, their breakthroughs and their achievements, alongside homework, revision and ways to promote really high standards of behaviour inside and outside of the classroom. We will now begin developing some ideas and sharing them with you and the students in the months ahead.

INSET Day – Friday 15th March 2019
Whilst the vast majority of students enjoyed a day at home, we welcomed Year 11 Chemists into school to enable them all to step up their preparations for the approaching GCSE examinations. Meanwhile, it was not a simple day off for staff and instead we also spent time going back to the classroom to explore how we shall continue to improve the quality of teaching and learning at our school. It can often be a surprise to students that teachers all over the country never stop learning and that the moment you think you’ve ‘cracked it’, is the moment you begin to slip back.
Mr Gent led us through our emerging work on the core features of great teaching and learning at CNS right now and going forward. We work in close partnership with the River Learning Trust and its family of schools to think and challenge one another so that we focus on the kind of teaching and learning that makes a big difference.

In a previous letter I made reference to the way that education in the UK had become cluttered with countless worthy and less worthy initiatives that led to a kind of inertia in the profession. However, we are in a new era where there is greater faith placed in schools to declutter education and allow teachers to focus on the strategies that have the greatest impact for all students.

STEM Day – Friday 8th March 2019 – The Squashed Tomato Challenge
Just over a week ago, all Year 8 students were off timetable for the day as part of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics day. They were tasked with the design and manufacture of a transportation system that enabled Nepalese farmers to efficiently transport a tomato crop down a steep mountainside with minimal losses. In addition, the students also had to complete a financial analysis of costs and then pitch their ideas to potential funders! More on this in the end of term CNS Newsletter. My thanks to Mr Parker, Head of Year 11 and Careers Education, for organising this major event.

Chipping Norton Music Festival
Meanwhile, the CNS Concert Band took part in the town’s music festival on Tuesday 12th March, in the ‘Orchestras’ class. This is the first time in a number of years that an ensemble from the school has taken part, and they played two pieces to a packed Town Hall and the adjudicator, Nadia Hinson. The other three ensembles were from Kingham Hill School, including an orchestra, concert band and string ensemble. We gained a certificate and lots of lovely positive comments, and we look forward to taking part next year.

Uniform Consultation
Thank you to those families who have participated in the consultation on school uniform. Changes to the uniform at any school may only be approved by the Governing Body, who will meet to make a final decision in April. Following your comments and those of students (and colleagues), I shall be making the following recommendations: Items Recommendations to the Governing Body

Blazers and jumpers
 Plain black blazers and jumpers maintained, with school badge School tie
 A black and gold striped tie (clip-on) to be introduced as soon as stock becomes available Skirt
 Introduce a black and gold, tartan patterned, school skirt and made available in two designs: ‘2 box pleat’ and ‘kilt style’
 No other skirts permitted Summer shirts
 Introduce an optional, white, open-necked, short sleeved badged school shirt that may be worn throughout June and July, with or without a blazer
 Alternatively, students may choose to continue to wear the normal white shirt and school tie, with or without a blazer
 Meanwhile, blazers become an optional item during the warmer months of June and July for all students PE Shorts, skorts and socks
 Black shorts and skorts with gold piping and school badge
 Black socks with gold band Male PE
 Indoor – badged white polo style t-shirt with gold piping
 Outdoor – badged black jersey with gold piping (reversible)
 Optional – badged black mid-layer top / inner fleece
 Optional – badged black outdoor fleece jacket / coat Female PE
 Indoor – badged white polo style t-shirt with gold piping
 Outdoor – badged black mid-layer top / inner fleece
 Optional – badged black outdoor fleece jacket / coat

Site Development
Most of the improvements we make to site safety tend to be fairly low-key. Nevertheless we wish to share with you a plan to extend the green metal fencing at the back of our school so that it extends across our fields (past the wide wooden gate) towards the tree line, before heading back towards the back of the Lido.  In recent years the playing fields have fallen foul of weekend or holiday public access (and dogs in particular), not to mention litter and glass. During school hours our playing fields and site are also vulnerable to unseen or unwanted public access.

We believe our plans will be good for us all but we do not wish to proceed if our plans have not been fully thought through or have failed to consider the feelings of our neighbours. Whilst we shall be writing to our neighbours we wanted to let you know as well and give you the opportunity to make any comments or observations before any work is commissioned. Should you have any comments, please telephone or email Steve Edwards, Site Manager, before the Easter holidays on sedwards@chipping-norton.oxon.sch.uk. Should any work be carried out it is likely to be undertaken during the Whitsun or summer holidays.

Yours sincerely

Barry Doherty