Head’s letter 24 June

Monday 24 June 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

Exams are over … Almost!
It is impossible to try and summarise the emotions experienced by our students in Years 11 and 13 as they placed the last full stop on their final examination paper. They are the generation that have sat more examinations than any other. We wish them a great summer holiday to relax and rejuvenate and hope that their commitment and sacrifices will be rewarded with great results in August.

The end of public examinations has now given way to end of year examinations – especially amongst Year 10s and Year 12s whose own twelve month countdown has now begun.
Right across England and Wales there is a growing demand on all students to grasp, memorise and recall more information under the pressure of examinations. This is the very reason why we have placed such an emphasis on a knowledge-rich curriculum. Secure and therefore easily accessible knowledge liberates each student’s mind to think clearly and allows their pen or pencil to excel.

Art and Tech Exhibition – Thursday 20 June 2019
You will have to trust me when I say that in many schools there is a ‘sameness’ to the final work produced by students in Art or in Design & Technology. It is a tempting approach and certainly makes the life of a teacher much easier. We often say that it is not our fashion statements that express our uniqueness and individuality in school – it is what we write, say, design, make (and bake) that offers a window into who we really are as individuals.

Visitors to our super exhibition last Thursday were struck by the uniqueness of each final piece. Each one worlds apart from the next and proof of the individual expression that is expected here. It is no wonder that British graduates of art and design are sought the world over. My thanks goes out to Ms Corley and Mr Newton, and their teams, for how professionally they put together the exhibition and therefore reminded students of how proud we are of all of them as well!

Summer Concert – Friday 21st June 2019
Barely a month goes by when Mr Brown and his team don’t organise another public performance. On the longest day of the year the audience were sat at tables, served cream teas and a myriad of cakes, enjoying solo performances, duets, choirs and a concert band.

The PTA were of course there providing liquid refreshments and I was again marvelling at the manner in which our school community comes together so regularly to celebrate our talented students. Apologies for the poor quality image!

Eco Action and Learning
Following a kind invitation from Transition Chipping Norton , six CNS students took part in a public speaking event at the Town Hall last week. Subsequently, I received several commendations from members of the Chipping Norton community, all of whom could not be more glowing.

For example: [They] surpassed my (already good) expectations, and I truly felt these students were the most effective part of the night’s presentations. They organised themselves very well, both as a team with equal contributions that didn’t overlap, and in presenting to very good time. They showed a very clear understanding of things that are needed in our current situation, and gave what were actually very good policy recommendations, which were expressed with clarity and good English expression. It was clear that they had put good hard work into their preparation. Their delivery came across with calm confidence and determination. And afterwards they assisted with administering the end of the discussion time most efficiently. Other adults who helped organise were very moved and impressed by the way they presented.

In the past few years there does appear to be a growing sense of determination and optimism to deal with a range of social and economic issues facing our world today. It is therefore so rewarding to celebrate some of our students leading the charge towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Thank you and congratulations to: Thomas, Cadence, Iris, Millie, Naomi and Joanna.

Student Council
The first meeting of the new Student Council took place today following fresh hustings and elections. Mr Ward (Head of Philosophy & Ethics and lead on British Values) opened their year with a talk on effective democratic representation. The agenda then moved on to how we shall improve the way that students are recognised and rewarded in our school next year. Congratulations to all those newly elected students who must also be fascinated by the national political scene right now.

Bridge Club
Last week Mrs Faulkner (Head of Year 7), Mrs O’Brien (Pastoral Support Assistant for Years 7 and 8) and Mrs Evans (SENDCo) ran our very established Bridge Club. This is a precursor to our main transition programme that takes place this coming Wednesday and Thursday. Meanwhile, we have of course been visiting the partner primary schools in recent weeks and months and easing their move to the big school as smoothly and excitingly as possible.

Year 10 Work Experience
Looking ahead … Year 10 students will be beginning their work experience placements on Monday 1 July for at least one week. Good luck to them all. We hope that it will spark in some a fascination for a career that will inspire them to see how their education here at CNS is the gateway to that goal. For instance: Daniel (Princeton University Press in Oxford), Zack (Vifor Pharma UK LTD in Bagshot), George (Aston Martin Engineering Centre in Gaydon), Lexi (Nationwide Building Society in Swindon), Gabrielle (Oxford City Football Club) and Ben (Renault F1 Team in Enstone).

Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expedition
By now the Year 10s who took part in the recent Bronze Expedition to Chedworth and Yanworth will have recovered and got over the fact that the weather wasn’t quite as good as it was this time last year.

I am grateful to those parents and carers who have contacted me to thank my colleagues for giving up their time (and sleep) to enable our students to participate in one of the best awards available in this country to young people.

My sincere thanks to Miss Richmond, Mr Hopkins, Mrs Robertson, Miss Miles, Mr Prentice, Mr Brown, Mrs Huddleston, Mrs Saxby, Miss Johnston, Mrs Thomas, Mrs Gray, Miss Stephens, Mrs Cottrell, Mr Aitken and, finally, to Mr Blundell, who is one of our parent governors.

German Exchange Visit
This weekend, Miss Richmond and Miss Johnston will be leading the next generation of students to Nördlingen in Bavaria, as part of the school’s established exchange programme to Germany.
You may recall that we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of this amazing experience for students. In order to round off the celebrations, there will be a major event in Nördlingen next Thursday evening. Just like the party here in September, local German dignitaries will be present to celebrate the relationship that has grown since the year that a human first stepped foot on the moon!

 On Tuesday 25 June we host the “Welcome to KS4 Evening” for our current Year 9s. Presentations from Mr Trainer and the Heads of English (Mrs Millar), Maths (Mr Thrower) and Science (Mr Mavromichalis) will begin at 7pm. We strongly encourage all parents and carers of Year 9 students to attend for a very informative evening.
 On Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June we will of course be running the Year 6 into 7 transition days. On Thursday evening, from 7pm, we will round the week off with the traditional information evening for parents and carers.
 Friday 28 June is an INSET day, but in the evening we look forward to the Year 11 and Year 13 Proms. Parents, carers and family members of those Year 11 students taking part in the Prom are very welcome to be at the venue from about 6pm to mark the arrivals of our students in their finery.

With just four weeks left of this academic year and term we have much to look forward to and enjoy!

Yours sincerely

Barry Doherty

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