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Headteacher’s Letter 10 February 2023

Dear Parents and Carers

Where did that term go? It has been a relatively short term but feel sure that colleagues and students are no less eager for a bit of a break next week. It is a really lovely time of year as spring beckons and we all get to enjoy those brighter mornings and evenings.

Key Stage 3 Solo Performance Evening

It really does take a very special kind of courage to stand on stage and sing your heart out, or play a musical instrument, with nothing but one’s talent to hide behind. And so it was that more CNS students did exactly that last night.

The audience was entertained with an eclectic mix of vocal, piano and drumming performances; including Mozart’s Minuet in C on the piano and a “spine tingling” performance of On My Own from Les Misérables. As ever these nights just don’t happen without the drive and passion of staff.

My thanks to Mr Brown (Head of Music), Ms Johnston (Teacher of Music and Modern Foreign Languages) and Mrs Woolridge (School Administrator) for their long-standing commitment to our students and their love of the arts.


I wish to end with the emerging story of Evie Blackwell. She was one of a number of students who were intrigued by the opportunity to ‘have a go’ at lacrosse with Mr Robinson last year. This was part of our drive to trial new sports and ensure all students continued to engage in sports and PE throughout their time at CNS.

Evie and others’ interest grew and they then joined David Bruce Morris’ after school coaching sessions on Thursdays. David aka ‘Brucie’ is extremely well known in lacrosse circles. He is an international referee and coach of the University of Oxford’s men’s lacrosse team. Evie’s ability really stood out and she has now been asked to participate in the England U16s Pathway – a potential route into her taking lacrosse to a new level in her life.

Who knows where this will go, but it is a great example of us having talents we may not know we possess unless we give things a go or take advantage of opportunities that are presented to us at school or elsewhere.

World Book Week – week beginning Monday, 27 February 2023

Shortly after half term, we will be sharing more details of our plans for World Book Week. As we have done in recent years, we encourage all students and staff to dress as a character from a book for the day. I shall of course adorn my Demon Headmaster outfit and look forward to seeing this year’s interpretations! We shall be dressing up on Friday 3 March and will remind students as we approach that day.

Recent Consultation

You may recall the consultation we launched in early November that sought to reduce our Pupil Admission Number from 240 to 180. I am pleased to say that the Local Governing Body support this change and communicated their recommendation to the Trustees of the River Learning Trust. We anticipate that they will confirm the new admissions arrangements, effective from September 2024.

Industrial Action – 2 March 2023

I know that families appreciated the notice we provided in the days leading up to the first day of industrial action. We anticipate reaching a decision on how the second day of industrial action will affect CNS in the first week back; communicating that with you no later than Friday 24 February. Please do not make any assumptions regarding Thursday 2 March, and instead look out for my update in two weeks’ time.

And finally…

More next time on last night’s key stage 3 performance. In the meantime, I hope you have some nice plans for the week ahead and look forward to welcoming everyone back as normal on Monday 20 February.

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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