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Headteacher’s Letter 10 June

Dear Parents and Carers

Most of our year 11 and 13 students have now passed, or are fast approaching, the halfway point of their examinations. So far, there have been very few major surprises and our students have been taking things in their stride and leaving all staff really impressed and proud. It is worth sparing a thought for their parents and carers who may well be looking forward to the end of the examinations as much their children; or indeed the siblings who are taking on (temporarily) their brother and sister’s chores, for the time being. Keep going, we are nearly there!

Students Volunteering In Our Community

Families will be aware of our superb Duke of Edinburgh Award programme (82 bronze, 27 silver and 15 gold award students), led by Miss Richmond and Mr Hopkins, supported by a large number of colleagues who volunteer for the expeditions.

This week, we received a certificate to celebrate the 1,820 hours of community volunteering our students have engaged in as part of the programme. Their work in our community has included helping with after school primary clubs, cubs, beavers, rainbows and brownies. In addition to helping disabled, elderly a nd vulnerable members of the community. Or volunteering at The Chippy Larder, charity shops and river conservation groups. Others have coached younger students in sports teams. We know that through volunteering and ‘giving back’, students receive an immeasurable boost to their own self-esteem and social confidence.

Staff Training on Bullying and Prejudice Related Bullying

In previous letters, I have written to you about our work with EqualiTeach. They are supporting (and challenging) our school on how it thinks about and approaches the goal of being a truly inclusive environment where everyone feels equal and diversity is embraced. Much has taken place ‘behind the scenes’ (for example, helping us review various policies and procedures), or with small groups of students (for example, the ‘agents for change’). However, there have also been a range of staff training events, including an all staff session last night on prejudice related bullying.

I would like all parents, carers and students to feel reassured that all forms of bullying will be taken seriously and fully investigated. Whilst this has always been the case, I feel strongly that the manner in which we go about this has stepped-up again and we are all challenging one another to be more empathic, kinder, more considerate and less dismissive of traditional excuses like ‘it’s just a bit of fun / banter’, or ‘I didn’t mean anything’.

The key takeaway from our training last night was that when we work with students who say or do the wrong thing, we have to break down their chain of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Thoughts are hardest to control, whereas we have greater influence over our feelings as we mature. Ensuring all adults and children ‘own’ their behaviours and recognise that our actions represent a choice, is the key to securing an ever-improving culture of respect and kindness.

Increasingly, our character education programme seeks to help students put themselves in particular scenarios and explain what they might be thinking, feeling and doing in those critical moments in their lives.

Please contact Ms Hancock (deputy headteacher and DSL) for more information on our work with EqualiTeach, or Ms Skill to learn more about our character education programmes – or take a look at this part of our website.

End of Year Assessments and Exams

Mr Trainer (deputy headteacher) will be writing to parents and carers of year 10 and 12 families very shortly, to set out the arrangements for the end of year internal assessments. These will take place in late June and July, and will be either side of the year 10 work experience week, giving our year 10s a decent pause in proceedings. End of unit assessments will of course continue across key stage 3, including our year 9s who are at the end of their first week of their own GCSE and BTEC courses.

And finally…

Mr Hopkins has worked at CNS as a learning support assistant and has also been a key part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award team. Sadly, he is moving on very shortly and we wish him well with his new adventures!

Have a lovely weekend when it arrives.

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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