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Headteacher’s letter 13 January 2020

Monday 13 January 2020

Dear Parents and Carers
Welcome back to the new term. We hope you all had a really restful and refreshing holiday – which of course seems so long ago already. The first week back went really smoothly and very calmly here, and reflects a growing feeling that we are all moving in the same direciton for the benefit of one another.

The celebration assemblies went better than we expected overall. The turnout from parents, carers and family members was extraordinary and, unlike in the past, as likely with our eldest and youngest students. Long may this continue! Yes, we had a few hiccups and a few things we could do even better, but we shall learn from those experiences and ensure our Easter Celebration Assemblies are our best ever.

Since it’s the start of the year I’d like to touch on a few of the overarching standards themes that are worth mentioning:

This was weak in the Autumn Term. Many more students with previously super attendance had several days off last term; typically the result of heavy colds and some with flu. I ask that we are mindful of the risks of low attendance and the opportunity in this New Year to wipe the slate clean and go for Gold Attendance (97%-100%) in the Spring Term.

Our new centralised Main School Detentions are working well and whilst the vast majority of students are never required to attend, those that do tend never to return. Nevertheless, there are some who keep returning and we are of course working hard with them to address that this term. Meanwhile, fixed term exclusions as a result of serious misbehaviour have fallen dramatically and we are really proud of this shift. We have plenty of hard work ahead with respect to some of the less serious misbehaviours that are, nonetheless, equally damaging to everyone else’s life chances. This is because they disrupt the start and flow of learning: lateness to lessons, failure to have the right equipment, talking out of turn, failure to concentrate, not completing homework and so on. We’re better in these regards, but nowhere near good enough to assume we’ve cracked it!

This scourge of childhood and adulthood remains a high priority for us. We’ve launched the [email protected] campaign and continually encourage students to come forward if they experience, witness or suspect someone is being bullied, in or out of school.


We continue to use Show My Homework so that teachers are able to clearly and explicitly communicate to students and their families the homework that has been set, including all of the
deadlines and links to any resources that are needed.

Appearance and Equipment:
Our high standards and expectations are here to stay and this week our whole school checks will lead to us again speaking to those parents and carers who have not ensured their children have
arrived in school dressed or equipped correctly.

The Term Ahead – including the Year 11 PTC
This is a six week term, ending at the normal time on Friday 14th February, which will include a fundraising day for the local charity Aspire. Meanwhile, we have one PTC this half term. The Year 11 PTC will take place from 4:45pm on Thursday 23 January. The new online booking system is in use and we had 60% sign-up within the first four days of the on-line booking system opening. The new approach seems to be working for everyone and helping us make life easier for parents, carers and staff.

CAMHS Event – Living With A Teenager
Ms Hancock has asked me to say a big thank you to all those parents and carers who attended our evening with CAMHS on 12th November on ‘Living with a Teenager – Managing their Anxiety and
Yours’. Over 90 parents attended the evening and the evaluations were extremely positive. Whether or not you attended on the night, if you would like a copy of the PowerPoint please do not hesitate to contact Ms Hancock on [email protected] .

Team Anna – Great News…
Through social media, you may already be aware that Anna Drysdale is already in New York for her immunotherapy treatment.  A fantastic combination of small and large donations
and efforts have combined to enable Anna and her family to leave the UK this weekend for the initial stages of that treatment. We are right behind them and will continue to do
what we can as part of this community to help and be there for them this year.

And finally – River Learning Trust Report to Stakeholders
You will be aware that Chipping Norton School is a member of the River Learning Trust, along with two of our primary partners: Middle Barton and, most recently, Charlbury. I invite you to take a look at the Annual Report to Stakeholders, which provides an overview of the developments across the River Learning Trust over the past 12 to 18 months.

Thanks again for reading and good luck throughout 2020.
Yours sincerely
Barry Doherty, Headteacher

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