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Headteacher’s Letter 13 May 2022

Dear Parents and Carers

Year 11s and 13s: Here we go…

On Monday, the first big GCSE examination takes place – which means that today is the last normal school day for our year 11s. We are ending the day with some time for them to reminisce in their tutor groups and then the traditional final assembly. The Year 13s’ final assembly will take place one week later and as each day goes by towards half term, the frequency of those exams will increase. They are ready, they are prepared, and a combination of planning their time, plenty of rest, and never forgetting that 10-week summer holiday coming their way, will ensure that they get through this period and be proud – irrespective of individual grades. It is an old cliché, but as long as they have no regrets about how hard they have tried then that is all they can do. Good luck to them and also to us as parents and carers…

Year 7 Transition Programme Underway

As we rapidly approach the start of the GCSE and A level exam season, more of our attention now turns to our next generation of students joining us in year 7 in September. In fact, some of our work preparing for the arrival of a smaller number of students begins as early as year 5, but with names and numbers confirmed for September, the wider programme is about to begin.

Starting Monday, Mrs Faulkner will launch the 2022 Transition Project for our record number of students. Year 6 students take part in online lessons and accumulate awards on their transition passports. It is our way of introducing not only the pace and nature of learning at CNS but also many of the teachers they will get to meet next year. You can take a look at some lessons in computing, English, art, PE, dance, maths, RE, science, history, technology, French, drama. Creating these videos is a nerve-racking experience for teaching staff, but we know that they go a long way to reassure students and perhaps make them smile…

Starting in June, Mrs Faulkner (Head of Transition) and Mrs Cottrell (Year 7 Pastoral Lead) begin visiting all of our partner primary schools – but the Year 7 Ambassadors also accompany them so that they can provide additional and very personal perspective and insight into life at CNS.

Later in June, there is an extended in-school session for our most vulnerable new arrivals and a chance for them to wander the school and meet others when it is quieter, and on their terms. We then culminate with the Welcome Evening for parents, carers and students the night before our two transition days, on Thursday 30 June and Friday 1 July.

The Welcome Evening will be in the real world and we shall be able to use our fabulous newly refurbished school hall for the first time with our wider community.

I wish to thank Mrs Faulkner, Mrs Cottrell, Mrs Smart (SENDCo) and the wider team for the lengths they go to secure a terrific transition.

Meanwhile, current and long-standing parents and carers may wish to look at the A-Z for New Families we devised last year and have now updated. The document can be found on our website and is a great one-stop-shop to finding out virtually everything or everyone you may wish to know.

Investing in the Future

We are a growing school with 140 students in year 11 being replaced with over 180 in year 7. We know that families are drawn to our values and ethos, and our commitment to be a place where teachers can teach and learners can learn. Our staff are our most important ‘resource’ and without them, the school is merely a shell, but that shell also needs to be modern, dynamic and inspiring.

Buildings and Spaces

Families will be aware of the lengths to which we have gone to completely renovate a brand new sixth form centre, making it the most comfortable and attractive in the area. We have also provided a huge dining space for our year 10s and 11s that remains a source of pride. The first ever major refurbishment of our school hall is now complete and, once the exams are over, will once again become home to assemblies and performances, but also a bright, airy, beautiful space for students in years 7, 8 and 9 to eat and socialise.

Less prominent but no less important is the permanent redecoration and refurbishment programmes that see corridors and classrooms gradually repainted and re-carpeted over time. We have a fabulous site and as we approach our 100th birthday, it is being very carefully manicured.

Information Technology

In the coming months, we shall also begin our IT overhaul: with all computer rooms being completely renewed over a three-year period – starting with the two main computing rooms this summer. In addition, the ceiling projectors will be replaced gradually by giant LCD display units that will make teaching and learning so much easier and exciting. Wouldn’t it be great to invite a pupil or teacher from 1929 to take a look around?!

Values and Beliefs

As we renovate and update we are also being bolder with how we visualise and talk about our values and beliefs. We are not seeking to generate clones, but we know that the most successful societies and communities are bound together by common values and beliefs that all work towards, for the good of all.

Exams may be our core business, but I do hope you are reassured that we never have and never will be an examination factory. A child that feels they belong is far more likely to enjoy school and achieve. Have a great weekend!

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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