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Headteacher’s Letter 14 October 2022

Dear Parents and Carers

As we approach the end of our first term, we are all very grateful to you for your support and encouragement so far this year.

Year 6 Open Evening

We were delighted to welcome close to 250 families to our open evening last week. We were busier than ever and were relieved that we had encouraged a significantly larger number of students to be involved as either guides or involved in various activities. We know that this could not have happened without your support and we hope your children told you about the special ‘thank you assembly’, raffle and small tokens of our appreciation that were distributed today. Thank you!

Sixth Form Open Evening – Thursday 10 November 2022

Shortly after half term, we shall turn our attention to our outstanding sixth form. All students in both years 11 and 10 will be invited to a very special evening.

There will be keynote presentations by Mr Ward (Head of Sixth Form) and an opportunity to attend as many or as few subject presentations as each family desires. These sessions will be an opportunity to find out more information about each subject’s content, delivery, results and staffing. Please look out for special invitation letters next week from Mr Ward.

Sixth Form Planning

Building on our outstanding A level examination results, and with larger year groups now coming through our school after several years of smaller year groups, we are eager to revisit and potentially redesign our sixth form provision. You will be aware that our first-class teaching, learning and results are matched by superb facilities that combine to ensure our sixth form graduates leave with enhanced life chances and opportunities. Going forward, we wish to explore how we might grow our sixth form and to do that we need to listen to what students and families value most or would like us to consider in the years ahead.

We are, therefore, asking that every family completes this anonymous survey throughout the month of October. The survey is as relevant for year 7 students as it is for years 10 and 11 students. Should we make major changes, then many cannot be secured overnight and will require some longer-term planning. In order to know what our community wants or needs, we ask that you complete the survey, even if there are no current plans to enter year 12.

Meet the Tutor Evenings – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Next Week

In the past, we used to limit the Meet the Tutor evenings to year 7s. This changed a few years back and this year we are hoping to ‘see’ the vast majority of parents and carers. All parents and carers will have been contacted already and so you will know that it is going to be a ‘hybrid’ event with you having the option to meet the tutor face-to-face / in school (5:00pm to 6:15pm), or online (6:20pm to 7:30pm). It is tempting to continue to do everything online but we know the value of being with us in school and building those relationship between each family and their tutor.

Year 7s and 8s will have their meetings on Monday (17 October), years 9 and 10 on Tuesday (18 October), and years 11, 12 and 13 on Wednesday (19 October). Please bear in mind that both Thursday 20 and Friday 21 October are INSET days and therefore the school will be closed for all students and will reopen after half term on Monday 31 October 2022.

On Your Marks…

Again, it is time to spare a thought for our years 11s, and then our year 13s, whose mock examinations are about to commence. In the past, ‘mocks’ were often used in schools to give students a shock and jolt them out of complacency. We know this approach is nonsense and instead the best outcome is for a student to see the absolute relationship between sound preparation and great results. If your child is in year 11 or year 13 then a significant proportion of their half term ought to be invested in this first period of earnest revision.

In both year 11 and year 13, we are clear on not only what to revise, but how to revise the material that may appear on those papers. There’s no mystery about how knowledge is accumulated, stored and recalled – and this is why the way we prepare your children has a rationale that students would be wise to adopt and follow.

From Term 1 to Term 2

In many ways, term 2 is the term when a typical student makes the most progress. Not only is it a long and uninterrupted term, but it is also at that time of year when the weather can lend itself towards indoor study! Going back to our mantra that we can all be better tomorrow than we are today, may I ask you to conduct a mini review of term 1 and some targets for term 2 with your child:

  • How many times have I been late to school in term 1?
  • What has my attendance been like in term 1?
  • How many house points have I received?
  • Have I been issued with any standards or behaviour sanctions?
  • Have I completed all of my homework?
  • Have I learned how to deal with problems with others more successfully?
  • Do I feel more confident about my abilities in a range of subjects?

I hope the Meet the Tutor evenings will provide a springboard into such conversations. They can help us remind our children that they have immense control over what they do and what they can achieve next.

Have a lovely weekend and half term when it arrives. I will be in touch with families again at the end of the first week back after half term.

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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