Headteacher’s letter 23 September 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

Open Evening Reminder – Early Closure

Our annual Open Evening takes place on Thursday 3 October 2019, between 5pm and 8pm. We hope that as many students as possible will be there to participate in activities to be our guides. Meanwhile, please don’t forget that the school closes early on this day. The day will end at 12:25pm and the normal bus service will depart by 12:40pm.
51st Exchange with Germany

Astonishingly beautiful weather accompanied our friends during their stay with 33 families last week. The return visit will of course take place in the summer and it’s worth thinking about your children’s participation in this for next year. We cannot overstate the value of this opportunity for your children to improve their German and gain a unique experience.  My thanks to Catherine Richmond and Morag Robinson for doing so much behind the scenes to make it all happen and go off without a hitch. And to those parents who were such welcoming hosts!

Year 11 Evening
It was great to see so many parents at our information evening for year 11 parents last Thursday night. It was an opportunity for the Heads of English, Maths and Science to run through the ways in which we shall be preparing their children in their final GCSE year, but also emphasising that intelligence and potential is unknown and elastic.

Thursday 17 October – Meet the Tutor Evening
On reflection we are a little unsure if our parking will be able to cope with all parents and carers with us on a single evening on 17 October. The loss of the MUGA as an overflow parking area is a very worthwhile loss of space on balance, but means we now need to revise our overly ambitious plans.  Therefore, the Meet the Tutor Evening will now take place on 17 October for just two year groups: Year 7 and Year 9. We aim to introduce a new electronic booking system and will do so if we are sure it will be better than the old paper and pen system. We shall contact families and talk to students should we trial this for the 17th October.

Please remember that the ‘Meet the Tutor’ evening is in addition to the normal PTC with your children’s teachers. Also, if you have concern please do not wait until a parents’ evening to meet a tutor or a teacher and instead call or email for an appointment.

All of PTC dates are on the website calendar.

Very Special Visitor
At the end of the second week back I was privileged to guide a former student around her old school. Her name is Mrs Jean Beat, nee Addicott, and she attended Chipping Norton School between 1939 and 1945. Aged 91 years, Jean was very keen to see how things had changed over those years.  As a wartime student she recalled a lot of rationing of course but seemed to speak of those days with a sense of pride and of course nostalgia. We spent most of our time walking around the quad, the oldest part of the school. In doing so she was able to point out what had changed in that time:

 Jean explained how the girls would enter through the door next to what was the headteacher’s office, but is now the SEN office. Meanwhile boys would enter along the side of the school, entering the school where many students do today by the Main Hall.
 Our first aid room used to be the headmistress’s office, who in those days was always the deputy headteacher.
 Ms Trimmer’s office, next to Finance, used to be the male staffroom, whilst Ms Budd’s office was the staffroom for female staff (!).
 Mr Long’s English room was used for cooking – with the girls (only) taught how to use five types of cookers including a wood burning range and how to cook a casserole in a ‘hay box cooker’.
 The English department work room (at the far end of the library) was where the food was prepared daily for the children and then served in what is of course the library. Jean cannot recall the school having a library back in the 1940s.
 There was once a small shower block in the library garden directly opposite Ms Duffy’s classroom – in the space that is now the library garden.
 Ms Grey’s and Mr McGibbon’s classrooms used to be science labs.
 A4, the bookable computer room, used to be the Art room.

Jean also asked about our houses and recalled there being just three houses in the 1940s: St. David’s, St. Andrew’s and St. Peter’s.  Curiously, Jean also recalled a long line of air raid shelters in the sunken hockey pitch area and seemed to think that it was sunk as a result of the earth being moved to make way for those shelters – and therefore a permanent reminder of WW2. She says that General Patton’s tank regiment was stationed in Chipping Norton for a time and that the men were billeted in ‘terrible conditions’ in an old brewery on Albion Street. And that some of the soldiers would pop up to watch them play tennis where the terrapin now stands.

Jean brought in a few documents relating to her school days when we were known as “Chipping Norton County School”. The school badge, at that time, is interesting and portrays a castle; presumably a nod to the motte and bailey castle that once stood on the grounds of St Mary’s Church?

Finally, we continue to be very, very pleased with the way our students have begun the year!

Yours sincerely,
Barry Doherty