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Headteacher’s Letter 24 February 2023

Dear Parents and Carers

For the first time in a long time, we were able to open the fields for students to play on at break and lunchtime. After many months without that enormous open space, it is certainly worth celebrating our students throughout the winter months during those unstructured times.

Whilst we can get the odd disappointing moment from time to time, there has been a vast improvement in the manner in which students have used the spaces and just got along with one another. The new dining room and main hall spaces have really helped give everyone a warm and beautiful place to go but we are all looking forward to getting out on those fields this spring, summer and autumn.

I am sure you will forgive me for mentioning attendance once more at the start of a new term. It continues to pick-up, but we are a long way from where we were or where we want to be. When a child is absent for just one school day, their learning journey is badly interrupted, analogous to missing an episode of a great drama or trilogy and never quite understanding the ending.

You will be aware that we introduced movement times between lessons in September and they form the basis of a zero tolerance of lateness to lessons. If your child receives a sanction for being late then we ask that you challenge them and support us in emphasising the importance of every moment in school. We avoid countless and petty rules at CNS. Everything goes back to the simple principles around being ready to learn, being respectful and being safe. It’s how 983 students and staff manage to work and thrive in a relatively small space each day.

RE and Collective Worship

We wish to draw your attention and invite your comments on our current RE and Collective Worship Policy. The current policy was drafted by Mr Dye, Head of RE, Ethics & Philosophy. It is an important document and therefore he invested significant time to work with other members of the RE team, colleagues in other schools locally and nationally, and then with the Leadership Team and the Governing Body, to shape the tone and content of the policy. As a non-denominational state school, we have thought very carefully and sensitively about a very wide range of issues and believe we have something that embraces our statutory responsibilities; leading to an approach that enables all students to understand a wide range of belief systems, including British Values, atheism, agnosticism, and humanism. We also approach the question of how collective worship should exist in our context and within our community.

“In implementing this RE and Collective Worship Policy, we have chosen to adopt … something bespoke, as fits our vision of a whole school curriculum built on hope; embracing the values of compassion, courage, creativity and curiosity. Our values are to be found in the Pauline doctrine of hope, but also in the compassion of the Buddha, the courage of Muhammad, the creativity of Brahma or the curiosity of a young Nanak, and of great hearts and minds of no religious tradition besides.”

(RE and Collective Worship Policy Extract)

I believe we are a school that wishes to pay attention to the important details of school life, and for this reason encourage you to read this document and invite you to submit any observations, questions or even objections for our consideration.

It is always our intention to be for and of our community and therefore we welcome your feedback.

Please email Mr Dye directly on [email protected] .

Industrial Action – Thursday 2 March 2023

Families will be aware of the second day of industrial action by members of the National Education Union next week. This action is due to affect our region on Thursday.

After the completion of a careful risk assessment, we shall be open to all students until 2:00pm. We are confident that we can safely accommodate staff absence throughout day, with the exception of period 5.

Registration and lessons 1 to 4 will take place as normal. Any class affected by industrial action will be directly supervised by a member of the leadership team or cover team.

Therefore, there will be no period 5 lessons on site and instead all teachers will be asked to set a high-quality remote learning lesson (on Satchel One or Google Classroom) that your children will be expected to complete when they return home that day.

The lunch break will be slightly early and a little shorter, but will ensure that all students enjoy their two rest breaks, as they would on any school day.

Given that the day will end at 2:00pm, all school buses and taxis will leave school and arrive at their destination 75 minutes earlier than normal. Furthermore, all other students will leave the site on foot, or will need to be collected from 2:00pm.

If you would like us to supervise your child until 3:15pm then please contact my PA, Morag Robinson, on [email protected].

World Book Week – What are you reading?

I needlessly dry cleaned my Demon Headmaster mortar board and gown for next week. Contrary to my letter to you before half term, there will not be a dressing up character day next Friday but there will of course be a wide range of activities to celebrate World Book Week.

Following an excellent sixth form interview of one of our year 11s earlier this week, I have begun reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. We are never too old or young to yearn for the next adventure in words. What are you reading?

Have a great weekend!

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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