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Headteacher’s Letter 24 November 2023

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope your week has gone well and that you have succeeded in resisting demands from your children to put up the Christmas decorations for at least another week…

The Big Ambition

All schools have been asked to encourage parents, carers and school staff to take part in a national survey, created by Dame Rachel De Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England. There is no doubt she is a force for good for young people and certainly worth us all giving up a few minutes to contribute towards a better understanding of the national / bigger picture.

We shall be encouraging all students to participate as well and illustrate as a good example of how we can do small things to make a big difference. Please follow this link to the survey and this link to an information leaflet.

Conflict in Israel and Gaza

We have thought very carefully about how to explore this topic this week with your children, aged eleven to eighteen, in tutor time. We have approached recent events and the region’s history much like we would any ‘new’ topic by first encouraging confidence and familiarity with key words that include the main places (e.g. “Palestine”), people (e.g. “Israelis”) and ideas (e.g. “compromise”).

Whereas social media can be a partisan environment, schools try to emphasise knowing before we judge, and place an emphasis on understanding a range of different perspectives. We hope your children spoke positively about the programme this week and feel more confident to talk about and process what is happening.

Attendance Matters

Really great attendance in years 7, 12 and 13 last week, along with a big jump amongst year 8s. As a whole it is still not a great picture but encouraging to see those improvements in places.

Mon 13 Nov to Fri 17 Nov 2023
Whole school 91.9%
Year 7 96.0% (+1.0%)
Year 8 92.0% (+3.0%)
Year 9 89.8% (+0.9%)
Year 10 86.7% (+0.1%)
Year 11 90.9% (-0.6%)
Year 12 97.2% (+1.6%)
Year 13 100% (+2.7%)
No. still on 100% 287 /1000

School Improvement Priorities

We often talk about being ‘the sum of our parts’ and this speaks to an acceptance that every school must strive to ensure that every subject offers the same kind of positive experiences and great outcomes as all others.

We are very fortunate to have great subject leaders and strong departments across the board, but we know this is not a given and is in fact something we need to work on all the time to secure high standards along every corridor and in every classroom.

G2G Goals 1f: Consistently high standards of teaching, learning and assessment in all departments
What is our goal? ·       To ensure that every subject offers a very high standard of education to all students, of all abilities, in all subjects, every day.
Why is this our goal? ·       CNS strives to go from being a good to a great school and therefore every subject must be engaging, enjoyable and successful for all students.
Where are we now? ·       Students of all abilities, including students who are disadvantaged, have been very successful at CNS in recent years.

·       All subjects have secured good or outstanding results in both 2022 and again in 2023.

What are some of the things that we are going to do? ·       Every subject at CNS is delivered in very different ways – one would expect there to be very significant differences in the delivery of an art lesson compared to a maths lesson. Nevertheless, every lesson taught at CNS is united by five core principles that are summarised with the high-TEMPO acronym.

·       That emphasis on high-TEMPO lessons has contributed to rising standards at CNS in recent years and therefore this emphasis will be continued, deepened and refined.

·       However, so much relies on us retaining and recruiting great teachers and subject leaders against a backdrop of a ‘national crisis in teacher recruitment and retention’.

·       And so, CNS must be the school of choice for students, for parents and carers, and for members of staff drawn to us because of a strong partnership and confidence that it’s a place where teachers can teach and learners can learn.

If you have any questions, observations or ideas on any aspect of this school improvement goal, then please do contact Mr Gent (Deputy Headteacher) regarding consistency in the classroom at CNS.

And finally…

Mr James (design & technology) has asked me to share these images of hardwood picture frames, made by year 8s from reclaimed timber that used to be science benches back in the day.

Have a lovely weekend when it arrives.

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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