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Headteacher’s Letter 29 April 2022

Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back to the new term and great to see attendance inching back up to where it needs to be going forward. COVID-related absence is currently very low indeed and comes at a helpful time for our oldest students – with GCSE and A levels examinations just days away. Yesterday, I received information from the UK Health Security Agency and have been asked to circulate a copy of their helpful poster (see opposite and attached). It is designed to help parents and carers know when to send their children into school.

We remain really pleased and excited by the engagement of our students and look forward to another standards assembly on Tuesday to remind all of our high expectations – and also how everyone benefits from learning and teaching in a calm, focussed and ambitious school.

Nearly New Uniform Sales – New PTA Initiative

You may recall that we reviewed and updated our uniform and appearance policies and guidance three years ago. Recently and with the governing body, we reviewed those expectations in light of there being no plans to make any changes at all for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, we all agreed that we wanted to be more creative with how we provided families with opportunities to purchase nearly new items that are in perfect condition, clean and ready to be worn. Having seen my son’s blazer used as a goal post, dog chew and towel (!), I am not alone in being far less precious about purchasing brand new items.

Our school sweaters, blazers, skirts and PE tops are certainly made to last and we want to take advantage of this to support all families. I am really pleased to provide the following update.

  • Once every term (but starting in this summer holiday) the PTA will set up an after school shop for all parents and carers to visit and make cash purchases.
  • All stock will be cleaned and pressed, and sold at half price.
  • In advance, we shall introduce ‘drop-off weeks’ that enable families to donate unwanted items. They can be left in a special container that we shall position outside the Old Reception entrance.
  • The first drop-off week will take place between Monday 23 and Friday 27 May. The second will take place in late June / early July. More details on both nearer the time.
  • All funds collected will be used by the PTA to fund additional projects that will benefit all students.

If this is a success then the PTA are keen to explore selling revision guides, instruments, prom dresses and sport equipment.

2022 Parents and Carers Survey

You may recall participating in a parent and carer survey in term 6 last year. Please read the following message from Paul James, Chief Executive of the River Learning Trust, regarding this year’s survey.

Dear Parents and Carers

As a parent or carer of a child in a school which is part of the River Learning Trust, I would be very grateful if you can complete this survey by 9am Monday 23 May – it should take approximately 2-3 minutes.

RLT Parents and Carers Survey

We have a commitment to providing and developing excellence in education and value hearing your views.  If you have more than one child at the school, you are welcome to complete more than one survey.

We appreciate you may have completed a survey last summer. Following a consultation with Headteachers, the survey is going to alternate between a shorter survey in alternate years, and a fuller one like last year with the open ended questions.  This year’s survey is therefore much shorter, with some key multiple-choice questions being retained.  This will allow benchmarking across RLT schools every year, as well as showing trends over time within schools, both of which will be shared with school leaders to inform their planning.  We are also amending the timing, bringing this forward to May will allow the views of Year 11 and 13 to be included, and allow feedback to leaders in June.

The results will be collated at school and the whole trust level.  Schools and Ofsted will often carry out surveys with their parents and carers, but by asking the same questions across all our schools (28 schools with over 12,000 pupils) at the same time we will be able to compare responses and use these to support the ongoing development of our schools. For example, the surveys may help schools to identify where they are doing well to then share their approaches with other schools or to help to identify particular priorities for development.

The survey will close at 9am on 23 May and we will share the headline feedback with you before the end of term.

Thank you,
Paul James, Chief Executive

Meanwhile there will be similar surveys of all students and staff. I will use my weekly letters to you to remind you of this survey every Friday until late May. Do have a lovely weekend when it arrives!

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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