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Headteacher’s Letter 29 September 2023

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope that the ‘meet the tutor’ conversations were helpful and that new and closer connections with your children’s tutees were secured. We know that every child has their own experience of the new term, but in general terms it has been an impressive start to the year…

Attendance Matters

Compared to last year, we are on an upward curve. Despite the current flurry of coughs and sneezes (that tends to come and then go at the start of every new year), we have made a better start with attendance than we did last year.  Although 335 students have missed at least one day of school this year, they can restart their streak right away, leaving 675 with 100% attendance.

Mon 18 to Fri 22 Sep 2023
Whole school 92.9% (↓1.0%)
Year 7☺ 97.0% (↑0.5%)
Year 8 93.1% (↑0.1%)
Year 9 90.3% (↓1.8%)
Year 10 89.1% (↓2.8%)
Year 11 91.0% (↓4.7%)
Year 12 ☺ 96.9% (↓2.0%)
Year 13 ☺ 96.9% (↑3.2%)
No. still on 100% 675 (↓131)

Behaviour Matters

You will be aware that we were so proud of standards around behaviour last year, in particular our lowest number of suspensions ever. This year, so far, is even better and signals a sustained culture where more and more students make really good decisions on a daily basis. It is difficult to overstate how much more progress we can make as a school when we can invest almost all of our energy into great lessons and experiences.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Matters

The bulk of our entire creative energy continues to be invested in the design and delivery of the curriculum.

We hope that more and more parents and carers are aware of our core principles and practices that steer the way we teach, learn and assess at CNS.

Perhaps you recall my past references to ‘high-TEMPO’ – an acronym that helps summarise those principles and practices in a way that is helpful to teachers, students and families? Whilst I understand that the topic may not be fascinating for everyone, we hope it reassures every parent and carer how much care and attention is given to every moment your child spends in lessons or completing homework activities.

Outcomes Matter

In analysing their superb GCSE and A level results, each head of department at CNS has been very carefully scrutinising every paper and question answered by students. Throughout the past two weeks, we have explored why they did so well and how results might be further improved by adopting a curious and creative mindset. We continue to be motivated by the knowledge that those results impact on life chances and so every single grade matters.  This year, the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students and lower prior attaining students enjoyed significant improvements and much of this is attributed to those high expectation classrooms with high-TEMPO lessons and revision.

Voices Matter

You will be aware of our annual surveys but perhaps less aware of the other ways in which we try to gather and respond to the views and experiences of our students. We know that when a child feels a sense of belonging, they are more likely to be happy, feel safe and achieve. This year, at the end of a unit, your children will be asked for their feedback so that their teachers can reflect on how to improve the teaching and learning of that class on the next unit and how the delivery of that unit might be improved for the next group of students. That feedback loop is fast becoming a key feature of how we seek to improve in the coming years.

Open Evening – Next Thursday 5 October 2023

A big thank you in advance if your child is taking part in the open evening next Thursday. Whether it is as a guide or a participant in activities, we hope your child is involved one way or another. In readiness for the big night, the school will end at 12:30pm on Thursday.  Friday 6 October is an INSET day which means that all students will be at home.

And finally…

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all parents and carers of year 10 students that we will be holding our welcome to year 10 evening on Thursday 12 October 2023. It will be a really helpful and informative event and you can sign up by following this link.

Have a lovely weekend!

Yours faithfully
Barry Doherty

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