Dear Parents and Carers
The nationwide GCSE geography pilgrimages to Swanage are again underway – and it was our year 11s’ turn to enjoy a day of field work, led by Mrs Jones (head of geography), Mr Hood and Ms Hancock.
Last summer, 60% of all GCSE geography grades were 7 to 9, and the department enjoyed an overall pass rate of 94%. At A level, the superb achievements were replicated with, for example, close to 40% securing A* or B grades and 91% being grades C or above!
Pre-Loved Uniform Sale
After the success of our first pre-loved uniform day, we wish to share the next series of dates for your diary.
The first pre-loved uniform sale will be on Tuesday 18 October, between 12:00pm and 4:00pm. This will take place in the main hall and will be clearly signposted on the day. It is a cash-only event.
In order for this to happen, we again welcome donations of good quality and clean uniform; including coats and nearly new shoes as we head into winter.
You can drop off any pre-loved items at any point in the day between Monday 3 and Friday 7 October. Please place your items in the special drop-off box located at the top of the Old Reception steps. Ideally, please leave items within a sturdy carrier bag.
We have now scheduled four sale days throughout the academic year as follows.
- Tuesday 18 October 2022
- Tuesday 13 December 2022
- Tuesday 28 March 2023
- Tuesday 11 July 2023
Open Evening Preparations – Thursday 6 October 2022
Lessons will end at the end of period 3 on Thursday (12:30pm) with students and buses leaving shortly afterwards. The following day, Friday 7 October, is an INSET day which means those students supporting our big night can have a bit of a lie-in the next day. Exceptional circumstances aside, we do hope that all students will support our evening in one way or another. As parents and carers, we ask that you strongly encourage your children’s participation as ambassadors on Thursday and to seize the opportunity to support their school. I set out the various roles for each year group in last week’s letter, and hope that you have given your permission for their participation for all or part of the evening.
Should you be looking to pass the time this weekend, or perhaps to explore some interesting information about our school, may I invite you to look at our website? Whilst it has not be relaunched, it has been regularly updated, and now includes much more information about the why, how, what and when of our curriculum. Last May’s survey of parents and carers showed that whilst 55% agreed or strongly agreed that, “the school makes me aware of what my child will learn during the year”, 36% disagreed. Whilst this figure was typical or average for schools, it was (by far) our least positive response. In addressing this we have refreshed our ‘curriculum and departments’ pages so that they will provide you with as much or as little information as you wish. Content includes:
- Detailed information from every one of our twenty-one departments about their curriculum content, plus introductions of the team members
- An overview of our core curriculum goals
- An outline of our teaching and learning principles and practices
- An insight into the ways in which we seek to ensure inclusive classrooms
Highly visual and student friendly curriculum summaries, known as curriculum roadmaps, are now appearing across the school and on our website. They provide students and families with helpful and simple summaries of all the key topics studied over a five- or seven-year period. If families wish to gather more detailed information, then this can be arranged directly with the relevant head of department.
As I wrote in my introduction…
A great school curriculum does not happen by chance. Of all the things in the universe we could explore, we have only 1300 school days, 6500 lessons, and 2000 hours of homework in which to dive deeply into the undiscovered depths of human knowledge and understanding. This is why we think very carefully about what we teach, in the order that it is taught, and the manner in which it is introduced and memorised.
Five Other Website Highlights
It is impossible and would be somewhat boring for you, if I were to list all of the website content. However, it feels valuable to draw your attention to the following pages:
- Our vision and our values
- Our GCSE and A level examination results (updated for 2022)
- The full list of our school policies
- Our A-Z for new families
- The Extra-Time programme
I hope you will agree that we are committed to using our website to provide families and students with everything they must or might have at their fingertips. If you would like us to consider additional content then please email me directly.
School Improvement Priorities 2022-23. Something for EVERYONE
Each autumn, every school evaluates its strengths and areas for development, reflecting on both internal data for the previous year and their pubic examination results. Our current school improvement plan is in four parts and headed: everyone achieving; everyone belonging; everyone reading and speaking; and everyone connected.
Below is a simple table that sets out the core priorities across the entire school for this academic year.
|EVERYONE Achieving||We know that overall progress and attainment improved very significantly in 2022. Boys’ and disadvantaged children’s outcomes have risen very sharply indeed. But… we need to do this consistently, with all children, in all subjects, equally, every year.||· Strong day-to-day high-TEMPO / quality first teaching from day one, through day 1,300; particularly for students with special educational needs or those who are disadvantaged.
· Further refine the way we prepare students for their mocks and their final examinations.
|EVERYONE Belonging||We know that when a child feels they belong in their school, they are more likely to feel safe, attend, engage and succeed.||· Extend the spaces and options available for all students to socialise and play at lunchtime.
· Extend our support to children with deteriorating (<94%), persistent (<90%) or severe (<80%) attendance levels.
|EVERYONE Reading and Speaking||Being able to read and speak with confidence are life-changing, life-affirming and life-long skills. Confident readers have greater control over their own learning and outcomes.||· Increase the exposure of all students to extended reading activities in all of their lessons.
· Extend the exposure of all students to classroom talk that boosts confidence and progress.
|EVERYONE Connected||There is only one direction when it comes to the use and potential of ICT in schools.||· Completely modernise our ICT infrastructure (e.g. servers and Wi-Fi network).
· Gradually replace all hardware, including, for example, low resolution projectors for high resolution visual display units.
There are many other areas we are working on within smaller teams or as individuals, all of which are connected to the ‘everyone achieving and everyone belonging’ theme.
Term Time Holidays
In my letter to you last week I wrote more broadly about the importance of attendance. This week, and in common with all headteachers, I must provide a separate letter regarding penalty notices for holidays taken during term time. When contacted with a request to take children out of school to go on holiday, I always emphasise that my decision to refuse permission is a combination of being unable to approve such activities, as well as being unwilling to grant time out of lessons. We believe that all families prefer clarity and consistency in such matters.
With the slightly shortened week for students next week, I shall write to you again on Friday 14 October (a key historical date). Have a great weekend when it arrives!