Headteacher’s notice – 18 October 2019

Hello, can you believe where the last seven weeks have gone? They seem to have passed us by in the blink of an eye. This seems all the more real when I stand still long enough to think about our Year 13 students, some of whom have already started to receive their initial round of offers from UCAS re their university choices. It seems unbelievable that our ‘little’ Year 7 students seem to have shot up in height since first arriving those few short weeks ago and our Year 11 students are about to commence their first round of mocks shortly after half term and will attend our Sixth Form Open Evening this week.

We celebrated Mass with Year 8 and a number of parents/carers and families last week and are looking forward to doing likewise with Year 7 this week. Most touching and moving of all is the manner in which both Year groups have participated in all aspects of their preparation for their Year Mass as relevant, whether that be hymn practice during Assembly, ensuring that they know all the responses during Form time or practicing how to receive either holy communion or a blessing during RE lessons. Either way, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to celebrate these special occasions with our younger children, their Form Tutors and extended families – all too soon we will find ourselves in Year 11 and their Leaving Mass!

We are busy packing up our boxes of goods ready to donate to our local food banks and other supporting agencies via our local parishes. Students and staff have truly taken up the ‘Dare to Care’ challenge.

On our return to school after half term, we will mark the month of Holy Souls in the Church. This is when we dedicate specific time to remembering those in our communities, be those family, school, work, parish or country, who have passed away. This is often considered to be a sad and mournful time but in actual fact it is a time for joy and happiness as we remember fondly those who have been influential in our lives, who have shaped who we are and who have set us an example worthy to follow. We are already considering how we might mark this special month in school. We will certainly remember those who are special to us in Mass and of course those who have given their lives in the service of others in our Remembrance Service.

Year 11 will commence their mocks on the 18th of November. Students are already actively preparing be that by attending period 6, using materials provided by staff, or creating their own revision timetables. To support students we are about to launch a new initiative called GCSEpod – details to come. Given that students engage greatly with all things technological, we have decided to invest in this study aid as a means of encouraging a more enthusiastic and sustained engagement with study.

Further details re mock timetables, study materials and those students needed for period 6 after half term in the run up to the mocks will be issued later this week and early next week. Special commendation is due for those members of staff and students who are using time over half term to be in school completing particular aspects of their coursework or perfecting their approach to specific parts of the exam papers as relevant.

Lastly, I would ask all parents/carers to read the detail included regarding attendance – particularly those parents/carers of Year 12 and 13 students. Full and sustained attendance at the ‘top end’ of the school is as much an expectation as it is at any other point or in any other Year group or Key Stage. A fall in attendance or trends spotted will be addressed and chased.