Friday, 24 March 2017

24 March 2017

"I am really proud of myself for doing something so difficult.  I have also learned that practise makes perfect.  Practicing over and over really helped me overcome my fears and gave me the confidence to give it a try."  Tyler Macey learned this important lesson on Wednesday afternoon after being part of the Speaking for Success team that visited Medina Primary school to present a presentation to their Year 5 and 6 students.  Well done to Tyler, Harvey Newman, Kiana Robinson and Maisy Choate for doing such a good job.

Harvey Rhoden gave me a brilliant explanation of the benefits of box graphs in mathematics earlier this week.  As you can see from his book, he had clearly learned how to calculate cumulative frequency, draw the curve, identify the median, upper and lower quantiles and then convert this data to the box method.  It was really impressive and well worthy of the head teacher's positive referral.



Another positive referral this week went to Courtney Shrubsole in Year 11 who responded well to the challenge set of creating some engaging chemistry revision materials.  As you can see, her origami creation definitely meets the criteria and now she has no excuse for not doing the necessary revision.



"We should be raising more money for starving children in Africa." This was the loud and repeated claim from the students this week who challenged my decision not to grant a non-uniform day for Comic Relief.  The power of student voice was overwhelming and I changed my mind. Students responded by showing their generosity and we raised a wonderful £546. Unfortunately, our attendance figure today was disappointing which means future non-uniform days will have to be reconsidered carefully.  Well done to Kara Collis who organised many of the other supporting activities which contributed to such a great day.



















This week’s assembly program has been thought provoking too.  Local entrepreneur, Mark Smith, who founded The Car Finance Company and use to live in Hilsea Road, has a strong connection with the school and visited with Year 7 and 8 to present about what it takes to start your own company and the sorts of decisions you have to take if you want to be successful.  Offering the children a twenty pounds cash prize based on a heads or tails competition certainly got them interested!

 












On Thursday, we were pleased to welcome back Liam King and Gracie Green-Smith who both came back to encourage Year 10 students to sign up for the forthcoming college taster events.  Liam and Gracie are both thriving at Portsmouth College, doing well on their A Level courses and enjoying the extra opportunities like the Employability and Enterprise programme.  Please see below programme for up coming college taster days or visit our website for more information on careers and apprenticeships.




Tilly Westrope was in the same year group as Liam and Gracie, but she is an excellent example of a different route to a successful future. Tilly started an apprenticeship with Planet Education and is developing her skills as a sports coach.  She now regularly delivers sessions for young people in the local area and is back at KRS supporting aspects of girls PE.  Her skill levels and enthusiasm are wonderful and she is making a real difference whilst getting paid to learn.



Ms Grundy, who will provide maternity cover for Miss Nutland, started this week and we were very pleased to welcome her to the school.  Ms Grundy is an experienced dancer and has been at Portchester in recent times supporting them with their extracurricular programme. I am sure she will continue the excellent work in dance while Miss Nutland is away.

Thank you very much to the parents who came to our attendance forum last Friday.  The meeting provided a great opportunity for an informal talk with parents to hear their views about how we can work together more successfully.  Mrs House and I took away many sensible suggestions and are going to feedback to parents again on the 17th of May at 9:00. 



Mr Webb offered an excellent opportunity to Year 7 this week when they were invited to join the On Board programme at Portchester Sailing Club. This is a great opportunity to participate in a six-session introduction to sailing.  Last year's group of twelve sailors had a great time and learned lots of skills, so do please contact Mr Webb if your child is interested.



Finally, there were some great sporting results this week.  Well done to the girls’ football team who finished second out of five teams in the Year 7 and 8 girls football competition at Priory school.  They drew three matches but lost to the winners, Mayfield, and were beaten by a goal that, I am told by Aimee Chewter, could have been prevented. To add to the success, Year 7 boys thrashed Springfield 6 – 2.  So strong was this performance, many of the team are now hoping to get selected to play in the Year 8 team for the cup final on the 25th of April.



Friday, 17 March 2017

17 March 2017

"I have always wanted to be a teacher, so it was good practice to stand in front of the class and talk."  So said Marnie Walker in Year 7 following her group's very successful presentation at Victory primary school on Wednesday afternoon. Marnie was supported by Lilly Morley, Sam Sadler, Alfie Bignell and Jack Fisher as they tried to explain to Year 5 and 6 students what life at secondary school is like and explored some of the key points about King Richard School. 


Mr Hartley, the Headteacher at Victory, was very impressed by the students' confidence and the way they handled the variety of questions they were asked. Topics covered included homework, favourite subjects, sports clubs and what to do if you get lost, and our students dealt with these challenges really well. Another group has already been to Beacon View where they were equally successful and there are plans to take the same activity to St Pauls, Portsdown and Medina before the end of term.

Year 10 students responded really positively to the hard hitting performance by the Solomon Theatre group this week. The play The Power of Love deals with provocative themes such as domestic violence, the nature of relationships and substance misuse and then explores these further in workshops where the students have the chance to ask questions. Ryan Hannington (pictured) described the opportunity as insightful and one that “really got the point across about abusive relationships.”                                                         
               

At the end of last week, we said farewell to Mrs Scott whose baby is due in April. These are very exciting times for her and her family and we wish them all well and look forward to seeing her back in school soon. Mr Tucker has taken her Year 11 class, Mr Gill the Year 9s and Mr Bixley the 7 and 8s, so they are all in good hands.

Year 9 students explored the concept of micro-climates with Mr Holden at the end of past week. Measuring temperature in various parts of the school, they noticed the differences that exist and considered the impact of the vegetation and surrounding buildings on the weather. The aim is to develop a store of data that can be used for future comparisons and analyses.














Congratulations to Mrs Nutland who successfully completed her National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders recently. The NPQML is a well-regarded national qualification that recognises a series of qualities that leaders need to make a difference in education. The course is demanding, normally takes eighteen months and participants have to research and reflect on aspects of their role. Mrs Nutland joins Mrs Hill, Mr Waldren and Mr Gill who have also passed the course and demonstrates what excellent teachers we have at school.

Year 8 begin a week of examinations on Monday and you can see the timetable below. With GCSE examinations so much more demanding than previously - coursework is no longer a feature in most subjects and students are expected to have a more in-depth knowledge of the subjects they sit - it is vital that our students get used to what will be expected of them. Please support your child in completing revision activities prior to each exam (their teacher will have given them revision activities to complete) and discuss with them how to follow carefully the exam routines.


I also want to take this opportunity to remind you about our uniform standards. You can check what uniform is required here, and if you know that your child is wearing something that is incorrect, please ensure that the correct item is purchased for the start of the summer term.

Finally, Portsmouth College sent us some brochures this week advertising Adult Education Courses offered at the college. All classes take place in the evening or on a Saturday and some of them are even free. Please get in touch with the college for more information or collect a brochure from our reception.


Friday, 10 March 2017

10 March 2017

I thought I would dedicate much of this week's blog to the new building. Whilst I have been sitting in too many meetings deciding on colours of work tops, positions of plug sockets and other boring details, the contractors have been purposefully busy on the inside making great progress towards a September opening. I hope these photos give you the same sense of excitement they do me.























Last week's blog had a write up of this year’s school production, Fame Jr., but not all the photos were ready yet.  These are just a few of the spectacular moments that were captured and really show what a wonderful evening it was.
















Our Year 11 students are just about to finish their second series of practice public examinations and I am very impressed with how seriously they have taken their preparation for these important exams.  The results will let them know how are they currently performing and, with about ten weeks left before they sit their first paper, the next few weeks will be critical if they are to get the success they deserve.  There is still time left to make a change to what marks can be achieved, but no time to waste, so please encourage your child to revise at home, attend master classes and ask for help where it is needed.


To aid our Year 11s in their exam preparation, students can now access revision material for English and Maths via the PiXLit and PiXL Maths apps using the school’s ID (which they have been given) and their surname and first initial as login details. More information on how to use the apps can be viewed on our website

It was great to see our Year 7 students challenging themselves this week when we entered a team into our first cricket tournament for some years.  It was a pleasure to watch Alfie Newsham and Dominic Adams, amongst others, practising their catching and bowling at break time and staying late to develop new skills under Mr Cooper's guidance.  The team put in a resilient performance but was unfortunately beaten by teams with more experience.

Sadly, there was no good news in this week's budget for schools.  You will have read that schools up and down the country are struggling to provide the services and education that our children need and deserve.  If you share my concerns and are worried about funding in education, then do please express your view to your local MP, Penny Mordaunt, and encourage her to lobby for more money into our schools.

Mrs Sear organised another impressive set of visitors for assemblies this week. On Tuesday, PETA (an apprenticeship provider) visited with our Year 7, the University of Portsmouth were in on Wednesday to talk to our Year 9s, Thursday saw our Year 10s visited by Havant College regarding taster days and finally our Year 11s met with Holly from UTC (a new technical college opening in September).










Next Friday at 10 o'clock, for one hour, we are hosting a parents' forum on attendance.  A group of parents are coming together to share the strategies they have developed to ensure their child attends school regularly and to feedback to us what it is that we could do better to help you succeed.  All parents are very welcome to join us and if you wish to attend, please let Mrs Gajdus (agajdus@kingrichardschool.net/02392 370321) know for catering purposes.


Friday, 3 March 2017

3 March 2017

“Show the world by doing hard work”, so sang the wonderful cast of Fame on Wednesday and Thursday evenings of this week when they showed the audience what they had achieved with their hard work and determination.  It was a great production showcasing abilities in dance, drama and music, and while our students were stretched beyond their comfort zone, especially as the cast were all Year 9 or younger, they certainly put on a magnificent performance. 

I was also impressed by the strength of character shown by so many individuals when faced with the challenges of bringing the show to life. One student had to take a lead part only three weeks ago, another fought off a chest infection to take part, others were on stage for the first time and one had to be lifted out of bed in order to attend.  Well done to all who took part and showed such courage and grit. Thanks also to the performing arts team and all the other staff who gave up so much of their precious time to make the show possible.



Could you build a balloon-powered, environmentally friendly paper aero plane while keeping a close eye on the budget and working with an unfamiliar group of people?  This was the challenge set to our Year 8 young engineers this week and they rose to it admirably.  Students worked in groups to produce their prototypes, tested and refined the end result and then entered a competition.  They were aided by real engineers from Kier Construction and JB Hopkins, the main contractors responsible for building the new school building.

Our visitors were truly impressed by the ingenuity and creativity of our students as they tried to work out how to control the flow of air from the balloons while still achieving some forward momentum.  The presentations I witnessed at the end were excellent and I was truly impressed by how much they learned from testing and adapting their designs.  KOF, the winning group, had a great design using a balloon enhanced by the kinetic energy of an elastic band – wonderful!



Democracy is alive and well in Year 7 judging by the debate I witnessed on Thursday morning.  Mrs Hubbard and Mr Aston's tutor groups came together to debate how much influence students should have over the sort of trips they go on at school and the charities they support.  Some excellent ideas were exchanged and I was really impressed by the way the students supported their points with good examples.  One of the key exchanges was about how much you learn from trips and whether every trip is educational, even Flip Out!  Well done to everyone who took part.

While we didn't match the great costumes we saw going down Allaway Avenue towards Victory Primary School for World Book Day, our students in Year 7 did receive a one pound book token to either spend on a book produced specifically for the event or as a contribution towards a book of their choice at a bookshop.  Many students like Leona Howard and Ellie Trevarthan were quick to purchase the one pound books on offer for the event while others may well nag you for a trip to the store this weekend.  




We were delighted to welcome former student, Keiran O'Toole, into school earlier this week.  Keiran has been busy since he left us last year: he is studying three A-levels, has graduated from the Unloc Enterprise Academy at Portsmouth College and has now set up his own social enterprise called Rock Clothing which aims to help groups of students combat bullying.  In addition, he has raised more than £1000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.  His efforts have been recognised by the City who have awarded him the Youth Civic Award for his efforts and contribution to the community. Congratulations, Keiran, we are proud of you and look forward to working with you and your company soon.


Mrs Findlay returned to the school this week after a term away and we are really pleased to see her back. She tells me she wanted to come back because she loves teaching the children at the school and I know exactly what she means.  Just before half-term, we also made some excellent appointments for later this year and the students played a crucial role in helping us pick the best candidates for the school.

On the 17th February, Year 8 students spent the day learning about Hate Crime and devising ways to raise awareness and combat such activities. The day was introduced by PC Alex Jones and well supported by our Community Policing Team who helped students appreciate the many ways in which hate crimes appear in society. Students worked in groups in their Houses all morning and after lunch, Willow, Cedar and Sycamore Houses each peer-reviewed and held ballots to decide who should go forward to the Inter-House Final. Campaign ideas included booklets, poetry, smart apps, drama and videos. After a tense few moments, Willow House were voted to have presented the best campaign. Taylan Yildirim, Reece Willis, Dylan Willis and Bradley Wright presented the winning media message informing us about LGBT hate crime and will go forward in April to a Dragon's Den final at Portsmouth University to compete with schools from across the city.