Friday, 16 June 2017

23 June 2017

Highlights this Week

The English, Maths and Science teams all had their first chance to visit the new school building this week and like me, they were amazed at the progress being made on the inside.  As the picture of the science team shows, the classrooms are now coming on incredibly quickly and the visit helped us all to imagine what it will be like when we move in there in the autumn.  There is now an incredible buzz of excitement amongst the staff and I am sure there will be a wow factor for the students when they walk in for the first time.

Thank you to the huge numbers of parents who turned out for Year 9 parents evening on Wednesday this week, despite the 30 degree temperatures.  My colleagues appreciated the opportunity to celebrate your child's success and to identify areas we can work on together to help them be more successful as they embark on their GCSE courses.  Thank you also to those of you who completed our feedback questionnaire.  There were a lot of positive comments, but it seems that homework is a concern for some of you and so we will explore this with our department leaders before the end of term.

Learning Champions

Fourteen Year 10 students were lucky enough to visit the Landrover Ben Ainslie Racing
Centre in old Portsmouth this week as part of the Go Sail initiative. They were amazed at the combination of science, technology and sporting excellence involved in developing the boats that have taken part in the America's Cup challenge.  They, like me, are still trying to grasp the headphones that are placed over your eyebrows, not ears, and transmit sound waves through the bone - extraordinary.  This was followed by a first sailing experience at Portsmouth Water Sports Centre which was enjoyed by all.  They tell me they were learning about forces but it sounds like they had much fun too. 

I had a good example of the power of success this week when I met a Year 10 student (name withheld to spare her blushes) walking down the corridor smiling uncontrollably to herself.  She had just completed her Spanish speaking controlled assessment and had been told it went really well, the best yet.  I know she would have prepared well in advance so it just goes to show that hard work pays off.

As Year 11s celebrate the end of their GCSE exams, it is now the turn of Year 9; their exam timetable can be found below.  Please do encourage your son or daughter to undertake a programme of revision.  If they get into good habits now they will realise that good revision really does make a difference to their success in exams and which will in turn help them be more confident for the harder GCSEs that they take in the future.

Building Character, Shaping Futures

All of our students have had their character tested this week with the extraordinarily high temperatures, but none more than those taking part in PE.  Completing the sprints and middle distances must have been really difficult at a time when walking around the playground on duty felt too hot for me, but they took part in good spirits and actually performed really well as part of the Inter-House Athletics Cup.

We are also really proud of the following students who were chosen to represent the school at the Portsmouth Schools Junior Athletics competition on Thursday.  At the time of writing, I don't have the results but know that they will have tried hard and shown masses of effort in pursuit of excellent results:

Sam SadlerBrandon DavisOwen PhillipsDaniel BarrettDiercy MbosoElousise MoseleyLauren TurnerAbby DavisLeah Monyihan.

Many Year 10 students will get their first taste of college life next week when they visit South Downs College on Monday and Portsmouth College on Thursday.  This is an excellent opportunity to experience college life, understand how the college works and think about the courses that might be right for them from the huge range on offer.  If your child has not yet returned their consent slip, please do so urgently.

Next week, Mrs Sear will also be taking 10 Year 10 students to a 3 day residential at Portsmouth University.  A graduation event for students, parents and staff will be held at the Guildhall next Friday evening and photos will follow shortly thereafter.  

For Your Diary

30 June: Inset Day
3 July: Inset Day
3-4 July: Year 6 Transition Days (parents meeting at 6:30pm on the 4th)
12 July: Wicked Trip
10-14 July: Employability Week
11 July: Awards Evening
19 July: Summer Showcase
20 July: Thorpe Park Reward Trip 
21 July: End of Term (school finishes at 12:50)


Hillside Youth Club is offering your child a free lunch on the 30th of June and 3rd of July when the school is closed for INSET. This initiative is designed to gauge interest for how many students may want a lunch at the Hillside during the summer holidays and the details are as follow:

Friday 30th June and Monday 3rd July at 12:30pm for young people aged 10 ½  - 21 years old.  To book your place, contact Matt on 07940 495762 or Amanda Mobile on 07730 065625  (as places are limited!).

Talking of nutritious food, the following cooking classes are available for those children between the ages of 14-16 who love cooking:

As temperatures return to normal next week and sunshine and showers are forecast, uniform expectations will return to normal as well, so students will need to bring their blazer to school. Students have been really compliant this week and have not abused the summer uniform regulations we introduced and so we will quickly reintroduce these should another hot spell come before the end of the summer term.

Good luck to all of those involved with the carnival this weekend.  The weather looks better than last year and I hope it is a great day.

If you haven't visited our relaunched Facebook page yet, please do so soon.  Hundreds of people have now liked the page and are receiving updates about things happening at the school.  Make sure you like the page so that you too can keep up to date.

Friday, 9 June 2017

9 June 2017

My blog will take a new format from now on and will be combined with the newsletter to make it easier for you to follow what has happened in school this week and take note of what is coming up next.  Certain pages will link to the website, so please use this to keep you informed.  You can also find out more about the school by finding us on Facebook and liking our page. 

Highlights this Week

Mr Watkins and Year 10 Geographers were brave enough to survey coastal defenses in Portsmouth on Thursday this week despite weather that was less than summer like.  They visited the University of Portsmouth to work with graduating Geography trainee teacher and our students rose magnificently to the challenge. They visited four sites around Clarence Pier and Old Portsmouth to practice essential fieldwork skills before returning to the School of Education to work alongside peers from Oaklands School. Groups collaborated and presented a series of decisions based on a limited budget for renewing coastal defences. 

It all bodes well for our future research into coastal engineering at Swanage, next month, where we hope the weather will be kinder. 

Congratulations to Shane May and Sophie Harrison who have had their works selected for the exhibition at the University of Southampton as part of the Young Leaders of Education award.  Their designs show off their innovation and enterprise and will take pride of place in the exhibition.  If you are interested in attending please follow this link

Learning Champions

"I loved that Maths paper, I could have married it!"  So said one Year 11 student on exiting this week's GCSE Maths paper.  She has gone a bit far but it does show you what hard work and preparation can do - if you prepare well then it makes a difference to how the exam goes.  With that in mind, please remind Year 11 students of the excellent revision materials on our website and the opportunities to revise with the support of their teachers.


Well done to our Year 7 and 8 students who took part in the recent Junior Maths Challenge.  The challenge is a national competition pushing students to demonstrate their excellence in mathematics and a number of our students really impressed.  Well done to Ellis McDowell, Alfie Ayling and Oliver George who were awarded bronze certificates, Mason Olden who was awarded silver and Danny Kalinski who achieved gold and moves on to the next round later this term.

Miss Bedassie accompanied 10 budding scientists to the Winchester Science Centre this week as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Festival.  There were a number of hands on exhibits as well as activities run by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. Students had the opportunity to explore the centre and the dozens of experiments on offer, plan how the HIOWAA could respond to an emergency call and watched a short demonstration of how the medic team would treat a patient. They were then treated to a private flyover by the Air Ambulance team before being rewarded for their participation. The students were excellent ambassadors for the school and we hope their interest in the STEM subjects continues to blossom.

Building Character, Shaping Futures

Congratulations to our Duke of Edinburgh award participants who successfully completed their practice expedition over the May Bank Holiday weekend.  Lauren Turner said she slept for the rest of the week as a result of the experience as carrying all your camping equipment and clothes while walking up and down hills for several hours is no easy task.  This is a brilliant achievement and well done to Lauren, Kara Collis, Lauren Cutting, Destiny Ramsey and Joanne McGiffen who all did so well.

For Your Diary

21 June: Year 9 Parents and Options Evening
30 June and 3 July: Insert days
3-4 July: Transition Days (parents meeting at 6:30pm on the 4th)
10-14 July: Careers Week
11 July: Awards Evening
19 July: Summer Showcase
21 July: End of Term (last day of school for students)


With the help of our friends Digital Dinos we have relaunched our Facebook page.  Like the page to receive regular notifications of some of the interesting things happening at school now and in the future.

We have all been affected terribly by the recent terrorist events in London and Manchester.  Once again we held a minute's silence, which was done impeccably, to think of those injured or bereaved by the brutal acts.  I know a number of children have been thinking and worrying about events and so we have been talking to children in assembly this week about how to keep yourself safe in public places and used this resource which you may wish to view.

Friday, 26 May 2017

26 May 2017

Some amazing events and activities have happened in school this week, but before I describe these, I have to start by saying how shocked and saddened I was by the terrorist attack in Manchester at the start of the week.  It was truly awful and the whole school came together in a minute’s silence on Thursday as a mark of respect for those killed or injured while leaving the concert.  That the bomber targeted a concert attended by so many children makes the incident even more horrific and our thoughts and best wishes go to all the families affected.  I know many of our students have been worried and anxious as a result of these events, so I’m posting the following resources from the BBC news round which offers some advice and comfort in this trying time.  

Mrs McCombie and Miss Wilson were blown away by the contributions of Chelsey Howard and Jack Rance who worked with Year 6 students from St Paul's and Victory this week.  The primary students were the winners of the Speaking for Success competition held in their respective schools and they attended KRS for a workshop on how to develop their speaking skills.  Chelsey and Jack introduced them to the 5 S’s - Stand with confidence, Stride with purpose, Smile to engage, Speak clearly and Stay for applause.  They did a great job, showing real leadership, in helping the students to succeed.  Well done indeed.

"I can't wait.  I am definitely going to University after I have finished college, so this trip helps me with my plans". So said Molly-May Creamer who was one of 26 students who went to Southampton University this week as part of their Learn with Us programme.  They were introduced to university life, had a campus tour and took part in a number of taster sessions.  The only disappointment was that the million pound drop activity didn't make them any richer!

Look at these fantastic pieces of homework! Some of them were edible too and I understand that the class did indulge after they had discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their respective designs.  Well done to Mrs Bruins’ class for putting such commitment into their history homework.

Good luck to our Duke of Edinburgh students who are on their practice expedition in the New Forest this weekend.  They will walk carrying all their equipment and food, set up camp for the night and then walk back navigating themselves so they don't get lost.  Miss Long and Miss Chapman will be with them but they are expected to do it on their own so it will be a significant challenge and I wish them well.

Thank you to those parents who attended last week's Attendance Forum.  We had a useful discussion about how to make our partnership even more effective and a number of actions have already been taken as a result of the ideas from the parents who were there.  We have arranged to meet again towards the end of June and will confirm the date as soon as we can.  On the next agenda is how to use Progresso so that you can track your child's behaviour and attendance in real time rather than relying on texts and phone calls to know what is happening. So, do please come along if you want to know more.

Dates for your diaries:  We have added two extra dates to the calendar for the summer half term. 1. 11th July - Awards Evening.  We have completely revamped our awards evening structure for this year, so watch out for more details in the coming weeks.  We are looking forward to celebrating excellence with a large number of students and their families on the 11th of July. 
2. 19th July - End of Year Showcase.  The summer show will be our normal extravaganza and will showcase dance, music and drama for the last time in our current hall - I do hope you will join us.

On Friday of this week, Mrs Sear and the Girls Network organised a workshop for 15 Year 10 girls entitled How to Shine. The workshop explored personal branding which was then linked to how to shine at interviews. The girls carried out mini mock interviews and reflected on what they learnt from the session.The key employability skills that were focused on were:communication skills and team work.

I have asked my colleagues in Student Services to forcefully challenge students who let their standards of uniform slip next half term.  Of particular concern are trainers being worn rather than black polishable shoes, and skirts that are being worn too short.  If you know that your child is in this situation, please have a discussion with Ms Richardson or Mrs Sisk or the appropriate Head of House to resolve the issue.

While many of us are enjoying a half term break, please spare a thought for our Year 11 students who are preparing for their next GCSE examinations.  As always, there are planned revision classes in school over the half term as the timetable shows below.

As it is the end of the term, we will say goodbye to a few of our colleagues.  Mrs McCombie has been with us for nearly 3 years but is leaving at the end of the month to start a new life in France running a cycling holiday business.  Mr Bierton who has suffered a lot of ill health this year is also leaving as is Mr Cohen.  We have replaced all of these staff with excellent appointments for the new school year but there might be some disruption and group changes during the second half of summer while we adjust, and I am grateful for your patience during this time.

Have a great half term and we will see all students On Monday, the 5th June.

Friday, 19 May 2017

19 May 2017

A huge congratulations to Leona Howard and Ruby Collins who were the proud recipients of Amazon Gift Vouchers this week as a result of their amazing entries into the logo competition run by the local Capturing the Spirit organisation.  Students were invited to create a logo that captured what it means to live in Paulsgrove and both girls came up with wonderful ideas.  It was a close competition, but Ruby's was eventually judged the best and is now used on all the organisations’ leaflets and letters.  Remember, you can drop in to Capturing the Spirit to see the amazing work they do at 147 Allaway Avenue, or click here for their latest newsletter.

Last week, I gave you a glimpse into the experiences of the 24 Year 9 students who went on the Cumbria trip, courtesy of our SGN sponsors. It was a fantastic learning experience and one parent commented about her son, "he seems about three years older as a result". I am pleased to report that since that post, 4 of our students have been offered scholarships by the Outward Bound Trust because of their superb attitude on the trip, their commitment to the environment and aptitude for adventurous activities. The scholarship provides over 50% of the funding for a three week adventure in the summer of 2018. Well done indeed to Lauren Turner, Nadia Abu-Khalaf, Robbie Neil and Jack Weir.


I was thrilled to learn this week that former student, Keiran O'Toole, had been awarded the Youth Civic Award for his commitment to the local community. Keiran is a graduate of the National Citizenship Service, has been part of the team restoring Hilsea Lido, has raised loads of money for local charities and has set up his own social enterprise to combat bullying, and he is only 17! It is a fantastic achievement and richly deserved. Well done, Keiran!

Written GCSE examinations started in all earnest this week with Biology, Chemistry, Spanish and ICT all testing what the students have studied so far.  These are stressful times for our Year 11 students who are very aware that examinations are now harder than they have ever been and so important for helping them get on to the courses and apprenticeships they have dreamed of.  If you are in Year 11, or a parent of a Year 11 student, please don't forget that there are many revision materials on our website as well as top-tips to help you manage the exam stress. 

Ten lucky Year 8 and 9 students visited Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday of this week to take part in the Teentech event.  The students gained real experience of cutting edge developments in the technology, science and engineering sectors and spent valuable time with professionals from these sectors.  The next step is for the group to develop a prototype and have engineers evaluate their ideas - it should be interesting to see what they come up with.

Our Onboard sailors finished their 6-session programme this week and successfully completed their RYA Stage 1 introduction to sailing.  Impressively, they were able to sail a triangular course by Tuesday afternoon as a result of the skills they have learned and the way they worked together.  The instruction team down at Portchester Sailing Club have been really impressed with the attitude of the students, as the certificate demonstrates, and I know a number of them are hoping to take part again in the future.  Thanks go to Mr Webb for organising the trip.

Thank you to all the parents of Year 8 students who made it into parents evening on Wednesday despite the torrential rain. We can't maximise your child's progress and personal development without your help, and so it is fantastic when you are able to come along and talk with us face-to-face about how your child is doing in all of their lessons. It was a really positive evening with a lot of well received feedback and the opportunity to discuss possible option choices for next year. Please don't forget that option forms must be returned by the 5th June and they can also be found on our website.