Friday, 15 April 2016

15 April 2016

Welcome back to the new term.  I hope you and your families enjoyed a restful Easter holiday. My staff and I did and we have returned with batteries recharged, ready for the summer term.

The rest was much needed as it has been a very productive and busy first week back. Year 9 have been sitting their mock exams (watch out Year 10, you are next at the end of the month), Year 8 have been thinking about their educational choices for the future with the University of Chichester, Year 7 have enjoyed making healthy smoothies, courtesy of a partnership we have with Tesco, and Year 11 have come back to realise that GCSE exams start for real very soon (Art is next week and English in 2 and a half weeks).

Pleasingly, attendance has been good this week which means very few students have missed out on these valuable opportunities, so thank you for your support in making sure your children are in school on time every day. Perhaps they have been motivated to attend by the fun that was had by last term's Golden Ticket winners? This group of over 100 students with 100% attendance enjoyed a couple of hours at Play Zone at the end of term and the photos below show what a good time they had.

The Government has said a lot recently about the importance of good attendance (mostly because of its impact on achievement) and we will therefore continue to push hard and reward those students who attend excellently. Plans are already underway for our next reward event and we will be looking for those who can rise to the 50 day challenge - more details will follow soon.

We have noticed that attendance is often worse than it needs to be because children are off ill when they are well enough to be in. The NHS publishes plenty of helpful information for parents about when they should keep their child at home and this is available on our website for your ease. Many children tell us that they have days off when they are probably well enough to be in and this is an area I would like to see reduced. With this in mind, I have asked Mrs. J. Levers to phone parents where the reason for absence appears to not meet the NHS standard so that she can discuss with you getting your child back into school.

If you read the Portsmouth News, you may have noticed that they are running their Youth Awards again in June this year. These awards aim to celebrate the amazing achievements of our young people and are offered in a variety of categories. A number of our students are nominated every year by staff, but anyone can nominate a child who they think is deserving. Nomination forms and other information about categories, rules and criteria can be downloaded here.

As always, there are a number of students whose achievements have come to my attention this week and who deserve a special mention. Rosie Robbins and Megan Evans of Year 11 both deserve congratulations for being accepted onto the Hampshire Police and Crime Youth Commission. They will work with the police and crime commissioner to tackle police and crime issues that affect young people. This will give them a real taste of democracy and the role that the police play in our society and I look forward to hearing more about their experiences.

I also want to mention Oakley Hodges of Year 7 who has worked tirelessly to achieve both his Level 3 and Level 4 Lexia award recently. He is the first student to be working at Level 5 and this is down to his tenacity and effort at home and school. Well done Oakley!

On a sporting note, our commiserations go to the Year 11 boys football team who reached the semi-final of the Portsmouth Cup in the last week of last term. They battled hard and bravely but were ultimately defeated by a very strong Priory side. I share their disappointment but am proud of all their effort.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who donated Easter eggs as part of the collection organised by the Student Council. Several boxes of delicious eggs were delivered to the Roberts Centre on Thursday the 24th of March which was gratefully received by very excited little ones.  

The Portsmouth Parent and Carer Board are currently looking for parents and carers who live in Portsmouth, who wish to make a difference to families, to join their board.  For more information, you can visit their website or contact Jenny Atkins at Home-Start Portsmouth on 02392 734400. 

One final piece of good news is that planning permission for the new school building was granted over the Easter holidays. The contractual details are now being finalised with the intention that work on site will start very soon. The development will have an impact on the site at the eastern end of the school and will affect the entrances in this part of the building. I will describe this in more detail in the near future when I have the final plans from the contractor.

As always, thank you for your continued support in the education of our youth.

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