Well, it must be the exam season because the sun has started to shine this week!Happily, the lovely weather didn't distract the Year 11 students who sat their first English GCSE exam on Tuesday. They showed tremendous focus - English is one of the longest exams, so it was a hard one to have first - and most of them came out smiling, despite having to read and write about bees. Let's hope the news is good when results come out in August.Given the start of exams and the need to create the right environment for the students sitting their examinations in the hall, we have decided to close reception to students with the exception of those signing out for the day or arriving after 9am and after an appointment. This means there will be no risk that the students will be disturbed during an examination. All other entrances will remain open at the start and end of the day and students should use these. Any student who is late should enter via the door nearest the Arts corridor where they will be met by Mrs. House to sign in.The big news of the week is that the contract has been signed between the Government and Kier construction to build the new school. This means the building will definitely be going ahead and we can all look forward to the development of the site over the next 18 months before it opens in the Autumn of 2017. Work will begin in earnest on Monday and will be very visible to all of you within a couple of weeks.With this in mind, the car park and entrance road at the eastern end of the site will be closed to students, staff and visitors and a new car park made off Connaught Lane. Access to the bike sheds will remain and an access point will be made from the corner of the Arts corridor. The other major change concerns the playing fields; these will now be accessed via a footpath along the southern edge of the site.The project starts with the fencing off of the proposed site and it is important to note that nobody should consider crossing the fence line into the site area because of the hazards involved. Kier construction will supervise this tightly during the day and there will be no unsupervised access. I am aiming to explain and expand on all this to the students during the week beginning 16/5 and will inform you later in the term of some opportunities for you to come and find out more about the plans and how the building is developing. I will also post any updates on our website and will include regular updates from the contractor in this blog.
Our next fundraising event for the term is a food collection for the Portsmouth Foodbank who aim to provide 3 days' emergency food to people in crisis. They asked specifically for 1L juice cartons, sugar, tinned mead and tinned tomatoes, however, any other non-perishable food items will also be accepted. Your child can hand their donation to their Tutor or it can be placed in the trolley in reception. Ten of our Year 9 and Year 10 students will form part of a Get Set for Community Action project to collect these items and will then volunteer some of their time to sort the food into packs and distribute these to people who visit the foodbank.
Finally, I am joining 22 Year 9 students in Cumbria next week where they are taking on a series of adventurous outdoor challenges to test their leadership skills, resilience and self-confidence. It is an amazing opportunity and we are grateful to the company SGN who have heavily sponsored this trip so that it is affordable for the students to attend. Last year was great fun, although I rather embarrassed myself on the leap of faith as some of the students will testify! My absence will mean no blog next week, but it will return the week after with tales (and photos) of the fun we had.