Friday, 24 June 2016

24 June 2016

I write this week at the start of a new era following the seismic decision in yesterday's referendum to leave the EU. As reflected in the views the students have shared with me over the last few weeks, a clear majority in the local area supported this decision . The referendum clearly had captured the imagination of our students, with large numbers getting engaged with the issues which can only be good for our democracy.

"Oh, didn't it rain" as the song goes, and it certainly did on Wednesday night of this week. Two floods were the consequence and a reminder that the current building can no longer cope. The new one will be watertight and temperatures in classrooms well regulated - something we will all look forward to in the future. The next step in the development is the arrival of the piling rig and the start of the foundations being put in which should begin next week and last until the end of August.

"An amazingly dark and compelling drama, dealing with all sorts of themes like playing God", was how the judges reviewed the Play in a Day performance from King Richard School's Year 9 students that was performed at the Theatre Royal on Wednesday of this week. It was a tremendous evening as 6 schools had a day to script, coordinate, rehearse and then perform a ten minute play from scratch with only a title and a box of props (which included an inflatable animal) to work with. Our students did incredibly well in our first time in this event which is part of the Portsmouth festivities. Happily, they will perform the piece again in the Arts Summer Showcase on the 7th of July if you would like to come and see more of their interpretation of the cruel and crazy scientist in the electric mind.

Another opportunity to visit the school is open to you on the 30th of June for our summer Art Exhibition. This is a chance for you to see some of the outstanding work produced by our GCSE Art students this year. Please do come along if you can.

Our samba band have had their first two public performances this week. Firstly, their energetic drumming was used to spur the students of Victory primary school on to greater sporting achievements during their sports day. On Saturday, they represent the school at the Paulsgrove & Wymering Carnival. They have mastered the basics of Samba drumming really quickly and are showing tremendous potential acccording to their coach, Tamsyn Braithwaite, although they are rather loud! Please remember there is an opportunity for you to get involved in samba drumming at the school each Thursday from 4pm.

Next week at school is Spoken Language week and staff across departments will be creating a series of activities to develop the students' skills in spoken language. There is increasing evidence to suggest that practising spoken language increases understanding and improves the quality of writing, and this project, led by Mrs. McCombie, is the first of many initiatives. As ever, we would be interested in hearing from you about how your child has found this approach to learning.

In assemblies this week, I have been talking to students about leadership, especially the behaviour of our political leaders in the run up to the EU referendum and in the light of the tragic murder of Jo Cox. Coincidentally this week, we have also been interviewing for the next group of student leaders. The standard of applications was very high and the decision will be a tough one. I promise to publish a picture of the new team next week.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that many of our students already have leadership experience and many others are developing leadership qualities. This is excellent news as these attributes are ones that will serve them well in future life. Two examples this week were the presentation to a group of headteachers made by Courtney Shrubsole, Lauren Hatherley and Louise Varndell, and the large numbers of students who have put themselves forward for the vital role of peer mentor next year. Very impressive and well done to all.

Last week, I incorrectly said the careers week was the 5th of July when in fact it starts on the 12th. The careers fair is on the 15th and if you have some free time on that day to come and see the range of opportunities available for your son or daughter when they leave school, we would love to welcome you to join us and the 50 or so providers who will be with us for the day. More details of the week can be found on our website early next week.

We have been very pleased to see more and more of Barbara Evans, who is back on reception, in the last few weeks as she returns to work after her period of absence. She is not full time yet, so you will find other staff greeting you on arrival or answering the phone.  Please bear with us as we return to a more consistent level of staffing.

Lastly, please don't forget that the school is closed on Friday 1st of July and Monday 4th of July for staff training. Our closure dates for next year will follow the same pattern as this year (the last three days of the October half term and the Monday and Friday either side of the last weekend in June).  I know this helps families, who are trying to avoid holidays in term time which would not be authorized, when planning their holidays and trips away .

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