Friday, 14 October 2016

14 October 2016

Well, the price of Marmite and PG tips may be on the increase as the pound continues to fall, but happily this shock hasn't stopped some of our students from participating fully in school life this week.

Thirty students enjoyed the wonders of the Tate Modern Art Museum on Wednesday.  Mr Samuel tells me they worked really hard and were truly amazed by some of the exhibits. As you can see, they found inspiration for their own sketching, a key part of success in Art, as well as visiting some of London's most famous sites.  The students behaved superbly and were a credit to the school.


Our cast for the annual Shakespeare School Festival attended a brilliant workshop this week at the recently refurbished Theatre Royal to think further about how they will stage their production of A Mid Summer's Night Dream. Miss Halls is delighted with how the piece is coming together in preparation for the performance on November 17th.  More information is available from Miss Halls.

We were happy to be asked to host the first summit of the year for the Council of Portsmouth Students this Monday and welcomed students from secondary schools across the city to take part in discussions facilitated by Unloc. Students worked in groups discussing the ways in which they can contribute to the running of their schools and make education better for everyone.  Our representatives were Louise Varndell, Jessica Austen, Billy Rhoden, Marnie Jones and William Doswell (who will be feeding back their ideas to the Student Council next Tuesday).

On Tuesday we held our first monthly SEND coffee morning of the year and were delighted by the number of parents who came along.  Our Senco, Family Support Worker and Key Stage 3 Student Manager were on hand to answer questions and chat with parents about how the start of the year was going.  It was good to know things were generally going well.  Keeping track of homework and behaviour were the main topics raised and we will be working hard to ensure all parents are able to log into and understand Progresso. We have asked Mr Webb to give a short presentation on Progresso at our next coffee morning in November, so look out for the text next month.

Next week, you should receive your first half-termly statement of the year. During the course of the year, we will aim to give feedback on the effort your son/daughter puts into lessons.  I have often said that effort matters - not only does it lead to more progress, it also helps children learn that they can overcome difficulties and so develop the resilience they need to thrive in the modern world.  I hope these reports will help you to support your child in school by encouraging them to make more effort where it is needed and celebrate their excellent effort where it is in place.  I would also welcome your feedback about the detail and presentation of the report.

This week I had the privilege of visiting Buxton School in East London. The school had an incredible level of diversity yet the children all got on with each other and cooperated well together.  What was really striking was how hard they all worked and as a result their GCSE outcomes were superb.

I have also been talking this week to a researcher from the Higher Education Funding Council who have been looking into participation rates along the south coast to see what they can do to encourage even more of our students to attend university.  Literally hundreds of local young people are capable of going to university but, despite increases in recent years, some of them never go.  Interestingly, I was also visited by a former student, Jordan Griffin, who is now at the University of Hertfordshire on a Business Studies course.  He was clear about the benefits and described how much he enjoyed studying and how his future has improved as a result. If you think university might be for you and/or your child, we would like to help you.  Please contact Mrs Sear on who will be able to provide more information.

Well done to the Year 7 boys’ football team who reached the semi-final of the local cup by beating Priory 6-1. Please see the newsletter for more details on sports fixtures and successes.

We break for the holidays at the end of the day on Tuesday.  Thank you for all your support this half term and I hope you and your families enjoy a restful break.  The next blog will be on the 4th of November.

Friday, 7 October 2016

7 October 2016

Two fantastic pieces of art were submitted to the Art department this week.  Louie Ray-Tate, a Year 8 student, submitted homework in response to a brief to create an abstract head using 3D materials. They have been studying the artist Naum Gabo and Cubism.  Louie-Ray completed the homework using card, a glue-gun and spray paint.  Olivia Taylor, Year 11, completed an excellent ceramic cupcake using a range of techniques such as coiling. It has been developed by looking at the artist Anna Barlow. Glazes were applied to the top and acrylic paint has picked out the details of the bottom.  Both of these students will be the first recipients of the Headteacher's positive referral for the week.


How could you resist?

These are just one of the amazing cakes made by Mrs Grainger and students in The Hub for last Friday's McMillan coffee morning. They raised nearly £200 for their efforts and enjoyed the making nearly as much as the eating.  Wonderful work, well done all.

"I was really impressed with the students," said one parent visitor at Monday's open evening. I can agree that it was wonderful to see how proud our students are of their school and how willing they are to show it off to visitors. The school looked amazing and the displays and activities were wonderfully interactive. A good example of this was the English corridor and the photos below show just how far the students went to let parents know which books are being studied in Year 7.


This week, our school also embraced the nationwide No Pens Wednesday event.  One student wondered whether it would be the best day of the year with no work! Actually, the opposite was quite true as students worked really hard expressing what they had learned in spoken- rather than written words.  Students making presentations, sitting in the hot seat or playing taboo were amongst a range of activities undertaken.  Lots of fun was had but there was a serious purpose too.  Speaking clearly and correctly is a skill that many employers would expect employees to have and there is much evidence to suggest that writing improves if speaking is improved.

We were pleased to see two former students back in school this week.  Janel Richardson and Anna Maden are both now studying at Portsmouth Grammar School having received scholarships because of their excellent GCSE results.  They are loving the opportunities provided, working hard and setting their sights on an exciting future.  Janel is currently raising money for a trip to Africa to volunteer in a hospital (she wants to be a doctor) and she will be selling cakes at break time on the 17th and 18th of October to help achieve this.  Please be generous in your donations. 

Talking of charities, the Student Leadership Team are currently planning the charity events for the year which will start with Children in Need on the 18th of November.  A lot will be happening, so please start thinking of how you can support this excellent cause.

If you are a Capital Radio listener you may have heard the school mentioned on Thursday morning's breakfast show.  Our Year 10 students are part of a city-wide competition to win tickets to see Anne-Marie in an exclusive concert in January.  Keep listening out for more "shout-outs" and further encouragement.  To win, all students have to do is attend - couldn't be easier! 

It has been a busy week for our sports teams. The Year 7 and 8 table tennis team came a creditable second in the competition held at ALNS and could have so nearly come first.

Our Year 7 footballers had their first match against Trafalgar. They dominated the game and ended with a one-all draw at the end. 

Congratulations to the following students who have taken on positions of responsibility in the Performing Arts Department.  Louisa Mycroft is now Junior Dance Captain with Morgan Barton as Dance Captain.  Ellie Trevarthen is Junior Drama Executive and Lauren Hatherly is Drama Executive.   Well done to these four students and I look forward to all you can contribute to this part of school life.

Please remember the last day of term will be on the 18th of October.  There are staff training events on the 19th and 20th and we will return to school on the 31st of October.  Year 7 parents evening is on the 9th of November.  All events can be found on our website.

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