Perhaps like me, you thought someone had played a trick on you on Monday when temperatures hit an unseasonable 20 degrees. The warm weather certainly tricked the ladybirds who hatched in great numbers in my office into thinking summer was on the way. In reality, the weather was a treat as we returned to school after the extended break which I hope you and your families enjoyed.
Before we broke for half term, staff at the school were involved in two days of professional learning, organised by Mrs. Hill. The focus was on identifying techniques that enable boys to make even more progress and how to help students develop the speaking skills they will need to succeed in the future. As the photos show, there was an excellent level of debate and colleagues worked collaboratively to further improve their teaching. These days are a vital part of the calendar as teachers continue to develop their skills.
The last day of term saw our first Golden Ticket event of the year. Incredibly, 273 students were eligible for the award - the highest ever - and we thank you for your support in continuing to make good attendance a priority. Planning for the next event in December is already underway and I for one am hoping that this year will not be as painful as it was for me last year.
On Thursday of this week, Capital Radio retuned to the school as part of the city wide initiative Get In:volved to encourage our Year 10 attendance. Jono Holmes, from the breakfast show, and Adam Inker, from drive time, attended an assembly to remind students of the importance of attendance and the chance to win free tickets for the exclusive Anne-Marie concert in January. All they have to do to stand a chance of winning is simply attend as much as possible between now and the 9th of December.
Well done to Tia Barton who won free tickets to a Chelsea ladies match as a result of being the Most Improved Player at the girls’ football festival just before half term.
It was great to see two former students in school this week. Mollie Compton and Kendall Field Pellow both got scholarships to top schools for sixth form (Portsmouth High and Portsmouth Grammar respectively) and are doing really well. Kendall has applied to Cambridge to study natural sciences and Mollie, who is going to study psychology at a university yet to be decided, has just raised over £1000 from a parachute jump from 10,000 feet.
The Student Council asked us to provide some water fountains at school so that they could fill a water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Mr. Nutland installed these in the playground over half term, so if you are fed up with buying water and worried about the environment from there being so much plastic in use, then bring a bottle into school and enjoy water for free.
Mrs. Dedman spent half term in Berlin as a guest of the German Embassy. She saw many sites including the Holocaust memorial, the Reichstag (pictured) and the Stasi museum showing the horrors of the East German secret police before the Berlin Wall came down. She was amazed to learn that the Germans had stolen the Treaty of Versailles when they invaded France in WW2 only for the Russians to steal it when they invaded Germany in 1945. More details can be seen on the news pages of the website.
Congratulations to Mr. Marshall who has been accepted into the Secondary Maths Mastery Programme. This is a national scheme to develop new ways of teaching Maths based on those so successfully used in China and the Far East. After a programme of training, Mr. Marshall will share the skills with other Maths teachers both here and at other schools locally.
We look forward to welcoming parents of Year 7 students at Parents Evening next Wednesday, 9th of November. Teachers will be available to talk to you about your child's progress from 14:30 until 18:30. There is no need to make an appointment, you can simply attend at a time that suits you best.
On the topic of Year 7s, Ms Sitch set a Year 7 Science project over half term that involved making a model about something they learned in Science during the previous term. Below are some examples of the amazing work they produced.
And finally, well done to our Year 11s who have completed a week of practice exams. These will now be marked and results provided in an event, on Wednesday the 23rd of November, designed to replicate the real results day in August. Parents can then discuss these results with teachers on Wednesday on the same day between 14:30 and 18:30.