Friday, 30 September 2016

30 September 2016

"Great use of a wide range of vocabulary, ability to write at length and much more accurate use of grammar and punctuation".  This was how Mrs Nutland described the extraordinary progress made by some of her Year 11 English students.  It was a pleasure to go in to the classroom this week and celebrate these achievements and hand out the awards to the prize winners, Danny Elmes and Callum Mountfield (pictured). Well done boys, keep it up.

More good news on the writing front this week is confirmation that Fatiah Okubadejo-Koroma is now a published author.  Her short story about Boudicca has been published in Hampshire Ancient Adventures, a book based on submissions to a young writer's competition – congratulations to her.

Good luck to Year 7 student, Rhiannon Hood, who has entered the Great South Run at half term to raise money for Ellen McArthur's charity which supports children with cancer.  Rhiannon told me she has known many people with cancer and was inspired by Ellen's bravery in sailing around the world and so wanted to take part and do her bit to make the lives of others better.  Good luck Rhiannon.

"Thanks for making me feel so welcome in my new school", "The work is much harder but it is great fun and I love it", "I am really proud, I have had 48 positive referrals already" - three quotations that demonstrate just how well our Year 7 students are doing at the moment.  Thank you to all parents for their support in making this happen.  If you are a Year 7 parent, please ensure the 9th of November, which is the Year 7 parents' evening, is in your diary.  This will be your chance to meet all of your son/daughter's teachers and explore how much progress they have made in their subjects so far and, more importantly, how much effort they are putting into their education.

Year 10 parents should ask their child about the Capital Radio Get In:volved competition and the chance to attend a concert in January for free, courtesy of Capital Radio.  To qualify, all students need to do is be in school and encourage their mates to do the same - the House group with the highest attendance will win tickets to see Anne-Marie at the Theatre Royal.

In a week of great football controversy, our Year 11 footballers added to the sports woes when they lost in the cup to St Edmunds.  This was a great shame after matching St Eds for much of the game and scoring 4 good goals.  The Year 10 table tennis team put in a creditable performance in an area-wide competition, narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-finals.  Well done to Daniel House who won 3 of his matches and Jack Stewart who represented the school for the first time.  Remember, there is a full line up of after-school sports activities which can be found here. 

In next week's Conservative Party conference, I expect there will be much coverage of their plans to reintroduce grammar schools across England and Wales.  Well over 80% of headteachers surveyed don't believe there is any evidence that grammar schools will improve outcomes for children and think this is a distraction from some of the main challenges in our education system, for example, fair funding and teacher supply.  If you would like to express an opinion on this topic, the DfE has opened a consultation which you can access from this link.

Keir construction tell me that 50% of the steel frame for the new building has been erected. Hurrah! I hope to upload more photos on the website next week so you can see the emerging ideas for the inside of the building.

Attendance has been a bit lower this week which is disappointing.  Please remember the importance of good attendance (we are looking for everyone to have 95% or more) and ensure any appointments out of school for your child are made for after school hours.  If you are unsure about whether your child is well enough to be at school, our website offers much guidance and the table below, based on advice from the NHS, will prove helpful.

Friday, 23 September 2016

23 September 2016

I continue to be really impressed by our new Year 7 students.  They are always smartly dressed, well equipped, committed to homework and so enthusiastic.  They have also settled in well.  The picture below shows just how serious they have been taking their daily DEAR sessions (Drop Everything And Read) which is really encouraging.  I remain convinced that reading regularly is one of the most important things your child can do to progress at school, so please keep encouraging them to read.

I have also been wowed by how mature our Year 11 students have become over the holidays.  As one said to me yesterday, "It is our final year; we really have to knuckle down and take it seriously."  He is not alone in this thinking as many are showing an excellent attitude, not least our Student Leadership Team who have some great ideas for how they are going to improve their school - more on this will follow in the future. I have also been thrilled by how a number of them have looked after some of our more vulnerable new students to ensure they are safe and happy.

Sporting fixtures have started for the new year.  The Year 10 football team came up against a very good Mayfield team and placed second.  The Year 11 boys have a cup-match next week and there is also a table tennis tournament where some of the Year 10 students are hopeful for success.  A full programme of lunchtime and after school activities that your child can get involved in is available on our website.

Attendance has been excellent so far this year.  Thank you for your support in making sure your child is in school every day and understands that 9 out of 10 for attendance just isn't good enough as it means 19 days off a year which is bound to affect how successful they are.  If maintaining good attendance is a problem for you, please come and talk to us.  The first person to contact is Mrs. Lisa House, our Education Welfare Officer, who will be pleased to try and help you resolve any problems.

Following are a few dates for your diary: 
  • Monday 3rd October from 4pm-7pm is our annual Open Evening aimed at showing parents of children in Year 6 how wonderful our school is.  Many of your children will be helping on the night as they are always the best advert for the school and I thank you in advance for allowing them to be here.  The school is fully open and you are welcome to come along and see us in action.
  • Wednesday 5th October we will be holding our first "no pens" day.  This is not an excuse to leave the pens at home but more an initiative to encourage students to develop their skills of speaking and listening.  These skills are vital for life and work and so my team will be exploring fun and interesting ways to bring more of these activities into our lessons.  I will feed back to you after the event, hopefully with many photos of the children’s' successes.

It is the time of year when colleges and sixth forms hold their open evenings and it would be very valuable for all Year 11 students (and some forward thinking Year 10s) to go along and take a look at what is on offer. All of the colleges make presentations in assemblies, but there is nothing like an actual visit to decide if it is a place they wish to study. The programme is listed below and these details can also be found in the newsletter and the website.

Just in case you haven't noticed or seen the news article last week, here is a picture of the frame of the new building. Progress is really rapid now and if the weather stays pleasant, the shell of the building will be in place by Christmas.

Friday, 16 September 2016

16 September 2016

After six and a half weeks of holiday, the first day back at school was a bit of a shock to the system for students and staff alike.  Happily, we all made the transition easily and have had a great start to the new academic year.  Attendance has been excellent and the vast majority of students are in perfect uniform - thank you to all parents for your support in making everything work so smoothly.

The theme for the start of the term is Success.  The most notable example of this is the excellent GCSE results that we received at the end of August.  They were the school's best ever, despite our students sitting much harder exams now than before.  There were more A*/ A grades, more grades at C or better and more students than ever before gaining a C or better in English and Maths.  We are thrilled with the results and immensely proud of the students who worked really hard and deserve this success. 
The results have opened many doors for this group of Year 11 students.  Three have been awarded scholarships to independent schools, others have been offered prestigious apprenticeships at venues like QA Hospital, and the majority gained entrance into the colleges of their choice.  This is fantastic news!

We continue to get good news about former students. Last week Friday, we welcomed back Liam King who gave an assembly to our new Year 11 students about planning for GCSE success.

Liam is at Portsmouth College and was the top student at AS Level in the summer.  He is currently planning an application to Oxford University. Kendall Field Pellow, of the same year group and now on a scholarship to Portsmouth Grammar School, has similar plans.

Last week, we also welcomed back Darcie Harper.  Darcie left in 2014 but has now joined us as a member of staff (much to her brother's concern) to complete her Level 3 apprenticeship as a teaching assistant. We have a long tradition of helping our students develop their careers and it is a pleasure to be able to work with Darcie in this way.

At the start of this week, another ex-student visited us.  Alex Le'Marquand, who left KRS in 2008, is a Senior Air Craftman for the RAF and is looking to start his Officer training next year.  Alex was back to lead some workshops for Year 11 students on motivation and leadership which are both important skills to master as they prepare for their final year of secondary school.  

As the photos show, the workshops were very practical and forced students to consider what they can do to fulfil their dreams. Mr Gill, who coordinated the day, was thrilled with the impact it had on students and said, "The students really took it seriously and got a lot from the event." Year 11 student, Lucas Devey, reflected, "He treated us as equals and motivated me to think about my future career choices."

On Thursday, Capital Radio were in school to launch their city wide attendance initiative "Get In:volved" which is aimed at Year 10's.  The objective is to improve attendance of Year 10 students across the city, and, to this end, Capital FM will be promoting the importance of attendance on their programmes and organising free tickets for an exclusive gig in January for the students with the most improved attendance.  If you have a child in Year 10, please give your support to the campaign. Who knows, your son or daughter could be on their way to a great concert later in the school year.

Today, we welcomed a group of dignitaries to the new school for a publicity event to mark the incredible progress that the company Keir construction are making on the new build.  Officers from the Government and Portsmouth City Council, Penny Mordaunt, our local MP, Donna Jones, the leader of the council as well as local councillors Gemma New, Stuart Potter and John Ferrett were amongst our guest.  The Portsmouth News were also in attendance, so you should be able to see the story in the paper over the weekend.


I am thrilled at how how well our Year 7 students have settled in. They look very smart in their uniforms, are attending well and, if my History class is anything to go by, completing lots of homework. They have made a really positive start to their school career here at KRS. If there is anything you are worried about, please don't hesitate to get in touch so that we can resolve any issues before they develop further. 

The school photographer was in school today to take individual photos of students as well as House photos. These will shortly be available for sale, so watch out for more details if you are interested in purchasing a photo of your child looking smart in their uniform.

The Performing Arts department were thrilled last week by the enthusiasm of Year 7 and 8 students who auditioned for the pantomime Cinderella.  The show, written by Ms Hall, includes great songs and many jokes and promises to be a wonderful evening of entertainment for the whole family.  Well done to all those selected for the a role and good luck with the rehearsals to come.  

Our new members of staff are all settling in well and have made a good impression on students.  Ms Scarcliffe and Mr Lopez have joined the Spanish team, Mr Lee joined our Maths staff and Mr Stuart and Ms Choudhry the English department.  Mr Boxall is our new Head of Inclusion and Ms Twining is covering for Sam Griffiths while she is on maternity leave.  Good luck to all these colleagues and I hope the year progresses well.

There are a number of new policies on the website, including a new complaints procedure .Please take the time to read through these when you have a moment.

And finally, are you interested in having a say in the running of the school and helping shape its future?  If you are, the Governing body are looking for a new parent Governor to join them and are very keen to have the voice of parents represented so that we make the right decisions for the future. More details of the role and a description of what is expected can be found here.  Governors complete a really important function in school and this presents a great opportunity for someone to get involved with the direction the school takes. If you would like to talk through the role informally, then I would be happy to do so - please do get in touch.