Friday, 15 December 2017

15 December

Highlights of the Week

It has been a busy but wonderful week.

We had a fantastic turnout at Year 11 Parents' Evening on Wednesday (71%) and so I would like to thank all the parents who were able to come along and support the school's work in trying to get the very best outcomes for their children in next summer's GCSE exams. It was a crucial evening not just for the opportunity to pick up the mock examination results but also to hear directly from the teachers about the steps that are necessary to make the target grades a reality. Once again, the feedback we had from parents was very positive.

I talked to many parents about Post 16 choices and it is apparent that some students are still unclear about what they will do next. If your son/daughter is in this situation, please contact Mrs Sear who can provide some timely careers advice about which way next by emailing her at

Our Year 9 band were put through their paces at the Wedgewood Rooms this week when they performed as part of the Portsmouth Music Hub's Christmas session. They performed three numbers including the rock classic Highway to Hell by ACDC, and at least one biased member of the audience thought they were the best on the night. Well done to Dylan, Shane and Oliver.


I came across this wonderful festive activity in Mrs Beck's tutor group this week. It is the Tree of Hope and Remembrance and students from across Cedar House were invited to hang a label on the tree to remember a member of their family or friendship group that they will be thinking about this Christmas. It is both a lovely idea and a timely reminder that Christmas is a lot about the people who really matter to us.

Learning Champions

I have been inundated this week with work to celebrate and below is just a selection of the outstanding things happening in and around school:

I was amazed at Megan Hanna's Science homework. The attention to detail is incredible and shows considerable understanding and commitment and is truly deserving of a SLT positive referral.

This Year 9 student really impressed Mr Holden and myself with her Geography homework project. What you see here is only part of her work on glaciers which amounted to six pages in the end - she said she got a bit carried away!

And finally, I loved this work produced by Mrs Hubbard's Tutor group who had investigated how Christmas is celebrated around the World.

Building Character, Shaping Futures

We have had three trips out this week. Year 9 scientists went to Southampton University whilst Year 7 creative writers went to Portsmouth as part of their Preparing for University mentoring programme.

Ten Year 7 students are participating in a 10 week reading/mentoring programme and have been reading The Graveyard.  At the workshop they attended this week, they learned how to write their own short story based on a character from the book which they will now turn into a short film/animation which can be seen next year May.

Photos of the Year 9 Southampton University trip:

Year 9’s spent all of Monday working on the LionHeart Challenge, an enterprise day where student groups had to agree on a community action project that would benefit the people of Paulsgrove. Once they had developed their concept, they needed to work out how to fund it and decide how they would market it before making a final presentation to a panel of expert judges. There were some great ideas, from fashion shows to youth clubs, and the students were extraordinary in showing just how employable many of them are and the potential they have for the future. This was true for all but even more so for the two students who were nominated for the Outstanding Student Award, Millie Cooke and Treyvon Tawadzera.

The event was sponsored by a local company Helistrat who provide waste management consultancy to firms across the country. Helistrat is a relatively new business but a very successful one and we were extremely grateful to Bernard Amos, the Chairman, who established the partnership with the school and came along to be one of the judges on the day. Bernard, who is looking for local people to develop the skills and attributes necessary to work in his business, was impressed with the ideas from the students especially the winning concept of a youth project run for young people by young people.

Key Dates

Wednesday, 20 December - Christmas lunch
Thursday, 21 December - Golden Ticket and £1 non-uniform fundraiser
Friday, 22 December - End of term (school finishes at 12.50, no food available at lunchtime on the day)
Monday, 8 January - First day of term (Week 1)


Thank you to all parents who have been taking the time to park thoughtfully at the end of the day to ensure children can cross the road safely. I understand that the council will be painting zigzag lines on the area in front of the student entrance in the New Year which should support this effort to ensure the area remains a safe one.

We have had some members of the public praise our students on their way to and from school recently and it is lovely to hear about the small acts of kindness they show or their general good behaviour as they return home after a long day. Please reinforce these messages with your children that I would like them all to be courteous, thoughtful and polite as they move about the local area.

There will be no blog next week as we break for Christmas, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all parents and families for their support over this term. It has been a stressful time with the move into the new building but thanks to your efforts, combined with those of the staff, this has been managed in a way that has minimised the impact on the children's learning. I do hope you and your families have a restful and happy Christmas and I look forward to working with you in 2018.

Friday, 8 December 2017

8 December 2017

Highlights of the Week

We have been feasting this week!  Year 11s worked really hard and have been incredibly successful during their food and nutrition practical examinations as these photos show:

It was fantastic to meet some of our former students at the Lord Mayor's Banqueting Suite on Monday evening at the UNLOC Christmas reception.  Reece Matthews has developed his business skills and is soon to become a full time member of the Digital Dinos staff.  Kieran O'Toole is doing amazingly well with his social enterprise Rock Clothing and their subsequent work on anti-bullying, and Kara Louise Collis is playing her part by beginning to contribute to Student Voice work across the City.  These three real success stories are as a result of the hard work and drive of these former KRS students as well as the support of UNLOC and we are very proud of the work they are doing the difference they are making.

Kara Louise Collis
Keiran O'Toole
Reece Matthews

Final decisions were made this week for casting our next Performing Arts Extravaganza.  In the Spring, we will host Bugsy Malone, and after several call backs, which were necessary given the huge number of talented performers who had auditioned, the casting was finally agreed.  Well done to all those who auditioned and especially to those who were successful:

Bugsy Malone - Dylan Willis
Tallulah - Leona Howard
Blousey Brown - Ellie Trevarthen
Fat Sam - Mason Frost
Fizzy - Xavier Groves
Lena Marrelli - Molly-May Creamer
Dandy Dan - Anna Parker-Stokes
Knuckles - Oliver Byng 

We have enjoyed showing off our great new facilities to children from local primary schools this week.  On Wednesday, we hosted a mini 5 a-side football tournament in the sports hall between Beacon View and Victory Primary, and on Thursday and Friday we hosted nearly 180 Year 6 students for our Harry Potter Science Extravaganza.

Both events were great fun, well supported and it was wonderful to see the children's enthusiasm for the facilities as well as the superb skills they showed in both events.  Year 6 student, Isobel, said her favourite experiment was The Death Worm because "it's amazing how a an everyday sweet like a LoveHeart can turn into such a hideous structure".

Learning Champions

This week, the MFL Department awarded the following students Linguist of the Month in Spanish and French for their hard work, resilience and determination to learn a second language:

Year 7: Grace Pearce, Kira Groves
Year 8: Tyla North, Leah Buckley-Morgan, Alfie Bignell
Year 9: Jake Bailey, Oakley Hodges, Courtney Bunting
Year 9 French: Brandon Davis
Year 10: Gypsie Palmer 
Year 11: Jessie Drackett, Jessica Austin, Chloe Richardson 

Our Year 7 geographers visited Commercial Road this week. The aim of their trip was to understand how the land in town centers is used and, more importantly, to explore the habits of shoppers who visit the facilities.  Their attitude, hard work and superb manners impressed both their teachers and the huge number of people they surveyed as part of the project.  They will now learn how to collate and present their data as part of an assessed write up and I will publicise some of the best of these when they are complete.

Some of our Year 8s have been hard at work writing poetry and below is an example of one of the poems that caught my eye this week:

Building Character, Shaping Futures

Tuesday saw the latest round of mentoring from our friends at the Girls Network.  It was very satisfying to hear from the mentors how well the Year 10 girls are doing as they think about how to make the most of the opportunities they have in front of them.  They were uniformly punctual, engaged, interested and they are clearly growing in confidence.  Well done to everyone involved.

On Wednesday, our Year 9 Sports Science students began their work with the University of Portsmouth.  They attended a lecture at the University to kick start the programme and  will attend further events that are planned for the next year.  They will be mentored in school by Mr Herriot and supported by students from the University so that they can understand the benefits of University and consider it fully as one of their options for the future.

Key Dates
11 December – Year 9 Lionheart Challenge
13 December – Year 11 Parents’ Evening
20 December – Christmas Lunch (£1p/p)
21 December – Golden Ticket Event and Non-Uniform Fundraiser (£1)
22 December – End of term (Half Day)
8 January – Start of New School Term


Please encourage your child to take care when crossing the road at the end of the day.  A few are crossing in between parked cars and as the evenings draw in and there isn't much light, the risk of an accident is increased.  With that in mind, if you are picking your child up, please do park safely and not on double yellow lines, especially between ourselves and Victory school.  The lollipop lady at Victory is finding it hard to see oncoming traffic to determine when it is safe for children to cross the road given the number of cars parked illegally.

Children are getting excited about our Golden Ticket Event and Charity Day on the 21st December.  Golden tickets will be handed out based on House points (attendance plus positive referrals), so do encourage your child to continue to work hard and attend regularly to increase their chances of receiving the reward.  This year's event is a first for the school and I think it is going to be great fun.

We have now placed the order for Christmas lunches on the 20th of December, but if your child missed the deadline and you are really keen for them to be part of the celebrations, please contact the office and we might be able to help.

I was talking to one parent recently who was really positive about the Show my Homework app and described how it helped her make sure her son did all of his homework.  It really is a great tool and we encourage you to use it to help your child get into good homework habits. If you have lost your login details, please contact James Webb at Further details on how to get the most from it can be found here.

Friday, 1 December 2017

1 December 2017

Highlights of the Week

Last week Friday, we had our termly Attendance Forum which was really useful.  The parents who attend this meeting provide us with some invaluable feedback about what is working and what isn't about the school and it is so helpful to know your views which will help us improve.  Parents loved the new school building and were really positive about the changes to the school day and reminded me that our text message system needs to be reviewed. If you have clear views about these items or others and are willing to give up an hour every term to join the discussion, then please get in touch by emailing Mrs Gajdus at

It was a treat to be given some old school reports this week.  They belonged to the mother of a Year 8 parent who had found them when clearing out some old belongings.  They spoke of a bygone era and gave a glimpse into life at the school in the late 80s and early 90s and reminded me of my own school reports which were set out in the same way.  If you have any such memorabilia, please consider making it part of the archives held by Capturing the Spirit or by Debra Welch.  You can use the following links to make submissions:

I was exceptionally proud of our Year 8 footballers this week.  Although they were defeated in the semi-final of the cup, losing 2 -0 to Admiral Lord Nelson, they showed tremendous determination and resolve.  The match was much closer than the score suggests and we created many chances, notably when Owen Phillips hit the bar.  Once again the team was a credit to the school, so well done to the following boys: Josh Grmishaw, Alfie Newsham, Charlie Newsham, Oliver Clements, Kai Powell, Frankie Clarke, Owen Phillips, Harvey Tazwell, Stan Saveall, Tyler Simmons and Sam Sadler.

We were pleased to finalise the arrangements for our Christmas lunch this year which will be held on the 20th December.  The lunch is subsidised and will only cost £1, but we can only serve 250 meals, so do please return the reply slip on the letter that has been sent to you by Tuesday at the latest to be sure of a place.  If you need another copy of the letter, you can download it here.

There were some splendid Tutor time activities going on this week that really impressed our visitor, Frank Green (the former English School's Commissioner). Students were working collaboratively on anti-bullying strategies in follow up work from Anti-Bullying Week.  We are also taking 50 students to an anti-bullying conference at the Guildhall in January as part of our efforts to get students to take the lead on how we treat each other.  The conference is being run by former student, Keiran O'Toole, as part of his excellent social enterprise, Rock Clothing, and we are looking forward to supporting his work.

Learning Champions

Year 11 Art students had their mock exams this week and impressed Mrs Beck and Miss Marsh with the quality of their work, some examples of which are included below.  The exam is a real test for students who have to spend the whole day on their chosen final piece and, as well as developing their skills, they have to learn to manage their emotions if things don't go to plan.  They demonstrated their resilience and flexibility and produced some thoughtful work of which they can be proud.

I was amazed at the energy demonstrated by 7K1 in their Spanish lesson on Thursday. Mr Lopez had really captured their imagination and they couldn't have been more enthusiastic as they learned about colours while racing against both the clock and each other.  Not only were they keen but they were accurate and this bodes well for their future success in Spanish learning.

Building Character, Shaping Futures

There is a great opportunity for Year 10 students at the moment.  We have developed a partnership with the Unloc organisation to deliver an enterprise programme in the New Year.  This course which will start after Christmas is designed to support students who might wish to run their own business in the future.  It will take students through a number of experiences designed to show them how to turn a passion or hobby into a lucrative business.  For more information, follow the links below or contact Mrs Sear

South Downs College came to school this week to explain to students the range of courses they have on offer and to encourage everyone to make sure they are fully informed about their choices as they start to make decisions about their future.  Our Year 11 students have real choice between many great colleges and apprenticeship providers and it is crucial that they get as much information as possible.  With this in mind, please see below for next week's Careers interview schedule.

Key Dates

7 December - Year 6 Science Taster Day
11-15 December - Food Preparation Exam
13 December - Year 11 Parents’ Evening
20 December - Christmas lunch
21 December - Golden Ticket Event and Fundraiser
8 January - Start of Term


If your child rides their bike to school, please note the following:  Students must take care when cycling on the cycle way and be mindful of the pedestrians using the path too, especially outside of Victory Primary School.  Please also ensure your child has a suitable lock for the bike and that it is covered by your insurance (bikes are left at your own risk).  Bikes must be roadworthy and safe and students are encouraged to wear safety equipment including a helmet.

Parking remains very difficult at the school, especially in the afternoons, and parents from Victory Primary School are concerned that cars parked in between the two schools on double yellow lines are making it difficult for the lollipop lady to ensure a safe crossing for younger children.  Please remember to park legally and sensibly to ensure that no one has an accident.

Next week, we welcome all Year 6 students to our new school for Science taster events.  We are very much looking forward to joining them and hope that as many parents from Year 6 as possible will be able to join us for the presentations at the end of the day.

Friday, 24 November 2017

24 November 2017

Highlights of the Week

We thoroughly enjoyed welcoming Year 7 and 10 parents into the school this week for our first Parents' Evening of the year.  The turnout was excellent and all the parents I spoke to love the new school building and appreciated the honest and helpful feedback they were given by their child's teachers. In our new home, we were able to make parents feel much more welcome with excellent refreshments served by our Year 11 Student Leaders and performances from some Year 10 musicians which created a great atmosphere.  We also showed a time-lapse video of the construction of our new school which was taken from July 2016 to October 2017 and this can be viewed here.

These events are so important because they develop the partnership between school and home that is so critical for success at school.  This year we are holding two evenings for each year group rather than one, so I do hope you can make the next one.

At these evenings, we always ask parents for their feedback and once again parents were tremendously positive with many commenting on how well their child is doing and how proud of them they are.  The full results will be on the website when the statistics are ready but if you didn't complete the survey, you can download the questions by clicking on the form below and then return it to Mrs Gajdus at

On Tuesday, we welcomed the Police Safety Team into school to talk to Year 7 students about online safety and, more particularly, the risks that children face by befriending strangers on line.  The students were amazingly attentive (the best the presenters had ever worked with apparently) and engaged fully with the ideas put across by asking and answering questions.  However, too many of them are still complacent about the risks, so please get involved in helping to make sure your child is safe by discussing the risks with them and talking to them regularly about their online behaviour.  The presentation used in the assembly is available here, and if you are at all worried, then please contact Mrs Nancarrow or Mr Webb to discuss the matter further.

In the last week we have welcomed back into school many former students who were eager to see the new facilities that are so much better than those they knew in the old building.  What is really satisfying is how well they are doing now whether that be on A-level courses at Portsmouth, apprenticeships with top local companies like Drift IT or at colleges taking child care qualifications.  We have our certificate evening for last year's leavers on the 7th of December from18:30-19:30 and we look forward to seeing them then.

In our new school and on the brink of converting to academy status, we are refreshing our aims and vision for the school and very much want parents to be involved.  If you have a clear idea of what you want the school to do for your child over the next five years of their education with us, please send us your thoughts as we would love to hear from you.  You can email these to

Learning Champions

This week in Geography, Fidel IV Iturrios showed he is a determined geographer when he presented two sets of climate data for Addis Ababa and Brazzaville, both with a high degree of accuracy and care. Mr Watkins is really proud of 7K3 and how they have all responded to the challenge of presenting climate data, but Fidel has been the stand-out student this week.  

I had a fascinating discussion with Year 9 reading mentors this week.  This group of willing volunteers have been going to Victory Primary School on a Tuesday afternoon to support younger children with their reading.  They have been coached by Ms Findlay, and Mr Hartley at Victory has commended them on the impact they have already had.  They were eager to tell me what they had learned about how children learn to read and the importance of controlling and varying your choice of words when speaking to small children.  The knowledge they have gained in only two weeks is incredible and I look forward to this project growing from this promising start.

Congratulations go to two Year 11 star footballers.  Georgie Freeland spent much of October half term on training camp with the England Regional Development Hub and is working hard in her usual quiet, no-fuss way towards the possibility of selection for her age group’s national side.  Stephen Emery has been selected to play for Hampshire U16s and has represented the county over their last five games and contributed to the success that has seen them top their league and reach the semi-finals.  Well done to both of these students and we wish them luck for the future. 

I saw some really impressive activity in enrichment on Tuesday when Year 9 students in Games had to take on leadership roles, directing their teams to both participate and succeed by working effectively together.  It was amazing how well the students stepped up to the challenge the PE staff had set them and to see the leadership qualities they demonstrated.  Our enrichment programme is designed to allow students to develop qualities like leadership, teamwork and resilience that will help them in the future when they are working and this was a good example of this in practice.

Building Character, Shaping Futures

We have a great opportunity in the New Year for Year 10 students who might want to start their own business by turning a passion or a hobby into an enterprise that can bring in money. Starting in January, the school will run an enrichment programme, together with Unloc, which will see 25 students learn all the keys skills required to set-up and start their own business.

A group of Year 8 and 9 students had a glimpse into their potential future when they were invited to a special matinee performance of Romeo and Juliet at South Downs College.  The play was performed by BTEC Level three students in the Performing Arts (a course a number of our students apply for and are successful at) and was followed by a question and answer session about both the play and the details of the course which was really informative.

I have been really impressed by how well current Year 11 students have responded to the careers interviews and how useful they are finding the meetings.  Careers interviews are designed to help students explore their options when they leave school and give them the information they need to make the best choice for them.  After each interview, every student should have some actions to follow up on to emphasise their responsibility for their future, and the students I have spoken to have been really positive about the experience.  If you have any questions or want to know more about this process, then please contact Mrs Sear at

Key Dates
6-8 December – Year 6 Science day
11 December – Year 9 Lionheart Challenge
13 December – Year 11 Parents’ Evening
21 December – Golden Ticket Event
22 December – Last day of term (half day)
8 January – First day of term


Our programme of pre-school activities started this week and is starting to prove very popular.  Don't forget that breakfast is available every day for just 50p in the Food room.

Please be careful where you park when you pick up or drop off your child at school.  The site of the new school is more congested and if cars park on double yellow lines, it can cause problems for our neighbours and make it difficult for students to cross the road safely.  Thank you in advance for your co-operation in this matter.

I also want to remind you that if your child rides a bike to school, the bike must be safe and roadworthy.  Bikes are left at your own risk, so I urge you to ensure your child has a suitable padlock and the bike is covered by insurance.  The bike sheds are locked each day but are opened at the end of the day until the next morning so bikes shouldn't be left overnight where their security cannot be guaranteed.

Year 9 students have been invited to apply for a place on the Cumbria trip. Encouragingly, many students are showing an interest, but it is not too late to sign up if your child wishes to attend.  There are only 24 places available on a trip that is heavily subsidised, so please don't delay.  If the trip is oversubscribed, some places will be allocated to students facing disadvantage as judged by the Student Services team.

Please do make sure you have returned the updated Medical and Consent form. This ensures that we know we have the correct details on your child and that we are able to support them to be safe in school.

If you signed up for the iPad scheme and haven't yet talked to the Finance office to understand how the payment options have had to change with the conversion to academy status, then please do so as soon as possible. You can contact Sharon Gill at