Friday, 31 March 2017

31 March 2017

With Theresa May triggering Article 50 on Wednesday and the Scottish Parliament voting for a second referendum on independence, separation has been in the air. However, here at King Richard School we have been thinking about unity, not division.

Two more groups of Year 7s visited primary schools as part of our Speaking for Success initiative. Their incredible teamwork enabled the Year 5 and 6 students at Portsdown and St Pauls to get a good understanding of the demands of secondary school and help them be prepared for transition this September or next. Well done to the following students for representing the school so well: Leona Howard, Tallulah Standen, Jack Rance, Fatiah Okubadejo-Koromah, Courtney Nelson, Liam Frobisher, Layla Winning, Summer Alexander, Josh Forrest and Lacie Way.

The opportunity for the Primary schools to host their own Speaking for Success competition, inspired by our students, furthers the connection between our current and future students.

Unity is particularly important as we remember the tragic and shocking events in Westminster last week.  How we respond to such incidents is a reflection of our society, and I agree with Mike Haines who spoke to Years 9 and 10 back in November about the importance of tolerance and understanding. Mike's brother was murdered by terrorists in 2015 and Mike has dedicated his life to ensuring people from different faiths and cultures can live alongside one another in peace.


Our Personal Development curriculum in Years 7-9 covers many of these themes and helps our students learn about different beliefs and values across the world.  Our world is ever more complex and they will need this knowledge and these skills if they are to make sense of it.

Two of our Year 11 Sophie's - Mills and Martin - were united in their efforts this week to achieve the highest level in history.  Their commitment paid off as the two were awarded A* grades for their essays.  Most impressively, they achieved this high standard by responding to the feedback from their teacher, Miss Williams.  Well done, girls, you are well deserving of the Headteacher's positive referral and could be in the running for the Magnificent Seven prize.

We were pleased to welcome Barnados and local PCSOs to our assemblies this week.  They came to talk about all aspects of positive relationships with a presentation entitled Love or Abuse.  For too many people, the boundaries have become blurred and their hard hitting message reminded the students of their rights and responsibilities. One issue they dealt with was the sending of explicit images via social media which is increasingly common and ever more concerning. They pointed out that such actions are illegal and encouraged the children to talk to an adult if they are asked to get involved with such behaviour.  If you are worried about your child's online behaviour, please do talk to Mr Webb or Mrs Nancarrow here at the school.

Last week, our Year 7 boys’ football team won 6-2 against Springfield which means they remain unbeaten in the league.  Next week, they face Mayfield in a play-off to determine the league winners.  Good luck, boys!

This week, our Year 7 and 8 football team needed to dig deep into their reserves of courage, determination and grit when facing St Edmunds.  Although getting well beaten by a physically stronger and bigger St Edmunds team, our students (weakened by injuries) showed tremendous teamwork and unity in their match on Wednesday.  The score did not reflect the match, and the players' strength of character was commendable.  Mr Cooper informed me that parents from the other school were impressed that our boys never gave in, even when it became apparent that they were losing.

I have been working with the PE department to source a new PE sports top for next year.  We have seen some great designs and are now finalising which one will work best; I will share details of this with you shortly after Easter.  This is part of a general initiative to make sure our standards are as high as they can be as we prepare to move into the new school.  I have also asked my colleagues in Student Services to be vigilant in enforcing our uniform expectations after Easter, so do please use the holidays to renew any items that aren't currently part of school uniform.  For information on what is and isn't allowed, please visit our website.

With the move into the new school imminent, I am also proposing some changes to the timetable and school day for your consultation.  More detail on this can be found in the letter I will send to all parents with the termly progress statement next week and there will also be a page on our website from the 7th of April onwards.  Please do share your views on these proposals as part of our decision making.

Finally, well done to Harvey Newman and Megan Lindsay who received awards for their participation in the EBP Get Inspired campaign.  Both Year 7 students attended the recent Your Future careers event at the Guildhall, meeting employers and apprenticeship providers and starting to think about their plans for the future.  As I have said before, if students are to follow their dreams, they should plan early and my congratulations therefore go to Harvey and Megan who have obviously taken this message on board.

Friday, 24 March 2017

24 March 2017

"I am really proud of myself for doing something so difficult.  I have also learned that practise makes perfect.  Practicing over and over really helped me overcome my fears and gave me the confidence to give it a try."  Tyler Macey learned this important lesson on Wednesday afternoon after being part of the Speaking for Success team that visited Medina Primary school to present a presentation to their Year 5 and 6 students.  Well done to Tyler, Harvey Newman, Kiana Robinson and Maisy Choate for doing such a good job.

Harvey Rhoden gave me a brilliant explanation of the benefits of box graphs in mathematics earlier this week.  As you can see from his book, he had clearly learned how to calculate cumulative frequency, draw the curve, identify the median, upper and lower quantiles and then convert this data to the box method.  It was really impressive and well worthy of the head teacher's positive referral.

Another positive referral this week went to Courtney Shrubsole in Year 11 who responded well to the challenge set of creating some engaging chemistry revision materials.  As you can see, her origami creation definitely meets the criteria and now she has no excuse for not doing the necessary revision.

"We should be raising more money for starving children in Africa." This was the loud and repeated claim from the students this week who challenged my decision not to grant a non-uniform day for Comic Relief.  The power of student voice was overwhelming and I changed my mind. Students responded by showing their generosity and we raised a wonderful £546. Unfortunately, our attendance figure today was disappointing which means future non-uniform days will have to be reconsidered carefully.  Well done to Kara Collis who organised many of the other supporting activities which contributed to such a great day.

This week’s assembly program has been thought provoking too.  Local entrepreneur, Mark Smith, who founded The Car Finance Company and use to live in Hilsea Road, has a strong connection with the school and visited with Year 7 and 8 to present about what it takes to start your own company and the sorts of decisions you have to take if you want to be successful.  Offering the children a twenty pounds cash prize based on a heads or tails competition certainly got them interested!


On Thursday, we were pleased to welcome back Liam King and Gracie Green-Smith who both came back to encourage Year 10 students to sign up for the forthcoming college taster events.  Liam and Gracie are both thriving at Portsmouth College, doing well on their A Level courses and enjoying the extra opportunities like the Employability and Enterprise programme.  Please see below programme for up coming college taster days or visit our website for more information on careers and apprenticeships.

Tilly Westrope was in the same year group as Liam and Gracie, but she is an excellent example of a different route to a successful future. Tilly started an apprenticeship with Planet Education and is developing her skills as a sports coach.  She now regularly delivers sessions for young people in the local area and is back at KRS supporting aspects of girls PE.  Her skill levels and enthusiasm are wonderful and she is making a real difference whilst getting paid to learn.

Ms Grundy, who will provide maternity cover for Miss Nutland, started this week and we were very pleased to welcome her to the school.  Ms Grundy is an experienced dancer and has been at Portchester in recent times supporting them with their extracurricular programme. I am sure she will continue the excellent work in dance while Miss Nutland is away.

Thank you very much to the parents who came to our attendance forum last Friday.  The meeting provided a great opportunity for an informal talk with parents to hear their views about how we can work together more successfully.  Mrs House and I took away many sensible suggestions and are going to feedback to parents again on the 17th of May at 9:00. 

Mr Webb offered an excellent opportunity to Year 7 this week when they were invited to join the On Board programme at Portchester Sailing Club. This is a great opportunity to participate in a six-session introduction to sailing.  Last year's group of twelve sailors had a great time and learned lots of skills, so do please contact Mr Webb if your child is interested.

Finally, there were some great sporting results this week.  Well done to the girls’ football team who finished second out of five teams in the Year 7 and 8 girls football competition at Priory school.  They drew three matches but lost to the winners, Mayfield, and were beaten by a goal that, I am told by Aimee Chewter, could have been prevented. To add to the success, Year 7 boys thrashed Springfield 6 – 2.  So strong was this performance, many of the team are now hoping to get selected to play in the Year 8 team for the cup final on the 25th of April.

Friday, 17 March 2017

17 March 2017

"I have always wanted to be a teacher, so it was good practice to stand in front of the class and talk."  So said Marnie Walker in Year 7 following her group's very successful presentation at Victory primary school on Wednesday afternoon. Marnie was supported by Lilly Morley, Sam Sadler, Alfie Bignell and Jack Fisher as they tried to explain to Year 5 and 6 students what life at secondary school is like and explored some of the key points about King Richard School. 

Mr Hartley, the Headteacher at Victory, was very impressed by the students' confidence and the way they handled the variety of questions they were asked. Topics covered included homework, favourite subjects, sports clubs and what to do if you get lost, and our students dealt with these challenges really well. Another group has already been to Beacon View where they were equally successful and there are plans to take the same activity to St Pauls, Portsdown and Medina before the end of term.

Year 10 students responded really positively to the hard hitting performance by the Solomon Theatre group this week. The play The Power of Love deals with provocative themes such as domestic violence, the nature of relationships and substance misuse and then explores these further in workshops where the students have the chance to ask questions. Ryan Hannington (pictured) described the opportunity as insightful and one that “really got the point across about abusive relationships.”                                                         

At the end of last week, we said farewell to Mrs Scott whose baby is due in April. These are very exciting times for her and her family and we wish them all well and look forward to seeing her back in school soon. Mr Tucker has taken her Year 11 class, Mr Gill the Year 9s and Mr Bixley the 7 and 8s, so they are all in good hands.

Year 9 students explored the concept of micro-climates with Mr Holden at the end of past week. Measuring temperature in various parts of the school, they noticed the differences that exist and considered the impact of the vegetation and surrounding buildings on the weather. The aim is to develop a store of data that can be used for future comparisons and analyses.

Congratulations to Mrs Nutland who successfully completed her National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders recently. The NPQML is a well-regarded national qualification that recognises a series of qualities that leaders need to make a difference in education. The course is demanding, normally takes eighteen months and participants have to research and reflect on aspects of their role. Mrs Nutland joins Mrs Hill, Mr Waldren and Mr Gill who have also passed the course and demonstrates what excellent teachers we have at school.

Year 8 begin a week of examinations on Monday and you can see the timetable below. With GCSE examinations so much more demanding than previously - coursework is no longer a feature in most subjects and students are expected to have a more in-depth knowledge of the subjects they sit - it is vital that our students get used to what will be expected of them. Please support your child in completing revision activities prior to each exam (their teacher will have given them revision activities to complete) and discuss with them how to follow carefully the exam routines.

I also want to take this opportunity to remind you about our uniform standards. You can check what uniform is required here, and if you know that your child is wearing something that is incorrect, please ensure that the correct item is purchased for the start of the summer term.

Finally, Portsmouth College sent us some brochures this week advertising Adult Education Courses offered at the college. All classes take place in the evening or on a Saturday and some of them are even free. Please get in touch with the college for more information or collect a brochure from our reception.

Friday, 10 March 2017

10 March 2017

I thought I would dedicate much of this week's blog to the new building. Whilst I have been sitting in too many meetings deciding on colours of work tops, positions of plug sockets and other boring details, the contractors have been purposefully busy on the inside making great progress towards a September opening. I hope these photos give you the same sense of excitement they do me.

Last week's blog had a write up of this year’s school production, Fame Jr., but not all the photos were ready yet.  These are just a few of the spectacular moments that were captured and really show what a wonderful evening it was.

Our Year 11 students are just about to finish their second series of practice public examinations and I am very impressed with how seriously they have taken their preparation for these important exams.  The results will let them know how are they currently performing and, with about ten weeks left before they sit their first paper, the next few weeks will be critical if they are to get the success they deserve.  There is still time left to make a change to what marks can be achieved, but no time to waste, so please encourage your child to revise at home, attend master classes and ask for help where it is needed.

To aid our Year 11s in their exam preparation, students can now access revision material for English and Maths via the PiXLit and PiXL Maths apps using the school’s ID (which they have been given) and their surname and first initial as login details. More information on how to use the apps can be viewed on our website

It was great to see our Year 7 students challenging themselves this week when we entered a team into our first cricket tournament for some years.  It was a pleasure to watch Alfie Newsham and Dominic Adams, amongst others, practising their catching and bowling at break time and staying late to develop new skills under Mr Cooper's guidance.  The team put in a resilient performance but was unfortunately beaten by teams with more experience.

Sadly, there was no good news in this week's budget for schools.  You will have read that schools up and down the country are struggling to provide the services and education that our children need and deserve.  If you share my concerns and are worried about funding in education, then do please express your view to your local MP, Penny Mordaunt, and encourage her to lobby for more money into our schools.

Mrs Sear organised another impressive set of visitors for assemblies this week. On Tuesday, PETA (an apprenticeship provider) visited with our Year 7, the University of Portsmouth were in on Wednesday to talk to our Year 9s, Thursday saw our Year 10s visited by Havant College regarding taster days and finally our Year 11s met with Holly from UTC (a new technical college opening in September).

Next Friday at 10 o'clock, for one hour, we are hosting a parents' forum on attendance.  A group of parents are coming together to share the strategies they have developed to ensure their child attends school regularly and to feedback to us what it is that we could do better to help you succeed.  All parents are very welcome to join us and if you wish to attend, please let Mrs Gajdus ( 370321) know for catering purposes.