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.