Friday, 26 May 2017

26 May 2017

Some amazing events and activities have happened in school this week, but before I describe these, I have to start by saying how shocked and saddened I was by the terrorist attack in Manchester at the start of the week.  It was truly awful and the whole school came together in a minute’s silence on Thursday as a mark of respect for those killed or injured while leaving the concert.  That the bomber targeted a concert attended by so many children makes the incident even more horrific and our thoughts and best wishes go to all the families affected.  I know many of our students have been worried and anxious as a result of these events, so I’m posting the following resources from the BBC news round which offers some advice and comfort in this trying time.  

Mrs McCombie and Miss Wilson were blown away by the contributions of Chelsey Howard and Jack Rance who worked with Year 6 students from St Paul's and Victory this week.  The primary students were the winners of the Speaking for Success competition held in their respective schools and they attended KRS for a workshop on how to develop their speaking skills.  Chelsey and Jack introduced them to the 5 S’s - Stand with confidence, Stride with purpose, Smile to engage, Speak clearly and Stay for applause.  They did a great job, showing real leadership, in helping the students to succeed.  Well done indeed.

"I can't wait.  I am definitely going to University after I have finished college, so this trip helps me with my plans". So said Molly-May Creamer who was one of 26 students who went to Southampton University this week as part of their Learn with Us programme.  They were introduced to university life, had a campus tour and took part in a number of taster sessions.  The only disappointment was that the million pound drop activity didn't make them any richer!

Look at these fantastic pieces of homework! Some of them were edible too and I understand that the class did indulge after they had discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their respective designs.  Well done to Mrs Bruins’ class for putting such commitment into their history homework.

Good luck to our Duke of Edinburgh students who are on their practice expedition in the New Forest this weekend.  They will walk carrying all their equipment and food, set up camp for the night and then walk back navigating themselves so they don't get lost.  Miss Long and Miss Chapman will be with them but they are expected to do it on their own so it will be a significant challenge and I wish them well.

Thank you to those parents who attended last week's Attendance Forum.  We had a useful discussion about how to make our partnership even more effective and a number of actions have already been taken as a result of the ideas from the parents who were there.  We have arranged to meet again towards the end of June and will confirm the date as soon as we can.  On the next agenda is how to use Progresso so that you can track your child's behaviour and attendance in real time rather than relying on texts and phone calls to know what is happening. So, do please come along if you want to know more.

Dates for your diaries:  We have added two extra dates to the calendar for the summer half term. 1. 11th July - Awards Evening.  We have completely revamped our awards evening structure for this year, so watch out for more details in the coming weeks.  We are looking forward to celebrating excellence with a large number of students and their families on the 11th of July. 
2. 19th July - End of Year Showcase.  The summer show will be our normal extravaganza and will showcase dance, music and drama for the last time in our current hall - I do hope you will join us.

On Friday of this week, Mrs Sear and the Girls Network organised a workshop for 15 Year 10 girls entitled How to Shine. The workshop explored personal branding which was then linked to how to shine at interviews. The girls carried out mini mock interviews and reflected on what they learnt from the session.The key employability skills that were focused on were:communication skills and team work.

I have asked my colleagues in Student Services to forcefully challenge students who let their standards of uniform slip next half term.  Of particular concern are trainers being worn rather than black polishable shoes, and skirts that are being worn too short.  If you know that your child is in this situation, please have a discussion with Ms Richardson or Mrs Sisk or the appropriate Head of House to resolve the issue.

While many of us are enjoying a half term break, please spare a thought for our Year 11 students who are preparing for their next GCSE examinations.  As always, there are planned revision classes in school over the half term as the timetable shows below.

As it is the end of the term, we will say goodbye to a few of our colleagues.  Mrs McCombie has been with us for nearly 3 years but is leaving at the end of the month to start a new life in France running a cycling holiday business.  Mr Bierton who has suffered a lot of ill health this year is also leaving as is Mr Cohen.  We have replaced all of these staff with excellent appointments for the new school year but there might be some disruption and group changes during the second half of summer while we adjust, and I am grateful for your patience during this time.

Have a great half term and we will see all students On Monday, the 5th June.

Friday, 19 May 2017

19 May 2017

A huge congratulations to Leona Howard and Ruby Collins who were the proud recipients of Amazon Gift Vouchers this week as a result of their amazing entries into the logo competition run by the local Capturing the Spirit organisation.  Students were invited to create a logo that captured what it means to live in Paulsgrove and both girls came up with wonderful ideas.  It was a close competition, but Ruby's was eventually judged the best and is now used on all the organisations’ leaflets and letters.  Remember, you can drop in to Capturing the Spirit to see the amazing work they do at 147 Allaway Avenue, or click here for their latest newsletter.

Last week, I gave you a glimpse into the experiences of the 24 Year 9 students who went on the Cumbria trip, courtesy of our SGN sponsors. It was a fantastic learning experience and one parent commented about her son, "he seems about three years older as a result". I am pleased to report that since that post, 4 of our students have been offered scholarships by the Outward Bound Trust because of their superb attitude on the trip, their commitment to the environment and aptitude for adventurous activities. The scholarship provides over 50% of the funding for a three week adventure in the summer of 2018. Well done indeed to Lauren Turner, Nadia Abu-Khalaf, Robbie Neil and Jack Weir.


I was thrilled to learn this week that former student, Keiran O'Toole, had been awarded the Youth Civic Award for his commitment to the local community. Keiran is a graduate of the National Citizenship Service, has been part of the team restoring Hilsea Lido, has raised loads of money for local charities and has set up his own social enterprise to combat bullying, and he is only 17! It is a fantastic achievement and richly deserved. Well done, Keiran!

Written GCSE examinations started in all earnest this week with Biology, Chemistry, Spanish and ICT all testing what the students have studied so far.  These are stressful times for our Year 11 students who are very aware that examinations are now harder than they have ever been and so important for helping them get on to the courses and apprenticeships they have dreamed of.  If you are in Year 11, or a parent of a Year 11 student, please don't forget that there are many revision materials on our website as well as top-tips to help you manage the exam stress. 

Ten lucky Year 8 and 9 students visited Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday of this week to take part in the Teentech event.  The students gained real experience of cutting edge developments in the technology, science and engineering sectors and spent valuable time with professionals from these sectors.  The next step is for the group to develop a prototype and have engineers evaluate their ideas - it should be interesting to see what they come up with.

Our Onboard sailors finished their 6-session programme this week and successfully completed their RYA Stage 1 introduction to sailing.  Impressively, they were able to sail a triangular course by Tuesday afternoon as a result of the skills they have learned and the way they worked together.  The instruction team down at Portchester Sailing Club have been really impressed with the attitude of the students, as the certificate demonstrates, and I know a number of them are hoping to take part again in the future.  Thanks go to Mr Webb for organising the trip.

Thank you to all the parents of Year 8 students who made it into parents evening on Wednesday despite the torrential rain. We can't maximise your child's progress and personal development without your help, and so it is fantastic when you are able to come along and talk with us face-to-face about how your child is doing in all of their lessons. It was a really positive evening with a lot of well received feedback and the opportunity to discuss possible option choices for next year. Please don't forget that option forms must be returned by the 5th June and they can also be found on our website.

Friday, 12 May 2017

12 May 2017

Greetings from Howtown in Cumbria where Miss Long and I have spent the last week with 24 Year 9 students on an adventurous challenge organised by the Outward Bound Trust and part-sponsored by SGN as part of their communities programme.

The week started at 4am on a slightly grim Monday morning and after 8 hours in the minibus, we arrived at Howtown which is located on the beautiful Lake Ullswater. The scenery is breathtaking as we are surrounded by the Lake District mountains and, being on the water's edge, students have really appreciated how wonderful it is, especially as the sun has shone all week.

Once we had collected our kit and sorted out our rooms - watching some of them try and put a duvet cover on was amusing - the first activity was the infamous jog and dip and the chance to jump in the icy waters of the lake. 

Having dealt with this brain freeze, anything was possible and the students have risen to challenge after challenge over the last five days, proving to themselves that they can achieve so much more than they realised. This has increased their self-confidence and improved their levels of resilience and determination - qualities that are so important in life.

They have struggled to overcome their fears of heights and water, climbed up waterfalls, camped wild in the mountains with no tent, walked up massive hills (despite their blistered feet) while carrying heavy backpacks and learned to work as a team with others they may not normally talk to. As one student said, " I have learned so much about myself and what I can achieve."

I hope the photos below will give you a glimpse of their experience. I will post more on the Successes page of the website in due course.

My thanks to all the parents who made it possible for their child to attend, to Miss Long for her hard work in making it happen and to SGN for their support and sending Stef and Richard as ambassadors who made such an excellent contribution to the week.

Getting ready for the gorge walk

Choosing food for the expedition
Briefing for the climb up Hollin How

Do we really have to walk that far?

Those packs look heavy!
Are we there yet???

Trying to sort out a bivouac shelter
Hurrah, success!

Food in a bag - after 4 hours of walking, it
tasted better than it looks!

Cooking dinner - the temperature dropped
to zero the night we camped

The campsite at Angle Tarn with some red deer
and a fox who stole our litter bag for company
A typical view

Marshmallows around the campfire on the last night

Friday, 5 May 2017

5 May 2017

My son's first cricket match, the first BBQ of the year and pouring rain - all the ingredients of a typical English bank holiday weekend! None the less, an extra day off is always welcome and I hope you enjoyed the break if you were able to.

We have had some great careers events in the last week. Sixteen Year 10 girls spent last Friday morning with an excellent motivational speaker from the Girls Network.  Jovana talked to the girls about her own difficult upbringing in care and how she had to struggle to make her life a success but had done so in spite of the hardships she faced.  She really made the girls think about the opportunities there are for them and the attitude they need to take advantage of them.  Her message was a reminder that things don't come to you in life, you have to go out and make life work for yourself, and anyone can do this if they have the right mindset.


A different group of Year 10 students spent the day at Portsmouth University this week on a taster event as a prelude to the three day residential they will be attending in July. The students focused on how to study smarter, not harder and contributed to the making of a video that outlines the benefits of their mentoring programme.  There has been a long tradition of King Richard School students going on to university and we will continue to do as much as we can to encourage our students to open their eyes to the benefits of higher education.

With this in mind, Portsmouth University also ran an event this week for Year 7 students called Freshers Day. The activities were designed to explain to our youngest students how university works and to get them excited about the possibilities on offerHarvey Newman said, "I learned about the different levels in universities and learned that it's not so difficult to get there."

Year 8 students were set a research task for History homework to investigate new vocabulary and definitions relating to a unit on medieval health and society. Their efforts were superb. Left to right in the photo below is: Asmita Madden, Mia McGowan, Brandon Davis, Demi Lorch, Shane May, Megan Hannah and Tayer Hartley.

Year 11 students have been completing their final Art exam this week.  Two days of intense effort and concentration led to some amazing work as these examples demonstrate.  Well done to everyone involved.

Our latest group of Onboard sailors began their six week sailing programme at Portchester Sailing Club this week under the guidance of 'Captain Webb'.  Ellie Trevarthen, amongst others, found that the sea was a bit colder than she imagined when capsizing unexpectedly but still came up smiling!  The course is an excellent introduction to the joy of sailing and, in testing their resilience and teamwork, teaches the children so much else besides.

Twenty four Year 9 students are just about to test their character fully when they set out for Cumbria on Monday morning.  They will endure a week of adventurous activities, including an overnight camping expedition in the Cumbrian mountains, situated adjacent to Ullswater.  They will be tested to their limits and find out about hidden strengths they did not know they had as well as having great fun on the way. I will be going with them and, as we don't return until midnight on Friday, there will be no blog next week.  The photo below was taken on last year’s Cumbrian trip and indicates just how much fun we all had.

We were pleased to welcome colleagues from the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) this week who have offered our students some lunch time taster sessions and individual coaching over the next few weeks.  The children joined in enthusiastically and it is always good to see young people trying new things.  I hope that some may decide to take the sport further.  Thank you to Mr Bixley (himself a keen tennis player) for organising this opportunity.