Friday, 21 July 2017

21 July 2017

As it is the last day of term and the last blog for a month or so, I shall concentrate on this week's highlights:

Highlights of the Week

Last week, some of our students took part in a workshop called 1 in 4 which explored issues and ideas around the topic of mental health. The Drama Company, Fluid Motion Theatre Company, and representatives from UP for Uni, sponsored by the University of Portsmouth, were very impressed by our students and their creativity and sensitivity to such an important topic.  Well done to Dominic Adams, Liam Frobisher, Kada Jones, Layla Winning, Ellie Trevarthen, Denesha Curry, Ashleigh Willis, Scott Brudenell, Ellis McDowall, Bobbie-Jo Jeans, Dylan Willis, Mia Featherstone, Mason Frost, Courtney Bunting, Kallum Potter, Marie Neville, Kirsty Pearce, Aimee Whitbourne, Summer Hayward, Daniel House, Jacob Laver, Billy Rhoden, Lucie-May Gudgeon and Kacey Lawrence who were energetic, enthusiastic, sensible and wonderful to work with. Their contribution led to some high quality pieces being performed at Saturday night's showcase.

On Tuesday, the Geography department visited where they began their beach investigations at Swanage. Students worked hard after completing their own risk assessments to measure groyne heights and the rate of longshore drift, to help them understand how sediment moves and how engineering can be used to protect our coastlines.  After a welcome bag of crisps and a cool drink, students investigated how tourism has impacted on the functions of Swanage town.  The traditional group photo ended a memorable visit with plenty of hard work in hot and sunny conditions to complete all tasks. This is what students had to say about the visit: Ethan Fifield: 'I've learned so much about groynes today'; Lauren Cutting: 'Seaweed gets in the way of my data collection'; Jay Saunders: 'I can really see how the town has been geared up for tourists, not locals."  

Sixty two students had a great time at Thorpe Park yesterday on our fully funded reward trip offered for excellent attendance and high numbers of positive referrals accumulated throughout the course of the academic year.  The photos below capture just a glimpse of the excitement of the day.  All the students had a fabulous time and finished the day in various degrees of saturation after enjoying all that Thorpe Park had to offer. Our thanks to Mrs Scott, Mrs House, Miss Blandford, Mr Holden, Mr Hopwood, Mr Bixley and Mr Watkins for accompanying them on this trip:

Wednesday saw the school host an extraordinarily good summer showcase.  The blend of dance, drama and music was perfect and there were some wonderful group and individual performances in all of the disciplines that left the audience feeling very impressed.

Well done to some of our star readers from Years 7, 8 and 9 who made an excellent contribution to the Love Reading Festival at Victory Primary School.  Their passion for reading really rubbed off on the younger students, so congratulations to Alfie Bignell, Oliver Byng, Joshua Grimshaw, Sam Sadler, Bethany Smith, Marnie Walker, Rosie Willett, Jasmine Curtis, William Doswell, Alex Grant, Shannon-Marie Harvell, Lewis Mountifield, Maizey Murrant and Destinee Purchase.

This week we were able to celebrate with some of our prizewinners from the recent employability week.  Students who were awarded showed all-round engagement in the careers fair finding out the most information to shape their future, and the image below is of those Year 10 students who so impressed employers at the mock interviews, they were given a special commendation (which means they would’ve been given the job if it was an actual interview). 

Well done also to these Year 9 construction students who are the first to get a sneaky glimpse of the new building as part of a site visit organised to help them understand the roles in the construction industry.

Look at this British Bake Off entry! George Wiggins showed incredible creativity, skill and determination in producing this masterpiece in catering this week.  I am sure it tasted as good as it looked.

Well done to Luke Loader, Millie Cooke and Justin Slade who were rewarded by Ms Findlay for their excellent speeches in English based on Shakespeare's rousing Henry V speech prior to the battle of Agincourt. Millie even read hers to enthuse the students on the bus prior to arriving at Thorpe Park on Thursday!

Key Dates

Monday 4th September, at 10am: first day of the autumn term. Students in Year 8-11 should report to their form tutor for an extended tutor time and Year 7 students should go to the main hall. Lessons will start after break.
Friday 13th October: end of half term
Monday 30th October: first day in new school
Friday 22nd December: end of term
Monday 8th January: first day of term


I've written an end-of-year letter to all parents which should arrive in the post shortly. Please carefully read the section on uniform and, if you are a parent, ensure your child has the correct uniform at the start of the new term (including the new PE top). Our uniform leaflet is on our website and can be accessed here.

If you're wondering how to keep your children entertained over the long summer holiday, please find below some information regarding activities being held in the community:

Help shape the future of Portsmouth Family Hubs (formerly Children’s Centres) by completing this short survey being carried out by The Portsmouth Parent and Carer Board to find out about the needs of parents of children aged 5-19 (up to 25 with SEND) with regards to parenting support. The information will be used by Portsmouth City Council to inform future decisions about service provision via the new Family Hubs. This survey has 3 questions and should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

The end of a school year usually brings with it a number of goodbyes to members of staff who are moving on: Mrs Morriss, Ms Bichard, Mrs Fowler, Ms Long, Mr Stuart, Mr McFarlane, Miss Li, Mr Samuels, Mr Toghill and Mrs Bruins are leaving after giving dedicated and valuable service to the school.  We thank them for what they have done and wish them well in the next phase of their lives. We will also see much less of Mrs Evans on reception who will do some part time work before retiring at the end of the first half term.

In turn, we welcome a number of new colleagues to the school: Mrs Beck (Art), Ms Marsh (Art), Miss Cherring (English), Mr Reeves (Maths), Miss McQuilkin (Maths), Miss Chisolm (Science), Miss Maxwell (Science), Mr Hopwood (Geography) and Mr Holden (Geography).  These are all excellent appointments and I know they will make a huge contribution to your child’s learning.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a restful summer break and thank you for all your support this year.

Friday, 14 July 2017

14 July 2017

Highlights of the Week

Employability week has been extraordinarily successful this week.  It started strongly with our careers fair on Monday when a large number of employers, apprenticeship providers and further education institutions set up stalls to explain to our students the opportunities that await them when they leave us in Year 11.  I had a very revealing conversation with Mark Wells, an old rugby colleague of mine, who is now CEO of Blanchard Wells, a civil engineering business employing 300 people and worth several millions, who told me just how much work there is available for young people who want to work hard and learn new skills. As you can see from the photos, students had an opportunity to network and some even gained hands on experience of the fun things they could do to be successful one day.  

Our fantastic Awards Ceremony on Tuesday evening confirmed just how many students at our school have the qualities and outlook that Mark Wells is looking for.  It was a great night, and parents, staff and Governors enjoyed sharing in the success and achievement of our students.  Syd Rapson, former MP for Portsmouth North, Freeman of the City of Portsmouth and an old boy of the school, gave a very moving speech explaining to our award winners that he sat in the very hall they did in 1956, also at an awards evening, dreaming of becoming as successful as the person who handed him his award, Sir Alfred Blake, Ex-Lord Mayor of Portsmouth.  He has indeed accomplished much in his life and it was therefore very fitting that he encouraged all of our students to dream big, explaining that ambition was a necessary quality to succeed in life. 

Our Head Student Leaders were also announced at the Awards Ceremony.  A huge congratulations to the following students for winning the peer and staff elections:

Head Girl: Mirjam Csaki
Deputy Head Girl: Louise Varndell

Head Boy: Jay Martin
Deputy Head Boy: Billy Rhoden

From Left to Right:  Louise Varndell (Deputy Head Girl, Mirjam Csaki (Head Girl
Jay Martin (Head Boy), Billy Rhoden (Deputy Head Boy)

Forty five of our students had a wonderful experience on Wednesday when they travelled to London to see the performance of Wicked at the Apollo Theatre in Victoria. The show, which tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, had the children buzzing about it all the way home on the coach.  Thank you to Miss Halls for organising such a great trip.

Learning Champions

Well, this week we had at least 97 students whose achievements we celebrated on Tuesday.  Particular mention goes to Mirjam Csaki and Jay Martin who won our Overall Achievement trophies for their outstanding progress and commitment to school life.  The award was sponsored by Portsmouth College and presented by their Vice Principal, Frances Mullen, who is also a member of our Governing body.  Havant and South Downs College sponsored the Mathematician of the Year (Maddison Lewis) and our KRS Poet Laureate (Aimee Whitbourn) trophies and these awards were presented by their Curriculum Director, Ashley Grute.

Overall Excellence and Achievement - Mirjam Csaki

Overall Excellence and Achievement - Jay Martin

This week, a number of our students were involved in specialist workshops working with professionals in the fields of the arts.  Shannon-Marie Harvell, Gypsie Palmer, Lewis Mountifield and AlexGrant worked with a former student and artist, Debra Welch, on creating a film to capture peoples' memories of the current building.  The film is in the final stage of editing and I hope to be able to post this in the near future.  You can see more of the work that Debra has been doing in archiving the history of the school on the website she has set up.  She will welcome any contribution of old photos or memories you are willing to share, so please do get in touch.

Drama students from Years 7,8,9 and 10 have been working with ambassadors from Portsmouth University this week developing performances that unpick the issue of mental health in our society.  The project called 1 in 4 highlights how many people are affected by mental health issues and how often these issues are unidentified and/or untreated.  It culminates in a presentation at the school tomorrow night which should be really high quality.

I came across Bethany Smith of Year 7 the other day writing poems in the canteen which is something she does a lot in her spare time.  She was nervous about sharing some of her work with me but shouldn't have been as I think they are great, as does Mrs Swaffer, her English teacher.  Make your own mind up on these examples:

Building Character, Shaping Futures

Speed dating with potential future employers, workshops on money management, applying for a job and writing a personal statement, sessions with the University of Portsmouth on your dream job and planning for the future as well as a full mock-interview this week has really got our students thinking about their futures.  The pictures below show just some of the activities they were involved in as part of Employability week.

Students from Years 7, 8 and 10 really tested themselves this week when they went sailing on Tuesday as part of the RYA On-Board programme delivered in partnership with Portchester Sailing Club.  Despite the heavy rain, our students had a great time learning new skills and developing their resilience.  James Reilly-Langley was accused of capsizing the boat to get Mr Webb in the water, but he strongly denies it!

Key Dates

19 July: Summer Showcase
20 July: Thorpe Park Reward Trip 
21 July: End of Term (school finishes at 12:50)
4 September: Start of New School Year


Please don't forget our Summer Arts Showcase next Wednesday - we would love to see you there.

Good luck to the students invited on the PE reward trip tonight to the Ageas Bowl to watch Hampshire in the T20 Blast cricket, it should be great fun.

I thought you might like to see these latest pictures from the new building.  These classrooms are almost complete and are now just awaiting furniture.  They give you a real idea of what it will be like when we move in next October and I hope they make you as excited as they do me.

Cooking Room
Standard Classroom
ICT Room
Science Lab
View from a Science Lab


Sports Hall

Please make sure you look out for my end-of-term letter next week which will outline key details for the new academic year, including uniform expectations, the new school day and some updates to our routines in anticipation of moving into the new school.