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  • Writer's pictureMr S. Jones

Headteacher's Weekly Update 13 - 8th December 2023

Dear Parents/Carers

I hope this letter finds you and your families well; a Friday update for you as always.

The environment continues to be a focus for us this year.  Our expanding group of Climate Ambassadors have been busy planning their presentation for the climate and sustainability staff inset evening, next Thursday, which was agreed by the school following a successful student campaign to learn more about climate change and sustainability across the school curriculum.  

On Tuesday we acknowledged World Soil Day.  Our planet’s survival depends on the precious link between soil and water as over 95% of our food originates from these two fundamental resources.  Some of our Year 10 Climate Ambassadors also led assemblies this week focusing on COP 28; it is fantastic to see our students taking such a lead role in such a critical issue.

I sent an urgent message to you this week, so important, that I felt it couldn’t wait until this Friday letter.  There are some serious issues with vapes nationally, specifically those that contain THC, the component of cannabis that leads to a high.  Students, across the country, are being offered these, outside of school, often by older youths.   Please, please speak to your child about the dangers of such vapes, as I said in my message, your voices are powerful.  I have attached the link to the ASH toolkit, a good resource for your reference.  Assemblies are being planned so that students hear the message from our end too.  If you have any concerns about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to us as a school.

Another important message to families now about MyEd, the app that we use to communicate with our families.  It has come to our attention that a very small number of students have been downloading the app to their own phones, and logging into parent accounts using a verification code sent to the parent's mobile.  This is concerning as they would then have the capacity to report as absent to school themselves, as well as being privy to information that is for the eyes of our parents and carers only.  Please can you check your child’s phone to ensure this has not happened and if you find it has, please remove the MyEd app from your child's phone immediately.  I am very grateful for your support here.  Staying with the app; apologies to any parents/carers affected by the technical fault yesterday, I have been reliably informed the issue has now been resolved and the app should be in full working order.  However, please do get in touch for support if this is not the case.

End of Year trips - You will be aware that we have asked for parent/carers to pay their deposit of £10 by 18th December, with the remaining balance of £40 payable in instalments from January to April 2024.  Although entirely voluntary, and there is no obligation for you to submit this payment; we are unable to cover the full cost of these trips, so insufficient funds will sadly result in the visit being unable to go ahead.  By reaching out to parents/carers now and offering the opportunity to pay in instalments we are hopeful that the trips will be welcomed and accessible to all, this is something that we are working really hard to achieve.  Of course, we appreciate that for some it may be difficult to contribute the full amount, in this case, I would ask you to please contact Miss Andrews before 18th December and in complete confidence, to explore what options may be available.

The Key Stage 3 Chess Championships reached their climax this week with Filip Ionescu (7S), Samuel Burnside (7C) and Linus Hopkins (8E) coming out on top.  They will now go on to represent the school at the Waltham Forest Championships in the New Year.  The Key Stage 4 Championship is nearing its end; I will update you there soon.

I am delighted and very proud to share that three of the students who participated in the recent Bebras UK competition, focused on computational and logical thinking, achieved the gold award. My congratulations to Ibrahim Farooq 7O scoring 145 points in the age 10-12 category, to Mathilda Eisenstein 9O who scored 122 points in the age 12-14 category, and to Zayn Bham 10S who scored 132 points in the age 14-16 category.   The top 10% grade boundaries set for 2023 by the organisers were:

  • Ages 10-12 – 127 (99 students in UK achieved this)

  • Ages 12-14 – 107 (91 students in UK achieved this)

  • Ages 14-16 – 115 (5 students in UK achieved this)

All three students are above the boundaries for their respective age group.  These students now progress to the Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC) taking place from 15th - 19th January 2024.  It is aimed at students who have scores that put them in the top 10% in the four oldest age groups in UK Bebras.

I spent a very enjoyable morning with a group of Year 7 students decorating our Christmas tree on Wednesday.  We hand-made some decorations as well as discussing their first term at Kelmscott.  It was lovely to hear about their positive experiences so far.  Two students from each tutor group were selected for the fantastic start they had each made; well done to all those who were chosen.

Year 8 historians visited the Museum of London Docklands to take part in a pilot workshop on the Transatlantic Slave Trade, today.  Students were visibly moved to learn about issues in London's history but came away with a sense of perspective about it.

We have a vacancy for a parent governor at the school.  School governors play an essential role in providing oversight and holding myself and the school to account.  If you are interested in this position, please email my PA, Louise Adams, with an expression of interest, as well as a paragraph or two about what you might bring to the role.  We will then have a vote, for all families to engage with, in the coming weeks to decide who will take up the position:

As the weather has been getting colder and wetter, please ensure your child is equipped properly to deal with the elements both at break and lunchtime, as well as during PE lessons.  A warm coat for breaks and lunchtimes is essential, lots of layers including hats and gloves are recommended for PE lessons.  The PE team do keep the students very active during their lessons, so it doesn’t take long for students to warm up.

The Waltham Forest Holiday Activity and Food Programme will take place between Tuesday 2nd and Friday 5th January, during the school holidays.  If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, you can book online.

A gentle reminder that today is the final opportunity to complete the Autumn 2023 Parent/Carer Questionnaire, the link for this will expire at midnight.  Thank you to all the families that have responded so far; your valuable feedback is always welcomed and appreciated.

Finally, well done to Kitty Boniface in 9E who topped the reward point charts with a very impressive forty-five – keep up the good work. 

Mr Sam Jones




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