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  • Writer's pictureMr S. Jones

Headteacher's Weekly Update 22 - 1st March 2024

Dear Parents/Carers


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

As usual it has been a busy week in school with events a plenty.  I have to begin by talking about our inaugural Classics Day that took place on Tuesday. 

Very excitingly we have seen strong departmental expansion and a rise in students opting to study Classics at both GCSE and A Level.  Celebrating Classics and all its benefits, the Classics Department hosted 'A Day to Celebrate Classics' to coincide with our students making their GCSE choices and GCSE students considering their college/A-Level options.  The day involved exciting talks from a range of university lecturers and authors, answering questions on their experiences of Classics at university and the very different things they have done with their Classics degree.  'Out of Chaos' and 'Gladiatrix' workshops were also running throughout the day for a selected number of KS3 Greek and Latin students, to bring their knowledge of Ancient Greek and Roman worlds to life.  A huge thank you to the following speakers and actors for their incredible contributions to Kelmscott's Classics Day: Professor Edith Hall, Dame Mary Beard, Dr Mai Musie, Jasmine Elmer, Dr Alexandra Hardwick, Caroline Lawrence, Paul O'Mahony, Alisa Vanlint, and, a very dear friend of the school, Natalie Haynes. 

Set against a national backdrop of poor attendance to school, and in a week when The education secretary, Gillian Keegan, announced an overhaul to the way local authorities fine parents for unauthorised school absences,  I was thrilled to learn that our School has received an Attendance Award with our attendance in the top 10% and top 25% of over 10,000 schools nationally for the 2023/24 Autumn term. This is testament to the hard work carried out by our team here in school, working in partnership with our families, of course.  Good attendance is such a driver for students’ success, so it is great to see us recognised in this way, week in week out.

In other news, a group of 14 Latin students from Year 7 and 8 competed against each other this Thursday, to secure a spot in the finals- only 5 finalists will be allowed to enter the National Latin spelling Bee Competition.  Results will be announced next week, so watch this space.  The National Latin Bee Competition will take place on the 27th March.  The event itself will be a remarkable occasion, featuring diverse challenges such as spelling tasks, listening tasks, identifying Latin words, picture-based exercises, and translation between English and Latin.  For the final round, participants will be required to construct sentences from English to Latin.  The school demonstrating outstanding performance across all tasks will be honoured with the prestigious Bronze Laurel Leaf. 

Year 10 GCSE Art students made their annual trip to the wonderful UCL in Gower Street on Wednesday to visit their gallery which boasts 46% of their collection being created by female artists.  Here they analysed and drew details from drypoint etchings before a tour of the campus and artist studios.  The busy day ended with students making a collaborative copperplate etching in the print room.  The University has also gifted us a one-day workshop later this term.  As usual, students were engaged, interested and brilliantly behaved.

On Thursday, It was a pleasure to welcome ICEE Ltd who came to deliver sessions to 40 Year 10 students.  The workshops centred around resilience and creative thinking and really got the students thinking in alternative ways.  The final session focused on ideation and pitching where students had to discuss issues and problems they wanted to address and solve, then come up with a product and a solution.  Each group had to pitch their product to two members of ICEE Ltd and Mr Eley in a Dragon’s Den scenario.  All groups did really well and coped well with the unexpected questions from the dragons! Mike, Co-Director of ICEE Ltd, will be feeding back next week on the winning group who will receive vouchers.  Year 10 were completely engaged in the sessions and were a credit to Kelmscott.  We are already looking forward to the third and final session in April.

On Friday, Year 10 were the benefactors again with a group taking part in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge.  Students spent the morning developing their public speaking skills, before delivering a speech on a topic of their choosing in the afternoon.  Seeing students come out of their comfort zone, honing their oracy, a critical life skill, is always a joy to behold. 

Our Year 10 GCSE Geography students completed the first stage of their fieldwork this week with two geography field trips to Westfield Stratford and the surrounding area, an important part of their GCSE course.  Students conducted surveys and questionnaires to assess the economic, social, and environmental impact of the regeneration of Westfield on the local area.  Over the day, students worked independently in groups and demonstrated great initiative.  We look forward to the next stage of their fieldwork this summer in Epping Forest.

I feel exceptionally proud to lead a school where such rich opportunities are available for our students, week in and week out.

On Wednesday evening, Kai Molloy, one of our Head Students, and I attended a community event organised by the police in Chingford.  The police were keen to hear from young people about their views on the Metropolitan Police, and how young people believe the Met can be improved.  Some important feedback was shared, that will hopefully have a positive impact moving forwards.

I was made aware at the event that the local Police Encounter Panel are recruiting, which might be of interest to parents or older siblings.  The panel aims to rebuild trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police through openness and transparency.  The panel reviews body-worn video footage, particularly around stop and search, and share their thoughts on whether the encounter is handled well, or badly, by the officer(s).  They are keen that the panel be as diverse as possible and truly reflective of our community.  If you are interested in finding out more, please see here.

Careers fortnight begins on Monday 4th March 2024. Some excellent careers events focused on a range of industries, have been shared with me that I thought might be of interest to your child.  More information can be found here.  In addition, an exciting opportunity to learn about how Amazon operates as a business and the paths that students could take if they are considering a career in business & economics can be viewed and applied for here.

We are relaunching our Food Bank, as it has lost a bit of momentum these past few months.  On Tuesday 5th March, you are invited and welcome to ‘shop’ the food bank.  Please join us between 1.30pm and 4.00pm, and fill a bag with a selection of foods (subject to availability).  No payment is required, and you will not need to provide proof of benefit entitlement or a referral to access our foodbank at this relaunch.   If you are unable to attend but would like to reserve a bag of food for collection, you can do so by emailing  Our sincere thanks to all those who continue to generously support our foodbank.

A polite reminder that fizzy drinks are not allowed on school site, particularly energy drinks that are so high in sugar and caffeine.  Your support with this would be much appreciated.

The canteen is busy preparing for their next themed menu that is set for St Patrick’s Day on Friday 15th March.  Students will enjoy an Irish-inspired menu that includes an Irish stew; something to look forward to hopefully.

A gentle reminder for our Year 11 Art students and their parents/carers, on behalf of the Head of our Art Department, Ms Dempsey; the Art exam has begun, the preparation of which, together with the 10 hour exam, forms 40% of their final GCSE grade.  The terminal exam is during the first week back after the Easter holiday on the 16th and 17th April. 

For our Year 9 families the Immunisation Team are visiting the school to administer the Meningitis ACWY and DTP vaccinations on Thursday 7th and Monday 11th March 2024.  The DTP vaccination is the final booster following on from the early childhood vaccinations and will complete the schedule.  These vaccines DO NOT contain porcine gelatine.  If you have not yet returned a consent form, please use the link sent to you via MyEd ASAP as the portal will CLOSE at MIDNIGHT on 5th March.

Finally, congratulations to the following students who topped the rewards points charts for their year groups last week, with special mention to Zayn Bham in 10S who led the way for the entire school with a very impressive forty-seven – keep up the good work.

  • Year  7 Isabella Pereira Dasilva with 17 points

  • Year  8 Lily Stewart with 26 points

  • Year 9 James Mackenzie with 25 points 

  • Year 10 Zayn Bham with 47 points

  • Year 11 Eric Henig-Griffin with 15 points

With every good wish, yours ever,

Mr Sam Jones 





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