Headteacher's Weekly Update - 28th April 2023
I hope this letter finds you and your families well; a Friday update for you as always.
Despite the truncated week, as a result of the strike action, it has been pleasing to see students engage in a variety of activities this week:
On Tuesday, a group of year 10 students were invited to Birkbeck University to attend the ‘World of Work Conference’ organised by the World Traders (one of 110 Livery Companies of the City of London). As well as witnessing a lecture on the importance of digital literacy in the modern world, students also participated in a number of workshops designed to develop their confidence and interpersonal skills, before finally being given the opportunity to ask a panel about the nature of their own careers. Being successful always came back to taking risks and being reflective, as well as resilient; key characteristics for all our students to have in mind as they think about their own goals and aspirations.
Year 10 visited the William Morris Gallery to collect information and inspiration for their linocut prints for their portraiture unit. While there, our students had the pleasure of also viewing the Aishish exhibition, 'Fall in Love and be More Tender' which was an explosion of colour and sequins, and included costumes from Taylor Swift's tour. This Indian-born designer celebrates multiculturalism and subverts our ideas of what knitwear should look like, with the use of materials and slogans in his work. I am delighted to share that the gallery staff commented on how engaged and well-mannered our students are. A brilliant day out was had by all.
Our Climate Change Ambassadors met with the Eco-team from The Hive, to practise their presentation on how climate change should be integrated into the core curriculum at Kelmscott. They will be presenting to members of SLT, the Climate Change Working Group and Heads of Department later this term. Continuing with the sustainability theme, the school's Eco-Club successfully presented their plans on how we can turn our Science Garden into a Sustainability Garden, which will increase opportunities for our students to learn about the environment around them.
We have another truncated week next week with both a bank holiday on Monday 1st May and a further strike day on Tuesday 2nd. Year 11 will be in for a normal school day on Tuesday but regrettably, as my letter outlined last Friday, school will be closed to years 7-10. Wednesday 3rd May will be a normal school day for all students of course.
I was thrilled to be able to go in to our new building this week for the first time. It was very impressive indeed. I know it will give the whole school a lift in September when we are able to see teaching and learning taking place, in there, for the first time. I have been asked by a number of students and staff if the building will have a name. We currently have ‘the main building’, ‘the annexe’ (not the most exciting of names I will readily admit) but no name for the new building.
I would like to invite suggestions from students and families, as to what we might call our new building, as well as some improved names for the main building and annexe. We will organise suggestions via tutor groups, with each tutor group having an opportunity to suggest three names, one for each building. I will update you once we have made our decisions later this school term.
We received news this week that Mr Hogg, our Head of English, and former Head of Classics, was awarded this year’s prestigious Teaching Award from the Classical Association. He received the award for having ‘a significant and positive impact on the teaching of Classics in the UK’. Mr Hogg has had a huge role to play in introducing and developing our Classics offer at Kelmscott, from humble beginnings to where it is now as a fully-fledged department. Students gain so much from their exposure to the Classics; an offer that is quite unique in the state sector.
We welcome our new Year 7 families into school next Wednesday afternoon; they will be meeting with staff for us to find out more about our new cohort. We are looking forward to welcoming them into the Kelmscott family. We are full in Year 7 next year with two hundred and forty students confirmed. For the first time in Kelmscott’s history, we have appeals taking place imminently, as there are more families that desperately want their child to come to Kelmscott. Whilst this presents challenges for both the school and the families, it is a good problem to have, and is indicative of the great strides we have made, as a school, in recent years.
A polite reminder to families not to contact your child on their mobile phone during the school day. As you know, mobile phones must not be seen or heard during the school day. If a student glances at their phone and sees a missed call or message from a parent or carer, they are likely to want to look at the phone. This then means they are contravening school rules and may face a consequence as a result. If you need to speak to your child urgently, please call us at the school and we will facilitate that call, or pass a message on, on your behalf.
Finally, congratulations to Isabella Ryan in 10M and Amelie Molly in 8L who shared the spoils this week at the top of the rewards points charts, with twenty-seven each – keep up the good work.
Mr Sam Jones