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  • Writer's pictureMr S. Jones

Headteacher's Weekly Update - 31st March 2023

I hope this letter finds you and your families well; an update for you on the last day of the Spring

term.


A typically busy week in school, as you might expect. Our Year 7 Scholars Programme kicked off at

the Courtauld Institute of Art on Monday, where a group of students were given key tips on how to

think critically and approach university style teaching. They were also lucky enough to be given a

brief lecture on Art History. On Wednesday, Becky Balfourth, writer and current PhD student, came

in and delivered a tutorial on Literary Theory to the same group of year 7 students. Becky will be

delivering the programme over the next few months, culminating in the students writing an extended

essay to demonstrate their knowledge.


I am always very proud to share the many co-curricular opportunities our students get to experience,

each and every week. As you know families are asked for a contribution of £5 if a student goes on

the trip or visit. Staff are very good at sourcing cheap or even free opportunities for our students,

that means the requested contribution from families is kept to the £5 minimum. I wanted to be

transparent in explaining why we ask for the £5 contribution and where that money goes. Even

when there is no cost to the trip per se, we still have to pay £275 approx. for a supply teacher, to

cover the classes of the teacher leading the trip/visit. As a result, we often don’t cover our costs as

a school for the trips/visits that we offer. Budgeting for our co-curricular offer will remain one of our

highest priorities though, as we know how much they contribute to an exciting everyday experience

for our students.


Celebration Assemblies took place across the week for years 7-10 capturing the many successes of

our students during the term, it was lovely to see so many get a mention. Year 8 celebrated and

acknowledged all of their achievements so far this year. It was truly wonderful to see the students

celebrate each other’s efforts and hard work as well as their own. The students also enjoyed taking

part in the “if I wasn’t a teacher” quiz, with some very surprising answers including a black cab

driver and wildlife presenter! There were screams of joy from the Year 9s playing guess the teacher

from seeing baby photos of staff. Wholesome reactions - ecstatically celebrating the awards of their

peers. The Year 10s were in high spirits and recipients of certificates were well congratulated. The

Year 7 celebration assembly was a joyful affair with over 200 certificates awarded. It was lovely to see how supportive and encouraging of one another they are. Well done to 7E for winning the

activities prize.


Our Year 8 football team played in the semi-final of the cup this week but sadly lost to Willowfield.

The team will be back to fight another day but I am very proud of them for reaching the semi-finals

in the first place.


We had a non-uniform day on Thursday for the whole school; money raised will be donated to the

Kelmscott hardship fund. A second non-uniform day took place today, Friday, for those students with exemplary attendance. A huge well done to those who received this prize; good attendance at school is one of the biggest contributors to student success and I was very pleased to see so many students in non-uniform today.


On Wednesday this week, in support of our Muslim students fasting during the holy month of

Ramadan, I fasted – no food or water from sunrise until sunset. I do this every Ramadan now, and

although my efforts are rather paltry given how many days our Muslim community fast for, I enjoy

the experience every time. The perspective it gives me, about how lucky I am, to be able to be in a

position to eat and drink when I choose, each and every day, is illuminating. As always, I had some fascinating conversations with our students, at break and lunchtime about their experiences of

fasting during Ramadan.


On Monday next week, our new building will arrive from abroad, in twenty-five parts. By Thursday

those parts will be assembled, and the building will be in place. I have attached some images of

what the new building will look like for your interest. I am very excited about what our new building

will bring to the school. There is a time lapse camera installed to record the building going up, we

will share that footage in due course. There will be an opportunity for some students to visit the site

next term, particularly those with an interest in construction.


Another work experience opportunity to signpost to you for the Easter holidays, segueing from the

paragraph above. This time, the opportunity is for those interested in engineering or construction.

This one-day work experience is done remotely via a Zoom link. More information and details on

how to sign up can be found here.


The winners of the International Women's Week creative writing competition were announced

this week. Fabulous prizes were presented by Ms Ridler to the delighted winners; From KS3,

winner - Elis Shabanova with KS3 runners up - Hannah Arthur and Maria Bianca Voicu. From

KS4 winner - Mary Luggie and KS4 runners up - Isabella Ryan and Iustina Bogdan. Our

congratulations to all winners and indeed to all those who took part, there were some inspired

entries.


Finally, congratulations to Raqeeb Balogun in 8L, who amassed the most rewards points last week,

with a noteworthy thirty-five – keep up the good work.


We return for the start of the summer term on Monday 17th April at the usual time, I hope you

and your family have an enjoyable, fun and restful break. Lots of revision though please Year 11!

Yours sincerely


Mr Sam Jones

Headteacher

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