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Headteacher's blog 29-1-21

This week sees Year 9 begin the process of making their option choices

Another week of remote learning is complete. We now know that it will be the 8th March at the earliest before the students will return to school. Whilst it was very disappointing to hear that students wouldn’t be returning straight after the half-term break, at least we all know where we stand and can therefore plan accordingly. I have been critical of the Government in the past for their last minute announcements so it is important to recognise when they offer clear and decisive decision making.

Today sees the last day of the DfE’s consultation on the awarding of grades for Year 11 and Year 13 students. Frustratingly, it will be a number of weeks before we get definitive answers to the crucial questions posed. The consultation has given schools a steer on the likely direction the DfE will take and we have begun to plan accordingly. As those plans are finalised we will of course share the information with our Year 11 students and their parents. I do understand how disconcerting the Year 11 students will be finding the current situation and the limbo they find themselves in. I can only emphasise to them the importance of remaining engaged, attending all of the remote lessons and working to the best of your ability. We are confident that their hard work will be rewarded whatever the final system of awarding grades.

Remote learning might be continuing but that doesn’t mean key activities are not taking place. This week has seen the launch of the options process for Year 9 students. Mr Connor ran a presentation during prep earlier in the week outlining how the process will work this year and Options Booklets and letters will be on their way home to parents this afternoon. The options process is always an exiting time for me as I see our students really get to take an active part in decisions affecting their education and the subjects they will take. It’s a really important rite of passage for the students and one that is key to a successful Key Stage 4. The current situation will mean we will need to run the process differently. I have every confidence that the quality of information available via the booklet and the soon to be launched subject videos will ensure that every student can make truly informed choices.

Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, our students continue to make progress towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. At the beginning of the academic year 41 students signed up to start their Bronze DofE Award. Since then, they have been working hard doing their Volunteering, Physical and Skill sections, with Sophie Evans, Alana Phelps and Ryan Burge becoming the first of this new cohort to fully complete one section. We have also been able to celebrate more students fully completing their Bronze Awards. Congratulations go to:

  • Lydia Matumba

  • Adele Smith

  • Ava Hanman

  • Christopher Jeanes

  • Emily Wadley

  • Esther Millward

  • Caitlin Adshead

  • Luke Wallis

Completing any level of your DofE is an amazing achievement but doing this during a global pandemic, where there are so many restrictions on daily life makes this achievement even more remarkable.

This week saw the start of the expedition section where Mr Higgs hosted a virtual parents' meeting with Ocean Rock Adventure, our approved activity provider for the expedition section. This was well attended and gave the parents all the information they needed before the students start this section. The students will now be sent some remote learning in the form of videos and a logbook to complete. Hopefully the students will get the chance to complete their expedition before the end of this academic year.

Congratulations also need to go to Mr Horton who successfully completed his DofE Award Verifier training last week. Mr Horton has taken over from Mr Wakeford, as the member of SLT who oversees the management of the DofE Award in school. Part of his role is to verify every student’s work, ensuring the awards that we hand out in school continue to be of the highest quality.

Knowing the return to school will be some weeks off will be a challenge for some students who are finding the lockdown really tough.  Please remember that our staff remain available to support the students. The best points of contact are always the Tutors or the Heads of Year. There is also a wealth of well-being material and links on the school website here.

As always, I include my weekly reminder about Free School Meals eligibility. If your financial circumstances have changed, your child may be eligible for Free School Meals. If you click on this link you will find guidance on the eligibility criteria and the application process. It's a quick process and we are notified of all FSM entitlements by Gloucestershire County Council each Monday. I would urge you to take a look if you think you may benefit from financial assistance.

Once again I will end this piece by sharing some of the Zoom stars identified by our staff over the past week. These are a selection of the students who have absolutely excelled in terms of their engagement and work produced. So, this week’s Zoom stars are:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Abbie Nicholls

Amariya Bhaiyat

Alicia Adams

Adele Smith

Amelia Moore

Aidan Sangster-Rice

Charlotte Holford

Amy Wilkinson

Amber Rowles

Ellie Bundy

Amy Northmore

Jaiden Cornock

Ashley Dixon

Archie Hall

Erin Jones

Cameron Merrick

Jan Szersen

Bobbi-Brooke Watkins

Charlotte Bodenham

Olivia Long

Chloe Webb

Jess Knock

Dilawar Oryakhil 

Cody Barley

Cassie Biggs

Corbyn Jones

Kye Bingham

Dylan Hurd

Daisy Lord

Chloe Sharpe

Evelyn Howells

Lauren Keyse

Emma Loomes

Emily Wadley

Lily Williams

Evie Bell

Louis Ho

Evie Murphy

Henry Moseley

Faye Chisholm

Finlay Plane

Maddie Woodger

Jessie Hancock

Jack Osbourne

Leon Johnson

Finn Wilks

Maddisyn Hodder

Joshua Loveys 

Leona Green

Megan Voyce

Hannah Millward

Ollie Payne

Kiana Male

Nikol Kalafolva


Isabella Hay 

Oscar Symons

Lewis Chisholm

Shana Walsh


Jayden Jefferies

Ryan Trigg

Lilly Lusty

Shanai Mitchell


Joe Hawkins

Sophie Ormandy

Maisie Swankie

Tom Taylor


Josh Day-Webb


Michael Merrett

Imogen Price


Keana Barnes


Oliver Leonard



Lily Symonds


Pippa Anderton



Lucas Prewer


Ruby Ashmore



Macy Holland


Scarlett Etheridge



Max Thompson


Tom Greenaway and



Molly Paul


Tori Smith



Nadia Lazar


Zunairah Cross



Nicola Majernik


Alex Ip



Nicole Walker





Rebecca Clay





Riley Weston





Ryan Sands





Shayla Rhoda-Mitchell





Willow Clark





All this left for me to do is to wish you a safe and a healthy weekend!

Kind regards


Richard Johnson