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Headteacher's blog

Term 3 is complete. Thank you to all for making it a succeeful one depsite the obvious challenges.

Well that is term 3 complete. I think I speak for everyone when I say that the last 6 weeks have not been easy. Lockdown in the depths of winter has been a very different experience when compared to the first lockdown. The poor weather and the dark mornings and early evenings have made the experience more challenging and more isolating.

Chinks of light are definitely appearing now though. The rate of vaccinations continues to astound. The aim of ensuring the first 4 groups have all received their first dose by the middle of February looks likely to be achieved and as I write the proportion of the population having received at least one dose now exceeds 20%. Other data are pointing in the right direction. Combined with the first flowers of spring I think we can all be hopeful that a corner has been turned.

Next week we will get the outline of the plan for schools returning to face to face teaching for all students. We know the Government are suggesting a starting date of 8th March for this process. Whether that is a return for all or a staggered return is the key question. The Government do have a really difficult decision to make. Clearly, we all want our students back and to be together again as a school. We also want to make sure this is the last occasion that students have to work from home. That suggests a more cautious approach may be beneficial. Balancing those competing demands will not make for an easy decision. Whatever is decided, I know that our staff will do everything in their power to ensure that we make it work regardless.

In the short term at least, remote learning will continue. Our aim throughout with our remote learning offer has been to try to keep education a constant in what are uncertain times. Despite the many challenges, I believe we have provided a really effective programme for our students. I know a significant proportion of our students have been able to take advantage of the remote learning provided. They have enjoyed the daily contact with their teachers and peers and overwhelmingly they have made the most of the varied learning opportunities.

Maintaining motivation throughout a 6 week term has been difficult and I am indebted to the support and encouragement you are offering your children to ensure they are making the most of the live lessons. I know that hasn’t been easy. You have had to balance your own jobs and lives with the added challenge of your children being at home, needing the Wi-Fi and the laptop and lunch and snacks and motivation and encouragement and exercise and help with which year was the Treaty of Versailles and what’s the Quadratic Formula? So, to our families: thank you. You have done an amazing job.

I am also enormously grateful to the teaching and support staff who have stepped up so amazingly over the past term. In addition to the challenge of delivering a remote curriculum for our students, our teachers and support staff are on the front line as schools address a rise in domestic abuse and child protection issues, and try to support families affected by the pandemic. Our staff have created a testing operation and further developed our Covid procedures, all while keeping the financial, administrative and resource functions of the school operating smoothly. To our staff: thank you. You have done an amazing job.

Finally, it is worth noting that in the darkness of the pandemic it is our students who are the beacon of light. From the chorus of “thank you”s at the end of each remote lesson, to the fantastic work that they are producing, to the kindness they are showing to others in helping them with technical problems, resources and understanding the work…our students have done themselves proud. They have been there, turning up for the Zooms, engaging in the chat and introducing us to their pets. It has been tough being separated from friends and classmates, tough to maintain motivation in the face of uncertainty, but they have stayed strong and kept going throughout it all. To our students: thank you. You have done an amazing job.

Half-term will provide us all the opportunity to draw breath, relax and recharge our batteries in advance of the whatever challenges the new term presents.

As well as delivering online learning, we are also ensuring that other key parts of our provision for students is maintained. On Wednesday 10th February our Independent Careers Adviser, Georgie Blackburn, delivered two webinars aimed at helping our Year 10 and Year 11 parents and carers to better support their child with their post-16 options. Topics covered included: the options available and local provision in Gloucestershire; the differences between types of courses and qualifications and learning environments; how to learn more about sixth forms / colleges / apprenticeships and the application process and positive ways to support your child with career and education choices. The sessions finished with a chance for questions and answers about any concerns. Both webinars were very well attended with over 75 families benefiting from Georgie Blackburn’s experience.  

During both sessions a poll was taken asking parents and carers to comment on “Did they know at the age of 15 what career they wanted to do AND if so are they still doing it now”. Only 5 parents were able to answer yes to this question with the vast majority answering “I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but I’m doing something different now.” Current young people are unlikely to stay in one field for the whole of their career and so there is greater emphasis now on transferable skills and Georgie’s webinar focused on how best to prepare today’s 15 year olds on how to make informed decisions, post-16 and beyond. A copy of the webinar will be posted on the careers page of the school website. 

Our options process continues for our Year 9 students. This week the subject information videos went live on the school’s website. They can be accessed by clicking here. Students now have a full range of information to help them make their GCSS option choices.

I have enjoyed following the achievements of the students who have signed up to the school’s PE Strava Club. At the time of writing the students have amassed over 500km of running and walking. For any students seeking some additional motivation to keep active through running, walking or cycling this is a great tool.

By 8th March our students will have been out of school for over 9 weeks. I know that for some this is proving a challenge.  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.

To end, a bumper list of Zoom stars identified by our staff. These are a selection of the students who have absolutely excelled in terms of their engagement and work produced. They are:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Aaron Thompson

Charlie Partridge

Alex Ip

Adele Smith

Aaron Ashmore

Abbie Nicholls

Chase Codlin 

Alicia Adams

Aiden Webb

Abby Davies

Aidan Sangster-Rice

Daniel Middlecote

Amber Rowles

Candice Townsend-Jones

Abi Palmer

Amy Northmore

Daniel Thomas

Amy Wilkinson

Charlotte Bodenham

Adam Ianetta

Cameron Merrick

Ellie Stevens

Ben Brockbank

Chloe Boulton

Afreen Master

Charlie Ward

Ethan Garwood-Wyatt

Ben Lusty

Cody Barley

Aleashia Gilbert

Chloe Webb

Eva Moundene 

Ben Sachs

Conor Preece

Aleksandra Czamara 

Christopher Moroney

Francis Minett

Cerys Jones

Daisy Lord

Alex Dunne

Ethan Redding

Georgia Ashby

Dilawar Oryakhil

Denecia Blake

Amelia Ward

Grace Dyer

Grace Wintle

Edie Dowdeswell

Ellie Cockings

Amy Hobbs

Gracie Smith

Gracie Wintle

Evan Green

Ellis Brayshaw

Ashleigh Barclay 

Harvey Davies

Jasmine Blench

Izabela Stec

Emily Wadley

Asia Codlin

Jack Greene

Julia Telesinska

Josh Loveys

Eve Rasdell

Ayesha Diallo

Jack Sidorowicz

Kaitlin Cave

Leah Ives

Faith Dance

Ben Haines

Jayden Hatton

Kayleigh Taylor

Lewis Chisholm

Finley Williams

Ben Sweetman

Kara Parry

Kimi Gittins

Lily Meikle

Finn Holland

Calum Preece

Kenny Khedira

Lauren Keyse

Logan Evans

Gurninder Kaur

Cassie Biggs

Leila Etheridge

Lila-Mae Barnes

Marley Johnson

Henry Kondji

Chloe Quick

Liam Jones

Luize Rubene

Michael Merrett

Hollie Ludlow

Chloe Sharpe

Lily Symonds

Maddie Woodger

Millie Waktins

Holly Stokes

Connor Good

Lucas Prewer

Maisie Loxley

Pippa Anderson,

Honey Arthur-Pugh

Dylan Tyack

Martha Parry

Maja Burkacka

Riley Rhodes

Imogen Williams

Edgar Kadnikovs,

Max Withers

Oliver Leonard

Ryan Burge

Jack Osborne

Ella Mansfield

Michal Kowalczuk

Oliver Rea

Sophie Evans

Jacob Thorpe

Ellie Bundy 

Nicola Majernik

Owen Middleton-Smith

Tayla Hill

Jacob Wintle

Ellis Wilding

Noah Scourfield

Phoebe Adshead

Thomas Bingham

Jake Thompson

Emily Napthine

Oliver McDade

Ryan Trigg

Tom Greenaway

James Reynolds

Eve Hitchings

Ophelyah McLean

Samuel Turner

Tori Smith

Jay Miller

Faye Chisholm

Riley Weston

Sophie Lee

Wiktoria Wisniewska

Josh Clarke

Harriet Moore

Rosie Baldwin

Thomas Adams


Katy May Watson

Harvey Fawlk

Sam Bardwaj

William Fitzgerald


Keira Penrith

Harvey Perris

Sam Rod



Laksh Virk

Holly Evans

Sophia Meadows



Leona Greene

Iliana Tsipi

Sydney Folley



Louis White

Isabel Harrison




Luke Roberts

Jacob Cromwell




Mailie Gladwin

Jarod Grimmett




Mariska Jukes

Jess Ireland




Millie Maycock

Josh Leonard




MJ Salah

Joshua Hirst




Molly-May Newman

Kallie Porter




Nikol Kalfova

Lauren Chambers




Robbie Farr

Leaha Meredith




Ruby Cole

Lee Parry




Ruby Thurston Booth

Leia S Churcher




Ryan McQuillan

Leo Page




Ryan Mcquillian

Lily Anderton




Shana Walsh

Lucy Clark




Shanai Mitchell

Lydia Matumba




Sitranan Pulong

Max Wheeler




Skye Clarke

Megan Gibbs




Summer Evans

Megan Voyce




Taylor Eadie

Naurimantas Martisius




Toby Hoskins

Olivia Long




Will Todd

Rasool Jabarkhiel





Ruquaya Zayd





Sam Dean





Sam Seville





Sienna Ryder





Sophie Newman





Summer Link





Tom Anderson


Please do take care and stay safe.

Richard Johnson