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Headteacher's Blog 3-2-23

Our new DofE cohort had a practice event to learn some of the key skills they will need for the forthcoming practice expedition

The strike this week had a huge impact on schools across the country and we were no exception. We were able to keep two of our year groups in school but we did have to have three year groups working at home. That was regrettable but unavoidable. It is worth explaining that when staff are absent from work due to industrial action we are very limited in how we can cover them with staff in school. We also have very limited ability to use supply staff as most agency staff will not cover striking colleagues. We did use members of our senior leadership team but that can only cover so much.

We know there are further days of planned industrial action coming up on 2, 15 and 16 March. We will treat each of these days individually and review our timetable carefully to assess the provision we can reasonably provide in school. We will prioritise our Year 11 students. We will do our best to minimise the impact but know it is highly likely there will be year groups who will need to work at home. That isn’t ideal. Very little about this scenario is. All we can hope is that there is some progress in national discussions so that some form of resolution can be found.

To more positive news!

Last weekend saw the start of the expedition journey for our 2022-23 DofE cohort. The day was spent learning how to read maps, plan routes, fill in route cards, what to do in an emergency, what food is needed for the expedition, how to put up a tent and how to cook on a Trangia. Although, students had chosen their own groups it was a chance to work with their expedition groups for the first time and form a working relationship with their peers, before they venture to the wilds of the Vale of Berkeley for their practice expedition later this academic year. At the end of the day the three Ocean Rock instructors who delivered the training were full of praise for our fantastic students which was great to hear.

It has been a busy week for our Year 11 students as they have been tackling mock exams in their option subjects. Their attitude and application has been pleasing. These mocks will give the students a clear idea of where they are and what work remains in preparation for the summer exams. Week 2 of the Options Mocks continues next week.

The next round of Order Exams is fast approaching for Maths and Science for our KS3 students. The students will also be completing tasks in English to ascertain their level of skill and knowledge. Work has been set on Satchel One by their maths and science teachers to help them prepare for these exams which will take place on: Year 7 - Tuesday 7 March; Year 8 - Wednesday 8 March; and Year 9 -Friday 10 March 10

Nearly 40 students in Years 9 and 10 took part in the UK Maths Trust’s Maths Challenge this week. The Maths Challenge encourages mathematical reasoning, precision of thought, and fluency in using basic mathematical techniques to solve interesting problems. The questions are designed to make students think. Most are accessible, yet still challenge those with more experience. We look forward to celebrating the outcomes when the results come back later in the academic year.

In PE this week some of our Year 8 and 10 students got to work with the charity Goals Beyond Grass. This charity delivers inclusive sports and activities throughout Gloucestershire helping disabled individuals stay active. The aim was to allow our students to see the challenges faced by disabled individuals and how they can be overcome through innovative approaches such as those provided by Goals Beyond Grass. The students approached the activities maturely and thoughtfully. I believe this will have been a really eye-opening experience. The feedback from Goals Beyond Grass was really positive. They were hugely complimentary about the way our students behaved and engaged. I would expect nothing less.

Fixtures this week included:

  • Year 7 Netball - the Year 7 girls had a very successful evening of netball on Monday. The A team won in games against Denmark Road and St Peter's. Players of the match went to Ruby M and Evie H but it was a fantastic team effort. The B team drew both of their games, player of the match went to Emelia J. 

  • Year 7 Football – our Year 7 Boys football squad travelled over to Churchdown to play in a mixed ability participation tournament. Both A and B teams played four mini games. Team A had two draws and lost two and Team B won two and two draws. We look forward to hosting Barnwood in the last week of term.

  • Year 8 Netball – it was an 8-8 draw and a 3-1 win for our Year 8 A and B teams today against Gloucester Academy this week. It was clear that all their hard work at netball club has paid off as last year both teams were defeated in their games against GA! Players of the match went to Savannah C and Erin A-T. The Year 8s had further fixtures against St Peter’s. The A team went down to a defeat but the B team earned a 5 – 5 draw.  Excellent sportsmanship and a fab team effort from all who played. Players of the Match went to Dalia and Jess H. 

  • Year 9 Netball – the Year 9s had a tough game against Barnwood Park this week that resulted in a 24 – 7 defeat.

  • Severn Vale hosted the U16 District Football tournament for girls. An incredible standard of football was on display across all the teams. Our girls played with strength and speed, beating both St Peters (2-0) and Denmark Road (3-0), drawing with Churchdown (1-1) and losing against Crypt. We finished as runners up which means the girls go through to the County Finals at Cirencester Town FC at the end of the month. Player as voted by the team was Leilani R and coaches’ player was Dotty A. 

A further reminder that a recent analysis showed that approximately 10% of those who are entitled to Free School Meals are not currently taking advantage of this scheme. If you think your child may be eligible for Free School Meals you can click on this link to 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. 

Have a great weekend. 

Kind regards 

Richard Johnson