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Headteacher's Blog 23-6-23

Congratulations to our very own Mr Hoult who  completed the Lakesman Half-Ironman to raise funds for the fabulous Maggie’s cancer charity

This week we learned that the NEU will be taking further industrial action in the first week of July. I will write to parents next week with details of how that will impact on provision at Severn Vale. I wanted to thank you for your patience regarding the ongoing industrial action. I know not all parents and carers will support teachers striking, but I feel it's worth sharing some of the context behind the strikes. 

Whilst an element of this dispute is about pay, it is also intended to highlight the challenges schools are currently facing. I have been a teacher for approaching 28 years and I have never experienced recruitment difficulties of the kind we are now seeing. For the first time in my 16 years at Severn Vale we have been unable to recruit a full complement of maths and science teachers. This means we have had to make some difficult decisions including reducing the number of classes at KS4 which will lead to larger class sizes for all in these vital subjects. This is an issue affecting schools up and down the country.

Clearly the current disruption is not helpful for students. Far more damaging will be the impact of schools being unable to recruit teachers in many subjects. There is a solution to this ongoing dispute. That requires talks between the department and the Unions, something the Education Secretary is currently refusing to do. Let’s hope that common sense prevails, and talks begin to avert this forthcoming disruption.

This week we have bid farewell to our Year 11 students. Their exams are complete, leavers assembly has taken place and all that is left to do is to celebrate with them at their Prom this evening at Hatherley Manor.  It has been a pleasure working with this group of young people and I have many fond memories. The past five years have been a rollercoaster with many ups and of course some downs. The pandemic drove a coach and horses through the middle of their time in school. But they did not let that define them, they showed admirable resilience and determination and just got on with the job. We wish them all the best as their adventure continues beyond Severn Vale.

Last week a group of our netball students travelled to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre to watch Great Britain play Germany in a pro league hockey game. An amazing day was had by all, starting with lunch by the Olympic rings and then followed by some incredible hockey which saw Germany take the win. The students then had time to take selfies and get signatures. The staff on the trip all commented on what an absolute delight it was to accompany the students.  

Sporting fixtures over the last 7 days have included:

  • Year 7 Cricket – the Year 7 cricket team travelled to the Crypt for another participation festival. It was great to see our boys so engaged and everyone having fun. All the students got to bat and bowl and also experience a controlled competitive environment. Some of our team hadn't played cricket before attending SV so it has been great to see the progress they have made.

  • Year 7/8 cricket - 16 girls from Year 7/8 went to Crypt for a mass participation cricket festival on Tuesday. The girls had a great time playing against Ribston, Churchdown and Quedgeley and Hardwicke cricket club. We came away with one win and two losses. Players of the matches went to Millie S, Isabel R and Lotte H. 

  • All-Stars Cricket – our cricket all-stars played Newent this week. Newent batted first and scored 126. Another blistering start from Henry D-D (who scored 20 off the first over) set up the win with Severn Vale chasing down the Newent total in 15 overs. The All-Stars take their undefeated record to King’s School next week.

  • A multi-year Athletics meet with Newent School – this was a tremendous event with a great attitude and spirit demonstrated by the athletes from both schools. There were also some fantastic performances including a school athletic record being smashed by the Year 10 girls 4 x 100m relay team. They recorded a time of 57.01s (previous record from 2014 beaten by 1.74s). Team was made up of Charlotte D, Eva M, Kayleigh T and Leilani R.

My regular 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 GCC each Monday. I would urge you to take a look if you think you may benefit from financial assistance. 

Congratulations to our very own Mr Hoult. Last weekend he completed the Lakesman Half-Ironman to raise funds for the fabulous Maggie’s, a charity providing free cancer support and information in centres across the UK and online.

And finally, remember Monday 26 June is an Inset day. We will see the students on Tuesday 27 June.

I hope you enjoy a great weekend.


Richard Johnson