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Headteacher's Blog 1-12-23

Students in Years 8 and 9 enjoyed a trip to London to see Wicked and take part in a workshop with a performer from the show

The weather has certainly turned this week as winter arrived with a vengeance. As the temperatures plummet, we do of course recommend that our students bring coats to school. A small number have been wearing hoodies instead of a coat. Hoodies are not allowed in school. Please ensure that they are not worn. If a hoodie is worn in school, we will require the student to take it off. Thank you in advance for your support with this. 

I am very pleased to be able to announce that the new Severn Vale Library will be open from Monday 4 December. It will be named ‘The Book Bothy’ and be dedicated to the memory of Angela Pearce who sadly died last year. She was an amazing English teacher and avid reader of children’s fiction. Students will be able to use the library before school and at break and lunchtimes we will also be continuing Chess Club which has been in place since September. This bright new space will also be used for Year 7 fortnightly reading lessons and small group work. There will be a termly newsletter to keep parents informed of the activities taking place in ‘The Bothy’.

All of our students have access to the fantastic app, TimesTables Rockstars. It is a great way to develop number skills and increase fluency in an area that underpins mathematics learning. Starting on Monday, and running for the final 3 weeks of term, the maths department are running a TTRS competition for our Year 7 students. This is a great opportunity for your child to show off their skills and earn points for their maths class. Full details are available on Satchel One. Thank you in advance for encouraging your child to participate.

Last week the Music Department took a group of 32 Year 8 and 9 students on a trip to London. The students packed a huge amount into their 2 days including: a visit to the Tate Modern Art Gallery; a visit to the Science Museum; watching the West End musical, Wicked and a drama workshop and West End 101 session with one of the cast members. The students returned tired but having had a thoroughly wicked time. It was a great trip in which the new was experienced, cultural views were broadened, and memories made. Plans are already underway for next year’s trip with information coming out to students and parents in term 4.

Congratulations to the Year 8 girls who all took part in the CyberFirst Girls competition last week as part of their Computer Science lessons. This included a range of activities involving cryptography, logic and coding, networking and cybersecurity. They really enjoyed the challenge and some of our teams showed real commitment with extra time spent in computer rooms at break, lunch and after school. Two of our teams have managed to earn the highest scores we have ever had at Severn Vale since taking part in the competition. Well done to all who engaged so fabulously!

Today our Year 11 students watched a new educational drama presentation - Calling it Out. The play has been designed for school settings to raise awareness of sexual behaviours, sexual harassment, sexual assault, pornography, consent and misogyny. There has been a worrying rise in sexual harassment and sexual assault amongst young people. The Calling It Out programme supports the ongoing work in schools to create a culture where sexual harassment and sexual abuse are not tolerated. It is being funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning, and is supported by Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership and all partner agencies in the county. This is a hard-hitting topic but one that we need to address through better education.

A reminder that next Friday, 8 December, is the collection day for our annual gift drive in support of the Salvation Army. Last year over 700 gifts were generously donated which made a huge difference to the lives of countless families.  We all know that times are challenging at the moment. Any small gift will make a difference. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Sporting fixtures have included:

  • Year 7 Football – the Year 7 girls played a home fixture against Crypt this week. Another really tight game ended 1 – 1. Player of the Match was Brooke Folley for another excellent performance on the wing.

  • Year 7 Rugby – the Year 7 boys travelled to Gloucester Academy for their latest fixture. The boys performed superbly, putting into place all that they had been working on in practice.  They ran hard, secured their rucks and supported the ball carrier in an outstanding team performance leading to a 55 – 0 victory. Special mention to TJ (4 tries) and Alfie B who were absolutely everywhere!

  • Year 7/8 Rugby - a joint Year 7 / 8 team played Barnwood Park last week. In a really physical game it was great to see such grit and determination from all the boys which resulted in a hard-fought victory, 25 - 20. Player of the Match Reuben S scored 3 brilliant tries, before Damian D managed to win the game in the closing stages.

  • Year 8 Rugby – the Year 8 boys played their last fixture of the season at Gloucester Academy. Despite a strong start which saw Damian D opening the scoring, the boys lost 35 – 5 against a strong GA side. Much progress has been made this season which will set them up well for next year.

  • Year 9 Hockey – the Year 9 girls played St Peter’s this week. Despite dominating possession, the girls were unable to turn pressure into goals and were defeated 4 – 0. Player of the Match was Maddie R.

  • Year 9 Rugby – the Year 9 boys travelled to Holmleigh Park for a second fixture of the season against our local rivals. In arctic conditions and in what is always a tough game, the Year 9s emerged victorious 34 – 24. Special mention to Jayden, Jakub and Victor for really strong performances once again.

  • Year 10/11 Table Tennis - 8 of our Year 10/11 boys travelled to Sir Thomas Rich’s School this week to compete in the District Table Tennis Finals. All the games were played in an excellent spirit and it was a great experience for the boys despite losing out 12 - 4 on matches. 

Also, congratulations also go to Year 11 student Zane H. Despite many challenges he was able to defend his crown and remains the South-West Tumbling champion. Fantastic effort Zane! Congratulations also to Year 7 student Valerie S who also competed in the South-West Tumbling championship. Valerie came second in the 11-12 age group. Very well done Valerie.

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.  

I do hope you enjoy what promises to be a very cold weekend!

Kind regards,

Richard Johnson