Headteacher’s Blog – November 2017

As we move closer towards the winter months, I felt it timely to write to you and reflect on the many successes of our students over the past few months and also inform you of some events that will take place during the remainder of this calendar year.

On our return from the half-term break, I led assemblies with students in Years 7 to 11 and reflected on their fabulous start to the year.  On a daily basis, I am always astounded by what our young people achieve when I walk around our school and spend time with them in their lessons.  I wanted to let our students know this first-hand and reinforce the praise that they have received in so many ways from their teachers during the first term of the year.  In addition to normal lessons, over the past couple of months there have been so many additional events and trips that students and staff have been involved in: netball and rugby tours, trips to New York, Rome, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, numerous charitable events, International Language Week, Anti-Bullying Week and training of our new Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, student success in a £3400 award from Tycoon in Schools for student business investment, the Year 7 Music Concert, the list goes on!  However, to reiterate my comments to our students, whilst many student achievements and successes are celebrated publicly, sometimes the most memorable achievements are the ones that are personal to the individual, because only they will know the commitment, perseverance, courage and, in many cases, sacrifices involved.  These personal achievements are often the most transformational for our young people and we took a moment to reflect on this together in assembly.

Student voice is a central part of school improvement and during the first term, I spent lunchtimes eating with students and discussing with them how they felt our school could further improve.  One common theme raised by students was to reduce the amount of litter around the school site.  Whilst the very large majority of our students set a fantastic example in this regard, I did agree with our students in that the amount of litter around the school site could be reduced.  In response to this, I spoke with students in assemblies and I am pleased to say that a change in the actions of some students has resulted in the amount of litter on the school site reducing.  I am very grateful to my voluntary team of over thirty Year 8 litter-pickers who support me every lunchtime as ambassadors against litter, walking the site with me and ensuring that any rogue litter on the floor is picked up, resulting in a clean and tidy school site that we can all take pride in.  In addition to this, Mr Stratford (Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form), along with a number of other staff, lead daily lunchtime patrols in our local community with a small committed group of sixth form students, clearing litter and promoting good relationships with our closest neighbours.

Since I last wrote to you, I had the pleasure of congratulating six of our students in their appointment as Head Prefects.  These are positions of responsibility that students strive towards in their former years at the school and are highly sought after.  Congratulations to each of Emma (Deputy Head Girl – Year 13), James (Head Boy – Year 13), April (Head Girl – Year 13), Jamie (Assistant Head Boy – Year 11), Alex (Assistant Head Girl – Year 11) and Jamie (Deputy Head Boy – Year 13).  These students are pictured in this order from left to right in the photograph below:

One aspect of our provision that I am keen to enhance is the school’s engagement with our parents/carers.  We now have a very active and successful Parent Voice Forum with around 25 members who meet with me and other members of my Senior Leadership Team on a termly basis and discuss issues relating to school improvement.  In addition to this, I am keen to develop a “Friends of Bournside” group.  This group, consisting largely of parents/carers, will work with Miss Hanley (Deputy Headteacher) to organise fundraising and social events for parents/carers, staff and members of our local community, with the purpose of providing more opportunities for our local community to spend time together and offering fundraising opportunities for the school.  If this is something that you feel you would like to be involved in, please contact Miss Hanley by telephone or by email kjh@bournside.gloucs.sch.uk and register your interest before the end of November.  Miss Hanley would like to begin to plan and organise events with the group early in 2018. 

As the dark mornings and nights are now upon us, I would like to ask for your support in encouraging your son/daughter to be mindful of their safety on the journey to and from school.  If they walk to school, as far as possible please discourage them from walking on their own and if they cycle, please encourage them to wear a helmet and high visibility clothing/accessories if they are able to.  I have extended our school Reception Hours on a permanent basis, so that the front of school is now open and staffed from 8:00am until 4:30pm on Monday to Thursday and 8:00am until 4:00pm on Friday.  I hope that this is supportive of you making contact with us, should you need to, before and after-school.

In the run-up to Christmas there are always a large number of additional events for students and parents alike and I would like to draw your attention to a few of these:

First academic report for students (Friday 8th December)

Your son/daughter’s first academic report of the year will be published on ParentFrog.

House Matches (week commencing 11th December)

Students will have the opportunity to represent their House in either netball or rugby.  Details regarding this will be shared with students by Heads of House and the PE department, as we approach the week itself.

Christmas Concert (Wednesday 13th December)

Our annual Christmas Concert takes place during the evening at St. Matthew’s Church.  Rehearsals are well under way for this wonderful event and tickets will go on sale shortly.

Sixth Form Awards Evening (Thursday 14th December)

The annual Sixth Form Awards evening is an opportunity for invited students, staff and parents/carers to celebrate the outstanding progress and contribution students made to our sixth form in the 2016/17 academic year. 

Final day of term 2 (Friday 15th December)

Advance warning of an early finish for students on the final day, which will be at 12:30pm.  On this day, as is usual practice at Bournside, we take the opportunity to support those for whom the Christmas holidays may not be a time of celebration.  This year we are giving students the opportunity to support two charities by donating £1 and wearing a Christmas jumper for the day, instead of their blazer.  The proceeds raised will be given to Save the Children and Shelter, the latter being a charity supporting homeless children. 

First day of term 3 (Tuesday 2nd January)

An earlier than usual start to 2018 and we look forward to welcoming students back from their Christmas break at 8:50am.

It has been lovely to speak with many of you at the school gates in the morning and afternoon and always so nice to see you attend our school events in the large numbers that you do.  Thank you so much for your continued support of our school. 

Best wishes,

Gareth Burton