Headteacher’s Blog

I hope that you all enjoyed a restful half-term break. We welcomed back students and staff who went on our school ski trip to Austria and it was great to hear that a fabulous time was enjoyed by all.

It is always risky to pinpoint a single event or achievement for fear of missing others that are perhaps equally significant, however, there were two occasions throughout last term where I was absolutely blown away by the sheer talent of our students. First, the school production ‘We Will Rock You’, which I know many of you attended and enjoyed just as much as I did, was some of the best theatre I have ever witnessed at a school in the 18 years that I have worked in education.

Photo by Anna Lythgoe

The cast, musical support, lighting, staging, costume and so much more all came together perfectly in a series of three showcase events and an additional performance for some of our primary school students. Many congratulations to the students and staff involved in this production.

Secondly, in the final week of term I had the pleasure of being in the audience at Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, to listen to our Sixth Form Music Concert.

Once again I was staggered by the range and quality of the pieces of music played, which provided an apposite example of what students are able to achieve at our school with the wonderful support of our music department and of course, their own commitment and determination. You can find a short video compilation containing the highlights of the evening on our school’s Facebook page.

As you may be aware through our current staff recruitment campaigns, we are currently recruiting a new Deputy Headteacher to fill the vacancy that was created at Christmas. The deadline for applications is 11th March, with an interview and selection process to be held on 21st and 22nd March and the post beginning on 1st September 2019. We have already received significant interest and anticipate a strong field of applicants for this post. It feels timely for me to remind you of the current structure of our school’s Senior Leadership Team, in case you are unclear on this:

Gareth Burton (Headteacher)
Karen Hanley (Deputy Headteacher)
Vacancy (Deputy Headteacher)
Beth Warren (Assistant Headteacher)
David Hillyard (Assistant Headteacher)
Mike Stratford (Assistant Headteacher)
Sally Lees (Assistant Headteacher)
Alan Hastings (School Business Manager)
Kevin Warren (Associate Assistant Headteacher)
Lucy Hemsley (Associate Assistant Headteacher)
Rob Waters (Associate Assistant Headteacher)

There is a short section on our school website titled: Meet the SLT, which you may find interesting to read if you have a spare five minutes:

Meet the Senior Leadership Team

Finally, as we continue our preparations to transition to our school’s new house system, with the introduction of mixed-age tutoring comes the very challenging task of allocating current students from year 7 to year 10, into new tutor groups for what will be their year 8 to year 11, in 2019/20. As you will be aware from your previous experience as new year 7 parents/carers, new students to our school in year 7 are always placed in tutor groups in a way that ensures a balance of ability, gender, their previous school and a range of other characteristics. It will be important that as we transition to our new house system that our mixed-age tutor groups are also balanced in a similar way. However, we feel that if your son/daughter has a strong preference to be placed with another child from the same year group and you agree to this preference, then we should endeavour to make this a reality. To this end, between 9:00am on Monday 4th March and 3:00pm on Friday 8th March, there will be an opportunity for you to complete a simple form on the Parent Frog site, which allows you to specify the names of up to three students from the same year group as your son/daughter, whom your son/daughter would prefer to be placed with in a tutor group for 2019/20. Whilst we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet this request and furthermore, will reserve the right to deliberately separate groups of students whom we feel would be better placed in separate tutor groups, we will endeavour to meet at least one of your stated preferences, whilst still maintaining the necessary balance within tutor groups, as described above. Obviously, this becomes more challenging with the more requests we receive and as such, I would ask that this mechanism is only used if you have a strong preference.

Whilst our entire school calendar, along with lots of other relevant information for parents/carers, is available on the school website underneath the ‘parents’ tab, in support of you, below are a selection of the key events taking place at the school between now and the Easter break:

Year 7 Skillzone (Monday 4th March until Friday 8th March)
A letter was sent to parents/carers of year 7 students before half-term, regarding this fantastic opportunity to engage in a purpose-built interactive environment, as part of our school’s PSHCEE curriculum.

Year 11 Mock Interviews (Thursday 7th and Friday 8th March)
Year 11 students will be spoken to in their assembly about how to prepare for this opportunity and what the interview process will involve.

UCAS Convention (Tuesday 12th March)
A letter was sent to parents/carers of year 12 students before half-term, regarding this UCAS Higher Education Convention in Bristol.

Non-uniform day (Friday 15th March)
We will give students the opportunity to donate £1 and wear non-uniform for the day, in aid of Comic Relief.

Bournside Young Musician of the Year 2019 (Tuesday 19th March)
This inaugural event will take place during the evening, with further details to follow on this week’s Parent Bulletin regarding how to purchase tickets. The event has proved hugely popular with our students; over 60 have put themselves forward for an audition, which is absolutely fantastic. Mr Byrne now has the very challenging task of selecting the finalists!

First academic report for year 7-12 students (Friday 22nd March)
The second academic report for parents/carers of year 7 – 12 students will be sent via email. A copy will also be available on the School Gateway Parent App.

Spring Concert (Tuesday 2nd April)
Our annual Spring Concert takes place during the evening and tickets will go on sale shortly.

Year 11 Examination Information Evening (Wednesday 3rd April)
This essential meeting for all parents/carers of year 11 students, will provide a wealth of information relating to the external GCSE examinations that year 11 students will sit this summer and our collective support for them (and you!) in preparation for these examinations.

End of term 4 (Friday 5th April)

Start of term 5 (Tuesday 23rd April)

I look forward to seeing you over the coming term and thank you so much for your continued support of our school.

Gareth Burton
Headteacher

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