Please click here to read a letter regarding the South Africa Sports Tour.
We would like to invite all parents to an e-safety presentation delivered by our Police School Liasion Officer, PC Jeff Mather on Wednesday from 6.30-8pm. As you will know, e-safety is such an important issue these days and it can be very difficult for adults to keep up with the latest developments; this session is aimed at ensuring parents understand the issues and know how to help keep their children safe online. If you are intending on coming along, please let Ann Mogey know on 01925 750711 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can ensure there are sufficient refreshments. (If you are a Year 7 parent and have already completed a reply slip about this, there is no need to let Mrs Mogey know again).
Year 11 students were given a ‘Last Drop’ Revision Timetable today, detailing compulsory revision sessions during curriculum time during the GCSE exam period. The sole aim of these sessions is to prepare students with last minute tips and reminders about the format and technique for the paper to ensure they achieve their potential during the exam itself. Sessions will either take place on the day of or the day before the exam. Students must attend these revision sessions where applicable to their GCSE subjects, rather than their normal lessons. If students do not study the subject, they should attend lessons as normal up until May half-term. After May half-term, students just need to come in for these revision sessions and their exams.
Please appreciate that it is not possible for all sessions to be open to all students, although the vast majority are. This is because some Year 11 teachers teach more than 1 exam class and we cannot take other Year 11 teachers from their Year 12 and Year 13 exam classes, especially at this time of year. As a result some sessions are invitation only; relevant students will receive individual letters this week. We would ask for your support in reminding your son/daughter which sessions they are to attend in the coming weeks. If you have any queries at all, please contact Mr D Heaton, Director of Learning, or Miss N Dixon via the school number.
You may see press coverage this week about the professional conduct hearing convened by the National College for Teaching and Leadership in respect of Miss Angela Walsh, who was formerly Principal of Lymm High School, about her conduct in 2012 and 2013. The Secretary of State for Education has issued a prohibition order against Miss Walsh which means she cannot teach in any school in England. This is the most serious sanction which can be imposed on a teacher. We are glad to see these matters brought to a proper conclusion, and we welcome the Secretary of State’s decision.
We would like to thank everyone – staff, governors, parents, students and the wider community – who has worked so hard over the last three years to move on from those very difficult times. Under the leadership of Gwyn Williams as headteacher since April 2015, the school is now progressing well, securing the best examination results in Warrington last year and having a renewed sense of its purpose and place in the community.
We had many more applications for Year 7 in September 2016 than we had places, though we are pleased to say that we have still accommodated all applications from children at our partner primary schools. But there is still much more to do, and the governors and headteacher believe that our very able and well-motivated students are capable of even greater things in the future.
Kieran Walshe Rebecca Knowles
Chair of governors Vice-chair of governors
Firstly, we would like to apologise unequivocally for the situation regarding payment for the expeditions planned for June. This has arisen through an absence of communication on our part and is something that we accept is simply not good enough.
To clarify, the reason why the cost is so much more than most people had been led to believe is because we now need to use an external agency to staff the expeditions. So many students (over 80) in Year 11 signed up to do the Silver Award that we do not have sufficient numbers of appropriately trained staff to run the expeditions ourselves. We are not short of colleagues willing to give up their own time to help with such events but, unlike most other school trips, the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions require staff with specific qualifications. A further factor in the cost is that, as a school, we are obliged to provide a relatively high staff-student ratio.
We are led to believe that one or two people on social media have questioned whether or not we are in some way attempting to save (or even raise) money by charging this amount for the expeditions. This is categorically not the case; the school does not, and never will, seek to make a profit on any extra-curricular activities. Our failure is one of communication; we should have informed parents and carers much earlier in the year that we were likely to need to use external assessors and, at the very least, given some indication of the likely cost.
We have given some thought to how we might be able to mitigate the problem and, in terms of next steps, there are a number of options available to you. These options are as follows:
- Go ahead with the two expeditions in June and pay the £340
- Take part in the practice expedition in June, but leave the second expedition (qualifier) until Year 12 – thereby splitting the costs (£170 each time).
- Take part in either one or both expeditions in June, but stagger the cost of payments over a period of up to six months (n.b. this option obviously assumes your child is staying with us for the sixth form).
- Withdraw from the programme altogether. In this case, we are willing to refund the initial £25 as a goodwill gesture
It should also be borne in mind that any work completed so far can be ‘banked’ and used with other providers in the future; it is valid up until their 25th birthday. Expeditions can be done through any approved activity provider, a list of which can be found on the DofE website. Participants can then submit their evidence via the DofE using their login which remains live until they have completed the award or reached their 25th birthday.
If you would like to pursue options (a) or (b), please ask your child to collect the medical/consent forms from Student Services and return by Thursday 5th May after making the required payments via Parent Pay. If you would like to explore option (c) please contact Mrs Ralph on 01925 755458 or via email@example.com. If you would like a refund (option d), please email Mrs ralph and she will arrange this via Parent Pay as soon as possible.
Once again, please accept our apologies for the poor handling of this issue. We have already started a detailed review in order to ensure similar mistakes are avoided in the future, but also to develop the quality of the programme in general. The Duke of Edinburgh is a fabulous scheme and we want to make sure that as many of our students as possible can gain the full benefits of it.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs O’Grady.
Ms J O’Grady Mr S Barton
Deputy Headteacher D of E co-ordinator
All Year 11 students will be required to attend school as normal up until May half-term. The only exception to this is if they have a GCSE examination or an agreed curriculum revision session (we will publish these details nearer the time). If the exam is AM, students must attend lessons the rest of the day. If the exam is PM, they must attend a normal school day, but are released from lessons slightly early to get lunch and prep for their exam. This is so that they can receive every available lesson before their exam and also access any last minute revision sessions on the day of the exam.
After May half-term, students will only attend if they have a GCSE examination or if any subject teacher requests that they come into school for a lesson/revision session. There will also be planned last minute revision sessions on the day of the exam – some of these will be for identified students, some for all students. Students know this already from a recent assembly.
Any queries, please contact Mr Heaton, Director of Learning Year 11.
I’d like to remind parents and carers of the Parents Forum event I am hosting next Wednesday (27th April) from 6-7.30pm. The focus of the event will be on home-school communication and I will be grateful to anyone who is able to attend and support us with improving this aspect of the school. We are aiming to make some changes to the website to aid communication, as well as the Parent Portal and Key Stage 3 reports; draft versions of all will be available and I am looking forward to hearing your feedback. There will also be an opportunity to let us know if you feel there are any other areas of communication in which we can improve. If you are intending to come along, please let Mrs Headon (firstname.lastname@example.org) know so that we can ensure that we have the right amount of refreshments.
Please note that this is not the forum to raise any very specific complaints you might have (though you must contact me separately if you do have any), but rather an opportunity to discuss more generally the way the school operates.
Mr G Williams – Headteacher