Letter To Parents 24 06 21

Dear Parents and Carers,                                                                                        

I am delighted to announce that Toby Osborne has been awarded a National Pearson Teaching Award for Digital Innovation, he is one of only four teachers in the country to be awarded this honour and he now is in the running for the Gold Award which will be announced in the Autumn at a presentation evening that is being televised by the BBC. Here is a link to a movie that highlights his recent achievements: https://twitter.com/FerndownUpper/status/1407615643441115139?s=20

Design Ventura

I am also delighted to announce that Ben Myers and his Year 10 team have gained the ‘Commendation for Entrepreneurship’ in the National Design Ventura Competition which means that they were 4th overall out of 270 schools and 15,000 participants. This is the second year running that Mr Myers has made the final, which is an amazing achievement. Really well done to Joe Wareham-Mewse, Jacob Watt and Adam Hector.

COVID Update

On Monday we were notified of a positive COVID case, which has now expanded to six positives and one possible. This has resulted in eighty-two students and four staff having to isolate.

May I stress that none of these positive cases were in-school transmission but instead were as a result of a social event outside of school hours.

The school remains open for all other students. Those students who are self-isolating will find their work on Teams. Please can I reassure the isolating students that the revision work that their class is doing in school for their upcoming Year 10 exams will be the same work that they can do at home.

In light of the above may I stress the following:

  1. Please inform us straight away of a positive LFT or PCR test so that we can track and trace immediately, which will then limit the number of students we then have to ask to isolate.
  2. Students must still continue to self-test twice weekly.
  3. Please can you ensure that you and your children stick to the ‘rule of six’ for meeting up inside.

Our Students Are Outstanding

Our Challenge Partners think our students are outstanding. We were visited by teachers (including one Headteacher) from two other local schools in the first week of term as part of our cross-school support programme and they visited a number of lessons and spoke to a number of students. They were amazed at how supportive, caring and hard working our students were with a key highlight being the quote “if you could bottle and sell the relationships you have here, you would make a million”.  As a result of this visit though some of our students told us they were really nervous about talking to other adults. They also found some of their questions confusing and were worried they had let us down (which they never could). Subsequently tutors then discussed some of these questions with their tutees. Our intent was to ease anxiety, however, we then heard that some Y10’s were worried we were telling them what to say. This could not be further from the truth and I cleared this up with them at the end of my recent assembly.

Standards Card

We have been thinking about a Standards Card for a number of years now, as it is common practice in most other local schools. This is a card that students carry with them so that uniform or equipment transgressions may be logged. This then becomes a really simple yet effective way to track how well each student is at complying with the school’s rules. The reason why we haven’t implemented one up to this point is because we have not needed one as the vast majority of our students meet our standards all the time. We were also concerned that the 80% of our students who have never received a detention, might then receive one for a lost card – because if you do not sanction lost cards then students quickly realise that almost full cards can be ‘lost’.

However, following lockdown we noticed that standards were not quite as good as they usually are and we have therefore brought a Standards Card in.

We have been really impressed with the student response to the card, with less reminders needed about wearing uniform smartly and with pride and students being more organised with the correct equipment to help them learn.

For students with a clear standards card each half term, which we expect to be the majority of the school, there will be additional P5s awarded. This is alongside a current review of our rewards system to make the rewards for the students with the highest praise points even better next year once social distancing has ended.

We will be using Student Voice in the next few weeks to ask about our reward system, so please do talk to your child about this, so they can add their great ideas to our review.

Saying Goodbye to Year 11 and Y13

As a result of the national lockdown continuing we have had to cancel the Y13 Graduation that was scheduled for this Friday but will look to rearrange it for the last week of term. The Year 11 Prom has also been moved to Friday 23rd July. If your child is in Year 11 and has any uniform which you would like to donate then please could this be dropped in at reception and we will find it a good home. Please also remember that Year 11 have their new A level Teams to engage with up until their official last day of school at the end of this month and we are posting usual articles and tasks for Y13 in the run up to them starting employment or moving on to further education.

Year 12 Exams

The Year 12 Exams began this week and end on Thursday.

Year 9 Exams

Start today but are only for Science as English and Maths assessments were carried out in lessons.

Year 10 Exams

This is the first opportunity for the students to experience a real exam experience, in our hall, set up as they will be for the real thing next summer. They start the week commencing 5th July.

Summer in Dorset

Dorset Council are running a number of events for young people who are eligible for free school meals to access during the summer holiday. Please use the link below for further information. https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/summer-in-dorset

Kind regards,

Philip Jones.