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Welcome to our new Academic Year at Budehaven, 2017/18.
A warm welcome to new parents and families.
I hope that you all enjoyed the summer break and your children have returned to school with a determination to work hard and to enjoy their school year.
We are starting the school year with a resolve to raise our standards even higher in terms of academic success and positive attitudes to learning and behaviour. During the summer holiday, our students achieved great results in their GCSEs, A Levels and BTec examinations. They certainly made us all feel very proud of them. Our Sixth Form Leavers have now gone off to pastures new and we wish them the best of luck as they begin their new adventures.
We have welcomed a large number of new students into the school this year – 210 students into Year 7 which means the year group is ‘full’ and then a further 30 new students across year groups 8 to 11, as well as 100 students into Year 12. Many of our Year 11 leavers have re-joined us as Sixth Formers along with students from Holsworthy, Lithuania and USA, so we are drawing near and far! They are joining, what has once again been described by the national performance system (ALPS) as an excellent Sixth Form.
As well as our new students, we have also welcomed new teaching staff this year. Jack Gibbon joins the Music Department; Vicki Jordan joins our MFL Department; Lizzie Hughes and Chrissie Robertson join the Science Department. Jo Hoskins will be teaching History whilst Charlie Chappell is on maternity leave. Along with new staff we also have existing staff moving into different roles. Candice Byrne is now Head of Modern Foreign Languages; Nick Tyrrell is Director of EBacc (having oversight of Geography, History and MFL); Clare Collingham is Lead Teacher in the ARB; Colin Ryan is Head of Biology; and Jim Francis joins the Senior Leadership Team with responsibility for Safeguarding, Behaviour, Pastoral systems, and alternative provision. Our Senior Leadership Team this year is: Tracey Reynolds (Headteacher); Lydia Pride (Deputy Headteacher); Sally Hague, Matt White, James Grill, Jim Francis and Jay Turner (Assistant Headteachers).
We have made some changes to our pastoral support area of the school. We have a new Pastoral and Headstart Manager, Mrs van der Linden (also Careers’ Officer) and a team of Pastoral Leaders who all work in the central part of the school. They will be closely monitoring key areas that make a huge difference to our students’ success in school. Mrs Smith will lead on student behaviour, Mrs Osbourne is our Attendance Officer, Mrs Congdon is leading on transition into school, and Mrs Downie will be monitoring student welfare. These are the staff who will be dealing with daily concerns and issues relating to your child.
Year 11 and Year 10 are now studying a full set of the new GCSE courses graded from 9 to 1. To help them with the new type of examinations we are focused on developing a high quality knowledge rich curriculum. You will see evidence of this in your child’s use of ‘knowledge organisers’. These are key tools to help students with the amount of knowledge that they will now require for each examination they sit at the end of the two-year programme. Reviewing their work ‘little and often’ is critical. Knowledge organisers help them to do this and will be supported in class with daily recall activity, weekly quizzing, half termly testing, to assist the ability to recall. You will hear more of these as teachers develop and introduce these to our students this term.
Last year we introduced the Budehaven Way and this year we have moved into the second phase which is to ensure that classroom behaviour links in directly to our Budehaven Way. So your children will see a ‘flying colours’ system in operation in classrooms which then links directly into the behaviour policy. This is a way in which we can quickly and effectively provide feedback to students on positive and negative behaviour avoiding disruption to learning. We introduced this to each year group at the start of the year. You can keep a check on achievement and behaviour points through your parent SchoolComms link.
One of our values of the Budehaven Way is that we look smart, act smart and think smart. Thank you as always to those parents who ensure that our students follow the uniform policy and look smart. We have worked hard to communicate the message to students and parents that stretchy short skirts, legging type trousers and chinos are not school uniform. We appreciate your support in helping your child to meet the uniform rules of the school. We will also be consulting with students and parents about a new school uniform. We will have a brief consultation period this half term, agree on the uniform to implement and then introduce this from September 2018. You will receive a consultation letter about these proposals and can communicate your views to us via the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see the accompanying letter.
Our Year 11 boys were recently involved in No Man Left Behind Day . This was organised by Neal Reay, Head of Year 11 and Sarah van der Linden, Pastoral Manager and Careers Officer. Our Year 11 boys were treated to some uplifting words of encouragement and wisdom from our visitors who included former students Jobe and Matt, and our Year 13 Sixth Form Mentors, Zerran, Rory and Archie. I hope our Year 11s act on their sound advice. Our students were also privileged to have the Armed Forces visit to give them a fresh perspective on teamwork and leadership. They also took part in a range of workshops: ‘Creating a Legacy’ with the Art Department, the Pillars of Rugby with Neil Smith, and the Magic of the Mind with Matt Thomas. We hope that this day has inspired our Year 11 boys. We all believe that with hard work, they can achieve great things and I hope this day has led them to believe that too.
Our Year 7s have enjoyed themselves at Skern Lodge this week and I know they have made new friends, learned team skills, and told me that they lost their voices through shouting encouragement to their classmates. I have already been impressed with the year group; their enthusiasm, good manners, and willingness to accept a challenge, whether that be overcoming their fear of heights at Skern Lodge, signing up to learn a new musical instrument after their Music Taster morning, or choosing the ‘toughest’ task in their lessons from our ‘tough, tougher, toughest’ activities. We have high hopes indeed for this year group!
Our school’s Open Evening is on Thursday 5th October. If you have a child due to join us in next year’s Year 7, I would strongly advise you to make sure that you apply by the October deadline for a place at the school. We are able to accept a maximum of 210 students into the year group and it is likely that once again we will have more applications than places. So please do apply promptly.
One of the key factors in a student’s success is to have parent and school working together. Our students will be successful if they follow the guidance that we give them, but this means of course being fully supported by our parents. We ask that you trust the school, and fully support us in the decisions we make about your child’s education. It is through this partnership that we will help them to realise their ambitions at Budehaven.