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Secondary School Updates (20 May 2022)

Weekly update from Head of Secondary

Dear Parents,

I am sure you will be as inspired as I am by the impressive array of initiatives on offer during Mental Health Awareness Week which starts on Monday 23 May.

Mental Health Awareness Week is all about increasing understanding in the community about mental health issues, encouraging people to recognize and speak up about their mental health, and generating discussion about ways to improve our personal health and wellbeing.

We know that mental illness is a problem affecting many. In the USA, for instance, one in five adults has a mental illness. The global pandemic has exacerbated matters and has placed issues around mental health at the forefront of conversation once again.

It is sad that because of community misconceptions, many people do not feel comfortable taking actions to address problems they face. Mental health awareness week is, therefore, about addressing the misconceptions and encouraging everyone to have the skills and tools needed to face challenges and seek support.   

We are proud to be involved in this noble cause and let me take this opportunity to thank all teachers and students who are leading the events during the week.

Chris Newman

Head of Secondary

Key Dates
  • Tuesday 7 June: Year 10 Parents’ Evening 

  • Tuesday 14 June: Year 12 Parents’ Evening 

  • Friday 24 June: Final Day of the School Year 

Pastoral Update 

The first exams we take are a significant marker in our lives. We remember the feelings of nerves, then relief and finally pride knowing that we had done our best. I write today as Year 11s approach the mid-point in the exam season. By now, students will have sat a wide range of Cambridge IGCSE exams, testing a wide variety of skills and knowledge. Year 11 students are now well versed in the feeling of stepping into the exam hall, the exam process and the motion of turning the exam paper over and getting started.  

In my years of teaching, I always see something truly magical happen when the exam series starts. A wave of maturity moves through the year group, and it is palpable. No longer are students led from one lesson to another; they manage their own time, their own priorities and their own drive to succeed. I have seen endless examples of self-responsibility from students: from arranging and meeting with their teachers to navigate specific aspects of their revision, to students managing when they come into school to do group study and when it is more appropriate to study at home or independently. 

  • 220520 Secondary Year 11
  • 220520 Secondary Year 11
  • 220520 Secondary Year 11
  • 220520 Secondary Year 11
  • 220520 Secondary Year 11

Over the course of the year, we have spent lots of time working on structuring periods of concentration and focused study as well as the appropriateness of specific, timed breaks and their regularity. Seeing Year 11 putting this into practice demonstrates the value in the preparations they have made. Similarly, I have seen students use mindfulness and grounding techniques as a way to settle nerves and allow them to put in their best performance in the exam. As we embark on a mental health awareness week next week, seeing students respond so well to mindfulness has acted as a timely reminder and reinforced the need to look after our mind and bodies, particularly during periods of stress.  

Year 11’s approach to study, their behaviour and maturity shown over this period, has filled me with an immense sense of pride. This is a group of students that did not have the formality of in-school mock exams which affords the opportunity to practise many aspects of the formal exam series. To see how well they have adapted and responded is a real testament to their character. I am very proud of them all. 

Marie Price

Head of Year 11

English 

English Key Stage 3- Developing Independent Inquiry 

As you may have seen last week, it's been an exciting week for Year 8 students who have been busy researching. Some classes are working on independent projects, others with specific topics and some classes working in groups. However, all students have been exploring how culture can impact the ideas within texts. Also, they have been developing their independence, research and speaking skills, which will support them in their future learning.  Year 8s started their research by going into the library and learning about what 'good' research looks like. Since then, they have been developing this further in class. Some students began presenting all their hard work this week too, becoming the experts and sharing what they have learnt with their peers. Here are some fantastic examples from Mr Bliss' class: 

  • 220520 Secondary English
  • 220520 Secondary English
  • 220520 Secondary English

Mrs Sands 

English Teacher

Spanish

Year 8 Spanish students have been learning all about tourist destinations. We have been looking at popular activities, famous monuments and key things to see. As an extended homework students were asked to create a brochure for a famous place in the world for a Spanish Travel Agents. The brochures provide key information in Spanish about the activities that take place in these famous tourist destinations. These 3 students have gone above and beyond creating their brochures! Muchas gracias.

  • 220520 Secondary Spanish
  • 220520 Secondary Spanish
  • 220520 Secondary Spanish
History 

As we approach the end of term assessments students have been revising hard. The Humanities have been creating knowledge organizers to help the students revise. This week Year 7 History used the time to practice and put into action key exam skills such as mind maps and flashcards. This used critical skills such as collaboration and communication between our students.

  • 220520 Secondary History
  • 220520 Secondary History
  • 220520 Secondary History