Headteacher’s Blog

I hope that you have all enjoyed a fabulous Easter break. Students have certainly returned this week feeling refreshed, in anticipation of what will be a busy couple of summer terms.

Already this week, students in years 7 to 11 have had the opportunity to hear from Mrs Warren, one of our Assistant Headteachers, in their respective year group assembly. Mrs Warren spoke about students challenging themselves to dig deeper and about the contrasts between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. The imagery and material discussed was very thought provoking and if you haven’t yet had the chance to speak with your son/daughter about this assembly, I would encourage to do so whilst it is fresh in their minds.

You will recall that last term I introduced a parent survey, offering all parents/carers the opportunity to provide me with feedback regarding your views about our school. I was delighted to receive 443 responses to this survey, with good levels of representation from parents/carers of students in every year group. Below are the key headlines from the survey and also a summary of how my Senior Leadership Team and I plan to respond to the feedback that we have received:

Home/School Communication

86% of responses either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement “home/school communication is effective”. Whilst this is pleasing overall, this is something that we are never complacent about and are always looking to strengthen. Therefore, in response to this and other relevant comments received we will consider:

• The purpose of parent evenings for each respective year group and the resulting timing of these within the year.
• Opportunities for you to view your child’s work whilst waiting for an appointment at a parent evening.
• Whilst all school contacts are available on our website under the parent tab, in addition to this, promote key contacts in the weekly parent bulletin.
• Ensure that all generic letters to parents are emailed.
• Greater consistency of homework setting on FROG.
• Improve the communication of detentions, by ensuring that the reason for a detention is more specific to the incident.

Sixth Form

83% of responses either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement “my child will attend Bournside’s Sixth Form”. We recognise that not all students will wish to continue their education into sixth form, particularly given the extensive range of other options that are becoming available. We also recognise that our sixth form is currently operating at a very high level, with students achieving results which place them in the top 25% of the country for ‘value-added’ and as such, will be the sixth form of choice for the very large majority of our students and this is reflected by the responses to this survey. However, there are two areas of further development that we will consider:

• Further enhancement of the buildings and facilities that are available to our sixth form students.
• Whether to offer the new ‘T-Levels’ (www.gov.uk/guidance/t-levels-next-steps-for-providers) in response to a national drive to strengthen additional curriculum choice in sixth forms and colleges around the country.

Extra-curricular activities

There were 155 responses to the question “are there any extra-curricular activities that are not currently offered, that your child would like to see offered?” What was very interesting was that of these 155 responses, many of the activities are currently on offer, therefore one clear response required from us is to ensure better communication of what we do already offer and the relevant details regarding this. There were a small number of activities, currently not offered that were frequently noted by parents/carers and we will test the feasibility of whether can offer some/all of these.

Praise/Reward

There were 201 responses to the statement “please state any additional ways in which the school could praise/reward your son/daughter”. My own view, shared by my Senior Leadership Team and validated by many of your responses is that this is an area that we can improve. Interestingly, this was the sole topic of conversation when I met with the Parent Voice Forum on Tuesday 17th April. Currently, the school has many ways of recognising student achievement, effort and contribution to school and the wider community, however, the Parent Voice Forum was supportive of my view that we should look to improve this area by considering the following, which is not an exhaustive list:

• Tangible, personal and bespoke rewards for students
• Greater synergy between an individual award and its contribution to the house point system
• Increased consistency regarding what rewards are awarded for and making this information more accessible to parents/carers

Top priority

There were 284 responses to the statement “please state your top priority for improving our school”. Whilst these responses were detailed and wide ranging, there was a very strong alignment between your views and those of my Senior Leadership Team and I. I will be emailing you on Monday 23rd April with further details regarding some further planned changes to our school from September 2018 and beyond this, September 2019; each of which will go a long way to addressing many of the responses to this section of the survey.

As always, there are a number of events scheduled to take place at school between now and the half-term break and I would like to draw your attention to a few of these:

Year 7 Parent Teacher Consultation Evening (Thursday 3rd May)

Appointments can be made using the school’s online booking system. A letter giving details of how to make bookings will be sent in due course.

Year 10 End of year examinations (Tuesday 8th May – Friday 11th May)

Students have already received an examination timetable and are being briefed about these examinations in an assembly on Thursday 26th April.

Year 8 Parent Teacher Consultation Evening (Thursday 17th May)

Appointments can be made using the school’s online booking system. A letter giving details of how to make bookings will be sent in due course.

Year 11 final day (Friday 18th May)

Year 11 students’ final day of lessons before leaving for study leave. Students will be present in lessons as normal until 3:10pm on this day. The year 11 final assembly and prom will take place after all of their examinations have been taken, which will be later in term 6 and further details regarding this will be provided nearer the time.

Year 13 final day (Friday 25th May)

Year 13 students’ final assembly and day of lessons before leaving for study leave. Further details will be provided nearer the time, however, students will be leaving school early on this day. Their graduation ball will take place after all of their examinations have been taken, which will be later in term 6.

End of term 5 (Friday 25th May)

Start of term 6 (Monday 4th June)

As we enter the examination season for year 11 and 13 students, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the parents of students in these two year groups our best wishes for what will inevitably be a very busy couple of months. If we can support you in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of our school and I look forward to seeing you over the coming months.

Best wishes,

Gareth Burton