Headteacher’s Blog – November 2018

I hope you all enjoyed a restful half-term break.

A focus for our school throughout term 1 has been student attendance and it was a delight to be able to see so many of our students recognised for high levels of attendance since September. Just prior to half-term, letters were sent to 795 students in years 7 to 11 who had achieved 97% attendance or above since the beginning of the year. Of these 795 students, 674 achieved 100% attendance and received an additional congratulatory postcard home.

Student attendance is a very emotive issue and as a parent myself, I know first-hand that there will be times when it is in the best interests of your child to keep them at home because they are unwell. However, the long-term impact of poor attendance is very stark and well publicised. Whilst we aim for 100% attendance for every student, our whole-school attendance target is 97%. This may appear high, however, it is worth bearing in mind that an average of 90% attendance, which in most other walks of life would represent relative success, actually corresponds to missing one day of school per fortnight. At Bournside last year, the 197 students whose average attendance was 90% or higher, achieved an average of a GCSE grade 5 and 71% of them did this in English and mathematics.  Interestingly, the 68 students whose average attendance was below 90% achieved an average of a GCSE grade 3 and only 45% of them did this in English and mathematics.

We regularly speak with our students about their attendance and in support of your conversations at home, below is the attendance diamond that we use:

Since I last wrote to you, I had the pleasure of congratulating six of our students in their appointment as Head Prefects. These are positions of responsibility that students strive towards in their former years at the school and are highly sought after. Congratulations to each of Roz (Deputy Head Girl – Year 13), Ned (Head Boy – Year 13), Ella (Head Girl – Year 13), Ben (Deputy Head Boy – Year 13), Max (Assistant Head Boy – Year 11) and Eloise (Assistant Head Girl – Year 11). These students are pictured in this order from left to right in the photograph below:

As you will see below, our annual programme of year 7 cycle awareness training runs between 5th November until 16th November. In addition to this, as the dark mornings and evenings are now upon us, I would like to ask for your support in encouraging your son/daughter to be mindful of their safety on the journey to and from school. If they walk to school, as far as possible please discourage them from walking on their own and if they cycle, please encourage them to wear a helmet and high visibility clothing/accessories if they are able to.

Whilst our entire school calendar, along with lots of other relevant information for parents/carers, is available on the school website underneath the ‘parents’ tab, in support of you, below are a selection of the key events taking place at the school between now and the end of term 2:

Year 7 cycle awareness training (Monday 5th November to Friday 16th November)
See above

Whole-school Remembrance assembly (Friday 9th November)
At 11:00am we will gather as an entire school community of almost 2000 people to remember the people who gave their lives for us in battle.

First academic report for year 13 students (Friday 9th November)
The first academic report for parents/carers of year 13 students will be sent via email. A copy will also be available on the School Gateway Parent App.

Anti-bullying week (Monday 12th November to Friday 16th November)
This year’s national theme is ‘choose respect’ and there will be various whole-school and year-based activities to get involved in, all of which will be launched in assemblies this week by Mr Warren (Associate Assistant Headteacher) and me.

Non-uniform day (Friday 16th November)
Non-uniform day in support of Children in Need. We ask all students to donate £1 (suggested optional donation) and wear non-uniform for the day. As is traditional at Bournside, this day will also be fancy dress for our sixth form.

Year 13 mock examinations (Tuesday 4th December to Friday 14th December)
Year 13 students will sit mock examinations in their respective subjects. They will receive their individual timetables over the course of the next week and information regarding study leave will be communicated to students and parents/carers nearer the time.

First academic report for year 7 – 12 students (Friday 7th December)
The first academic report for parents/carers of year 7 – 12 students will be sent via email. A copy will also be available on the School Gateway Parent App.

Year 11 Parent Teacher Consultation Evening (Thursday 13th December)
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.

Christmas Concert (Wednesday 19th December)
Tickets for the concert will become available over the course of the next few weeks and information relating to this will be made available on the weekly Parent Bulletin.

Final day of term 2 (Thursday 20th December)
Advance warning of an early finish for students on the final day, which will be at 12:30pm. On this day, as is usual practice at Bournside, we take the opportunity to support those for whom the Christmas holidays may not be a time of celebration. We will give students the opportunity to donate £1 and wear a Christmas jumper for the day, instead of their blazer. Details regarding the chosen charity that these donations will support will be publicised in due course.

First day of term 3 (Monday 7th January)
We look forward to welcoming students back from their Christmas break at 8:50am.

It has been lovely to speak with many of you at the school gates in the morning and afternoon and always so nice to see you attend our school events in the large numbers that you do. Thank you so much for your continued support of our school.

Best wishes,

Gareth Burton


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