Headteacher’s Blog – September 2018

Welcome to the new school year.

It has been an extremely settled and purposeful start to the new school year at Bournside. Our new students in year 7 have been busy getting to know the layout of their new school and we are delighted with the way that they have begun their time with us, already making their contribution to our school in lots of positive ways.

As you are aware, the beginning of this term heralded two major changes for us. We now have different timings to our school day, which see students arrive and go straight into their first lesson at 8:50am, coupled with a ‘split lunchtime’ later in the day, where students eat their lunch at different times, depending on the year group they are in. In the first three days of term the level of student lateness to school had reduced by 24% compared to the beginning of last year. I take lunch with students in our Dining Centre each day and they are informing me that they feel the lunch queues are much shorter and they have much more room to sit and eat their lunch properly, since there are only half the number of students on lunch at any one time. Whilst we will conduct a formal evaluation of this change later in the year, it is clear from the first week that this change is making a significantly positive difference to our school.

The second change is our approach to how we allow students to use mobile technology in school. Students have adapted very well to this change and only 1.3% of our students have not complied with our new expectations since the beginning of term and as such have had their device confiscated. I am very aware that this excellent start must be maintained and my staff and I are committed to ensuring that this high level of expectation is retained moving forward, in support of our students. I am equally aware that this excellent start is a result of the clear direction that you as parents/carers will have given your children at home and we are very grateful for your continued support in this way.

The focus for all of our students this term is ‘developing good work habits’ and ‘challenging yourself’. This week I am leading assemblies with all students to set these two foci and discuss them in more detail. I thought you might find it helpful to be aware of the following good work habits that we hope to instil into all of our students:

In lessons

  • Date written and underlined
  • Title written and underlined
  • Work completed & presented well

At home

  • Homework completed
  • Check all equipment and kit is packed the night before
  • iPad is fully charged
  • Bottle of water in school bag

As part of my discussions with students about the concept of ‘challenging yourself’, I have been reflecting with them on what a suitable level of challenge is. Clearly this will be unique to every child, however, I have been clear that students should aim just above the level that they feel they are actually capable of, and it is this which pushes students out of their comfort zone and challenges them in their learning, both in lessons as well as in other opportunities that come their way throughout the year.

As always, our first term is an action-packed one with so many additional opportunities for our students to engage in. As I write this BLOG, the school’s production team are announcing details regarding how to audition for a part in this year’s school production, ‘We Will Rock You’. Further information will follow.

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 1:

Year 7 Information Evening (Tuesday 11th September at 6:00pm)

An opportunity for parents/carers to hear from key members of staff at the school, to enable you to support your child effectively throughout their first year.

Year 8 and 9 Information Evening (Thursday 13th September at 6:00pm)

An opportunity for parents/carers to hear from key members of staff at the school, to enable you to support your child effectively throughout year 8 and 9.

Year 10 Information Evening (Thursday 13th September at 7:15pm)

An opportunity for parents/carers to hear from key members of staff at the school, to enable you to support your child effectively throughout their first year of their GCSEs.

Main School Open Evening (Thursday 20th September)

School will finish for students at 1:10pm on this day. The Dining Centre will be open if students wish to stay for lunch from 1:10pm – 1:40pm. Students entitled to free school meals will be able to eat as usual. We are delighted with the support that so many students will provide later in the day to make our Open Evening such an exciting event.

Year 11 and 13 Awards Evening (Thursday 27th September)

This evening is an opportunity for invited students, staff and parents/carers to celebrate the outstanding progress and contribution made by students in year 11 and 13 in the 2017/18 academic year.

Year 7 Parent-Teacher Consultation Evening (Thursday 4th October)

This is an opportunity for parents/carers of year 7 students to come into school and meet with their child’s tutor to discuss how they have settled into their new school. If your child is on the SEND register or if you have any specific SEND queries, our specialist SEND staff will also be available too. Please note that no academic information will be shared at this event; there is a second year 7 Parent-Teacher Consultation Evening on Thursday 2nd May, which will give you an opportunity to meet with all of your child’s subject teachers to discuss academic issues.

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

Year 7 Music Evening (Tuesday 16th October)

Our first term comes to a close with an opportunity to hear from a large number of year 7 musicians. Mr Clift (Head of Music) will provide further details nearer the time.

Careers Fair (Thursday 18th October)

To support students in years 9 – 13, we have invited over 60 different organisations to come and join us on site to offer independent advice and guidance to students and parents regarding higher education, apprenticeships, employment and other training. This now annual event is always very well attended and offers an excellent opportunity for informal and relaxed conversation with experts across a wide range of providers. A letter will shortly be sent to all parents of students in years 9 – 13, with further details of this event.

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

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