Principal’s Newsletter – July 2017
11th July 2017
I do not know where the time has gone since I last wrote to you at the end of March! We returned to school after the Easter holidays and a few weeks later students were already sitting GCSE and A Level examinations. We estimate that our students have spent a staggering 450 hours in May and June completing exams. We hope that their hard work, revision and determination pay off when they receive their results. As I have written before there is no doubt that the GCSEs are getting much tougher and are more demanding on our students. At both home and school we need to support our young people in how to revise effectively, but also how to retain and recall significantly greater amounts of knowledge. Personal Responsibility is one of the academy’s 3 key priorities for 2017-18 and we will be sharing more about this later in the year.
You will all know that our community experienced the sudden loss of a Year 11 student at the start of May. Owain was a much liked and respected member of Year 11 and on the brink of doing very well in his GCSEs. We were incredibly proud of all our students in the way they handled this tragedy and no more so than the excellent conduct students showed when attending Owain’s packed funeral. Owain’s friends in Y11 have decided to remember him with a lovely wooden bench inscribed with a message.
We are saying goodbye to a small group of teachers this summer and I know you will join me in wishing them well in their new posts. However we are delighted that we are fully staffed for September. We are benefitting from being part of the Tudor Park Education Trust, sharing some teaching as well as using the new Logic building.
Please make sure you and your child are familiar with the key academy policies ready for the students’ return. We have a strict Uniform Policy and the students have been reminded of this in the last few weeks. Every student needs to come to school ready to learn, by arriving no later than 8.30, in perfect uniform and with the necessary equipment. We have also made some changes to our Consequences Ladder so that we can ensure all students can learn without disruption of distraction from other students. As ever we are grateful for, and rely on the support of our parents to ensure students follow the academy rules and expectations. There is still the occasional student who cycles into the car park or site. Students need to be aware that for health and safety reasons they must dismount their bikes upon entering the site. We also want to remind you that no student should be on the astros or pitches after 4pm or at the weekends unless part of a supervised activity with a teacher, coach or team. It’s important that we can keep our large school site safe at all times.
Can I remind you that from September we will be a ‘cashless’ academy? Parents and carers will need to use ParentPay to ensure their child has enough credit to purchase food from the canteen. It will not be possible for anyone to use cash. Please also be aware that if you are using local retail outlets to top up Parentpay with cash, then there are a few days before the money is actually credited to your ParentPay account. If you are having difficulty with ParentPay, admin staff will be available for most of August to advise you. All students in Year 8-11 return to Springwest on Wednesday 6th September. Year 8 start at 9am and will leave at 10.30am. Year 9 -11 all start at 11am and will leave at 12.30pm. The following day on Thursday 7th September all students will have a normal school day starting at 8.30am although we will not run PREP on this day. Friday is once again a normal school day and the photographers will be in.
On behalf of all the staff and governors can I thank you and your children for another excellent year. We have found it invaluable to have feedback from staff, student and parent surveys and as a result we have made some changes including to our Consequences ladder, and to our communication with you. There is a section on the website which details some of the changes in response to your feedback.
Along with every other secondary school we do not know what the GCSE results will bring this year and 2017 results include the new and harder GCSEs in English and Maths; however we do know our Year 11 and their teachers have worked tirelessly so we cannot ask for any more than that. It is also vital that we appreciate Springwest is about more than results. It is about outstanding learning and children loving their lessons; it is about the smiling faces on trips such as PGL and Exmoor and the cheers and smiles and competitiveness of Sports Day. It is also about the thrill of performing Matilda, the stunning artwork recently displayed in the GCSE and A Level Art exhibition and being borough sporting champions! Our academy is about teaching each other our academy values so that we can live and learn together in a safe and productive environment. Above all Springwest is about making each child’s school experience an exciting journey to prepare them for their future, whatever that holds.
Enjoy the summer weeks ahead and we look forward to seeing you and your child in September.
Mariella Wilson, Principal.