End of Term Letter

15th December 2022

Dear parents and carers,

As we reach the end of this busy autumn term, I  hope you are all looking forward to spending the holiday period with your families and friends. As a school we recognise and value the importance of working in partnership with our parents/carers and the wider family in order to get the best out of our students and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and understanding through what has at times, been a challenging term.

Leadership changes

At the end of this week Simon Tong one of my Deputy Head teachers steps down from his senior leadership role. Simon has been my Deputy since September 2016 and has been instrumental in supporting staff and students during this time. Over the past 18 months Simon has engaged in training to become an Ofsted inspector and as a school and wider federation we have benefitted from this experience. Although Simon will be greatly missed by myself and the wider school community, we are fortunate that from January he will continue to support the federation around school improvement for 2 days a week for the rest of the academic year. Students may well still come into contact with Simon as he focuses on curriculum development. As a school we will be formally marking Simon’s length of service to the school of over 22 years at the end of the summer term and we hope that current and former staff and students will be able to be part of this celebration.

In the spring term we will be engaging in a national recruitment process to replace Simon which will commence at the beginning of the spring term with a view of appointing for a September 2023 start.

To increase capacity in the leadership team at THS during this time we have internally appointed Sarah Hill to join the team as an Associate Assistant Head for 2 terms. Sarah has a wealth of leadership experience from her previous schools and currently leads on More Able and Talented provision as well as initial teacher training. In addition to these role Sarah will be leading on Classroom inclusion and be working in close proximity with subject leaders and other colleagues in ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our young people in the classroom.

PosiTIV magazine

Our third edition of PosiTIV has been shared with our school community this week. We are delighted to provide you with the wide variety of opportunities our students experienced during the summer term of 2022. Please share this with your children and where possible encourage them to take advantage of the rich and varied extra-curricular activities available to them. Click here to read PosiTIV.

Positive attitudes to behaviour

We are delighted to have seen improvements in students’ behaviour this term. We have been working hard to minimise low level disruption in classrooms with an emphasis on rewarding students for the right decisions they make as well as the fantastic work they complete.  Low level disruption can, if left unchallenged, have a detrimental impact on students learning and progress and as much as an hour of learning can be lost each day due to this form of disruption. As a result, we have seen a 270% increase in praise being issued and a 7% decrease in negative points and sanctions being issued. A recent student voice survey suggested that classrooms feel calmer and more purposeful with more focused learning taking place. This has been echoed by staff as well as visitors to the school. We are committed to ensuring that our students have the very best experiences whilst at THS and we continue to work in partnership to promote positive behaviour for learning and attitudes, reflecting our values, across the school.

Adjustment to timings within the school day

In September this year we made a change to our school day timings which has been a great success with students and staff happy with the move to 1-hour lessons and a 5-period day.  However, the staggered breaks and lunches have been less popular with our school community and as such we have decided to move to one break and one lunch for all students. On the 22nd November we moved to one break for all students with break taking place at 11-11:30am. However, to move to one lunchtime for all year groups has proved slightly more challenging but we are excited to let you know that from January we will have 2 brand new food outlets in addition to our two existing refectories. This will give us increased ability to enable students to buy food at break and lunchtimes. Not only does this allow us to simplify our timetabling but it also allows us to have more staff on break and lunch duty to support and supervise our students in their unstructured times. From Wednesday 4th January 2023 lunchtime for all year groups will be between 1:30-2:00pm. Students will be allowed to eat outside at lunchtime from this date and we will be holding special assemblies for all students on the first day back that will set out our expectations and ensure that everyone is clear about the part that they play in ensuring that lunchtime is a positive and pleasant experience for all.

Uniform and equipment

I also wanted to remind you of some of our expectations of our students, but firstly I wanted to update you on our move to trousers, which although unpopular with some to begin with, has become normal and indeed the majority of our female students have not only embraced it but confess to preferring to wear trousers. Again, thank you for your support with this. For those who need to buy uniform over the break, here is the link to our uniform policy. You will also find on this page our procedures when students are not wearing the correct uniform or indeed are not equipped with the minimum equipment of:

  • Pencil case
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scientific calculator
  • Reading book
  • Large bag/rucksack suitable for carrying the equipment and book/s.

I would also like to draw attention to our mobile phone policy. The banning of mobile phones in school has been a great success with students no longer being distracted in their lessons and enjoying face to face communication with each other at break and lunchtimes. Our mobile phone policy can be found by following this link.

Homework

We are working hard behind the scenes to achieve consistency with homework. Students are currently set homework according to a timetable for their year group and this will continue. We are also anticipating a launch of a Homework Club every evening afterschool where students will be able to go and complete their homework supported by members of staff. Here is our homework policy.

Year 7 St Nicholas Day celebration

We are lucky enough to have students at THS whose families come from all around the world. Last week, Year 7 were treated to a celebration in the refractory with music, cookies and squash during tutor time to celebrate St Nicholas Day, a festival that is celebrate across Europe and by many of our families.

Give where you live

A huge thank you for supporting our staff and students to Give Where You Live; we donated the equivalent of two trollies of food to CHAT following the non-uniform day on Friday 25th November, and raised brilliant £689.94, which will be donated to CHAT to support local families within our community.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to donate and to the ambassador team for date checking everything. This donation was gratefully received by CHAT who reported they are struggling to meet demand in the current climate with additional demands on requests, a decrease in donations and rising food prices.

Tomorrow we will round the term off with our annual Christmas Jumper Day and a tutor celebration during the last lesson of the day.

Finally, my team and I would like to wish you a merry Christmas and hope you have a safe and happy break and we look forward to welcoming all our students back on the 4th January 2023 at 8:25am.

Yours sincerely

Sammy Crook

Head teacher