Headteacher letter to parents Oct 2019
Dear Parents / Carers,
We have enjoyed a purposeful and productive start to the new school year. Our Year 7 starters have settled tremendously well and are already an integral part of our community. The same can be said about our new teaching staff. At the start of the month we welcomed Mr Murphy (English/Maths Intervention), Miss Jones (RE), Mrs Morrissey (Maths), Miss Donnelly (English), Mrs McConville (2nd in English) and Mr Weaver (Curriculum Leader for Humanities). They are already proving excellent additions to our staff body.
Year 11 Leavers
Please remember our Year 11 leavers in your prayers. Through their effort and hard work, as well as the time and dedication of their teachers, they achieved some fantastic GCSE results. We wish each and every one the very best in their future as they embark upon college courses, apprenticeships and work.
Parent’s Information Evening
We have already held two big events this term. The first was our Parent’s Information Evening for current parents. These were very well attended and were an opportunity for us to update you on school matters. The slides from the evening are available to view here. In relation to this evening, I’d just like to remind all parents that your log-in details for the new school homework app, ClassCharts, will be issued in the very near future.
I wrote to you all in the summer regarding the wearing of school jumpers. As was mentioned at the Parent’s Information Evening, this is not a new rule of the school, rather it is one that has slipped in the past and one that we are now looking to re-inforce from October half-term to Easter. We are a very smart looking school and very proud of the way each child looks. It will remain the case that all pupils can remove their blazers and jumpers if the classrooms are too hot. However, listening to parental feedback, we are making the wearing of jumpers optional for Year 11.
Our recent Open Evening saw the school almost bursting at the seams with prospective new starters. We welcomed over 800 visitors and they were treated to a range of fantastic activities on the night. The stars of the evening were our pupil helpers. They were outstanding ambassadors for St Mary’s!
Cycling to and from school
We are delighted that a good number of our pupils cycle to and from school. Cycling brings many health and environmental benefits and we would like, if possible, to increase the numbers who cycle. We try and promote good cycling habits and will continue to work with the Department for Transport’s Bikeability scheme. However, both staff and parents have raised their concerns regarding the lack of cycling helmets being worn. In reality, many youngsters no doubt feel wearing a helmet is embarrassing, especially when they think they are the only one. However, our roads can be very dangerous and wearing a helmet can prevent life-changing injuries in the event of an accident. Therefore, I am proposing the introduction of a compulsory helmet safety rule which would apply to all cyclists in every year group. However, I would like to hear your views as parents and carers as to your thoughts before such a rule is announced. Please feel free to submit your views by October half-term to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the school on 01772 421909.
On the first day of term, I spoke to all year groups in assembly. I explained to them that last year they had told school there were not enough opportunities for boys and girls to have a say in matters that affect them in school. Therefore this year we are raising the profile of pupil voice at St Mary’s. Each form has been invited to elect 2 form representatives - young people who can bring ideas from their tutor group to a newly formed school council. This school council will have opportunities to raise important matters directly to the Senior Leadership Team.
In addition, concerns raised by pupils has seen the school install dedicated recycling bins for plastic bottles. Care for the environment will be at the forefront of our newly formed pupil Eco-Council. Please encourage your child to use these bins, or, better still, see if they can bring re-usable bottles to school. There are facilities available to re-fill them. We are also looking into the use of plastics within the catering team.
In addition, every child has been informed about a new online bullying reporting form which is accessible via the school website or St Mary’s smartphone app. Bullying is rare at St Mary’s, but every child deserves the right to raise any concerns they have about themselves or a friend. Again, please encourage your child to use this system if they need, or contact school through the usual channels yourself. Any concerns will be acted upon swiftly.
I am conscious that whilst talking about St Mary’s responsibility to the environment and recycling, this letter has been sent out on paper to almost 700 parents! Ideally, we would be in a position as a school to send all communication out to home via electronic means, but we need your support in this matter. The school does have a smartphone app called SZapp. It is accessible via your phone’s app store. Please look for ‘SZapp’ and download. The parent code needed to access the app is 2820.
Many thanks for your continued support for the school,
Mr P Thompson