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Headteacher Newsletter

By   /  August 8, 2017  /  Comments Off on Headteacher Newsletter

July 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians

I hope that you and your whole family are well and looking forward to a great summer break.

As another school year comes to an end, I would like to start by saying once again what a privilege it is to work with such committed adults and such delightful young people. While I know that the school is far from perfect and that there are many ways in which we can improve, I am grateful every day for the dedication and skill of my colleagues, the spirit that exists among the pupils and the partnerships we enjoy with parents. Thank you for your support this year, whatever form that support has taken, and thank you too for continuing to entrust me and my colleagues with the care of your child.

I am happy to report that the school seems to me to be in good shape. Since I last wrote to you, we have (very nearly) completed our recruitment activities for September; Year 11 have left in fine form and public exams are over. We have enjoyed a super “Stock Market Challenge” for Year 9, successful visits to Italy, to Calshot, to The Globe Theatre and Fishbourne Roman Palace. We have also held spectacular Sports and Legacy Days, a first-rate Prom, a wonderful Music Awards Evening, and an equally wonderful Sports Awards Evening. We approach Activities Days a little tired, but pleased that the term and the year have gone so well.

Staff changes
This is always a slightly sad time of year as we say goodbye both to our Year 11 pupils and also to colleagues. This summer sees the retirement of several long-serving members of staff. Steve Williamson steps down as Head of English while Cheryl Panszczyk will be relinquishing her Head of Science role. Bobby Poll will also retire, after 22 years in charge of the PD Resourced Provision. Their places will be taken by Anna Payne, Jake Lean and Paula Twiggs, respectively.
Other leavers include Bruce Adie and Debbie Germain from the Science Department, Naomi Small and Hayley Taulbut from English and Jane Naylor from RS. Suzie Smith from PE will return to her native Australia, while Finn Mannerings, Elise Purdue-Snocken, Chelsea Hayward and Jordan Street leave the pupil support team. I would like to thank all of them for the dedicated service they have given to the school and to wish them all well during the next phases of their lives.

Fire arrangements

Following the tragedy in west London, you may be curious about fire risk, management and evacuation at school. We have been advised by the County Council that there are no instances of aluminium cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower in Hampshire schools. In the same communication, schools were advised to review their fire risk assessments and we completed this process at the end of June. No additional hazards or changes to our fire plans have been identified and we remain confident in our ability to evacuate our buildings quickly.

I hope you will have seen the joint letter sent out by the headteachers of the 3 Winchester secondary schools. I am happy to report that I have subsequently had a very productive meeting with representatives of Winchester City Council. We agreed that:
a) we all want our young people to be able to enjoy public spaces and to feel safe as they do so;
b) the council and the police are monitoring the locations we mentioned (including the Skate Park) carefully, both by good-quality CCTV and by patrolling officers;
c) the council has not received reports of significant problems at these locations – it is vital that anyone who becomes aware of any criminal or anti-social behaviour reports it, either to the police, by dialling 101, or to the council, confidentially, at or Winchester City Council’s Neighbourhood Services Officer – Anti Social Behaviour 01962 840222;
d) the council will be preparing a number of schemes to promote enjoyable activities for young people during the summer holidays and throughout the year.
We are looking forward to a developing partnership with the council and the police, intended to keep all our young people safe. There are a number of initiatives you might be interested in:
Winchester Street Reach have a team of youth workers that offer young people support through evening outreach work. They also offer drop-in ‘surgeries’ out in the community where young people can meet with them to talk. Winchester Street Reach operates at the following locations and times:
Weeke: Monday evenings, drop-in surgery held at the shop fronts on Stoney Lane
Harestock: Monday evenings, drop-in surgery held at the shop fronts on Priors Dean Road
Winnall: Tuesday evenings, drop-in surgery held at the shop fronts on Garbett Road
Stanmore: Tuesday evenings, drop-in surgery held at the shop fronts on Wavell Way
All drop-in surgeries take place from 7 – 7.15pm.
Winchester City Council is offering a programme of free family outdoor activities during the summer holidays. Come along and join in the fun from 2pm-4pm.
Tuesdays 1st August Dean Park
Tuesday 8th August Somers Close
Tuesday 15th August Orams Arbour
Monday 21st August Chaundler Road

There will be a chance for the children to play multi skills games for the first hour whilst our coaches will be on hand to help adults use the gym or do circuits. Why not all join in together for a family game of rounders at 3pm?

You could combine the outdoor activities with the Wonky Walk for a whole day of free outdoor fun. For more information on Wonky please visit our website at No need to book, just come along and join in!

Data breach
I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago to notify you about an incident in which confidential information about 2 pupils was sent to a number of parents. All the parents concerned have been contacted individually and we have taken effective steps to limit the spread of the information. A thorough investigation into the cause of the breach is under way and we have notified all the relevant agencies, including the police and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). I cannot say much more, as the investigation has not yet concluded, but we are confident that a similar breach is extremely unlikely in future.

Year 4 Bastille Day and Shakespeare Showdown

Mr Bailey writes:
Kings’ School French and English departments welcomed 157 Year 4 pupils to their Bastille Day celebration and “Shakespeare Showdown” on Friday 14 July.
Boys and girls from John Keble, Stanmore, St. Faiths, Compton and Oliver’s Battery enjoyed enacting French café scenes as well as writing authentic Paris postcards home. Other activities included learning how to play boules with real equipment brought back from the recent Year 9 French exchange to Tours, France.
A massive thank you to all the Year 7 guides and The Kings’ School catering team for cooking the children a French style lunch. They all played a huge part in the success of this event which will now become a regular feature of the Kings’ School calendar.

Activities Days
Our Activities Days are rapidly approaching and with this in mind may we please reiterate the following:
• All trips and activities are non-uniform.
• Please find attached specific instructions from each trip leader. Some require different clothing, so please check your child’s specific activity.
• It is forecast to be another hot and sunny week. With this in mind please ensure your son / daughter has ample sun cream and a hat to protect them from the elements.
• The late bus be running on the Monday, but not the Tuesday. Therefore, pupils on trips that are scheduled to return after 15.15 will require collecting from school.
• All pupils are expected to attend both days and a failure to attend will be classed as unauthorised. A request for leave form is available from our school website in the ‘Attendance & Absence’ section.
We do hope your son / daughter has a fantastic couple of days. All information will be available on a display board in the foyer from tomorrow lunchtime for pupils to check their activities, times and requirements.

We have been asked by Hampshire County Council to include this message to you.
Calling all parents of under 5s – 30 hours free childcare!

Parents can now check if they are eligible for the Government’s 30 hours free childcare for their three and four year olds by using the online childcare calculator at

From September 2017 parents will be entitled to a maximum of 1140 hours of free childcare, which doubles the existing 570 hours currently available to all three and four year olds. This could save working parents up to £5000 a year.

To confirm eligibility parents will need to submit an online application via the Childcare Choices website They will receive a reference code which will need to be given to their registered childcare provider. The childcare provider will validate the code with the local authority and confirm eligibility. If authorised, parents will then be able to discuss when the free hours of childcare can begin with their childcare provider.

Tax-Free Childcare

Parents can now check to see if they are eligible to receive up to 20% off financial help towards childcare costs from the Government through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. This could help towards additional hours not covered by free entitlements; before and after school childcare and holiday childcare.

For an explanation of the eligibility criteria and for more details on all Government schemes offering childcare support, visit the Childcare Choices website at

Year 11 Exit Survey

For the first time in recent years, we gave Year 11 pupils a questionnaire covering various aspects of school life. 198 of them were kind enough to answer and they said:

Obviously, all survey data must be taken with a pinch of salt, but I thought this was moderately reassuring!

Careers Fayre

Advance notice – we have a Careers Fayre on Wednesday 13 September, intended for parents of pupils in the new Years 9 and 11. The Fayre will be open between 4.00pm and 6.00pm.

School reports

Thank you to everyone who responded to our evaluation of new school reports, trialled in Years 9 and 10. We had 142 responses, with 80.3% preferring the new style versus 19.7% who preferred the old style. We have therefore decided to adopt the new arrangement from now on.

Cash from Reception

We have noticed a slight increase in the number of pupils asking to borrow cash from Reception, often to pay for a public bus fare. As we are now largely a cashless school, this presents us some difficulties – please do not assume that we will be able to help and also warn your child that this is the case.


I am conscious that the summer holidays are often a time when new uniform items are purchased and hair styles are reviewed. Please be mindful of the school’s rules and expectations; if you are in any doubt, PLEASE contact your child’s Head of Year before making expensive or hard-to-reverse decisions!

Eastleigh Mela
Please see attached flyer here for upcoming Eastleigh Mela event being held on Sunday 30 July.

Contacting us

Due to major IT network maintenance we expect to be unable to receive or respond to emails from Wednesday 26 July until Friday 4 August. If you do need to contact the school during this time please call the school office on 01962 861161.

Important dates

Our new term starts for most pupils at 8.45am on Wednesday 6 September. For our newest Year 7 pupils and for our esteemed Senior Prefects, it begins the day before, at 8.45am on Tuesday 5 September.

Tuesday 12 September Year 7 Meet the Tutor evening
Wednesday 13 September Careers Fayre (Years 9 and 11)
Wednesday 20 September INSET DAY
Open Evening
Thursday 21 September Open Morning
Friday 22 September Open Morning
Tuesday 26 September Year 9 Academic Information Evening
Thursday 5 October Year 11 Study Skills Information Evening
Tuesday 10 October Open Morning
Wednesday 11 October Year 7 Study Skills Information Evening
Tuesday 17 October Year 10 Academic Information Evening

Yours faithfully

Matthew Leeming