Archives for December 2017

Headteachers Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians

Happy new year! I hope that you and your family have enjoyed lovely Christmas breaks and that you are now feeling thoroughly refreshed for the year ahead. The new term seems to have started really well, with Year 9 thoroughly immersed in their exams and with a purposeful and productive atmosphere all around the school.

 

Building works

You might remember that we have been working on plans for a brand new building. Four years ago, we decided to add an extra class in every year group (without changing the total number of pupils) – this allowed us to reduce the average size of a Kings’ School tutor group from 30 to 28, with a proportionate impact on the size of all the other classes. We knew we had enough teachers to do this (just) but we have always struggled to find enough rooms – your daughter/son may well have been taught in some surprising places as we have tried to squeeze everyone in.

The funds we have now obtained from the sale of the old boarding house have allowed us to afford a brand new 4-classroom block and construction work is about to start. We hope to have builders on site from February half-term (and to have a shiney new building ready to occupy by next Christmas).

The new block will be located behind the gym, on the corner of the tennis courts (one of the courts will be rotated through 90 degrees to help us fit the new building in). The Business Studies team will occupy the new rooms – we will then move some other subjects (including English, Geography, History and RS) to make optimum use of all our other rooms. The music will stop in July 2019, by which time we hope everyone will be in the right place!

An immediate implication of this exciting project will be that the PE team will need to make more intensive use of the Sarum Road courts and so parents and visitors will not be able to use these for parking after 3.30pm. I fear that there may be other inconvenience as the project progresses and I apologise in advance; we hope it will be well worth the trouble in the end.

 

Quad redevelopment

Our very wonderful Kings’ School Association have been busy fundraising (their next big event is the Comedy Night on Friday 16 March – save the date). Their current project is a major redevelopment of “the Quad”, the open space in the middle of the school where a very large proportion of the pupils spend lunchtime.

We hope to provide a new outside serving point for hot snacks and sandwiches (the “Snack Shack”!); an outside stage for music and theatrical events; a number of booths/kiosks for pupil enterprise companies; an outside chess area and also lots of new and additional seating. This work, together with the landscaping that will surround the new classroom block, should transform the quality of exterior space for the pupils and we are very excited about it. I would like to thank the KSA for all the fundraising work that has made this project possible and also to thank all those parents who have supported KSA events.

 

Instrumental music lessons 

We have some vacancies for flute, clarinet and saxophone lessons.  Please click here. This might be just the moment for your son/daughter to try something new – lots of pupils clearly get enormous pleasure from playing their musical instruments.

 

Late buses

I mentioned the changes to our bus contract in my December letter. Sadly we have not been able to negotiate a viable price and so the late buses will cease from February half-term. We know that this will make it harder for some pupils to take part in after-school activities and we are really sorry about this. However, we simply cannot afford the level of subsidy that would be required to keep the bus service running.

 

Training to teach

As I am sure you know, we are members of the Winchester Teaching School Alliance and this means that we can help you train to become a teacher! I hope you won’t be surprised that I think teaching is the very best job in the world – rewarding, varied, worthwhile and highly enjoyable AND the holidays are pretty good. The School Direct scheme that we offer is run in conjunction with the University of Winchester and offers training both for primary and secondary teaching qualifications. Applications are open now for September 2018 – you could be qualified a year later. There is more information on the WTSA website at http://www.wtsa.info/.

 

Service Children

As you may know, there is extra funding available to schools to help support children with parents in the armed forces. The Service Pupil Premium is provided by the Department for Education to enable schools to offer additional support during challenging times, which could include anything from a service parent being away, being injured on active service or even bereavement. Funds are paid directly to schools, with headteachers and governors deciding how the funds should be used.

 

Schools with service children from Year R to Year 11 are eligible to receive Service Pupil Premium, but only if the child’s name appears on the school roll as being a service child. If you think your family is eligible and we do not already know, please let us know no later than 17 January 2018.

 

For more information on eligibility, please see the links below:

https://www.gov.uk/service-premium-information-for-schools

 

Fit Fest event

We work closely with Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). They run a series of free information events for parents – a leaflet about the next one is attached. Please note that although it is free-of-charge, you do need to book.

 

Important dates

 

w/c 8 January             – Year 9 exams

11 January                  – Y11 Parents evening

26 January                  – INSET DAY

w/c 5 February            – Y11 Peter Symonds College Interviews

8 February                  – Y9 Options Information Evening

w/c 12 February          – Half Term

w/c 19 February          – Year 10 exams

w/c 26 February          – Year 10 exams

28 February                – Y9 Parents evening

w/c 12 March              – National Science Week

16 March                     – KSA Kings’ Comedy Night

29 March                     – INSET DAY

30 March – 13 April    – EASTER HOLIDAYS

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

Matthew Leeming

Headteacher

 

Monday 8th January Year 9 Examinations

Dear Parent/Guardian,

As we all approach the excitement of the Christmas period, I am writing to communicate the details of the Year 9 Examinations which pupils will be starting on Monday 8th January and will continue through to Friday 19th January. I hope to clarify the arrangements for the examinations and help to alleviate any pupil anxiety, ensure timely preparation and promote a relaxing and enjoyable holiday for all.

The arrangements for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science examinations will be different in Year 9 and are shown below. The examinations will be taken as a whole year group in the Sports Hall to facilitate pupil experience of the formal examination conditions that they will encounter in Year 11. If your son/daughter has any formal exam concessions due to additional learning needs, there will be an alternative Examination Concessions Room where pupils will be able to sit examinations under the supervision of the Learning Support Department. (Please contact Miss Linton in Learning Support if you need advice or guidance over examination concessions.)

The remainder of the subject examinations will be undertaken in the pupils’ regular teaching groups, during normal timetabled lessons in the usual classroom setting. Any examinations missed due to the core examinations time slots below will be taken during the timetabled lessons over the following week of the two-week exam period.

Core Subject Timetable:

Tuesday 9th Jan

AM –   Maths                                                              (1 hour 30 mins)

Wednesday 10th January

AM –    Science                                                           (1 hour 30 mins)

PM –    English                                                            (1 hour)

Thursday 11th January

AM –    English                                                            (1 hour)

 

In preparation for the examinations, teaching staff will be providing guidance material during lessons on the topics that pupils will be required to revise. Mr Leeming has spoken to all pupils during Assembly and given advice and guidance on sensible revision expectations over the holidays. We have advised the following:

 

2-3 hours for core subjects; 1 hour for each non-core subject; in total 15-20 hours over the 2 school weeks before the exam period instead of homework

 

I hope this information is helpful and may I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

Mr S Simpson                                                            Miss C Fox

Head of Year 9                                                           Deputy Head of Year 9

Akram Khan’s Dance Production

On Wednesday 13th December, eighteen Year 9 pupils travelled to The Grange in Northington to watch Akram Khan’s dance production Xenos. They learnt about contemporary dance styles and were involved in a question and answer session with the world renowned Akram Khan. Many of the pupils that attended the performance are prospective GCSE Dance pupils and were excited to be involved in this top secret live viewing. Excitingly, The Grange Festival is now looking to work more closely with educational establishments and as a result may work with Kings’ school on dance and drama performances in the future.