Headteachers Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians

It has been a busy half-term! Highlights have included the excellent Kings’ School Association Fayre, a number of successful trips, exchanges and visits (including a new Science visit to CERN in Switzerland, the long-established RS trip to Krakow and an adventurous PE residential in South Wales) and also the Under 16 Boys Rugby team winning the Hampshire Plate. As I write, Year 11 are right in the middle of their GCSE exam season while Year 7, too, are getting to grips with their first formal assessments.

 

In Year 10, I am delighted to announce our new Pupil Leadership Team. New Headgirl Alacey Brooks and Headboy Jack Proctor are supported by deputies Josh May, Skye Ayling, Georgia Taylor and Ed Carter. They faced really strong competition in securing their new posts. Nearly 40 pupils applied and those of us lucky enough to interview them were absolutely spoiled for choice – we are lucky to know such committed and talented young people.

 

Buses

Of course, the half-term has also featured the announcement and then the implementation of some difficult decisions. I understand that the early shut-down of the Kings’ bus routes in September 2018 has caused several families distress and anxiety and I would like to repeat my apology about our change of plan.

A number of parents have enquired about the possibility of sharing lifts once routes 1, 2, 3, Kings’ North 1 and Kings’ North 2 cease to run. If you would like to be put in contact with other parents who use any of these services, please write in and we will then share your contact details with them. Please do this by Friday 15 June so that people have time to get in touch with each other and explore possibilities.

School finances

I am really grateful to those parents who have got in touch to sympathise with the financial pressure we are under and to offer support. We do not intend to ask parents to make any direct contribution to the school, but we would be very grateful for additional support for the Kings’ School Association (KSA). They help us with important items that enrich the pupils’ experience – in recent years, this has included the improved seating and staging in the quad, the development of the Enterprise Suite, sports equipment and musical instruments.

Many parents now make a regular contribution to the KSA via a standing order. We would be very grateful to any parent who felt able to join this scheme – please find a letter giving more details attached.

School uniform change

On a more cheerful matter, I am pleased to announce that we have decided to change the uniform rules in order to allow girls to wear trousers if they wish to do so, from September. We have thought long and hard about this – our existing uniform looks great and is a real strength of the school; visitors almost always say how smart the pupils look, so we need to be careful not to spoil it. On the other hand, we know that lots of girls would like the option of wearing trousers and so we have decided that, as long as we can make sure everyone still looks fabulous, we should make this change.

We are working out the practicalities. We think it is vital that the trousers are all of the same style and so we are discussing the options with possible suppliers. The idea is that everyone (girls and boys) will buy their trousers from the same supplier (just as we do with the skirts) so that we can guarantee a consistently smart look.

I hope this is good news for girls as it means they will have the option of coming to school in trousers from September 2018. It affects boys too, though, because we will be insisting that they all wear the standard uniform style. We recognise that some families will want to get good use out of their existing trousers, though, so we will wait until July 2019 before we insist that all boys’ trousers are purchased from the school’s approved supplier. More details will be published on the school website after half-term – we will let you know when to look!

LGBTQ+

I am really pleased to report that we are now a “Stonewall Champion School”. As you may know, Stonewall is a charity that supports the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. To become a “Champion” we have to be committed to “tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying” and “making the school a place where pupils and staff are ALL accepted without exception.”  This should come quite naturally to us – our Values Statement says we believe that “all human beings are equally and infinitely valuable and that they have equal rights and equal dignity” and so “we promote respect, kindness and courtesy.”

However, a specific focus on LGBTQ+ issues is new for us. As a first step, we are establishing a support group at school, intended to raise awareness of and kindness towards people who identify as LGBTQ+. We are conscious that this might mean pupils telling us things that they have not yet shared with parents. This is not generally a safeguarding issue, so we would not routinely pass this information onto parents; however, our intention is always to encourage pupils to consider talking to their parents themselves.

We know that we are only just starting out on this journey and we also know that we can do much, much more. Mrs Allison and Mrs Berridge are leading on this project – if you have any questions or suggestions about it, please don’t hesitate to contact one of them.

Parents’ evening feedback

Many thanks to all those parents of Year 7 pupils who took the time to respond to our survey earlier this term. The summary results are below; we were also grateful for the specific written comments that many parents added.

 

 

We are happy with this response but also keen to continue to improve in those areas highlighted by the survey.

 

School lunches

 

As previously advised, after half-term we will no longer be providing polystyrene trays for take-away meals (which will mean 150-200 fewer trays will be produced and thrown away every day). Pupils who do not wish to sit down to eat their lunch off a proper plate will need to bring in their own re-usable plastic container!

 

Year 11 reminders

 

We would be very grateful if parents of Year 11 pupils could check their ParentPay accounts for any outstanding debts on lunch money, bus fees or trips. If you could clear any debt by 1 June, that would be great.

 

KSA news

 

Many thanks to the wonderful people at the Kings’ School Association for putting on yet another highly enjoyable Summer Fair, and also to those very generous folk who donated presents for the Grand Raffle. We raised just over £4000 for improvements to the Quad, which is great; even more importantly, the school family gathered and enjoyed ourselves. These occasions are very precious. A special mention must also go to the Class of 2008 Alumni who also gathered to enjoy their ten year reunion at the same time.

 

The KSA supports the school quite brilliantly – as well as raising lots of money to support your sons and daughters, they also help at a wide variety of events. However, we rely heavily on a relatively small number of very generous volunteers – it would be good to spread the load a little. The least demanding service you might render would be to help serve refreshments at a Parents’ Evening – even half an evening, once per year, would be great – if you feel able to help out in this way PLEASE get in touch with Mr Rossiter, here at school or via the KSA email address KSA@kings-winchester.hants sch.uk.

 

Fostering network flyers

 

Please also find attached information about an event run by the Hampshire fostering network which may be of interest to foster parents and/or fostered children.

 

Traffic safety messages

 

We received this message from staff at the Royal Winchester Golf Club:

 

“We are finding that a lot of parents are using the entrance of our car park at the back of the school to swing around and drop off their children which has nearly resulting in our members driving into the side of their cars as it is quite a blind entrance.  Some mornings there can be a string of 3 or 4 cars doing this and one day there will be a nasty accident.  Please can you advise parents not to do this.”

 

Another parents emailed in to say:

 

“I wondered if you could mention in either the school bulletin or your e-mail to the pupils a safety warning.  As my children are at St Peters school I am forever travelling along the school road. I am becoming increasingly concerned about our pupils’ safety as they simply do not stick to the pavement.  They walk in large groups and as a result walk in the road.  Only today I had to slam my breaks on as one boy was in the road beside his group of friends completely oblivious to me being there in a car. The road is highly dangerous anyway due to the volume of traffic and the ridiculous parking of parents. I fear that an accident is just waiting to happen.”

 

Quality in Careers

 

We are delighted to announce that Kings’ School has recently been awarded the ‘Quality in Careers Standard’. This is the national quality award for Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in schools, colleges and WBL Providers. The latest Statutory Guidance (January 2018) from the DfE on CEIAG ‘strongly recommends’ all secondary schools work towards and achieve the award by 2020, and so we are proud to have achieved this already!

“I have no hesitation in recommending that Kings’ School is awarded the Quality in Careers Standard”. The assessor was particularly impressed that our CEIAG programme supports all pupils from Years 7 – 11 and how we are up to date with current developments and statutory guidelines.

 

One particular strength was the Year 11 Mock Interviews, where the assessor cited “the amount of effort that has been put into matching pupils with suitable interviewers is impressive and obviously appreciated by the pupils”. The assessor was also impressed that the school has retained Work Experience, which encourages pupils to develop critical employability skills through sourcing and arranging their own placements, and develops partnerships within the local and national business community.

 

We are excited by future development plans for the CEIAG programme, including career learning opportunities within the curriculum and effective use of Labour Market Information to support GCSE option choices, pupil progression post 16 and career planning.

 

Music news

 

We have a new event – the Music Department are preparing a spectacular “Summer Show”! Please save the date: Thursday 5th July 6:30 – 8:00pm, outside on the new stage. Auditions are already taking place – more details will follow.

 

Sports news

 

Coming soon! 3 of the highest highlights of the school year:

 

Sports Day on Thursday 21st June

Olympiad Legacy Day on Friday 22nd June

Sports Awards evening on Friday 13th July

 

More details about all 3 will be sent out soon after half-term.

 

House news

 

Mr Palmer writes:

 

As always at this juncture, we take a look back at the year of House events in anticipation of the crowning of the winning House at our fabulous Sports Day finale. Currently surging, the Godwin Galacticos have stormed ahead into a dominating lead (560), whilst the other three Houses are locked in a fierce battle for the second place. (Stuart – 480, Norman – 480, Tudor 475) Despite Godwin’s domination, any team may still mathematically win the House Cup so it is still all to play for.

 

This half term has seen the continuation of whole-school events as requested from school council, pitting the talents of Years 7-11 against one another in battle on the Rounders and Softball fields respectively. These events were preceded by a fantastically attended Kings’ Got Talent final (insert obligatory recognition of Mr Deacon’s efforts), fabulously showcasing the prodigious talents of our pupils. The event was won unanimously by a breath-taking dance and floor display by Lewis Clark (9WGT). With so much talent on display there was much deliberation amongst the Heads of House for the remaining places, but ultimately Godwin House swept the evening, placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th!

 

Attendance figures have continued to rise, with a tremendous 62% of Year 7,  59% of Year 8, 49% of Year 9 and 37% of Year 10 having attended a House event this academic year. After Half Term we will be holding our final House assemblies in an attempt to rally our troops for the upcoming Sports Day and will once more present our House Heroes with their certificates for attending five or more House events across the year.

 

This year, we have extended our non-competitive post-Sports Day line up to include not only Volleyball, Capture the Flag and the incredible Summer Games, but also Kings’ School’s very first House Quidditch (Logistics very much still a debate during our weekly House meeting, but it will certainly offer fun in spades!) and the long-overdue return of House Tennis / Table Tennis.

 

We would like to say a very fond farewell to our departing House Captains and thank them for their endless enthusiasm, camaraderie, consistency and good humour. They have been a fabulous team and we will miss them greatly. As ever, we extend an invitation to them to join us at Sports Day for Pizza and the chance to hold aloft the House Cup at the close of events. We look forward to interviewing the new crop of prefects and senior prefects in order to assemble our House team moving forward and wish every applicant the very best of luck.

 

 

 

 

Library news

Mrs Miles writes:

 

Our fabulous library continues to be a well-used and popular part of the school. Book borrowing is as good as its ever been, which leads to a tiny problem. Our children are very good at borrowing books, but not so good at bringing them back. We currently have rather a lot of overdue books out there, and I would appreciate your help in getting them back. Please have a good look at home over the half term and send back any school library books you may find. Unfortunately, if books are lost or damaged they must be replaced or paid for.

 

Year 11s and any other leavers – please make sure you get your library books back before you go. I cannot sign off your Leavers’ Forms if you are still in possession of school library books.

 

HAMPSHIRE BOOK AWARD

 

Every year, since 2006, we have participated in the prestigious Hampshire Book Award, and every year our year 8 judges are praised for their commitment, high standard of critical reading and general excellence in the process of reading a shortlist of newly-published fiction and then evaluating it. This year’s team is no exception and I am already immensely proud of our year 8s who are dedicating their spare time to the task. Schools across Hampshire take part in the HBA and this year Kings’ has been invited to host one of the regional voting days. This will take place in June and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing our judges well as they debate the merits of the books on the list with year 8s pupils from across the county.

 

CHESS AND SCRABBLE

A popular afternoon activity is sitting in the library playing chess or Scrabble. This is particularly true on miserable afternoons, and in winter! At present we have only two chess sets and one Scrabble set and I would love to expand the offer of afternoon board games, perhaps even formalising this into a proper club. If you have a chess set or Scrabble set you no longer require and would like to donate to the library I would appreciate that enormously.

 

Data protection

You will undoubtedly have heard about national changes to the rules governing data protection.  The new “General Data Protection Regulation” comes into force this Friday (25 May) and we have updated our data protection policy to comply with it. The new policy and its associated Privacy Notice can be viewed on our website at http://www.kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk/about-us/policies/.

 

Important dates

 

Please note that Tuesday 17 July will be a half-day, with a lunchtime finish for pupils. It will be followed by our 3 “Activities Days”, Wednesday 18 – Friday 20 July.

 

5–12 June     : German Exchange

8 June            : Year 8 Reports to Parents

13–20 June   : French Exchange

14 June         : Year 8 Parent’s Evening

19 June         : Year 8 Enterprise Day STEM

20 June         : Fundraising Performance Evening (Drama Dept)

21 June         : Sports Day

22 June         : Legacy Day

26 June         : Reserve Sports Day

27/28 June    : Year 6 Induction Days

27 June         : Year 6 Uniform Evening

29 June         : Year 11 Leavers Prom

3/4 July          : Year 6 Induction Days

4 July             : Year 6 Parent’s Information Evening

3 July             : Year 8 Latin Fishbourne Palace

5 July             : Musical Summer Show – evening

6 July             : Year 9 Summer interim reports to parents

13 July           : Year 7 Reports to parents

13 July           : Sports Awards Evening

16-20 July     : Year 10 Work Experience

17 July           : Half day – school closure

18-20 July     : Activities Days

23 July           : INSET DAY

 

Yours faithfully

 

Mr M Leeming

Headteacher