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.
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.
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.
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/.
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:
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.
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