Headteacher Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians

I hope your son/daughter has enjoyed their first half-term and that they and you are looking forward to a little time off next week – Year 11 pupils will want to spend some time revising for the mock exams, but I hope that younger pupils will enjoy a full break. We have been as busy at school as ever, but I think we have made a really successful start to the new year.

IT  

I would like to thank you (and your children) for your patience while our new IT arrangements have bedded in. In particular, it has been frustrating that “Show My Homework” was out of action for a while. I think we are at last seeing some sustained improvement in the situation, thanks to the hard work of staff, both from the school and from our new contractors, RM. We remain hopeful that the new system will be substantially better than the old one was, eventually!

 

Speak Out Challenge

Parents of pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 may well have heard about the excellent Speak Out Challenge run by the English department. Three times each year every single pupil will be asked to speak to their whole class on an engaging subject. The first Speak Out week is coming up soon, from 20 November.

Please do ask your daughter/son about their speech and, if possible, ask them to practise on you. We know that the prospect of public speaking can be quite daunting, but we also know that the benefit to pupils’ speaking, writing and confidence is enormous.

We will also have Speak Out weeks commencing on 26 February and 25 June 2018 – please make a note in your diary now.

 

Catering changes

As you might remember, we are planning some more changes to lunch queues. I am delighted to say that the number of pupils who want to buy Kings’ School food continues to rise steadily, but this success has created problems of its own.

We want to increase the speed with which we can serve hot meals. From the first Monday back after half-term, we will have 2 separate serving points for hot meals in the Main Hall. Pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 will queue up as they do now, in front of Reception. Pupils in Years 10 and 11 will form a brand new queue in the Music Corridor, entering through the sliding doors that face the car park.

At the same time, we will start serving hot meals on proper crockery, with metal cutlery. This will be MILES better for the environment and much nicer to eat off, too. The polystyrene trays will still be available, for take-away meals, but we hope that more and more pupils will choose to remain in the Main Hall and eat their lunch with their friends there.

 

Walking to school

We are keen to encourage pupils to take physical exercise and to keep traffic near the school as manageable as possible. Working with Hampshire County Council, we have produced a “Drop and Stride map”, showing how easy and quick it is to walk to school from drop-off points in Winchester Village and Chilbolton Avenue. If you do drive your son/daughter to school, please consider using these drop-off/pick-up points.

You can see the map here:

Training to be a teacher (or a Learning Support Assistant)

As you have probably heard, Kings’ is part of the Winchester Teaching School Alliance. This means that you can train to be a teacher with us! We are currently recruiting graduates to start in September 2018 following the “School Direct” route – if you would like more information, do get in touch with my colleague, Maggi Edwards at enquiries@WTSA.info.

We have noticed more and more people charting a route into teaching via the positions of Learning Support Assistant and/or Cover Supervisor. These are two excellent ways to get experience of what classroom-life is all about, either as a fulfilling job in themselves or as stepping stones towards a full teaching qualification. Whilst we do not have vacancies as I write, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on our website as vacancies in both areas arise fairly regularly.

 

Important dates

I would like to remind all parents that the last day of term (Thursday 21 December) is a half-day, with pupils leaving after registration at 1220. This will also be the case on Tuesday 17 July 2018, with the Activities Days following on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week.

 

House news

Following a dramatic surge from Stuart on the back of a great crop of entries in the Photography Competition, the current standings in our 2017-18 inter-house competition are as follows: We are really keen that all our pupils should have a go at extra-curricular activities in general and the house competitions in particular. Attendance to date is as follows:

25% of Year 7

22% of Year 8

18% of Year 9

18% of Year 10

It has been lovely to see so many Year 11 pupils coming along to help out, too! There is something competitive on every Thursday after school, along with plenty of other more prolonged activities. Do please encourage your son/daughter to take part!

 

Carol Concert

This highlight of the school year takes place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 6 December. It is always a wonderful experience and I would urge you to come along, even if your son/daughter is not performing – it is a unique opportunity for the Kings’ family to gather and to celebrate.

I hope that you will also consider joining the Adult Choir – I understand that the closing date for applications is this Friday (20 October) so there is (just) still time to rush your application in – you won’t regret it!

KSA donations

Thank you to those parents who have chosen to support our KSA financially through a monthly standing order. Every penny of the money raised will directly benefit the pupils in our school. Even a small monthly donation of a few pounds is really welcome and will make a difference to the school community. If you would like to know more about this voluntary initiative please follow the link:

http://www.kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/KSA-Contribution-Letter-Forms.pdf

Christmas Cracker

Our amazing Christmas Cracker takes place on Wednesday 29 November from 6.00pm-8.00pm. This Christmas market is an ideal  opportunity to sell (and buy!) Christmas gifts, crafts and cards.   If you would like to run a stall, or would just like more information, please contact  Mrs Berridge (J.Berridge@kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk). Do put the date in your diary now and come along to support the school!

 

Sports News

We received a nice letter from Sport England telling us that we are  “In an elite group of around 120 schools which have achieved.”School Games Mark Gold for 5 consecutive years”. We were really pleased about this – we hope that the PE and games offer at the school is as good as it can be and it is nice to have this additional recognition!

 

Important dates

30 October                                         Start of half-term

7 November                                      Year 7 Internet Safety Evening

10 November                                    KSA Quiz Night

29 November                                    Kings’ Christmas Cracker

30 November                                    Year 8 Dealing with Social Media Pastoral Evening

5 December                                      Year 7 – 9 Drama Performance Evening

12 December                                    Kings’ Carol Service – Winchester Cathedral

 

Yours faithfully

 

Mr M Leeming

Headteacher

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