Headteachers Newsletter

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 (my fifth at Kings’) draws to a close, I would like to say once again how much I have enjoyed working with your children, with my colleagues and with the wider Kings’ School family. As I know I have mentioned before, I have worked in six other schools and I can say without a moment’s hesitation that the spirit that exists amongst all the folk who work at Kings’ (staff and pupils) is both delightful and unique. Our motto, “Working Together”, really does capture an important truth about the school.

Having said that, this has not been our easiest year. The pressure on our budget has meant that we have been forced to make some undesirable changes. I would like to thank you, the parents, for your forbearance and understanding over the early withdrawal of our buses; I would also like to thank my colleagues in advance for their patience and maturity over their increased workloads.

We have lots to look forward to. Next year will see the opening of our brand new Business and Enterprise classroom block (funded by the sale of our old boarding house) – this is on schedule for January 2019. We still have not finally decided what to call it – any suggestions will be gratefully received. We will also see the installation of our new bouldering wall and climbing tower (funded by an exceptionally generous parental donation) – we hope to have the former ready for September, but checking the precise location of gas mains means that the latter will be delayed slightly!

 

A dangerous craze

We have become aware that some pupils have been experimenting with Nitrous Oxide (also known as “Laughing Gas”). This gas is supplied in small canisters and can easily be purchased online. It produces a short-lived feeling of euphoria – you can read more about it here:

https://www.talktofrank.com/drug/nitrousoxide

You will see that it is illegal to supply this substance for human consumption because it is dangerous. We know that several pupils have obtained these canisters intending to use them at parties or with a group of friends.  We have contacted the parents of every individual pupil known to be involved; some pupils have been disciplined.

Pupils need to know that it is against the school rules to bring Nitrous Oxide to school or to supply it to other people. More importantly, they need to know that it is dangerous; most importantly of all, they need to know that you know about it – please have a look at the link and discuss it with your son/daughter, especially if they are in new Years 9, 10 or 11.

 

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 three long-serving members of staff.

Jan Radnedge is retiring from her position as Head of Media Studies, having first joined Kings’ predecessor, Danemark School in September 1978. Paul McCarthy is retiring after 14 years at the school, as is his boss Andy Reid, who has been Head of Design Technology for the last 9 years.

Other leavers include Michelle Pope, Rob Payne and Anita Dodd, who have all secured promoted positions, and Gianmaria Giambartolomei, who is relocating to Japan. We also say goodbye to Nadine Bolt and to Cover Supervisors Steph Green, Matt Gittins and Ronnie Thomas, who are all training to be teachers, to Rebecca Honour; Sabrina Baker, Lesley Johnson, Isobel Donachie, Hayley Ward, Hollie Cambridge and Alex Howe from 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.

 

Parent survey summary 2017-18

Many thanks to everyone who has completed our parents’ surveys. We have been sending the link out after each parents’ evening and asking the same 12 questions that they ask on the OFSTED “Parentview” website. The results are below – the numbers are “weighted averages”, calculated by “Survey Monkey” – the lower the number, the more positive the response.  I think 1.00 would mean that everyone had ticked “strongly agree”, while 2.00 would mean everyone had ticked “agree”.

Year 7 (121 responses) Year 8 (131 responses) Year 9 (117 responses) Year 10 (99 responses) Year 11 (77 responses)
My child is happy at this school 1.64 1.55 1.52 1.57 1.61
My child feels safe at this school 1.57 1.52 1.49 1.42 1.55
My child makes good progress at this school 1.90 1.60 1.59 1.58 1.83
My child is well looked after at this school 1.83 1.61 1.54 1.59 1.61
My child is taught well at this school 1.86 1.62 1.65 1.73 1.83
My child receives appropriate homework for their age 2.02 1.75 1.98 1.90 2.01
This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved 1.69 1.68 1.66 1.56 1.70
This school deals effectively with bullying * 3.01 2.98 2.65 2.87 2.92
This school is well led and managed 1.63 1.53 1.37 1.54 1.56
This school responds well to any concerns I raise ** 2.31 2.09 1.96 2.01 2.17
I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress 1.81 1.70 1.67 1.72 1.73
I would recommend this school to another parent 1.65 1.53 1.36 1.70 1.62

 

* Significant numbers of parents (between 28 and 48) tick “don’t know”, which skews the figures

**    Significant numbers of parents (8-19) tick “don’t know”

The numbers behind the “weighted averages” look like this:

Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Total Weighted average
My child is happy 50 66 4 0 1 121 1.64

 

We were generally quite happy with these responses (although of course it would be great if they were even better). The homework figure appears to be the least positive – when we looked into this more deeply in 2015, we discovered that equal numbers of parents felt there was too little and too much of it.

We will ask these questions again next year so that we can identify trends and changes.

Travel to school

As you know, Kings’ School bus routes will cease to operate from the end of this term (the Colden Common services will, of course, continue). We have discussed replacement options with the City Council and with the public bus companies and we do not yet have any firm commitments from either group. We still hope that  the Park and Ride services from Winchester South will be useful, but we have not yet heard definitive news about fares or about additional stops; we will let you know if we do.

It is probable that there will be more congestion on Kings’ Road and in other streets close to the school in September. It will be worth considering drop-off and pick-up points away from the school – the laybys on Chilbolton Avenue may be convenient for this purpose.

Pupils who intend to use the public bus to and from Fair Oak may find that its timings are inconvenient. We are happy to give such pupils permission to leave slightly early – please liaise with your daughter’s/ son’s Head of Year if you would like to arrange this. More generally, please do get in touch if you have concerns about the journey to and from school in September – we may not have a solution but we are keen to help.

 

Catering news

Our in-house caterers, Kings’ Catering have produced their very first newsletter! The Autumn Term 2018 edition is attached here. It has the latest catering news, regular features and even a voucher which you can cut out and use at lunchtimes! The Kings’ Catering Extra, as it is called, will be produced each term with details of the new menu, articles and special offers.

Uniform

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!

 

BEE Update – from Mrs Bamford

Project Fat Face Update

In the last newsletter we communicated we were awaiting the outcome in the final of this competition. Our Year 8 girls in the group performed brilliantly during their presentation and went on to win the competition!

Their winning design will be printed onto pyjamas and launched for sale in the Winchester store in September.

Year 8 Enterprise Day

As in previous years, there was a STEM focus to this year’s Enterprise Day with a particular spotlight on Engineering job opportunities, given the serious number of vacancies in this sector currently. It also provided the pupils with an opportunity to see how topics they cover in Science, Technology and Maths can be applied in a real world context.

During the day, pupils worked on challenges to build a prototype yacht for Sir Ben Ainslie’s next America’s Cup team. This was then tested for tensile strength. They also designed accessories that might be used on the yacht by the crew. These activities really highlighted the pupils’ creative thinking skills and a number of the teams developed highly imaginative boat and accessories designs.

In advance of the day, two STEM Ambassadors were selected from each tutor group to visit the Education Centre at the Ben Ainslie Racing base in Portsmouth. They were then able to act as advisors to the rest of their tutor group during the activities. We also spent some time addressing stereotypes and trying to re-address the gender bias to this employment sector. The day was hugely successful and will be repeated next year.

Year 6 Stanmore Enterprise Activity

As a means of highlighting the range of Enterprise activities on offer at Kings’, the BEE team ran two Enterprise sessions for Stanmore School’s Year 6 classes. In groups, pupils were asked to develop an appropriate name and logo for a new Winchester based music festival. Their brief also asked them to consider how these might be placed appropriately on festival merchandise.

A number of Kings’ Enterprise Ambassadors were on hand to not only share their experience of running a small business at school but to support the Stanmore pupils in developing their designs. The groups were then taught new software design skills, enabling them to develop an electronic version of their festival’s logo. These were then printed onto water bottles, bags and badges which they were very excited to take back to school with them. The sessions were a huge success and agreement has already been made for this to become an annual feeder school event.

 

Year 9 Social Enterprise project

Working with a charity – Direct Actions to Africa the year 9 pupils have been working in our Enterprise room to design and produce Flip Flops.  The pupils have all engaged in their project and their innovative designs are very professional.  The products will be shipped in August and the charity leader will send photos of our products being used.  The aim of this unit allows pupils an opportunity to use the machines in the enterprise suite and also understand how poverty impacts LICs.

 

Yr 10 Masterclass looking at careers in Law

Year 10 pupils were all given an opportunity to listen to Jennifer Williamson from Stowe Family Law LLP.  This masterclass allowed pupils who were interested in a career in law to find out additional information.  During the session she covered information on different types of law, roles available and locations to practice.  She highlighted to our pupils what qualities and strengths pupils would need to develop to be successful in this career sector.  The pupils also learnt what different career pathways were available to them with the challenges they may face along the way.

Museum of Brands

The department took 45 pupils to London to the newly created museum of brands.  The museum has a collection of thousands of different brands dating back to the first created to modern day.  The pupils undertake a workshop hosted by the museum looking at the development of brands and how important getting a successful identity is paramount to the success of a product.  With all of this knowledge learnt in the morning the pupils got to walk around completing an activity looking at brands at Portobello Market.  The trip was a great success and the pupils really gained a valuable insight into this important part of a business.

 

Young Chef competition

For the second year in a row Kings’ School has hosted the Young Chef competition in association with Harbour Hotels.  The competition is offered to all the Winchester schools and the format follows the one established by the TV show Masterchef.  The pupils had a series of challenges and if they were not successful they would be eliminated.  This year we had three Kings’ pupils make it to the final – the pupils get an opportunity to look at potential careers in this sector and for some of them demonstrate their amazing talents. We are pleased to say Florrie Hanson in Year 8 won this year’s competition.

Eastleigh Mela

Please see attached a flyer for the upcoming Eastleigh Mela event being held on Sunday 22 July. This is always a great event – please do consider going along.

You will also see that we have sent you two messages from Hampshire County Council here.

Important dates

 

Our new term starts for most pupils at 8.45am on Wednesday 5 September. For our newest Year 7 pupils and for our esteemed Senior Prefects, it begins the day before, at 8.45am on Tuesday 4 September.

 

Monday 3 September INSET DAY
Tuesday 4 September Year 7 Pupils and Senior Prefects only
Wednesday 19 September INSET DAY
Thursday 20 September Open Morning
Friday 21 September Open Morning
Thursday 4 October School Production
Friday 5 October School Production
Tuesday 9 October Open Morning
Monday 22-Friday 26 October HALF TERM

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

Matthew Leeming

Headteacher