Headteachers Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians

 

I hope that 2019 is proving to be a successful and enjoyable year for you and for your family and that your son/daughter is happy at school. Another busy half-term nears its end – some of the pupils are a little tired, but there is a lovely, positive atmosphere in classroom after classroom. It continues to be a daily pleasure for us to work with your children.

Studying during the holidays

Parents sometimes ask for guidance about pupils working during the half-term holiday. Those in Year 11 should now be getting into their own rhythm and there should certainly be plenty of independent study during the week at home, other commitments permitting – a total of 10-15 hours in manageable 2-3 hour bursts (and at least 4 days with no school work at all) would be great.

Year 10 pupils come straight back to their exams and they will want to do as well as they can. A structured programme of revision will be very helpful, with timings similar to or slightly less than those described for Year 11. It is vital that pupils in both year groups also enjoy time with families and friends, time for exercise and hobbies, and plenty of sleep!

Younger pupils will have been set homework in the week before half-term in the normal way, but there should be nothing that must be done during the week itself. Keeping on top of things in the week before and after should allow for a complete break during the actual holiday.

Some pupils are tempted to work too much and others too little. These guidelines are intended to help everyone achieve well, while keeping competing demands in proportion. If you have any questions or worries about your son/daughter’s approach to independent study, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Social media

There has been a lot in the press recently about the dangers to young people of social media. This can be a confusing world for parents – I would like to recommend this website:

 

https://www.net-aware.org.uk/

You will find detailed information about each of the main platforms.

In addition, I am grateful to colleagues at The Wavell School in Aldershot for permission to use their excellent summary of minimum recommended ages for many of the more popular social media sites.

Public buses

 

Pupils who use public bus routes E1 and 46 will probably already know about timetable adjustments that will take effect after half-term.

We wrote to the County Council to express our concern about the changes. They replied to say:

“The recent review of local bus services funded by the County Council was so that passenger transport could play its part in the Council’s need to make £140 million savings from April 2019. It may be worth saying that most bus services in Hampshire, accounting for almost 90% of passenger journeys, are paid for by the fares collected so do not require funding from the County Council.  Some services, including the E1/E2 and 46 do not cover their costs and only operate due to funding from the County Council. The budget available is reducing from April so we are only able to afford a reduced service. In spite of that, every community will retain a service and wherever possible, key links have been maintained.

As a key part of the review we consulted widely, and respondents told us, that if a choice had to be made, they would prefer that we reduced the number of journeys provided rather than the number of days that a service ran. That is the approach that we have taken with the E1 and E2 which will continue to run six days a week and the 46 which will continue as a Monday to Friday service.

For pupils travelling to Colden Common on the E1, the 1635 (1625 from Winchester) has only run since April 2018 and the savings for the E1 have been achieved by allowing the E1/E2 to be run with one peak-time bus. That bus will be in Eastleigh at 1635 so it is not possible to reinstate the journey from Winchester.  The 1715 E1 from Winchester, which is the longer established journey, will continue to run.

With regard to the 46, as Kings’ School is not the catchment or nearest school for pupils in Valley Park, statutory home to school transport is not provided. As with the E1/E2, a reduced timetable was required and we worked with Stagecoach who identified how savings could be achieved whilst maintaining the most well-used journeys. As part of this, the 1510 journey will no longer run and it is not possible to reinstate this within the new timetable. The next journey to Valley Park will be the 461 from City Road at 1645.

Thank you for your understanding and for the opportunity to explain the background to the recent changes.”

 

Late bus

You may remember that we have been slightly concerned about the cost of the late bus that serves Colden Common and other far-flung corners of our catchment area. I am really pleased to report that we have taken the decision to retain this service and to hold the cost at £3 per journey for the 2019-20 school year. The school’s extra-curricular activities are a vital aspect of school life and we really want to make them accessible to as many pupils as we can.

 

Colden Common County bus

We have been informed by Hampshire County Council that as of Monday 25 February the Bus A service from Colden Common will be run by Stagecoach.   Wheelers will stop providing this service on Friday 15 February.

Hampshire Passenger Transport will be issuing new bus passes over the next week.  Please ensure that your son/daughter has their bus pass ready to show the driver on Monday.

 

Parents’ Questionnaire from Governors

Mrs Goodens, Vice-Chair writes:

As governors, your views are very important to us. We would very much like to hear your opinions of the school and of your child’s experience at Kings’.

We have compiled a short questionnaire with a section for your comments, which will be distributed at all parents’ evenings.

We would like to thank Year 11 parents (who completed the questionnaires at their recent parents’ evening) for the overwhelming response. Praise and thanks will be passed on to Mr Leeming and his staff, whilst all comments on areas for improvement will be taken very seriously in our future plans as we strive to further improve our excellent school.

 

“Show Your Appreciation” scheme

Many thanks to all those parents who have donated prizes – we really do appreciate them! Our latest winners are:

Cinema Voucher – Chrissie O’Leary

Hamper – Purna Kumari Pun – cleaning team

Candle – Mrs Lee – Head of Drama

Twinning’s Tea – Mr Forrester – Science

Port – Mrs Phillipz – Science

Reiki Treatment Voucher £30 – Mrs Cox – French

M & S Gift Card £10 – Tikka – cleaning team

Amaretti Biscuits – Mr Nutbeam – Community Manager

Champagne – Miss Donnachie – Science

Chocolates – Mrs Hiscock – Pupil Support

Surprise Parcel – Mrs Ive – Departmental Admin Assistant

Prosecco – Mrs Begum – Pupil Support Team

Prosecco – Mrs Spencer – Science

Chocolates – Mrs Twiggs – Pupil Support Team

M&S Voucher – Miss Clarkson – Head of Year 9

Amazon Voucher – Miss Stringer – English

 

Oxbridge talk

 

I am very grateful to colleagues at St Swithun’s School who have once again invited Kings’ parents to afternoon tea and a talk about Oxbridge entry. It will take place on 13 March from 4pm at St Swithun’s. Afternoon tea will be served from 4pm and the talk begins at 4.30pm. The speaker is Luke Maw, from St Edmund’s Hall; he will speak for about an hour and will then take questions. You don’t need to book and there is no charge.

 

KSA Comedy Night

Our next big social event takes place on Friday 15th March! The wonderful Kings’ School Association are running a fourth Comedy Night. Last years was really excellent and was headlined by Zoe Lyons of Mock the Week fame.

I think this one will again sell out quite fast, so do please move quickly if you would like to join us. You can now purchase tickets (as well as support us in many other ways) via the new KSA link on our website.  HERE

Please have a look even if you are unable to join us on the 15th. The aim is to keep you updated on all of the fantastic work our KSA do for the school as well as to provide opportunities for you to join us and get involved. Visitors to the site will also be able to read about our new Rocket Composter fund raising project, we hope this will both help as a tool to educate our pupils as well as reduce the carbon footprint of our school community. A big thank you must also go to Taylor Wimpey who have recently donated £500 towards our target.

Staff car park

Please do NOT drop your child off in the staff car park. This is potentially hazardous; it also means that physically disabled pupils (who are allowed to use the staff car park) find that their parking area is regularly blocked.

 

School of Rock!

Mrs Lee writes:

Following the huge success of Oliver! in October 2018, staff and pupils are so excited following the launch of “School of Rock” as our 2019 School Production! Auditions start this week and we have no doubt that the Drama and Music departments will face some tough decisions over the next few days as we celebrate the wonderful talent and creativity from our pupils.

School of Rock will be taking place over 4 performances, from the 4th – 6th July 2019. Watch this space for more information.

 

Message from the Hampshire Cultural Trust

(please also see attached flier)

This half term we have lots of fun things going on all across Hampshire, for all ages, many of which are free. As well as our annual LEGO family exhibition “Bricktropolis and the Attack of the Mighty Monsters” opening at Milestones Museum on Saturday 16 February, there are loads of events and exhibitions going on throughout half term in the arts centres and all of the other museums too.  As well as bookable workshops, most venues have free children’s make-and-takes and quizzes which you don’t have to book, just drop in. We have venues county-wide, the majority of which are free to enter! Please see attached leaflet for details.

 

Summer holidays

I know it’s a very long way off, but you will want to know that Friday 19 July will be a half day. We are then back in on the Monday and Tuesday for Activities Days.

 

Important dates

26th February Year 9 Parents Evening

25th February – 8th March Year 10 Exams

21st March Band X Year 7 Parents Evening

26th March Band Y Year 7 Parents Evening

1st – 4th April Year 8 Exams

5th April INSET DAY

19th July Early Closure

22nd & 23rd July Activity Days

 

Have a super half-term!

Yours faithfully,

 

Matthew Leeming

Headteacher