Letter from Mr Leeming

Dear Parents/Guardians

I think that this is the last letter I will write to you – you will probably be very relieved to hear this, given the number I have sent in recent times! You will find a letter from Mr Jeckells alongside this one; in it, he outlines our current thinking about September and beyond.

I hope that you and your family are safe and happy and that you have coped with the pressures of the lockdown reasonably well. It has been a difficult time for everyone and I would like to thank you for your support. Since the school closed for most pupils on 20 March, things have remained busy for us, with our online learning offer launched and developed; our group of key workers’ children on site steadily growing; the phased return of Year 10 organised and tutor interviews for pupils in Year 7 to 9 held. Many parents have contacted the school with their thanks (and suggestions!) and I appreciate the time they have taken to do so. The last four months have been really challenging; we have tried to respond as best we can.

I know that there has been a lot in the media about the impact of the lockdown on young people. As a part-corrective to some of the gloomier ideas, I came across an encouraging report on the example of the 2010/11

New Zealand earthquakes on educational progress. Schools closed for an extended period then; the long-term impact on pupils’ academic and social development appears to have been minimal. This is a link to the article, for those who are interested:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11766109

We have been delighted and impressed by the way that many of our pupils have engaged with their learning at home; most have completed all their assignments to high standards and many have also developed new skills of independence and organisation. The school will work hard to identify gaps and support those who have fallen behind a bit, but we are cautiously optimistic about the long-term effects on our pupils.

Gender-neutral uniform

As you may have sensed, it has been a long-term ambition of mine to make our school uniform gender-neutral. I think that most if not all of our linked primary schools have achieved this and I am really delighted to report that we now have too. You can find the uniform list for September at https://www.kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk/parents-area/uniform/

Our pupils look fabulous in our very smart and fairly traditional uniform; wearing the uniform well is an absolutely fundamental part of the Kings’ School ethos and very important to our sense of ourselves. As such, the rules have really not changed very much – and the only action that parents will need to take is to obtain dark socks for the girls. There is no need for anyone to acquire any other new items – what pupils were wearing in March remains absolutely fine (unless they have grown a little, of course)

Year 11 – GCSE Results and Certificate Evening

At the time I am writing this letter, we feel that inviting our Year 11 pupils back to school in person ‘en masse’ to pick up their grades on Thursday 20 August would be unwise. As such, we are planning to send the results out electronically, to the pupils’ school email addresses. (It would be a good idea for pupils to check that their login details still work as soon as possible). If pupils have questions about their grades, we encourage them to call the school and, if necessary, arrange to come in for a consultation with senior staff (we will be here from 0900-1200 on 20 August, as we usually would be). We want to be helpful but we also need to manage risk.

Our Certificate Evening is scheduled for Thursday 26 November. We would like to go ahead on this date but as things stand, we would not be able to.  If things change such that we are able to hold this event, we may expand it, adding an exhibition of pupils’ artwork and, possibly, some more opportunities for celebration – please save the date in your diary, in case the current situation improves. We will update you nearer the time.

We do not yet know when we might be able to arrange a replacement for the Prom. We certainly want to hold some form of celebration for our Year 11 pupils, but will need to continue to think about what form that might take. We hope that things will be clearer in September; our intention will be to contact former pupils during the Autumn to advise them about what we are able to arrange when updated government guidance allows us to be more definite.

Staff changes

The end of the summer term is always a slightly sad time as the school family says goodbye to its most senior students and also, of course, to colleagues.

This year, we must at last release former Head of Science Cheryl Panszcyk, who will be retiring (more fully, this time!) after no fewer than 31 years’ service at the school. This really is a fabulous achievement and generations of young people have reason to be grateful for Cheryl’s dedication and skill.

We do like to make it difficult for our most esteemed colleagues to move on and so I am delighted to report that, although Helen Southworth will be stepping down from the position of Head of Food Technology, she has agreed to continue to teach for a little while longer. Anyone who has ever been anywhere near Helen’s classroom will know that this is great news for Kings’ pupils!

Very sadly for us, Brigitte Drabble is moving back to Thornden as Head of Science. We are very sad to be losing her but are happy that the young people of Chandlers Ford will soon be benefiting from her brilliance.

The English team are in phlegmatic mourning, with Kyle McKiver, Cheryl Owen and Hannah Ransome all moving on to new roles in September. We must congratulate Stuart Dumbleton and Ben Foster from Maths, too, both of whom are leaving us for promoted posts in local schools and also Alex Howe form the same department, who has been appointed to a teaching post in Southampton.

You may not know that recent former pupils Eddie Lane and James Hartley have been heading up our Community operation for the last year but both must now resume their studies; we are really sorry to see them go.

We also say goodbye to Science teacher Amy Frecklington-Sant, to Cover Supervisors John Falconer and Joe Parker and to Katherine Basson 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.

Show Your Appreciation

Many thanks to all those parents who have continued to support our “Show Your Appreciation” scheme in spite of the lockdown – it has really cheered us up.

 

Here is Mrs Hughes, delighted by her basketball hoop!

 

And here are a host of other happy winners, who this term have included Ms Hewlett (Maths), Mrs Odling (Pupil Support), Mrs Brodrick (Drama), Mr Nichols (Welfare), Mrs Craig (Maths), Mrs Churcher (Art), Miss Sketcher (Welfare), Mrs Martin (Matron), Mrs Southworth (Technology), Mr Cazalet (RS), Mrs Hart (Pupil Support), Mrs Wright (Technology), Mrs Baxter (BASE), Ms Tyrell (Finance), Mrs Birch (Finance), Ms Neale (Finance), Mr Deacon (Music)

 

 

 

“Thinking about learning an instrument?”

 

Hampshire Music Service offer instrumental and vocal tuition at Kings’ School and spaces are still available in September (although I must stress that we do not yet know exactly how the lessons will be organised). Peripatetic teachers have been offering online lessons and working hard behind the scenes to produce some introductory videos for different instrumental families to help you decide which instrument you might like to have a go at learning. If you would like to register to learn an instrument, please email:

kings.school@kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk

 

  1. Woodwind:   https://youtu.be/LPeVid5GCn0

 

  1. Brass: https://youtu.be/xBFhalUXenk

 

  1. Strings: https://youtu.be/w0euXFcNp3A

 

  1. Piano/keyboard: https://youtu.be/Oe4nLEYJwjQ

 

  1. Percussion: https://youtu.be/FdFe8jp6aHo

 

  1. Guitar: https://youtu.be/-xLa3dutztk

 

  1. Voice: https://youtu.be/9gkXlC9CiOk

 

Contacting School

 We want to be as helpful as possible, as quickly as possible. Please follow the guidance below.

Whom to contact

  1. Pupil absence –

Email: pupilabsence@kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk

Pupil Absence Text: 01962 600028

  1. General welfare and pastoral enquiries – Tutor

Questions about specific subjects – Subject Teacher

3.Serious welfare and pastoral issues – Head of Year

Serious subject-specific issues – Head of Subject

  1. Issues that cannot be resolved at levels 2 or 3 – linked member of the Senior Leadership Team

 

How to contact them

Phone the school on 01962 861161 or email kings.school@kings-winchester.hants.sch.uk.

 What should happen

We aim to respond to telephone messages and emails within two school days (although part-time colleagues may take a little longer than this)

Holiday clubs etc

 We received this message from HCC. “For parents and carers considering holiday child care and activities, this guidance explains changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people over the age of 5, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You may wish to use this information when considering a placement for your child/children this summer. Guidance has also been made available for providers.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak 

Important dates

Our new term should start for Year 7 pupils at 8.45am on Friday 4 September. All other pupils should return at 8.45am on Monday 7 September.

Provisional school closure dates are:

3 September 2020, 16 September 2020, 27 November 2020, 29 January 2021 and 1 April 2021

We do have other dates in the calendar, but as Mr Jeckells has explained, they too can only be considered provisional at this point.

And, finally….

It has been a daily pleasure to be the Headteacher of Kings’ School for the last seven years. I did not know very much about the school when I applied for the job – I did know that other school PE departments feared Kings’ sports teams and also that many of the pupils still had their top-buttons done up long after they had walked out of the front gates – these details impressed me…

When I arrived at the school, I was immediately struck by how absolutely delightful the children were and by the commitment, shared sense of purpose and high expectations of the adults. As time has gone by, I have also come to appreciate the support of Kings’ School parents, who are a lovely bunch, being intelligent, measured and determined in their advocacy for their children.

I thought the school was great in 2013 – my pitch to the governing body was that I would not “mess it up”. I hope I haven’t; I also hope that we have continued to evolve. My intention was that we would retain the school’s academic excellence, sporting prowess and reputation for high standards while also making it an even more caring, inclusive and outward-facing community.

I would like to thank every parent who has supported the school and/or encouraged me during my time as Head.

It has been lovely to watch seven cohorts of right-thinking young people leave our school. I hope that they, and also those still with us, will all go on to be good, happy and successful adults – that, after all, is what schools are for.

Yours faithfully

 

Matthew Leeming

Headteacher