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   Parent Bulletin
19th September 2016

Dear Parents and Carers

May I begin our first newsletter of the new academic year with my hope that you and your family have been able to have a restful and happy summer break and that you are looking forward to the year ahead.

Our students have made a fantastic start to the year and have already demonstrated their enthusiasm and commitment by embracing the academic and social opportunities that are available at Parrs Wood High School and Sixth Form.

May I take this opportunity to thank our existing students for welcoming and supporting our new year 7s to the school who immediately impressed us with their maturity and readiness to learn. May I also welcome our new year 12 cohort of extremely talented students who have joined Parrs Wood from a range of other secondary providers. As with our new year 7s, I wish the year 12s every happiness and success in the next stage of their learning journey.

I must apologise that we have had some issues with the hosting of our school website over the summer and we have only recently been able to publicly celebrate the fantastic GCSE and A-level results that Parrs Wood students achieved at the end of year 11 and 13 respectively.

As well as the A-level results hitting an all time high, Year 11s also achieved the best GCSE outcome that the school has ever had in the schools history. More detailed reports can be found on our website at http://www.parrswood.manchester.sch.uk/about/results.html

I can report that 72% of our year 11s achieved at least 5 A*-C including English and Maths, whilst progress measures in English and Maths were also significantly higher than national averages. At A-level 28% of all grades were awarded A*/A, 51% A*-B and 77% A*-C which again represents excellent outcomes particularly alongside very positive progress outcomes.

Academy Update
Towards the end of the summer break we received notification of our conversion to academy status from the Department for Education.

Now we have received this notification, we will now be entering the process of posting information onto the school website including the structure and membership of the governance that supports Parrs Wood High School.

Briefly, an academy is a school that is run by a charitable trust, called an ‘academy trust’, is independent of local council control, and receives its funding directly from the government.
Parrs Wood High School, as an academy, is now part of the newly formed Greater Manchester Learning Trust, which was established by the then Governing Body of Parrs Wood High School as a Multi-Academy Trust, which means that we are able to form formal partnerships with other educational providers should the trust believe it would be to the educational benefit of all learners within their care.

A Multi Academy Trust has three levels of governance: Members, Board of Trustees and the Local Governing Body, and Parrs Wood is committed to also developing forums for Parents, Teachers, Community Members and Students that will have a line of communication to the Local Governing Body for Parrs Wood High School.

The Members are responsible for appointing trustees to the Trust Board, acting as national and regional ambassadors for the MAT (Multi Academy Trust), responsible for high level monitoring of the MAT and acting as a last line of resort in holding the Trust Board to account.

The academy trust is responsible for: the strategic oversight, setting vision and policies for the Trust, ensuring appropriate governance and decision making, dealing with contractual relationships, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, oversight of standards and outcomes, oversight of finances and effective use of funds, setting appropriate targets and holding leadership to account, agreeing and monitoring budgets and reviewing performance across the academies and the trust.

At this point, I am pleased to be able to announce that our Members, Trust Board and Local Governing Body consist of the following highly experienced and knowledgeable professionals who are committed to uphold and protect the vision, values and excellent academic and social outcomes that we have been familiar with at Parrs Wood. Extended biographies will be available in due course on the website.

Vicky Rosin - Former Deputy Chief Executive of Manchester City Council.
Richard Pearce -  Judge at Bryom Street Chambers, Manchester.
John McNerney – recently retired Headteacher of St. Peter’s RC High School.
Patrick Johnson – Head of Equality and Diversity, University of Manchester.
Suzannah Reeves – prior to academisation, Chair of Governors at Parrs Wood High School.
We are also in the process of confirming a representative from a locally based international business.
Chair of Board of Trustees – ex-Officio Position. To be confirmed.

Trust Board
Suzannah Reeves – Prior to academisation, Chair of Governors at Parrs Wood High School.
Bushra Jamil - Economic Growth Policy Adviser for LGA.
Mary Powell - former Secondary Headteacher and School Improvement Partner and current Leader of Governance.  
Tom McDonald - experience as a senior manager in local authority social care and the NHS.
Carol Culley - City Treasurer at Manchester City Council.
Andrew Shakos -  Headteacher Parrs Wood High School.  
Mark Welsby - General Manager Parrs Wood Entertainment Centre in Manchester and Bentley Bridge Leisure Park in Wolverhampton.
Salim Khandakar - Managing Director of Salutions Publishers.
Dave Bradford – works for Hewlett-Packard.

Local Governing Body
Emma Caulfield - Literacy Consultant.
Simon Ferris - A maths teacher at a large sixth-form college. Experienced in management in the Software Development industry.
Alison Firth – worked at the University of Manchester on Widening Participation Projects.
David How - Headteacher at Beaver Road Primary School Didsbury for the past 11 years.
David Midgley – Staff Governor and the Head of the History Department at Parrs Wood.
Cath Millington. Cath works in children’s services in Stockport and currently is Head of their Children and Young People’s Disability Partnership.
Abigail Sterne - Educational psychologist and former teacher of modern languages and special educational needs (SEN).

Updates and minutes of meetings will be made available on the website.

Financial Support
I understand that many families are facing financial challenges in the present economic climate and so I would like to remind parents that, should you be experiencing a challenge to buy uniform, stationery or PE kit, or to pay for travel to school or school activities/trips, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Form Tutor, Head of Learning or Key Stage Office and we will do our upmost to provide support so that your daughter/son can access all learning and extra-curricular opportunities that are available at Parrs Wood.

Forthcoming events:
The Year 6 Open Evening will take place on Tuesday 27th September, 6:00-8:00am. The school will close early.  Students will be released from school at 2:15pm in order that we may prepare for the evening event.
Our Sixth Form Open Morning is taking place on Saturday 1st October, 10:00-12:30noon.

Parenting Your Teen Course starts on Thursday 29th September 10:00-12:00 every Thursday and will run for 4 weeks at Withington Library.  Please contact Jo Mannion 01614458786/ 07977224943 to book on the course.

Year 11 work Experience  (14-18 November)
Employability is key for today’s young people and as such we have set up a work experience programme, for our students who may be pursuing an apprenticeship based route when they finish school. Letters have been sent to the parents of those on the programme.
We have been working with our work experience students to secure work placements. They have had small group sessions to discuss their options and provide advice on how to secure their chosen placement. We are aiming to have placements secured by 30th September, so the businesses that our students have applied to can be health and safety checked. Please can you ask your son or daughter whether they have arranged their work experience. To find a work placement, pupils can ask family/friends, ask local businesses e.g. shops or visit the careers office (F44).

We have a limited number of placements available from 16th September and they will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Year 11 Preparing for Practice Interviews
During tutor time this month, our students will be learning about, and creating, their CVs and personal statements. These will form part of their Practice Interviews that will take place on 21st October and 2nd December 2016. The CVs, personal statements and practice Interviews will help them to prepare for college and apprenticeship applications.

Year 11 Enterprise Morning will take place on 16th and 17th November. This is an opportunity to develop enterprise skills alongside employability/transferable skills in the competitive environment of a business game.

Head Lice
May we please ask that you check your child’s hair for lice and medicate appropriately.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 7 – Mr McLynn
I have been delighted to welcome Year 7 into Parrs Wood High School and see them make such an impressive start to their careers with us. They look fantastic in their new uniforms and are taking a real pride in their new school.  They have impressed us all with their enthusiastic attitudes in class, their wonderful manners (holding doors open and offering thanks at the end of lessons!) and their bright, bubbly personalities.
This week we have taken the children out to learn to work together as a team at “Challenge 4 Change”.  The children were incredibly brave, swinging from the high ropes and navigating the course.  They developed their team building skills by solving puzzles and playing games together. It was a fantastic day of activities and one that I hope has taught them a lot about starting at a new establishment.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 8 – Mr Heron
Welcome back Y8! What a super start they have enjoyed as they look to improve on such a successful year previously. All the students look very smart and ready to learn and as I have been popping into classes there has been a real buzz from the students to be back at school and working again.

Y8 is a new chapter and I have been relaying this to the students in assembly.  It is the time to make improvements on last year or an opportunity of a fresh start. I know the year will relish this chance to do the best that they can.  It is also a new chapter for the Y8 team with three new tutors; Mr Lau, Ms Al-Rubaiai and Ms Burrows. They have fitted in well and been warmly accepted by their tutees.

At the beginning of each school year, student, parents  and carers are asked to sign the home school agreement. This is a contract between school and home. If this has not been signed yet can I please ask that it is read through carefully and signed?

Coming up in this term are the HPV vaccinations on Thursday 22nd September.   Can all reply slips be returned to the school Nurse ASAP. 

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 9 – Ms Catterall
What a fantastic start to the new school year the Year 9s have made.  They have come back to school oozing maturity and self-confidence and it is an absolute delight to see!  Year 9 is such an important year.  Soon, students will be encouraged to think about the pathways they may decide to take in Year 10.  Both pupils and parents/carers will be provided with a wealth of information, advice and guidance to help support their choices.  Pupils seem to be very aware of the expectations on them this year and are working extremely hard to ensure they make a positive start to their final year in Key Stage 3.

Year 9 is also an exciting year as pupils are provided with new opportunities to get involved in activities and workshops they may not have experienced before.  This year, we will be running the Duke of Edinburgh award, so if your child is interested, please ask them to see Mrs Wright in Technology for more details.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 10 – Ms Hawksley
With GCSE statistics and BTEC ICT success already achieved, our year group moved into Key Stage 4 with maturity and confidence. We have made such a focused start to our GCSE and BTEC studies that the compliments are flying thick and fast with staff praising the pupils for their enthusiasm and positive approach. The vast majority of pupils are happy with the options they chose last year and for the few who were unsure, we have met to discuss  and action the changes to make their personalised programme work best for them. The period of time for subject changes is now over and we can concentrate in settling into the classes and working hard. It was lovely to see so many pupils at the Awards Evening and to spend time catching up with their news and ambitions for the future.

I am really looking forward to the next two years and to being with them when they collect their all-important results in August 2018.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 11 – Mr Blackburn
“Really settled” and “good focus and attention in lessons” are just two of the comments I have heard from colleagues about Year 11’s attitude and behaviour for learning since they returned after the summer. I would echo this,  as I really do feel an air of enthusiasm and commitment coming from all of Year 11. This follows on from successful GCSE Science results at the end of Year 10; 69% of the Year group achieved A*-C grades in Core Science, with 100% A*-B in Additional  Science. Well done.

We are focusing on standards again at the start of this term and asking the pupils to make sure they are fully equipped for learning every day. A vital part of this includes having their planner with them at all times and also to make sure that their planner has been signed by a parent or carer.  It’s the final countdown now, with essentially two and a half terms to focus on their final GCSE exams. Pupils will now feel the weight of expectation and encouragement from all staff as we seek to emulate the brilliant results achieved by last year’s Year 11. We have started the year with good attendance and I look forward to receiving your support in maintaining this standard. May I also remind you that it is Open Morning for Parrs Wood Sixth Form on Saturday 1st October.  I do hope you are able to attend to hear about our range of subjects and to see our brand new facilities. In the meantime let’s have a great year, it will fly by.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 12 – Mr Crickett
A huge welcome to all our students from other high schools and from Parrs Wood. We have enrolled over 240 students into Year 12 and we are very excited to see them achieve great things. We achieved fantastic A Level results this year with 28% A*/A and 51% A*-B grades. Our new group of Year 12 have the talent to do even better over the next two years.

Here are a few reminders for students, parents and carers:

  • Students should have by now signed up to enrichment on a Wednesday afternoon. If they have not, then they must see Mr Baker as soon as possible. Enrichment is the gateway (along with good grades) to getting on to university courses / apprenticeships.

  • Students need to wear their ID badge at all times around the college.

  • Form time and assembly are compulsory and it is here where essential information, advice and guidance is given out to help our student be the best that they can be.

  • There is a parent information evening on Thursday 6th October where parents can meet tutors and discuss the start that they have made. Mr Dore will be writing to you soon about making an appointment and Mr Dore and Mrs Bryson will be available with me on the evening.

  • Students will find the adjustment to A Level challenging and they will need support at college and at home to develop good study habits of doing 8-10 hours of independent study per week outside of college and homework. Individual subject teachers will provide guidance on independent study ideas in lessons.

Once again, welcome to Parrs Wood Sixth Form. Our expert teachers, pastoral care and community will ensure that students have every chance to be the best that they can be.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 13 – Mr Cooper
It was great to see all the happy faces on results day and catch up with how everyones summer had been. It was fantastic for all to also hear about how successful those students were in the year group above. Now that they are in Year 13 the week starts with a Monday briefing. This will now take place in our newly refurbished common room. The students have already commented on how much they like the fresh look and modern feel to this area which is another example of the investment being put into the 6th form. For the Yr 13s there will be invaluable support with their UCAS applications in Tuesday and Thursday form time as well as dedicated 1-1s on Wednesdays and Fridays. During form time the Year 13s will also be required to sign up for 30 hours of online future learn courses to supplement their current lessons or enable them to pursue a particular interest. Finally, a number of students have applied for the leadership team and the process of interviewing and selecting roles for the successful candidates will take place next week.

Sports Update
The Manchester Schools’ Badminton Doubles Competition took place  at Whalley Range  High School and it was a great start to the sporting year.

Congratulations to all our students that took part for a well contested competition with an excellent standard of play. Not bad considering we are so soon into the term.

MGS and Our Lady’s dominated the boys and the girls events respectively winning gold in both age groups. However  Parrs Wood medalled in 3 of the events.

A special congratulations goes to Will Hoyle and Will Gregson who gained the silver medal becoming the Manchester Schools’ Runners Up in KS4, Olivia Gilson and Lois Quinn gained the bronze medal winning the 3rd place pay off in the KS4 girls and Lucy Gibson and Margaux Connolly gained the bronze medal winning the 3rd place pay off in the KS3.

Danish Irfan and Eugene Green representing the boys at KS3 had a great learning experience finishing 3rd in the group stages and 6th overall.  Well done to all our badminton players.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Shakos

pwhs - 2016-17   l