Dear Parents and Carers
May I begin this week’s newsletter with a reminder that the school and sixth-form closes on Friday 21st October and reopens on Monday 31st October 2016 at normal time. We hope you have a restful half term break.
Travel to School
As the darker, wetter and colder days approach, roads become more busy as more people travel to their workplace and/or school in cars or public transport. It is therefore very important that students have a travel plan that will get them into school by 8.35am. Generally, this involves setting out to school at least 15 to 20 minutes earlier than they would during the Spring and Summer months. May I please ask that you ensure that your daughter/son sets off to school in good time to arrive on time and have a positive start to the day.
After School Activities Notice
In the interest of safety, and in consideration of the hours of daylight becoming shorter, may we please ask that, should you wish to pick up your daughter/son when they finish after school activities, you do so from the road directly outside the front of school.
Year 11 Trip to Oxford University
We were delighted to take 12 of our gifted and talented students from Year 11 to participate in an overnight trip to Oxford University. The trip provided a fantastic opportunity for the students to develop their research skills into University life and gain an understanding of the choices available to them with regards to Higher Education. Oxford and Cambridge Universities represent excellence in Britain and the trip offered students a unique opportunity to experience life as an Oxford University student. Students visited the various colleges at Oxford and took part in a number of seminars before spending the night in Halls of Residence. The group spoke impressively about their experiences and how the trip had benefited them. Our students, Gracie Ashpole, Ciara Garcha, Lewis Gray, Eloise Hall, William Blackburn, Aynkaran Rajeswaran, Jemima Sandford, Joel Danziger, Thomas Hardern, Olivia Jarratt, Minahil Ali and Adil Altaf were very enthusiastic during the trip and interacted confidently with Oxford students.
“The trip has made me realise that top end universities are accessible. It has influenced my decision of A-level subjects; choosing those that will be most beneficial for my future career path.” - Ciara Garcha
The days also reinforced the high aspirations of the students reminding them of their potential to achieve higher than average GCSE results in all subjects, which will then enable them to access the Russell Group Universities of which Oxford and Cambridge are a part.
Year 11 work Experience (14-18 November)
The time is rapidly approaching when many of our Year 11 students will be out on work placement. They have been successful in securing a range of work placements e.g. Kids Allowed, Barclays Bank, Marks and Spencer, Animal medical centre and many more.
Students who have secured their work experience placement are asked to ring their employer and introduce themselves. Students are welcome to come to the Future Choices room for support in making the call on Tuesday and Friday of the coming week.
After half-term we will be issuing each student with a Work Experience Diary which will give them advice about preparing for their placement and the opportunity to record their experiences, so they can use the information for their application forms and CVs.
Year 11 Forms: SXB,BES,JCD,HXS,SXA,NDH have produced some excellent CVs and application forms which have now been passed to the external interviews who will be coming in to school to conduct practice interviews. This will help our young people to prepare for their next step application. The remaining forms will have their practice interviews in December.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 7 – Mr McLynn
It has been my genuine pleasure to lead Year 7 during this half term. I have been able to make plenty of drop-ins to lessons across all ability groups and all subject areas. I have seen so much brilliant work going on and such a fantastic atmosphere in lessons. I have spent a lot of my time focusing on their effort and presentation, and rewarding students who do the best during lessons.
I have seen the children settle really well into the ethos of Parrs Wood. There have been so many examples of their pride in their new school, from the way they wear their uniforms and arrive punctually for the start of the day, to the massive number of them who freely gave up their time to help out on the Year 6 Open evening.
I have been able to speak to a large number of families, parents and carers this term, on the phone, during the drop in clinics, by email and in person at meetings. When we work together we achieve great things, thank you for your continued support with your children.
Next term I will begin a focus on preparation with the children in lessons. I will be looking in detail at student planners and making sure that they have brought their correct kit for lessons. Please can I ask that you help by checking your child’s equipment and planner each week to ensure that they are ready to learn from the minute they arrive in the morning.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 8 – Mr Heron
I have been really impressed with the commitment of Y8 to the whole school community recently. One example of their dedication to the school was the Y6 open evening. Their enthusiasm was noticed by many parents on the evening and I received numerous compliments on their behalf.
They have also been taking part in the 1 million KM challenge. This is a charity event that has been set up by Ms Copleland and the mission is to walk a combined one million kilometres in one year. This began this week as the entire year group walked around the school site. The buzz in the year was incredible as the students had the opportunity to walk and chat with friends all in the name of a good cause.
Earlier in the month students attended the enrichment fair. This was there opportunity to sign up one of the many enrichment clubs running in the school. The Y8’s shone as teachers reported back to me how eager and keen they were to get started in the club.
There has also been a significant improvement in Y8 punctuality in both getting to school and to lessons. I now hope this can roll over into our attendance figures as recently they have not been up to our normal highs standards.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 9 – Ms Lowe
Year 9 have had a great start to the year! They have had lots of opportunities to lead, take part and succeed! 10 Year 9 students achieved their bronze and silver Arts Awards, a fantastic achievement acknowledged by the head of EPA, Ms Wrigley in a recent assembly. Two other students were awarded certificates and treats for assisting with the recent Book Fair organised by the English faculty. We’ve also had a fabulous half term forfor our Y9 girls in cross country, badminton and basketball, all in all a great few weeks! I am also delighted to be covering for Ms Catterall who has now left us to go on maternity leave and I’m looking forward to getting to know the year group better and sharing in their future successes. This is a very important year as students are starting to be think about possible GCSE choices. I hope they take opportunities over the next few months to ask questions and do some research about the subjects they are considering. Please feel free to contact me about any queries you may have this year.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 10 – Ms Hawksley
Our year group have settled well into their new options and are enjoying the challenge of GCSE and BTEC work and the changing nature of their relationships with subject staff. It has been a pleasure to watch the students engagement with their classes including the building of walls in construction, complex class discussions in English and Maths battles where the suspense is palpable. I wish my education had been so stimulating and varied.
As Head of Year, I am particularly keen to get our students walking to and from school along with using the kilometre laps within the school grounds. Students can also record their personal daily kilometres with a phone app such as Pacer as long as the phone is inside a bag and on silent mode. It is then easy to record the weekly number of kilometres covered. Students then need to show their records to their tutor who will record the amount each week. This way we can make a massive contribution to target of 1million km as a school and get healthy at the same time. Each week the students will be asked to better my weekly km score which at the moment is 59.3km. Good luck to all.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 11 - Mr Blackburn
At our most recent assembly I told the students that they have 133 school days left in Year 11. This will go remarkably quickly so I urge all students to make the most of these remaining days, meaning in particular that lateness and absence is kept to a minimum. I was pleased to see so many Year 11 students at the Parrs Wood Sixth Form Open Morning and as a result applications for the Sixth Form are now coming into the Key Stage office. Interviews for the Sixth Form will begin in November so it is important that students bring their forms in sooner rather than later. I visited two other Sixth Form colleges myself and recognise the strengths of the ‘competition’. Other colleges recruit in the region of 1800 students into Year 12, at Parrs Wood we recruit about 250. In my view I consider that Parrs Wood should be the first choice for the majority of Year 11 students. Should your child need more information about their next step in education, we have many staff at Parrs Wood who can advise and support.
I was lucky this week to be allowed to vote for the entries in the Science Department’s Biology Bake Off competition. Students had baked themed cakes including a brain, lungs and cells. However the overall winner I am very pleased to say was the dissected rat cake produced by Kate Pickup, Priya Kapur and Megan Harty from Year 11. Well done girls, it was realistically lifelike!
We are encouraging all the school to contribute to our world record attempt to walk one million kilometres in this school year. Please encourage your children to walk and record how far they have been. As we approach half-tem I would like to acknowledge that Year 11 are working positively in this important year. With mock exams coming up in December half-term is a good time to revise and go over the work completed since September. It’s also a good time to fit in some rest as well so I hope you and your family are able to enjoy the break – and maybe walk a few kilometres.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 12 – Mr Crickett
As we near the end of the first half term I’d just like to congratulate the year group on the fantastic start they’ve made to the year. There has been a lot to take in, but everyone seems settled now, and ready to focus on their studies .We have maintained a high attendance, contributing to a Sixth Form total of above 95% for the first six weeks. The first screenings reflected this effort with over 95% of the year group receiving good or above in effort and behaviour. I would like to thank the parents and students for their attendance to the information evening on the 6th October, a lot of positive conversations took place and it provided an opportunity for everyone to meet the year team. Bursaries now seem to all have been sorted , but please come and speak to us if you are still having difficulties. Though attendance has been fantastic, please can I ask that students attend punctually for tutor period and assemblies as they may miss vital information and opportunities if they are late.
There are two dates to remember as the term comes to a close. Mr Blackburns quiz night is on Thursday 20th October, which always proves popular; and on the final Friday there will be a fun end to the term with an inflatable assault course. I’d like to wish you all a restful half term.
Message from the Head of Learning for Year 13 – Mr Cooper
The year 13s have had a really impressive first half term and contributed to the 6th form attendance reaching over 95%. Furthermore, following a recent internal screenings, teachers have reported very positive behavior and effort scores. Some of the main headline figures are that 92% got 3s or above(3 = good and 4 = excellent) , 69% were given 3.5 or higher and over a quarter, 28% achieved perfect 4s across the board. This years leadership team are now in place with Year 13s taking on a range of responsibilities to help continue to improve student life at Parrswood. In form time on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as during their tutor 1-1 support sessions they are currently receiving on going help with writing their personal statements. A reminder that all Year 13s must have registered for one of the thousands of online 'future learn' courses by half term. These are designed to both support their current subjects as well as show extra curricular learning which will support applications.
Students will need to provide evidence that they have completed a total of 30 hours before the end of the year. Upcoming events include Mr Blackburn's quiz night on Thursday 20th October which always proves popular with students and staff. Also the student leadership team will be helping to organise a fun final Friday with an inflatable assault course.
Please see the school website for all our sporting achievements.