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   Parent Bulletin
24th November 2016

Dear Parents and Carers

May I please begin by asking for your cooperation with a few items.
May I request your support in ensuring that your daughter/son sets off to school in good time to arrive by 8.35am at the very latest. As the days become darker, colder and wetter, there are more vehicles on the road causing more traffic. Setting out at the same time as one would in the summer months means that your daughter/son will inevitably be late which is not conducive to a positive start to the day.
Can we please ask for parents to take extra care when parking in the leisure complex car park.  Please do not use the disabled areas.  Other members of the community use the car park and it has been brought to our attention that on several occasions parents are parking in areas designated for disabled drivers. Another concern that has been reported to us is regarding parents/carers stopping on Kingsway todrop their children off for school in the morning. As Kingsway is one of the busiest roads in Manchester, this can create significant safety risk to the children being let out, who are sometimes vacating their cars into the road, and can cause congestion on the road. Please be mindful of how are actions can impact on others.
Whilst we are more than happy to accept PE kits, cooking ingredients, homework etc at our main reception, may we ask for your understanding that we cannot always then pass on those items to your child immediately.  We ask for your support in encouraging your child to pack their bags the previous evening and to ensure that they go through a check routine in the morning before setting out to school to minimise those occasions when equipment and ingredients need to be dropped off. 
Author, Poet and Screen-Writer Visit
The `A’ Level Creative Writing group welcomed a visit from the highly acclaimed author, poet and screen-writer Joe Stretch, winner of the Somerset Maughan Award 2013. Joe lectures on the Creative Writing MA at Manchester Metropolitan University and is the author of three novels. His band, Performance, released two albums. He was extremely impressed by the students' work and offered a range of professional constructive criticism. Each student received tailored feedback on their pieces and we look forward to a second visit from Joe after Christmas when he will give guidance on true final drafts.

Forthcoming events
12th December - Christmas Carol Service at St James Church in Didsbury from 6:45pm
14th December – Senior Citizens Christmas Party, 12:30-3:00pm
15th December – Year 8 Parents Evening 4:30-7:00pm
20th December – Family Quiz Night 7:00-9:00pm

We are asking for donations for the raffle for both the Senior Citizens Christmas Party and Family Quiz Night.  If you would like to support, please bring items to the main office.

 ‘Zombiethon’ raises £130.92 for Reuben’s Retreat!
Parrs Wood staff and students recently took part in a fundraising dance event to support Reuben’s Retreat. The ‘Zombiethon’ event encouraged students and staff to dress up in Halloween costumes and bring their best Zumba dance moves! The costumes were amazing and it was a great atmosphere with dancing, face painting, and even a scary photo booth…all whilst raising money for a truly great cause. Reuben’s Retreat is a place for families who have a child facing a life threatening or life limiting illness or for families who have suffered the bereavement of a child. They have now completed phase 1 of their premises development and new funds will allow them to begin phase 2. We have been supporting the charity since 2013 and have raised over £7,000 so far. Thank you so much to the charity champions who helped to organise the event, and to all the staff and students who donated!

International Men’s Day
As part of International Men’s Day, Parrs Wood welcomed guest speaker, Spencer Fearon, to speak with students from years 7-12.  A former boxer , nicknamed 'The Spirit', Spencer delivered a motivational talk centred around the themes of learning, personal values and discipline.  Sharing his own success story he encouraged students to learn stating that ‘readers are leaders’ and encouraged students to plan for a future, but more importantly, to make their plans active by working hard, presenting themselves well and respecting others. He left students with the message to ‘be the best you, everyday.’

University Applications
6th Form students are preparing to submit their university applications. The final school deadline is rapidly approaching – 3 December 2016. Students who hit this deadline will be guaranteed to have their applications sent to UCAS by 15 January.

The Form Tutors have been working closely with students to produce their personal statement and Future Choices appointments have been available to students who are still not sure about their options. There will be university admission tutors available to check through student’s forms and offer additional advice on 23rd and 30th November. This compliments the recap on personal statements delivered by Manchester University this term (all the information needed for university application was originally delivered on Applications Day in June and the Summer Term Form periods).

Additional information can be found on the leaflets available in the 6th Form reception, the UCAS noticeboard by the refectory and on the school computer system – R: drive/Careers/UCAS2

Students who met the earlier school deadlines and have had their forms sent to UCAS are now receiving their university offers.

There are some exciting apprenticeships available including degree apprenticeships for students to look out for. This is a job alongside degree study. So you earn while you learn. Students go through the company recruitment process even for degree apprenticeships offered by MMU and LJM.

Our 6th form students were treated to a networking sessions by people working in industry including the chief executive of Premier Foods.

Year 11
The first set of practice interviews went brilliantly, with the interviewers complementing our Year 11 students on their approach to the interviews. The interviews should give are students more confidence when applying for college, sixth-form and apprenticeship places.

Our work experience students are returning to school this week after their successful work experience week. Employers have been impressed with our students and some students have been offered apprenticeships.

The Business Enterprise mornings were very successful with our students showing innovation and a range of employability skills. Mystique and Apollo won the challenges. Mystique earning a fantastic £877,000 and Apollo £538,000

Message from the Head of Lerning for Year 7 – Mr McLynn
Moving through the Autumn term, the mornings and evenings get darker, posing a risk to your children. We have told all of the children in Year 7  wherever possible to travel to and from school in groups. Can you please ensure that they dress appropriately for the weather as we have experienced some fairly horrendous downpours lately and seen some pretty soggy children as a result.

As a school we are focussing on raising awareness amongst the children of the expected standards both in lessons and around the school site. Please support this by reminding your child that they must make every effort to consistently present their work neatly in all subjects, and that they are expected to always put the maximum effort into everything they do. Uniform standards are important and it is expected that all children will make their way around the school building in full school uniform without outdoor coats.

In the next few days you will receive your first screening report. It includes information on how your child is performing in all subjects and shows information on their behaviour and effort.  A supporting letter has been sent home to you explaining how to interpret the information shown. Can I ask you to spend time reading through the information and discussing it with your child. As always if you have any concerns please contact your child’s form tutor.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 8 – Mr Heron
Year 8 have come back after the half term and started with the same work ethic as they started with in September. Within the school there is currently is a big drive on presentation and excellent exercise books. This was clearly seen within Y8 as I recently did a large book scrutiny and saw some brilliant work from a number of different students.

In this term there has been a lot of extra-curricular activities; these have included ‘International Men’s Day where we have welcomed inspirational speakers to the school. Ms Shapero’s, Man City trip is in full swing now and students have been attending regular trips to the Etihad stadium for business coaching.

Tuesday morning has become the dedicated day for the whole year group to get outside and walk as we try and smash the 1 million KM target for the 1MKM Challenge being run by Miss Copeland.

Attendance has been improving as we get closer to the 95% mark. We are still a little under so need that extra push to get all students in and learning.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 9 – Ms Lowe  
The year 9s have had a settled half-term with the majority working hard and embracing the many extra-curricular opportunities offered by Parrs Wood. A large number of the year 9 boys had an amazing chance to take part in Parrs Wood’s first celebration of International Men’s Day. Here they listened to guest speakers telling them about their interesting lives, decisions they made and what they have learned from different challenging experiences. The students had a chance to ask questions and the boys really engaged with the activities throughout the day. The year 9s also had an invaluable opportunity to watch ant-homophobic plays provided by the company Exceeding Expectations. It was a great chance for students to be reminded that we should not stand for any homophobic behaviour and once again the year 9s excelled themselves in terms of behaviour and attitude. The students are also embracing the 1km challenge where all students in the main school, along with staff are walking during form time, one day a week. It’s an excellent chance for some exercise, a quick chat with friends, while also raising awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

I’d like to see a real improvement in punctuality over the next half-term. It’s crucial that all students are in on time to avoid missed learning opportunities and also to avoid the disruption of their peers’ work if they arrive late to the classroom. Can I ask for your continued support over this matter. Please also remind the students also about key items of uniform. A small number of them are forgetting ties or blazers.  As ever please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 10 – Ms Hawksley
Year 10 have made a very positive start returning refreshed from their break, looking very smart and focusing in lessons. The pupils have been given copies of their recent school photograph so if you haven’t seen it yet please take a look. It is likely to be hidden at the bottom of their school bag. We do need to ensure that pupil attendance to lessons continues to be high as the content delivered across all subjects is part of GCSE/BTEC material and it is vital that pupils understand all the content. To help with this medical and dental appointments should be made outside of school hours or as late in the school day as possible. We are also trying to walk as much as possible to improve our health and if you go walking as a family please record the distance in kilometres and email me a picture (s.hawksley@pwhs.co.uk)  which we can show in assembly as we walk, as a school, towards our 1M Km.  Student portraits can be order via Gillman & Soames the photographers.  You will have received details via Ms Garry.  Finally, Congratulations to Ellee Cheetham Year 10 who competed with International gymnasts in Malta getting an Overall Best Individual bronze medal as a result of her combined scores across the events along with a silver and bronze medal in the beam and floor exercises. Well done indeed. What a lot of hard work and training she has put in over the years.

Message from Head of Learning for Year 11 – Mr Blackburn
I am pleased to say that year 11 appear to be recognising the importance of this year in their journey through high school education. I remind them weekly about how many school days are left before they finish year 11. Currently there are 108 school days left before they leave but considerably less before the GCSE examinations begin.  Mock examinations will commence during week commencing 5th December, giving the pupils ten school days to make sure they have all the information they need to prepare and be exam ready. We will have a mock results day in January and feedback will be given to you at Parents’ Evening on 19th January. Just under a quarter of the year group have been out of school on work experience this week. Working in a range of businesses the pupils have been able to ‘sample’ the world of work. The rest of the year group took part in a Business Enterprise Activity organised and run by a number of local businesses. Pupils were fully engaged in the activities with our visitors commending the pupils on their enthusiasm and behaviour. A number of the year group have now had their interviews for Parrs Wood Sixth Form and been offered a place for September 2017. Applications for all Sixth Forms should now be completed as deadlines are now looming.  Improved attendance and punctuality are a focus for the year group as we are currently at the bottom of the league table of year groups on weekly attendance. It goes without saying that poor attendance will severely affect examination performance – every lesson missed creates a gap in their learning which will not be filled before the examination. Let’s aim for 100%! 

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 12 – Mr Crickett
Since half term all of Year 12 have been improving their attendance from week to week. This has helped contribute to the overall college attendance reaching over 94%. It is still compulsory for all Year 12s to attend form time and assembly, even if they do not have lessons until later in the day. Important information about Universities and other pathways are discussed, and some essential opportunities may be missed. During the past few weeks we have had speakers in from Manchester University, and a speaker who has followed the apprenticeship route.

Message from the Head of Learning for Year 13 – Mr Cooper
Thank you to all those parents and carers who came to meet the teachers on Thursday 17th. It proved to be a very valuable evening to provide information to help support the students make the most of the final term and a half of their time at the sixth form. Their was also help on offer from our learning mentor, gifted and talented co ordinator and future pathways adviser which all proved to be very useful guidance for our 6th formers.
Since half term all of the eight form groups have been improving their attendance from week to week. This has helped contribute to the overall college attendance reaching over 94%. It is still compulsory for all Year 13s to attend Tuesday and Thursday form time with the real focus being support with their personal statements and advice with applications for their next steps. All year 13s should have already approached a member of staff to be their referee and inform their tutor of who this will be. They should have also provided their first draft of their personal statement to their form tutor so that improvements can be made before the December 3rd deadline. In regards to this we have also have very informative outside speakers from Manchester University. During the past fortnight, in our Monday assemblies, they have presented advice about what students should be doing for their personal statements as well as information about University life. 
The student leadership team have been busy starting up this years clubs. The feminist society has already begun its first meetings and the debating society will be hot on their heals. Meanwhile others have started researching venues and planning the logistics for their end of year prom. The team have completed a student voice survey to get feedback on ideas to make college life even better. Indeed they have been involved in discussions to organise an end of term reward trip. Furthermore some of the year 13 students have also volunteered to support their year 12 peers to put on another fabulous Senior Citizens Christmas party.  
It has been a real pleasure to catch up with the students who went on Mr Blackburn’s trip to the US. It certainly proved to be an incredibly memorable experience. Not only did they witness an unforgettable election but also learnt about life as an American student. 

Finally I would like to remind all the Year 13s to continue to update their form tutor about which future learn courses they have enrolled on. Once completed these 30 hours of online courses will have hopefully been informative whilst fulfilling their individual interests as well as supporting their college lessons. It is also further evidence that Parrs Wood students go that extra mile and are willing to stretch themselves and add another string to their bow. 

Yours sincerely

Mark McElwee

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