Principal's Blog

Principal's Blog - Friday 28th June 2019:


 

As we are heading rapidly towards the end of this academic year, this will be my last blog.  On the last day of term we will issue the annual review, which will be sent electronically for the first time this year in a bid to eliminate our use of paper and respond to the environmental concerns that we are teaching the pupils about.  When it arrives, I hope you will enjoy the chance to look through the pages as a reminder of the busy school year we have had.

During the past fortnight children from years 3 and 4 across the Alliance went to Green Park for a two-night residential.  They were able to take part in lots of adventurous activities and enjoy the great outdoors.  The trip is designed to help the children develop confidence and work collaboratively. 

The trip had to be moved because our former venue, Grendon, has closed down, but Green Park, located in Aston Clinton, proved a great replacement and our year 3 and 4 pupils next year certainly have a good trip to look forward to.

St Andrew’s pupils have showcased their acting skills by performing the production ‘This Changes Everything’ at the Quarry Theatre.  The play is about an attempt to create an idealistic, all-female community; it was written specifically with the aim of addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre.  The pupils played their parts superbly and I would like to thank them for their commitment to the production.  Thank you to all the staff involved in putting on the performance, particularly Mrs Stott for her direction and Jesse Bettsworth for her support in the background. Lastly, thank you to all the parents, grandparents and friends who went along to support the pupils. 

We have set up an ICT working party to look at the needs of the two schools currently and as we move forward with developments.  They will consider Wifi access, security arrangements and the delivery of ICT across the curriculum areas.  Jamie Burke has been appointed Student Representative for this working party to ensure we are aware of the viewpoints of our pupils.  My thanks go to Mrs Ionn for her help in this area.  

Our regular Governors’ Education Committee invites the pupils to attend the meetings to express their views on school life, highlighting what they like and any ideas for future development.  

We hosted a Parents’ Council meeting this week in both schools, which was an opportunity for parents to voice their opinions on the new school development.  Minutes are attached to this email for all parents to view.  If you were unable to attend the meeting, but have ideas about the new school, then please feel free to email me using heads_pa@rushmoorschool.co.uk. or sheaney@standrewsschoolbedford.com  

On the subject of planning for the future, Mr Jones and I, together with one of our governors, Trish Lennie, attended a ‘Diamond’ Conference on 25 June at Stamford School.  We came away with some inspiring ideas that will help us as we plan the structure of the new school site.  An example of the work so far being undertaken is the new uniform design; attached is an example as to where the team have got to.  

The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, and his deputy, Charles Royden, visited us last week, meeting with pupils from across the Alliance to learn more about school life at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s and what makes us unique in Bedfordshire.  We discussed the exciting development plans we have for the Alliance.  Mr Hodgson and Mr Royden were in full favour of the new school development and were very interested to hear about the community cohesion projects we have in mind in relation to the move.   

The art and the design technology departments from both schools hosted a successful exhibition at Bedford Heights last Friday.  Thank you to all the people who came along to support it.  I felt it really showcased the wonderful creative talents our pupils have developed throughout their GCSE years and A-level years.  The visiting moderator attended the exhibition and I am sure was suitably impressed.   Our thanks must go to Tim Payne from Bedford Heights, who allowed us to use the exhibition room, which is greatly appreciated.  I would also like to thank Mrs Chaplin, Mrs Turner, Mrs Wakeling and Miss Cripps for setting everything up and all their hard work.  

We have been working with Explore Learning, based in Sainsbury’s, who provide additional learning support to complement school based learning.  This week staff from Explore Learning visited our Key Stage One pupils; they used fun techniques to explore literacy and numeracy.  

Our sixth formers in year 12 had the opportunity to visit the UCAS Exhibition hosted by Bedfordshire University last week.  Universities from across the country had representatives on hand to discuss courses with prospective students.  Apprenticeships were also advertised.  The exhibition gave our sixth formers a little more guidance about their future steps as they consider which university to apply to or career path to take.  This also coincides with the advice the students are receiving regarding personal statements for UCAS applications and writing their curriculum vitae. Thank you to Mrs Beattie and Miss Rayer for organising the trip.  

The A level geography students travelled to Frinton-on-sea to carry out fieldwork; measuring the height of the beach on either side of the groynes, measuring the types and distance of the waves, and calculating the angle of the beach slope.  Thank you to Miss Ross for organising the trip.  

Pupils from years 7 and 8 across the Alliance went to see ‘Wicked’ in London as part of their musical studies. Thank you to Mr Day, Mrs Gittins, Mrs Colbert, Mrs Crannis, Mrs Lombardi, Mr Mudzvovera, Mrs Shackleton and Mrs Harrison for accompanying the pupils.  

On 21 and 22 June, year 9 pupils completed their bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition.  Thank you to all the staff who gave up their free time to allow the pupils to take part in this activity: Mr Morrish, Mrs Andrews and Mr Mudzovera.  I went out on Friday evening, following the Art and DT exhibition, to assess the pupils.  I then checked up on each of the groups on Saturday morning and again in the afternoon.  Well done to all those who took part.  

Next week it will be the expeditions for our silver and gold participants who are heading off to the Peak District.  This is a longer expedition and we won’t be back until late Friday.  Once again Mr Morrish, Mrs Andrews and Mr Mudzovera will be accompanying the groups and I thank them for giving up their time to do this again.  I will be on duty to assess the groups too.  

On Saturday 22 June, I also opened St Andrew’s School for some of our former pupils to enjoy a reunion.  It was a lovely opportunity for them to be in their old school and share precious memories.  We value our alumni, who are valued members of the school community.  Thank you to Mr Jones who broke off from his own Saturday schedule to ensure the school was locked up after the reunion. One former pupil was extremely keen to ensure the archives were on display in the new school. Maintaining the history of the two schools is very much a priority for me as we go forward.

Back in March, two of our year 10 students, having been successful in the first round of the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge, took part in the Pink Kangaroo round, which is sat by several thousand students across the country.  They had to sit another very challenging hour long paper and we were delighted to hear of their fantastic success, when the results came in.  Luke Barton was in the top 25% of students achieving a score of 96 marks and was awarded a Merit.  Olivier Gaillard achieved a certificate of Qualification with a very close score.  We are delighted that they have been able to demonstrate their great mathematical ability in this way and we are very proud of them both.

The Junior School children had a fun filled ‘pyjamarama day’ last Friday, relishing the chance to come into school in their nightwear!  This was all to raise money for Book Trust which is the UK's largest children's reading charity. Each year they reach 3.4 million children across the UK with books, resources and support.  

On the evening of 21 June Key Stage One pupils from across the Alliance had the chance to stay overnight for ‘Den Day’ – it’s a good job they already had their pyjamas on! This was to raise funds for Save the Children. Thank you to Miss Glennon, Mrs Thompson, Miss De Fortuna and Mrs Holt for supervising this event.   

On 28 June year 8 pupils from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s attended a talk given by BMS about the opportunities available in joining the Combined Cadet Force.  Hopefully some of them were inspired to join CCF in September.    

Sports News:  

There have been a number of cricket and rounders fixtures taking place over the past fortnight, with pleasing performances throughout the age groups.  

Our year 5 and 6 pupils from across the Alliance took part in a Quadkids Competition, so well done to them all for their efforts.    

On 20 June year 7/8 pupils competed at the District Athletics event at Bedford stadium.  All competitors represented the schools with pride and worked really hard.  Congratulations to all who qualified to reach this stage, and special mention to Grace Constant for coming 1st in the Javelin, and Chino Oriaku for qualifying for the finals of the 200 metres.

We took 16 qualifiers to the ISA National Athletics Championships in Birmingham last week.  We are incredibly proud of each of the pupils who took part.   Our year 6 relay team came home with medals, so well done to Ben, Ryan, Freddie and James (and special mention to Maddison who helped them qualify at the regionals).  Maddison received silver in the shot putt event.  

Principal’s Award:

To Grace Constant in year 7 for coming 1st in Javelin at the District Athletics Championships.

To Gracie Stewart in year 8 for her willingness to support the show by understudying for a poorly cast member at the last minute.

To Alessio Sepede and Oliver Weir for their hard work, achievement and dedication in Maths.

To Eros Di Pace for his fabulous write-up on Bushcraft.  

Junior School Stars of the week:

Rushmoor School w/c 17 June 2019

Reception – Madinah Shafi

1TS – Tom Marshall

2KGL – Junior Muniu

3JM – Farell Kotecha & Gurshaan Kullar

3ST – Danushka Gunasekara

4EB – Kai Wolkenstein

4ET – The Whole Class

5CR – Kian Woolven

5RS – James Gallo  

St Andrew’s School w/c 17 June 2019

Reception – Scarlett Rook

Year 1 – Phoebe Watkin

Year 2 – Agnes Barrett

Year 3/4 – Whole class

Year 5 – Sophie Weston

Year 6 – Poppy Corner    

Rushmoor School w/c 24 June 2019

Reception – Henry Kotecha

1TS – Whole class

2KGL – Ava Georgiou

3JM – Aiya El-Koum

3ST – Harry Clayton

4EB – Majus Hodges

4ET – Angelos Angelopoulos

5CR – Rio Noto

5RS – Whole class  

St Andrew’s School w/c 24 June 2019     

Reception – William Woodrow

Year 1 – Matilda D’Cruze

Year 2 – Arthur Mullaney

Year 3/4 – Florence Stott

Year 5 – Lydia Shortland

Year 6 – Saikeisha Comatchee  

Well done to Charlie on his continued efforts with his chosen water sport.  Last weekend he took part in his first Division 3 Slalom competition, changing his ranking from 34th to 17th due to 2 great runs down the course! 

Well done to Mimi Gardner, year 4, who came 3rd in the Aquathon last week held at Robinson Pool.  A great achievement.     

Thank you to everybody who sent in tombola prizes for the Alliance Summer Fayre, which takes place this Saturday at St Andrew’s School from 11.30 a.m. until 2.00 p.m.  We are extremely grateful to all our PTFA Committee and volunteers for organising the fayre, superbly co-ordinated as usual by Mrs Hendry and Gina Ciuro.  I look forward to seeing you there!  

Whilst writing, could I please remind all parents of the importance, both when dropping off and picking up your son/daughter, of not leaving your car engine running.  We are still receiving complaints from neighbours that this is happening.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

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