Weekly News Bulletin: 4 January 2016

End of Term Round Up
It’s hard to believe that we are now at the end of our first term back at school!  It has been a busy term for both students and staff and I am sure that everyone is looking forward to a well-deserved rest over the Christmas period.

I would like to thank parents and staff who responded to my request earlier this term for feedback about the two week October half-term.  

The reason for the two-week half-term was to improve learning through greater student attendance and a reduction in staff absence.  In comparison with last year, both these indicators show an improvement.

The response from parents and staff was overwhelmingly positive so the decision was taken at the Full Governing Body meeting last week to have another two-week October half-term next year.  I list below the holiday dates for 2016-17:

First Day of Term
Thursday 1st September 2016
Half Term Holiday
Saturday 15 October to Sunday 30 October 2016 inclusive
Christmas Holiday
Wednesday 21 December 2016 to Monday 2 January 2017 inclusive
Non Student Day
Friday 10 February 2017
Half Term Holiday
Saturday 11 February to Sunday 19 February 2017 inclusive
Easter Holiday
Saturday 1 April to Monday 17 April 2017 inclusive
Bank Holiday
Monday 1 May 2017
Half Term Holiday
Saturday 27 May to Sunday 4 June 2017 inclusive
Summer Holiday
Saturday 22 July 2017

Earlier in the term we held our Open Morning and Coffee Mornings for prospective students for the September 2016 intake and early indications show that we have an increased number of students who have put our school down as their first and second choice of secondary school for next year.

Earlier this month we held our annual presentation of GCSE certificates event for students who sat their GCSE examinations in the summer.  The evening gave students and parents the opportunity to celebrate their successes and to be reunited with students who have left to go on to other destinations.  At this event our whole school awards were also presented.

Once again students and staff involved in the school production, which is Cabaret this year, have been busy rehearsing in time for the performances to be held from Wednesday 6th to Friday 8th January 2016.   I have been lucky enough to watch the previous performances and if Cabaret is to be anything like those, I strongly recommend you buy tickets before they sell out!

I am pleased to announce that Mr C Wilkins has been appointed Director of Learning for Year 7 to cover Mrs Tew’s maternity leave.

We say good-bye to two members of staff: Mrs Tulk (English) is off to teach English in Shropshire and Mrs Whale (Office Manager with responsibility for Personnel) is leaving us to work elsewhere.   We wish them both the very best for the future.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support this term and wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break.
Mr S Knight – Headteacher

Year 7 setting in MFL
The MFL Faculty will be setting the Year 7 students from January 2016.  Two classes will be combined to give two broad sets, set 1 and set 2. The classes will be joined as follows:

7CA + 7KM = 7A1 + 7A2
7FI + 7OC = 7B1 + 7B2
7CP + 7CRA = 7C1 + 7C2
7SPF + 7WG = 7D1 + 7D2

After the Christmas break, Year 7 students will be asked to go to their first MFL lesson as normal where they will be told their set and directed to their ‘new’ teacher, who will explain any timetable/room changes.  This information will be communicated to you via a sticker in your child’s planner.

Decisions for setting have been based on diagnostic tests, work effort, attitude, ability and the judgement of the languages teachers they have had this term. There are only a certain number of places in set 1!  The progress of all students will be reviewed and adjustments made by the February half term.

You can best support your child in MFL by showing an interest in what they are doing in class, helping to check the vocabulary they are learning and checking that they have completed their reading/writing homework by the date given in their planner.
Thank you.
Mrs N Graves – Head of MFL

Peripatetic Music Lessons
Lessons for the Spring Term will start again week commencing 11th January, with the exception of Mr Oakley’s lessons which begin on Friday, 8th January.  Requests for payment have now been sent out by email; thank you to those who have paid.  If you have not already done so, please pay via ParentPay as outstanding fees are due by Friday, 18th December.
Thank you.
Mrs T Franklin – Music Administrator

Ski Trip to Austria
There are still place available on the school ski trip to Austria.  The trip is definitely running.  The cost is £895 and we leave on the evening of Thursday 24th March 2016 and return on Friday at April 2016.  Application letters are available from Mr Graves in ICT.  If you would prefer to receive an electronic version please email Mr Graves at pgraves@hrs.education.

Those who have not skied before make very quick progress with the local ski school.  As an extra we do run a dry slope trip to the Brentwood dry ski slope to help prepare first time skiers.
Mr P Graves – Ski Trip Organiser/Head of ICT

Paid Internship being offered to undergraduates in a school in Essex in June/July 2016 (£1800 for 6 weeks)
The Helena Romanes School and schools across Essex are offering a six week paid internship to undergraduates in the penultimate year of their degree working in the Maths or Physics department.  This will start soon after the students’ final exam in the Summer term and be offered for 6 weeks/30 days.  The actual days will be agreed between the student and the school taking into account any prior commitments.  Come and find out more at Notley High School on 6th January, 6.00pm – 8.00pm.
Mid Essex Initial Teacher Training

Vacancy
Chartwells, our catering contractors have two vacancies for catering assistants from January 2016.  One vacancy is for 20 hours per week and the other is for 30 hours per week, both being term time only.  Please email Jackie Holdsworth at 61677@compass-group.co.uk  for an application form.
Mrs J Holdsworth – Catering Manager