Weekly News Bulletin: 3 February 2019

Please may we remind parents/carers that due to safeguarding regulations you must always report to Visitor Reception when visiting our school.   If you need to collect your child from school then you must report to Student Reception.

Visitors are not to enter the school building without first reporting to Visitor Reception where you will be required to sign in and wait to be escorted into the school building.

Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our students safe.
Visitor Reception

Bad Weather Arrangements
Please may we remind you that in the event of school closure for example, through bad weather, local radio stations will no longer announce school closures.   Instead parents will be able to see the full list of closures on the Essex County Council website. The page can be accessed using the link below and path:


In order to find this please go to the Essex County Council’s homepage at www.essex.gov.uk, and search for Emergency School Closures or click in to the Education and Schools area, click Schools, click Dates and click Emergency Closures.

The Emergency Closures page will update as and when notifications are received, therefore it is recommended to continue to check or refresh the page.

As in previous years we will continue to also inform parents via our school website and an email will be sent via Groupcall Messenger and on our Twitter feed.

GCSE Spanish Revision day 1st February
A reminder that, due to recent traffic issues, the coach for this trip will now leave school at 8.15am and return at around 5.15pm. Students should bring a packed lunch as well as a notepad and pens. School uniform is not necessary.

Chinese visitors 14th February
We have had an excellent response from Year 9 students to host these visitors during the day on 14th February. A hosting schedule will be supplied to your child as soon as we know the final composition of the Chinese group. In the meantime, please encourage your child to learn some basic Chinese. Click here for a useful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1LWu81kWqE

GCSE Spanish Exam Vocabulary Booklet
Electronic copies have been made available to all GCSE students. However, if your child would prefer a hard copy, these are available via Parent Pay.

Student Workbooks, Spanish
Having sold out of the first batch of student workbooks, further copies are being made available on Parent Pay. Please note that stocks are very limited.
Mrs V Newell – Head of Spanish

News from Geography
Italy Trip October 2019
All year 10 and Year 12 Geography students are being invited to join on a Geography enrichment trip to Sorrento, in the Bay of Naples from 17th-20th October 2019.   All parents will be emailed the letter and your son/daughter will have an opportunity to take a letter from their class teacher this week.   Spaces are limited to 40 – the first deposit of £100 is required through ParentPay and the slips need to be returned to the Geography department.   It is on a first come first serve basis.
Miss F Gardner – Geography Department

School Shop
Please note that the price of calculators has increased to £11 after our existing stock sold out.
Mrs S Bird – Learning Zone Manager

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
Next week, on Tuesday 5th February there will be a meeting in A05 at 3.15 pm for students from Year 11 and Year 12 who are interested in undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.

This award is very prestigious and those who complete the award are invited to one of the London Palaces (Buckingham or St James’ Palace) for the ceremony.

The expeditions are held at the end of August.   Dates will be given at the meeting.

The award is open to all. Students who have not completed their Silver DofE Award will need to spend longer on their Skill, Physical and Voluntary activities to in order to gain their Gold DofE Award.

If you are unable to attend the meeting and wish to participate, please email Mrs Middleton-Sams at vmiddleton-sams@hrs.education.

The timing of the expedition is to ensure that time is not taken out during the important exam period.   The expeditions we go to are in the Peak District (Dark Peak) and the Brecon Beacons.
Mr P Graves – Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Assistant

Year 9 and 10 Tassomai Online Science Study Programme
We are delighted to be launching an exciting online science study programme called Tassomai with KS4 Year 9 and 10 students from Monday 11th February 2019.

Tassomai organises students’ independent revision and supports them in learning all the facts they need for the new 9-1 Science exams. It analyses performance and tailors its revision programme to the individual so they can fill any gaps in their knowledge and practice for their papers.

Most importantly, Tassomai reflects our GCSE Science specifications and is tailored to the exam board we are using, AQA, and the course that each student is studying (Trilogy or Biology, Chemistry and Physics). The programme consists of a number of multiple-choice tests that cover the various parts of the specification and has a progress tracker so that students and parents can see if they are on track; Tassomai recommends that about 15 minutes of the programme every day will keep a student on track with the pace. The programme is ‘intelligent’ and so tailors its questions to topics the student needs more practice on after an initial period of assessing secure and less secure topics. Unless you would prefer not to receive emails from Tassomai, they will send you a report each Saturday morning detailing progress over the past seven days so you will be able to keep an eye on the reports and encourage your child to log on frequently to keep their pace on track.

Students will have the opportunity to access the programme initially on a free trial basis for five weeks after which subscriptions are payable on ParentPay.  Further information will follow.

You can find more information at www.tassomai.com .
Mrs H Greaves-Park – Head of Science (Head of Chemistry)

 A Reminder for ParentPay users:

To set up alerts so you know when your child’s meal account is running low and you can top up:

On your ParentPay home screen go into the “Communication tab” at the top.  Click on “Change Alert Settings” button.   Page down to balance alerts and enter the threshold that you would like to be notified at (e.g. £3) and click on email alert (or text if you prefer).To enable alerts to inform you that new items have been added on ParentPay for your child:

On your ParentPay home screen go into the Communication tab at the top.   Click on “Change Alert Settings” button.   Page down to new item alerts and tick your preferences.If you require the kitchen to add a limit to your child’s meal account (i.e. so they can only spend say £4 per day), please email finance@hrs.education with your child’s name and the limit you require and we will get this set up for you.A reminder that some ParentPay items are set up for whole school or whole year groups and may not be relevant to your child. You will always receive a letter home asking you to pay for an item on ParentPay if it is relevant to you.
The Finance Team

Year 11 Careers Update
Our independent Careers Guidance Adviser, Julie Kay, has seen many of the Year 11 students for interview, however there are still more to go.   Your son/daughter will be notified of the appointment and be given Careers Action Notes following the meeting to summarise the discussion which took place, and any action which needs to be taken.

Students should not be waiting until they have seen Julie to apply for courses/apprenticeships; they can see me at break or lunchtimes if they need any help or guidance now.

Year 11 students can apply for more than one course or establishment, and evaluate their offers later on in the year when they may have more confidence in their expected grades.  Julie always encourages students to have “back-up” plans just in case things don’t go to plan on results day.

When I receive any local apprenticeship or job with training vacancies I will display them on the noticeboard outside the Lower Dining Hall.   Please encourage your child to check the board or with me regularly from spring onwards if they are seeking employment.   Julie and I keep a list of Year 11 Jobseekers, so that we can inform students individually by email if employers contact the school with vacancies once the students are on study leave.

Students looking for Apprenticeships should register on the national apprenticeship website:  https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship   so they can receive vacancy alerts tailored to their own interests.

Please be aware that we work hard to ensure that all students in Year 11 have plans in place to ensure successful progression Post16.
Mrs P Abbott – Careers Coordinator

Useful Information
Please click on the following link to find out more information regarding 2019 Benefit Changes:  https://www.turn2us.org.uk/About-Us/News/2019-Benefit-Changes