From the Headmaster - August 2016
In my last email to parents, I indicated that I would inform you over the summer of some staff changes for the next year academic year as well as outlining our plans for the continued development of the School.
Sarah James retired at the end of last term, having given many years of excellent service to the School. I would like to thank her for her commitment and expertise and wish her well as she gives a little more time to her interests. However, we are most fortunate that she has agreed to stay on the staff in order to continue to run the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards Scheme. I look forward to working with her on expeditions next spring and summer. We wish Helen Warner (Music), Gillian Livesey (Maths) and Megan Lewis (Psychology) our very best as they develop their careers in new posts elsewhere. Bethan Sadler (English) left the School to move to Canada with her partner and Thomas Price (Chemistry) decided to leave at the end of the academic year. We wish them both well.
In September, we will welcome Naomi Fair (Technology) and Ben Capaldi as he joins the Cover Supervisor team. We also welcome back Helen Thackway to the English department.
From September, Jane Spilsbury steps down as Head of Year 9 and Debbie Glover relinquishes responsibility for Year 12 /13 as she has been seconded to GITEP to be Subject Leader for Religious Studies. Nick O'Neil moves from Head of Year 8 to Head of Year 9 and Jennifer Bale has been appointed as Head of Year 8. Matt Lynch becomes Key Stage 5 Manager and Rosie Atkins and Catherine Morris have been appointed Assistant Key Stage 5 Managers
Continued Development of the School
When I was appointed Headmaster, I talked to the governors about four areas that I consider to be crucial in the School's development. These are: Achieving, Supporting and Engaging, Inspiring and Enriching and Resourcing
Sir Thomas Rich's prides itself on the achievement of the highest academic standards. We recognise that acquisition of knowledge is a foundation stone in education, but we will place increasing emphasis on pupils developing resilience, checking understanding and encouraging them to think. We aim to:
- Strengthen examination results, particularly at AS and A2.
- Provide outstanding teaching that inspires pupils to work extremely hard and value academic endeavour. This year, for example, we will be seeking to develop a whole school approach to literacy development and embed innovative pedagogies to address larger set sizes post-16.
Supporting and Engaging
It is vital to us that pupils are happy at Sir Thomas Rich's from the moment they join us. We will ensure that every pupil receives a level of individual attention, which allows them to benefit from all that the School has to offer. Over the coming year, we will endeavour to:
- Enhance careers guidance.
- Refine the procedures, rewards and sanctions which we use with pupils and embed intervention strategies to support under-attaining pupils.
- Develop relationships with our alumni, encouraging them to maintain their interest in the School and to participate in activities and events.
Inspiring and Enriching
Sir Thomas Rich's aims to provide a multitude of opportunities for success, achievement and enjoyment well beyond the classroom so that pupils can make their mark and be seen as individuals with gifts and talents. We aim to ensure that they are proud to be Richians for the rest of their lives. We will:
- Maintain and enhance our reputation for excellence in Sports.
- Increase opportunities in Performing Arts.
- Widen our reach through greater liaison with communities at home and abroad.
We are determined that pupils should have access to the latest resources for learning but we must bear in mind that the British withdrawal from the European Union is likely to dominate the Whitehall in-tray for years to come and could mean that there is little spare political or bureaucratic capacity for further educational reform. Indeed, Sir Thomas Rich's has already felt the impact of this through the delay in the introduction of a national funding formula for schools until at least 2018-2019.
Whilst Brexit may result in educational stability by default – no bad thing with so many recent curriculum and examination reforms still to 'bed in', we will have to withstand the difficulties of further and significant cost increases in the coming years. Therefore, we will continue to devote our entire fundraising efforts to bolster the 'revenue pot', rather than to purchase additional resources. We will, of course, endeavour to ensure that there is continued investment in our site, buildings and facilities but it is important that we continue to lobby for the introduction of the national fair funding formula, based on what schools actually need rather than on an outdated system of allocations, to be implemented as soon as possible.
We will keep you informed about progress towards all of the above areas of development as the year unfolds.
In the meantime, I feel compelled to write something about "Pokémon Go" - a computer game available on smart 'phones where participants collect and trade virtual creatures called Pokémon (Pocket Monsters).The game makes it look like Pokémon appear in real life places by using the GPS and camera on mobile telephones. The Application has attracted significant attention in the media and some useful guidelines can be found on the NSPCC's website at:
I hope pupils and families are making the most of the summer break and I look forward to seeing everyone back refreshed in September.