From the Headmaster - February 2017
Successful schools should always seek to strike a balance between functionality and fun; functionality, because we must achieve the key aim of helping our pupils to achieve the very best examination results they can to give them the maximum opportunities when they leave us, and fun, because we want them to enjoy their school experience as much as possible. I hope this half term is an example of where we have striven to get the balance right here at STRS.
The spotlight has been on Music, with the House Music Competition taking place on Monday 6th February, preceded by the Jazz Evening on Friday 27th January. The Jazz Evening was particularly well attended by parents this year, and they enjoyed a diverse range of music, including some notable vocal contributions, the massed sound of the Brass Ensemble, and the more mellow improvisations of the school's resident jazz quartet. The confidence of our students when performing was perhaps epitomised by Sanchay Saxena who began his vocal number lying on the floor! Our Sixth Form Observator team as always rose to the occasion and I am most grateful to them for providing such excellent bar service.
The House Music Competition encourages performers from Years 7-13 to represent their Houses and to perform as soloists or ensemble members. The event often turns up some incredible talent which is not part of the School's mainstream music, and it also encourages many musicians to become leaders and directors of ensembles. My thanks, as always, go to Pauline Jones, Director of Music, who is indefatigable in her determination to allow the widest possible access to music and performing in the School.
It is a school tradition that we dedicate two weeks of this half-term to fundraising for our PMM link school in Uganda. The fund-raising forms our 'Founder's Week' commemoration, which we convert into real and positive action, with every Tutor Group raising money through an activity which they decide on and run themselves. Our pupils really rise to the challenge and each year we see an even more creative range of activities. This year they ranged from 'Head Boy Head Shave' to numerous cake sales, milkshake bars and Keepy-Uppy Competitions. Certainly much fun was had, but the really important target of raising enough money to enable children to attend our link school was also achieved. I congratulate everyone on their efforts, and thank John Buttle for his role in co-ordinating events.
Tuesday 31st January was Sixth Form Open Evening, and once again we opened our doors to a wide range of visitors from many schools in the county. They were able to find out about courses from teachers but even more importantly, talk to pupils at STRS about the reality of taking these subjects at A Level. I am immensely grateful to our Sixth Form pupils who once again acted as such impressive ambassadors for STRS; they showed enormous pride in their school and real passion for their studies.
Now for a few items of a more practical nature:
New Denwell Bus Route – Bristol/Whitminster/Hardwicke
Denwells have informed us that they are now ready to take bookings for this new bus route. Please see Parent Gateway for more information about timings and stops. Places on the bus can be booked by contacting Rob at Denwell Coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org
The dark winter days continue and we are always concerned to keep our pupils safe on the roads around school. Please ensure your child has working lights and high visibility gear if they are travelling by bike. Remind them that they are not allowed to cycle on pavements. When walking out of school, please urge your child to ensure roads are clear and safe before crossing. We continue to have 'near misses' reported, so this is an important and urgent matter.
There has been a spike in the number of items lost in School recently. Please check that clothing, equipment and sports kit are clearly named.
Haircuts and uniform
The school policy on haircuts requires a neat and tidy style. As a general rule, we define this as nothing below a 'grade three'. We also ask that there is an even gradation of hair from the top to the back and sides. We are reluctant to enforce stricter guidelines, but we may be forced to in the future, as more boys are presenting themselves at school with unsuitable haircuts. In addition, we make our regulations on school uniform clear. Pupils are not permitted to wear hoodies and other non-regulation jumpers. A regulation school jumper will provide the necessary warmth on these cold February mornings. I would be grateful for your support in ensuring the continued neat and tidy appearance of our pupils.
To conclude, I hope you all have a good half-term break after what has been an extremely productive five weeks. Years 10, 11 and 12 return to critical examinations; clearly they must undertake effective revision during the break if they are able, but I would urge everyone to take the opportunity to rest and re-charge batteries.