From the Headmaster - January 2016

From the Headmaster - January 2016

350th Anniversary celebrations

As we begin 2016, we are excited to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the School's foundation. There will be a number of events during the course of the year to mark this important milestone in the School's history. On 19 March a Festival of Rugby will be held on the playing fields with a dinner in the evening. For more details please click here.

On 6 May at 7.30 pm, in the School Hall, there will be a concert performed by musicians from Year 7 to Year 13 and on 26 May, at 2 pm, we will gather in Gloucester Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving. You are all welcome to attend any of these occasions.

In addition, we have organised for a whole school photograph to be taken during the morning of Monday 14 March.Parents will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of this, if they so wish along with several other souvenirs to mark this important year.

Our school has seen continual development over the years to enable pupils to receive a first class education. We work hard to create an environment where students will be happy, grow in self-confidence, thrive academically, and make the most of the many opportunities we offer. We pride ourselves on the pursuit of excellence both inside the classroom and out, and on encouraging pupils to develop their talents and interests. However, the School's history reveals some interesting and challenging times. For an in-depth account of some of the details please click here.

Oxbridge success

Our Oxbridge preparation programme continues to enjoy success with Year 13 pupils receiving offers to read a variety of subjects. Four students received an offer from Oxford: Antonio Ferrer-Harding, Christ Church, Biochemistry; Grace Barfoot, Magdalen College, Human Sciences; Catherine Cooper, St Catherine's College, Geography; Daniel Taylor, Keble College, PPE and another four students received an offer from Cambridge: Christopher Burns, Selwyn College, Mathematics; Phoebe Cole, Newnham College, History; Tobias Hiram, Fitzwilliam College, Land Economy; Samuel North, Fitzwilliam College, Natural Sciences. Congratulations to them all and many thanks to the staff and friends of the School who conducted practice interviews and provided hours of individual support to prepare our pupils for the next steps in their lives.

Key Stage 3 Assessment

Now that academies are no longer required to use National Curriculum levels to report pupil progress, a group of teachers has been working on a system that will combine the best of what the National Curriculum levels had to offer with a more bespoke system that is better suited to our pupils' learning. This work has also prompted a review of how effort grades are awarded. To make sure that we were getting it right, we have held a series of pupil focus groups across all Key Stages. As you are aware, the 'Pupil Voice' is a fundamental aspect of life at Rich's and pupils' mature and insightful comments about levels and effort grades have helped to shape the proposals so far. I will keep you updated on developments.

Lockdown Procedures

On the INSET day at the beginning of this term, staff received training on our 'Lockdown' procedure. This would be used in the unlikely event of an internal or external threat such as a reported incident in the local area or an intruder on the site. We intend to practise the procedure with pupils this term. Before the practice, pupils will be prepared by their Form Tutor and Head of Year. For security reasons, we have not published details of these or any of our other emergency procedures on our website so if you have any questions about the procedure, please do not hesitate to contact your son or daughter's Head of Year in the first instance.

Funding Update

In response to parental feedback, I have deliberately avoided the subject of funding in my last few emails. However, I have now been asked by a number of people for an update. I am, as always, exceptionally grateful to parents who contribute to the School via monthly giving. This year, we anticipate receiving around £60 000 from monthly donations. As you are aware, we have decided, reluctantly, to change our fundraising strategy to concentrate on meeting our running costs rather than fund further facilities' development, so the help of our parent community is more vital than ever now to secure the future of the School.

We acknowledge that the economic climate is difficult and that we all have to prioritise expenditures. However, unless we can convince alumni, parents, and friends of Sir Thomas Rich's school to contribute, we will have to make even further cuts. With that in mind, we hope you feel able to support us by making a regular donation to the School if you do not already do so, using the gift aid scheme which provides our largest source of income. You can also donate directly online using My Donate here. Our annual target for monthly giving is £130 000. However, we know that a significant number of parents cannot afford this and I must stress that this suggestion is not obligatory, nor would I want any pupil, parent or family to feel excluded if they do not contribute in this way. If you would like to see a copy of the presentation that I recently gave to parents of pupils in Years 8, 9 and 10 regarding our financial situation please click here.

If you are not able to help financially, but are able to give your time, please do contact the Parents' Association (PA) via Dave Hawkins the PA's Chairman: Dave.PAChairSTRS@virginmedia.com. Thank you in advance for your anticipated support and to those parents and friends who are already contributing in this way; we are hugely grateful. There are other ways you can help as follows;

Please do sign up to the 'Easyfundraising' link. This means that every time you shop online further funds will be raised for the PA that will ultimately go to the School - it won't cost you anything: http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/strspa

A reminder that the PA are also participating in a scheme to recycle old mobiles, MP3 players, cameras and tablets in order to raise further money for the School. Please bring in your unwanted electronic devices (listed above) to Reception.

All money raised has and will continue to make a real difference to the education that we are able to offer.

Governance

The Governors and I have been working hard over the last few months on improving governance via the work of the Evaluation and Curriculum Committee and we have made some slight amendments to the Behaviour and Discipline General Principles and the Behaviour and Discipline policy. For further details of these or any of our other policies please click here.

I would like to thank you all for your support in so many ways over the last calendar year, and, in so doing, belatedly wish you all the very best for 2016.


M SR Morgan

Matthew Morgan,
Headmaster

MM - Monday 18 January 2016