From the Headmaster - January 2019
Posted by MM - Wednesday 16 January 2019
I hope it is not too late to wish you a Happy New Year. It is difficult to believe that we are already into the second week of the new term. The full range of sports and music practices are of course underway, along with the varied mix of extra-curricular activities we offer to our pupils. Academic lessons are in full swing, with an important focus on examination preparation and practice for Years 11 and 13 in particular. The Rich’s community is a strong one, and I encourage everyone within it to face the New Year with optimism, drive and a renewed determination to be best that we can be.
Our contribution to society
On three occasions at the end of last term, I was extremely proud of the breadth and reach of our school’s education. The choir visited Longlevens Junior School to sing for pupils and staff, and the Brass Band played in the Barnwood Sainsbury’s store to raise money for our partner school PMM in Jinga, Uganda. We also held a collection of food items to contribute to the Gloucester foodbank. We recognise that contributing to the community in diverse ways is an important aspect of our work.
We welcome three new teachers this term. Adam Gougha joins the Geography department (to cover Mrs Robinson’s maternity leave); Rowena Ewens joins the Biology department (to cover Mrs Marrinan’s maternity leave) and Claire Eva joins the Chemistry department (to cover Miss Wilks’ maternity leave). We also continue in our commitment to provide excellent training for student teachers, so pupils will also see other new faces around the school this term.
As you are aware, we have already made a number of changes to improve meetings with teachers, including the on-line booking system. I do urge you to continue to contact Form Tutors and Heads of Year at other times if there are matters you would like to discuss.
There has recently been much in the press relating to the issue of drugs, in particular about so-called ‘county lines’ drugs gangs who use vulnerable children to sell drugs. Like all other Heads in the county, I am rightly very concerned about this. May I take a moment to remind you of the school policy on drugs: we aim to be, on the one hand, supportive of any pupil who actively comes forward to seek our help; however, we will take a very firm stance with those we discover to be dealing in drugs in School. Above all, it is our duty – and wish – to educate pupils about the dangers of drugs. Our programme of drugs education is delivered through our PSHE programme, and through assemblies and tutor time.
Arrangements for poor weather
At this time of year, I ought to remind all pupils and parents of arrangements should we have to consider closing the School. Firstly, we will not close the School unless it is unsafe for us to remain open. This may include situations where very few staff can travel to School and it would be impossible for us to supervise students adequately. However, normally a number of pupils and staff, including myself, can walk to School, whatever the situation, and therefore it seems right that they should have the option to come to School if they can. If a weather situation serious enough to threaten School opening hours arises, the message will appear on the School website, www.strs.org.uk so do please check the website first in the event of worsening conditions. We will also inform the Local Authority if we close, who publish information on their website; www.glosclosedschools.com. This news is often reported on BBC Radio Gloucestershire (104.7 FM/1413 AM/Digital).
If the school buses operate in the morning, but the weather deteriorates during the day and the coach companies take the decision to send the afternoon buses to school early, we shall ensure that the pupils who use those services are made aware of this and seen safely onto the coaches. It is important that your son or daughter has instructions as to how he or she should gain access to their home in this eventuality and I would be grateful if you could discuss this matter with them. Where the School is closed during the course of the day, there will be plenty of staff on hand to supervise pupils until they have been collected or made arrangements with their parents about travelling home. It would be most helpful for your son or daughter to have a telephone number on which we can contact you on such a day if you are not at your usual contact point. Pupils should not leave the school site without an agreed plan of action with their parents about how they should travel home.
Lastly and importantly, I hope you have noticed that we have endeavoured to tighten up on the appearance of our students. For me, uniform is a collective and visible sign that we are part of an organisation and wearing it with pride reminds us that we’re all in this together. I am as ever grateful to you for your support in helping our students look as smart as possible.
I wish you all a happy and successful 2019.