From the Headmaster - May 2018

Posted by MM - Friday 25 May 2018

As I write, Year 11 are well into their GCSE examinations, and A Levels are about to begin in earnest for our Year 13s. We wish all our pupils well in their public examinations and hope that they are given fair opportunities to demonstrate their learning. The second half of the summer term is always a slightly strange one, as we are aware of the hushed atmosphere of serious endeavour which pervades the hall where most external examinations take place, combined with the inevitable forward-looking optimism which characterises our plans for next year. Teachers and managers at School will be using their ‘gained time’ after exam classes have ceased to reflect on the year which has just passed and to plan resources, activities and innovations for the next academic year.

Kirkland Rowell Survey

As part of this process, we will be asking pupils to reflect on what they most value about our school, and also consulting them on how to further improve what we offer here at STRS. We place a real value on the pupil voice and we will be asking pupils to complete the Kirkland Rowell survey to gather important information about their views. Some of this information will feed into next year’s School Improvement Plan. Key themes for this which are already in place include a commitment to:

  • Continue to improve the quality of marking and feedback provided to pupils
  • Increase the frequency of setting and improve the quality of homework
  • Further embed our offer of ‘early help’ through increased training in mental health first aid
  • Continue to improve Careers Information, Education and Guidance
  • Continue to widen access to Sir Thomas Rich’s
  • Improve students’ manners, courtesy, respect for each other and their environment

Expectations of Pupils’ Uniform and Behaviour

The final bullet point above draws our attention to the on-going importance of pupils’ manners, appearance and behaviour around the school site, and their interactions with fellow pupils and teachers. We rightly have very high expectations of our pupils’ uniform, and a straightforward set of regulations, which includes the Sixth Form. We will continue to insist that members of our school community adhere to these regulations. Equally, we are always striving to further develop a culture of respect throughout the school, which extends from courteous relationships within school to respecting the school environment. Pupils who contravene codes of conduct by dropping litter or by damaging school property should expect to receive sanctions.

Business Partnerships and Opportunities for Giving

As I am sure you are aware, while the new national funding formula has alleviated our financial situation, the past few years have seen significant cuts in real terms in the funding we receive from the government. These cuts continue to impact the curriculum we offer and the extra opportunities available to pupils. I am enormously grateful to parents who are able to make a monthly contribution via gift aid. If you feel you are able to and currently don’t contribute, please email finance@strs.org.uk for the gift aid form.

Despite receiving well over £100 000 a year from parents, the School still faces a tough financial future and we are seeking to forge new partnerships and enhance existing ones with local businesses to help address this. Rich’s Partnerships are a way for the School to build closer links with the business community and raise much needed funds. Commercial partners can boost a company’s image, awareness, customer recruitment and loyalty, generating positive publicity and a greater social media profile. Partners will also be able to reach an extensive network of current parents across Gloucestershire and the South West. Our alumni span the globe and include many local business leaders and decision makers.

Details of the four levels of partnerships we offer can be found in the attached information leaflet along with the type of promotional activities available to companies. Every Partnership should to be real, beneficial to both sides and reflect our shared concerns and priorities. Please contact Vicki Lynn on 01452 338400 Ext. 332 or vn@strs.org.uk in the first instance. She will be able to answer any initial questions and arrange a meeting with me.

Partnerships are a vital part of ensuring the School continues to provide the teaching and resources needed to offer every student the inspiration and nurturing they need for success. Please join me in helping develop our young people into outstanding adults, and encourage your company to contribute and become a Rich’s Partner.

More information can be found here: https://strschool.co.uk/Content/documents/sponsorship/brochure.pdf

Widening Access to STRS

I am sure many of you will have heard recent political reporting about the Government’s proposals for some increased funding for Grammar Schools for capital projects, with the stipulation that schools receiving funds must endeavour to increase access for disadvantaged pupils. I thought you would like to know that we already have a number of initiatives in place designed to increase access for the most disadvantaged children. These include the identification of the Primary Schools in Gloucestershire which serve the most deprived communities, with governors and staff visiting these schools to give presentations to parents and prospective pupils about the admission process. Additionally, as part of our Teaching School work, we offer high quality training to Primary teachers to enhance their ability to teach science. Science Ambassadors in our Sixth Form are also visiting primary schools to give Science taster lessons and to increase pupils’ awareness of the type of learning they might experience at a Grammar School.

With all my best wishes for half term, whether that is relaxing with family or continuing to support students revising hard for the remainder of their examinations.

M SR Morgan

Matthew Morgan,
Headmaster