From the Headmaster - November 2016
I hope you have all enjoyed a good holiday. With half a term under our belts, it is a good moment to pause and take stock of all that has been achieved so far this year. There has already been much to celebrate in School. I am sure you will have seen the news about our terrific GCSE results in The Citizen, which reported on last year's Year 11 pupils gaining 'the best results in the county.' We are the only school in Gloucestershire with 100% of pupils gaining a grade C or better in Maths and English. Alongside this impressive achievement, STRS also out-performed all other Gloucestershire Grammar Schools with a Progress 8 measure of 0.53. This new data tracks pupils' progress from Key Stage 2 through to Key Stage 4, and is an additional measure of the added value schools are giving to pupils' achievement.
Whilst it is of course good to see us come top, it is important to remember that an effective education is not just about results and jostling for position in a league table. One of the most important qualities we hope to instil in our pupils – and indeed one which is highly regarded in the world of work – is the ability to work productively and cooperatively in a team. Pupils here have many opportunities to develop excellent team-working skills, whether it is in the classroom working on a shared project or presentation, being part of the Sixth Form Prefect or Observator teams, taking part as a team in one of the many House competitions, participating in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme or playing for one of the sports teams we field each week in home and away fixtures. In addition, just before half term, Year 10 boys took part in a team-building day run by the RAF. This was a tough but hugely valuable experience for our boys, where they were set tasks which really tested their abilities to think logically, support each other and complete tasks collaboratively.
For as long as I can remember, the quality and price of food in school canteens have been two of the main subjects of School Council Meetings. Around four years ago, we took the decision to take our catering provision 'in-house'. This resulted in lower prices and larger portion sizes. However, the goal posts have now moved and we realise that it is time to further improve our offer. Together with School Council members, we took the decision to put the service out to tender. I am pleased to announce that our catering provision will be taken over from January 2017 by Innovate Services Ltd and as part of the process we will be converting to a biometrics cashless system. Full information on the biometrics system will be released in due course, so please look out for a letter that will come home with your son/daughter in the coming weeks. The letter will include a reply slip and I would ask that you return this as soon as possible as we have a small window to get the system up and running. In the meantime, those of you who have not yet registered for our online payments scheme will be sent a unique code to enable you to set up an account in readiness for the cashless system.
Finally, I am always most grateful for the hard work of the Parents Association, which not only raises invaluable funds for School but also provides much entertainment and enjoyment through the fantastic social occasions it organises during the school year. All parents, carers and guardians of present and past pupils of the school are automatically members of the Parents' Association. Your Parents' Association will be holding its Annual General Meeting in the School Staff Room on Tuesday 8th November commencing at 7.30pm. During the meeting those present will have the opportunity to elect the Officers of the Committee. Full details of the work of the committee and the process for registering your interest in the Parents' Association can be found on the Parents section of the school website.