From the Headmaster - September 2016
Schools appear to be strange places during the long weeks of the summer holiday.While plenty happens in terms of refurbishment and activity clubs, they still feel unnaturally empty and far too quiet, so we were very pleased to welcome back our pupils today for the start of the academic year at Sir Thomas Rich's.We offer a particularly warm welcome to our Year 7 and Year 12 pupils, parents and carers.New pupils join our community from a wide range of schools and we wish them every success in the forthcoming weeks as they find their feet.Rich's rightly has a strong reputation for the support it provides its new pupils. Both our Year 7s and pupils entering the Sixth Form will be undertaking a range of induction and orientation activities in the first few weeks of term. Each Year 7 form will take part in our annual residential activity trips to Stratford-Upon-Avon during September and October, and Year 12s will visit Mallard's Pike in the Forest of Dean for their problem-solving activity days.
While it is an essential feature of school life that we always look forward at the year to come, we are also at this time thinking about our Year 13 leavers as they embark on the next exciting phases of their lives. We will miss them in our community but send them every good wish for their futures.For many, university beckons, and we were delighted that nearly all of last year's Year 13s met their offers for their first or second choice universities.All eight pupils holding offers for Oxford or Cambridge were accepted onto their chosen courses. We are enormously proud of all our leavers' achievements and urge them to stay in touch.
I am pleased that so many of our Year 11 pupils performed very strongly in a year which has seen a depression in top grades nationally.Over 80% of our pupils attained at least 5 A*s or As – a fantastic achievement.
As we start our new school year, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of some important school protocols. It is vitally important that we continue to keep accurate attendance records, and that the School is notified of absence in a timely way.I would be grateful if you could ensure that we are informed in advance of planned absence and that Form Tutors are informed by written note or email of the reason for unplanned absence.I draw your attention to the new tab on Parent Gateway for informing school quickly of any absence.This information will be communicated directly to your child's Form Tutor.This is the best way to help us keep accurate daily records of attendance and I strongly urge you to use it.Also, a reminder that mobile phones are not allowed to be used anywhere in school.They should be switched off throughout the school day, including at Break and Lunchtime, and should not be visible to staff, unless pupils are expressly invited to use them for educational purposes in lessons.Sixth Form pupils have slightly different guidelines for phone usage, which allows them to use mobiles in the Sixth Form Common Room.
Many of you will already be aware of the planned improvements to the Elmbridge Court roundabout and dual carriageway.The year-long work started on 22 August 2016 and will last until next September 2017. The first phase of the improvements, which will last about six weeks, includes a 24 hour closure of the inner ring of the roundabout with single lane closures on all approach lanes. Inevitably, this will have a significant impact on journey time to school, so please do endeavour to make adjustments so that pupils continue to arrive at school on time.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to these forthcoming events in September at Sir Thomas Rich's. Three opportunities for parents to meet with teachers are provided with Year 11 and Year 10 Parents' Information evenings on Thursday 8th and Thursday 15th September, both at 7.30pm, and a Year 12 Meet the Tutor evening on Tuesday 20th September, also at 7.30pm. I warmly encourage you to attend these evening sessions, which offer an opportunity for you to gain an invaluable insight into your son or daughter's year ahead.We are also already looking forward to our annual Speech Night, held this year on Friday 23rd September, where we welcome back so many of our Sixth Formers and celebrate last year's academic successes.Parents can be assured of a very warm welcome at our wide range of evening events and opportunities to meet with teachers, and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the year.