From the Headmaster

Posted by MM - Wednesday 27 November 2019

I cannot believe that it is less than four weeks until we break up for Christmas. There seems so much to do both in School and in preparation for the festivities during the break. If like me you do not always enjoy the crowded shops at this time of year and increasingly purchase items online, please remember to use the ‘Easyfundraising’ link every time you shop online to raise (much needed) funds for the School - it won’t cost you anything: http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/strspa.

Many thanks to the Parents’ Association for organising this and everything they do to support the School, from providing refreshments at so many School events to the enormous amount of time that goes into running the uniform shop. Their unstinting support of the School makes a massive difference to the experience of students.

Richian 2020 Campaign

On the subject of supporting the School, I would like to draw your attention to our Richian 2020 campaign – an ambitious programme to further develop the School’s facilities. Details can be found on the School website here, but to sum up, the campaign aims to raise £170,000 by 2020 to create incredible facilities here at Rich’s. Phase 1 seeks to raise £105,000 before Easter 2020 to fit out our new teaching block with state of the art equipment and classroom resources, creating a 21st century multi-purpose learning environment that can also function as a centre for business, economics and for our outreach work with Gloucestershire primary schools. Phase 2 aims to raise £67,000 by September 2020 to construct a multi-purpose outdoor playing surface, which will enable our outstanding Sixth Form Netball players to host fixtures, and all of our pupils to experience a much wider range of outdoor sports. The hard surface will complete our recent programme of work developing our sports facilities, which has included the construction of the Pavilion building and the refurbishment of the School swimming pool.

We need parents, local partners, alumni and businesses to help us achieve our goals – better facilities at Sir Thomas Rich’s mean an even better environment for our current and future pupils, as well as better opportunities for the local community, and will secure Sir Thomas Rich’s development well into the middle of the 21st Century. I am grateful to so many of you who have already taken a real interest in this critically important matter. If you would like to find out more please do contact our Development Director Vicki Lynn to arrange an informal discussion, or you can donate to our Development Fund here.

Parking

A reminder that unfortunately, there continues to be no parking on the School site for parents at the start, end nor during the School day, and students are currently not permitted to park on the School site. We would also ask both parents and students who drive to School to continue to be respectful of our neighbours and ensure that their driveways are left clear when parking. We are working hard with local residents and the County Council to try to improve the situation. If you have any ideas or would like to contact us with respect to this, please email Peter Daniell (Assistant Headteacher) in the first instance: pmd@strs.org.uk

Lost property

The amount of lost property seems to be growing exponentially. It is so much easier for staff to return found items if they are clearly labelled (including water/drinks bottles). I would be grateful if parents could double check that this is the case. If you would like to contact the School regarding lost property, please do not hesitate to contact your son or daughter’s Form Tutor – email addresses can be found under the relevant year group here.

Arrangements for emergency closure of the School

At around about this time of year I always feel that I ought to remind all pupils and parents of the arrangements should the weather take a turn for the worse. 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 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 you live in an area where poor weather conditions prevent your son/daughter getting into School, it is important that you report their absence as early in the morning as possible either via Parent Gateway or by phoning the pupil absence line 01452 338400 option 2. It is important that we can account for all pupils.

If a weather situation serious enough to threaten School opening hours arises, the message will appear on the School website, www.strschool.co.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 at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/closures and on their twitter feed @Glos_schools, where you can subscribe to text alerts. They will also alert local radio stations.

If 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.

Sickness/contagious diseases

At this time of the year we also have an increase in absences due to ill health. Several cases of whooping cough have been reported in recent weeks. With regards to this very infectious illness, pupils who have had the vaccination in earlier years should be fine, however, those who have not and are suffering from a persistent cough should seek medical advice. Once a treatment of antibiotics has commenced, pupils need only be off School for 48 hours. Careful judgement is required of parents in terms of maintaining a balance of keeping your child off of School to recover, and them not missing lessons vital to their education.

I remind parents of the need to report a pupil’s absence due to sickness on the first day of absence. If your son/daughter is diagnosed with a contagious disease, for example, chickenpox, measles or slap cheek etc., please do let us know as we have a duty of care to all within the School community and we can routinely alert our staff and the parents of our most vulnerable children to whom this could be dangerous. In the interests of trying to keep our staff and pupils well, please do not send your child into School for 48 hours after diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

Positive feedback

Whilst it is true to say that we do receive complaints about our pupils from members of the public (mostly about parking and driving), we also receive compliments (often in person on School visits), but I thought I would end by publishing a recent email I recently received:

Dear Mr Morgan,
Although you do not know me I felt I must write to you. I frequently travel, by bus, between Cheltenham and Gloucester. Today I chose to come home on the 94 bus instead of the more usual number 10. It was school leaving time and at one stop the bus filled up with Tommy’s boys.

Tommy’s boys got on the bus in an orderly manner and either sat down or had to stand. They talked quietly to each other and behaved in a most responsible way – I was very well impressed to see that your standards are still of the highest.

We are always quick to complain about children but not so quick to commend. I wanted you to know that I felt a pride rise in me at their excellent behaviour.

Well done to those who represented the School so well – you know who you are!

Forthcoming events

It would be great to see you at one of our School events over the next few weeks. The School production of Julius Caesar takes place in the School Hall on 11, 12 and 13 December at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £4 each, available from Reception or via our online payment system www.scopay.com or through our website here.

Our Carol Services this year are being held at Saint Catharine’s Church, London Road, Gloucester on Monday 16 December and Holy Trinity Church, Longlevens on Thursday 19 December, both at 7.30 pm. Tickets are not necessary; please do just turn up with your friends and family to whichever Service proves most convenient.

M SR Morgan

Matthew Morgan,
Headmaster