From the headmaster - September 2019

Posted by MM - Wednesday 25 September 2019

It’s hard to believe that three weeks of the new term have passed already; pupils have settled into their new routines and it really seems as if our new Year 7 and Year 12 students have always been here.

In my first assembly of the school year, I referenced a study by a Professor from Nottingham University who conducted some research in to the benefits of holidays. I took the opportunity to point out that days of rest are more enjoyable and important when you have worked hard in the first place.

I came across the research through reading an article by Tim Harford, who writes as The Undercover Economist. Harford has also highlighted a study which suggested that medical students training to be eye surgeons who had taken a course in Art Appreciation were better at diagnosing eye diseases than those who hadn’t. The point he makes is that if you want to become a great ophthalmologist, you need to do more than just be able to pass your medical exams. Insight often comes when you take the time to do other things, in this case, engaging your brain in the critical appreciation of Art. It’s all about balance. In a school such as ours, where it’s widely accepted that to work hard is important and where students bring a great attitude to their studies, it is important to keep a healthy balance between mind and body. I hope that this academic year will see students excel in their studies and enjoy the wide range of extracurricular opportunities available to them.

Educational Mental Health Practitioners

On the subject of well-being, I am pleased to inform parents that we are continuing to work with the NHS, and three Educational Mental Health Practitioners based at Rich’s are now working with a number of pupils in the School. As well as one-to-one work, Year 7 students have taken part in some psychoeducation in Tutor time designed to develop strategies to help them cope with the transition from primary to secondary school. If you are concerned about your son or daughter’s mental health or well-being, do get in touch with their Head of Year:

Year 7 Mrs Robinson, jrr@strs.org.uk
Year 8 Mr Hinds, zfh@strs.org.uk
Year 9 Mr N O’Neill, no@strs.org.uk
Year 10 Mr Tilley, dpt@strs.org.uk
Year 11 Mr Stewart, njs@strs.org.uk
Year 12 Mr B O’Neill, bjo@strs.org.uk
Year 13 Miss Jauncey, elj@strs.org.uk

Building Work

Work on our new teaching block, situated by the tennis courts, is progressing well. We hope the new classrooms, together with a widening access hub and training room will offer state-of-the-art facilities for both pupils and staff. However, its construction does represent one of the most significant engineering challenges undertaken on our site. Whilst the building will undoubtedly enhance the School’s existing teaching facilities and will also provide an innovative study area, I know that during its construction we are extremely short of parking, therefore I am reminding parents that there is no parking on the School site at the start or end of 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 be respectful of our neighbours and ensure that their driveways are left clear when parking. The building work, all being well, should complete before Easter 2020. When finished we will need to kit out the building and, as always, we are extremely grateful for ongoing support and donations from parents through regular giving. Donations to the School Development Fund can be made online here.

Behaviour Policy

Every year, I am required to publish our Behaviour Policy, which I do so on the School website here. In many respects there are very few changes to the general approach of promoting mutual respect and our desire to develop in students’ self-discipline; a thirst for learning; enquiring and creative minds; and an appreciation of the privileged opportunity that studying at Rich’s provides. The Behaviour Policy actively supports the School’s aims, which are:

  • The achievement of the highest standards of work.
  • The achievement of the highest standards of behaviour.
  • The promotion of a wide range of extracurricular activities.
  • The achievement of the highest standards of support and guidance.

In order to ensure our Behaviour Policy remains effective and meets these aims, there has been a little tightening up of sanctions this year. Failure to attend a sanction will usually result in one further opportunity to complete the sanction. If the sanction isn’t completed at this point, it will be upgraded to a more serious sanction. I am pleased to report that pupils have responded positively thus far to the changes.

Illness

A pupil in Year 7 has been diagnosed with Leukemia, a form of cancer. The treatment that he will receive will affect his immune system, which means he will be at an increased risk of infection and a simple infection such as a sickness bug may result in a hospital admission. We would like to ask all parents to inform the School if your child becomes unwell and to give the reason for their absence, this information will help the hospital to provide the correct treatment and medication for the child at risk. Illnesses that need to be reported are infectious diseases such as chickenpox, measles, mumps and whooping cough, as well as things like sickness and diarrhoea or slapped cheek syndrome. We ask that all parents do not send their child into School if they have not fully recovered from their illness.

Please do ask Mr Davies (rd@strs.org.uk) or Mrs Robinson (jrr@strs.org.uk) if you have any further questions. We may not know the answers but we can contact the Paediatric Oncology team at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, who will be able to help. Thank you in advance for your understanding and co-operation.

A Busy Term

As I write, we are looking forward to a busy few weeks with our Open Day and Evening taking place this week on Thursday 26 September, Speech Night on Friday 11 October plus, as ever, a packed season of fixtures for our excellent Rugby, Netball, Football and other Sports Teams.

To keep up to date with all the latest School news, look out for regular updates on our website at www.strschool.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @strsglos or like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SirThomasRichsSchool.

M SR Morgan

Matthew Morgan,
Headmaster