As I write this, a feeling of Spring is in the air; the smell of newly mown grass is most welcome and we are certainly enjoying the brighter and longer days. However, there is still much work to do, particularly for Year 11 and Year 13 students as they undertake their final few weeks of preparation for important public examinations.
We welcomed the Reverend Dr Gwyneth Gibbens, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Longlevens, to our whole school assembly on 27 February. School Captain, Will Barradell-Black, read the Bible passage from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Reverend Gibbens guided our reflection on these words and reiterated one of our core values here at Rich's, namely that we value each and every one of our pupils for the unique qualities that he or she brings to our community. We are all different but our life at school is more rich and fruitful if we work together for the common good. We continue to offer our pupils as many opportunities as possible to work in teams and groups, and to make a valuable contribution to the life of our school community, alongside academic work. On this note, I would like to give everyone advance notice of our sports' evening in July. This year, we are joining with the Parents' Association in order to make the event as well attended as possible. As well as the culmination of the House Athletics competition, we hope there will be stalls rather like a summer Fayre and to this end, we will expect all Years 7 and 8 to attend and run stalls if they are not competing in track or field events. Also by popular demand seniors will also compete in events. More details will be published nearer the time.
School has been a hive of academic industry since half-term. Year 13s have been especially busy this term. In particular, twenty pupils are now in the final throes of completing their Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs), having given important presentations on their research topics last week. The EPQ is a rigorous and highly regarded additional academic qualification requiring challenging independent research into a topic of choice outside the content of A Level examinations. Consequently, it is something which many top universities take into consideration when selecting applicants. This year, research topics were fascinating in their diversity, ranging from the media's portrayal of tax havens, to the effects of the Falklands War on UK/Argentinian relations.
Lower down the school it is business as usual, and we continue to offer a wide range of clubs at lunchtime. The Chess Club is growing in popularity and Ian Robson, Maths teacher and co-ordinator of the Club, reports that we have a group of a dozen boys who practise regularly, and that the talent at the top end of the team is exceptional. The STRS Chess Team is enjoying a record-breaking season, progressing to the final of the West Country region in the English Chess Federation Schools' Knockout after winning our semi-final with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Bristol Grammar School. Warhammer Club is another slightly more 'niche' lunchtime activity run by Mr Chris Bream, Head of Design and Technology. A painting competition earlier in the year was won by Mo Juanroyee in Year 8, and they are currently preparing to take part in the National School League Tournament run by Games Workshop.
I have been asked to make you aware of the flexible and part-time routes for teacher training which are now available through our local provider, GITEP:
Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Education Partnership (GITEP) has been awarded a grant by the Department for Education to develop part-time routes to qualifying as a teacher. GITEP is a partnership between all the secondary schools in Gloucestershire and was rated outstanding for secondary teacher training by Ofsted in 2015/16. We recognise that there are many people who are considering teaching as a career but can't fit a full-time course around family and other commitments. GITEP is offering a flexible route so that trainees spend less time or fewer days per week on their teaching placements but take up to two years to complete the programme. This is only available for secondary teacher training. For more information please contact Tim Connole at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the GITEP website http://www.gitep.org.uk
There is also an exciting conference for any Sixth Formers interested Secondary Teaching. The event will be held at The Queens Hotel in Cheltenham on Saturday 25 March 9.15- 1.00pm. As well as hearing from existing trainees the will be the opportunity to find out more about the awarding of internships to a number of students while they are studying at university. Those who would like to attend the event need to register via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/invitation-to-find-out-about-a-career-in-teaching-tickets-31020566349
Finally, I have been asked by a number of parents about whether or not they can respond individually to the national consultation on School funding. The simple answer is “yes" and I will send out a separate email about this later in the week.