From the Headmaster - September 2017
Public examination results
Traditionally, education comes to dominate the front pages of the national press in the second half of August. This year was no exception and perhaps there was even more anticipation than usual, as we awaited the first results of reformed GCE A Level and GCSE subjects. Students sat reformed GCSEs in English Language, English Literature and Mathematics. Pleasingly, all pupils achieved at least a grade 4 or above (equivalent to a grade C or above) in the new qualifications overall grade C/4 or better and 64% were grade A/7 or better – It is important to note that many schools are not including the reformed subjects in their statistics so we should be careful with too many comparison. We are obviously proud of all our pupils but it would be churlish not to mention the 32 pupils each gaining ten or more GCSEs at grades A/A* or equivalent – a fantastic achievement.
Our Year 13s put in a strong performance at A Level, with a pass rate of 99.7%, and 43% of entries grades at A and A*. I congratulate our former Year 13 and Year 11 pupils on all that they have achieved in public examinations. It is always good to witness the mixture of relief and excitement experienced by our pupils as they receive the results of their hard work and commitment, and almost immediately begin to make plans for the next stage in their lives.
Welcome to new colleagues and pupils
I would like to offer a warm welcome to all new members of the STRS community. We look forward to the arrival of our Year 7 and Year 12 pupils and hope that they enjoy the activities and events planned for their induction into our school. This year we are also fortunate in welcoming a significant number of new colleagues to the staff.
Tom Green, Alex McDonald, Sam Rideout and Cameron Hunter join the important team of Cover Supervisors. Sara Vielvoye is our new Teaching School Marketing, Communications and Events Manager and Rowanne Hollings joins the Science Department as Technician.
We also welcome the following colleagues to the teaching staff: Zak Hinds - Teacher of Maths, Ellen Jauncey – Teacher of Economics and Business Studies, Samantha Load – Head of Psychology, Jonathan Margetts – Teacher of English, William Marks – Teacher of History, Claire Parry – Teacher of Art, James Raddon – Teacher of Science and Games and Chloe Rigby – Teacher of Maths.
Various members of staff have new responsibilities and I will not try and list them all, but I will mention that Neil Stewart moves up with his year group to be Head of Year 11 and Mr Tilley has been appointed as Head of Year 10. Additionally, I am very pleased that the governors have appointed Debbie Brake as Deputy Head.
Our key themes for this year
The following are the key foci for our year's work, and form the academic backbone of the school development plan:
1. To further develop pupils' independent learning skills and resilience
This year, I will be reiterating to pupils the following clear message about their responsibility for academic progress:
'Your teachers do a superb job of giving regular feedback about your progress. Your responsibility is to heed it. This year, we will continue to encourage you to respond to the feedback teachers give you, not just in a mechanical, superficial way but as the ultimate driver in promoting your progress – you should know what is good about your work, what needs to be improved and have a plan of action so you know what to do in order to improve it. If you don't, then collectively we are not getting it right.'
2. To embed the importance of coaching so that a 'growth mindset' is a pervasive attitude that empowers pupils to achieve.
3. To provide outstanding pedagogies to inspire pupils to work hard, develop a thirst for learning and value academic endeavour
This time of year is always exciting as we stand poised on the threshold of another year of academic endeavour, challenges and achievements. We look forward to working with you and your children, to make it another successful and satisfying year at Sir Thomas Rich's. I would like to end though with a written acknowledgement for the tremendous efforts of those colleagues that left us at the end of last term. We said goodbye to a number of well-respected members of staff. We send heartfelt thanks to Helen Thackway, Graham Bogle, Rob Burrows, Ben Calpaldi, Liz Thomas, Jackie Hewett, Steven Crumblehulme, Mel Cormack-Hicks and Mike Swann for all that they contributed to our community and all the very best in the next stages of their lives.