Newsletter May 2019

IME S May 2019 Dear Parents, Carers and Students We are experimenting with a new format of newsletter this month. The shorter format will enable us to send out the newsletter more frequently, in bite-size chunks, and for us to tell you about news items while they are still fresh. The next newsletter wasn’t due to be published until July, but using the new format has enabled us to bring that forward. In response to requests, we are including a larger “diary” section of key dates. We hope that you will appreciate the change to the newsletter and would appreciate any feedback via email to I was obviously delighted to be able to announce the outcome of the Ofsted inspection. We are already seeing the impact of being officially “Good”, as we are seeing a late rush for Year 7 places in September (only a few left!) and although there’ve only been a couple of vacancies for staff since the report was published, the number and quality of applicants has been pleasingly high. Despite the “Good” result, we are not resting on our laurels: in the last couple of weeks we have clarified and simplified our processes for giving feedback so that the emphasis is on marking work more frequently and expecting students to respond by improving their work. Further improvements are in the pipeline. It’s exam season, and Year 11 students have really buckled down to face the challenge. On the day of the local elections, they were hard at work with staff in an intensive day of revision sessions and now that the actual exams have started, many early-morning revision sessions are taking place with staff giving up their time to make sure students are fully primed for their exams. We wish all our Year 11 students the best of luck and look forward to celebrating with as many of them as possible at the Prom. Year 10 have also come back from their week of Work Experience with renewed focus. Whilst Daniel Martin may have grabbed some headlines (pun intended) with his article for the Express & Star, it’s clear that seeing the working environment first-hand has inspired many more students and given a few a little dose of reality. My sincere thanks to all the organisations and individuals who helped to provide placements. Year 9 are now starting to prepare for their first formal exams in English, Maths and Science since arriving at Summerhill. We’d like to thank all of the Year 9 parents who attended on Tuesday for an information session on revision techniques and exam preparation – it was great to see so many of you there and to receive such positive feedback afterwards. Mobile phones can be a wonderful tool, or a terrible distraction. Many schools have banned students from carrying phones altogether, as research shows that students concentrate far better when they know that there is no chance that their phone will disturb them. Consequently, when Summerhill students return after the half-term break they will be expected to switch off their phones when in our school building, unless a member of staff specifically gives permission (eg to take part in an online quiz). If students need to use their mobile to make calls, or check for messages they can do so outside at breaktime, lunchtime or after school. We are not banning the carrying of phones altogether, since we recognise that some students currently rely on them to liaise with parents over travel arrangements, but it is important that the learning environment is free from distractions. If students’ phones are seen or heard in the building, they will be confiscated and only returned to students at 3.40pm. We’ve made sure that students know about this change before the holiday and will remind them on the first morning back. We would appreciate your support in reinforcing the importance of separating social time from study time. If you ever need to contact your child urgently you can, of course, ring reception and we will pass on a message. We are also making some small changes to lunchtime arrangements after half term. We want to encourage students to get some fresh air, so we will be reducing the areas of school accessible to students at lunchtime. Students will still have the option to stay inside if they wish to do so, and there are no changes to the catering arrangements. Finally, I’d like to invite you to attend our KS3 Art Exhibition on 20 th June from 6.00-7.00pm. Entry is free and all are welcome - the artwork is simply stunning and it would be great for as many people as possible to see it. Yours sincerely Adrian Cresswell Acting Headteacher