End of term message

We wanted to take this opportunity to update you as well as to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Earlier this term we had two external experts, one an Alliance Headteacher and the other a Senior Adviser and experienced Ofsted Inspector, carry out a review of our school. They spent almost two days with us, visiting lessons, examining students work and listening to our young people and staff. They were extremely impressed by what they saw and in their report noted that:
‘On a daily basis, the school successfully strives to fulfil its strapline, namely ‘excellence for all’, and it has a worthy ambition to become a ‘world class’ institution. Pupils and staff are very loyal to the school and feel that they are very lucky to part of the school community’.

We were delighted with their positive comments, but also welcomed the ideas they brought regarding how we can make provision even better. We know that to be truly world class, we have to keep reflecting on what we do to find areas where we can further improve.

Academic Productivity and Reading

The review team commented that ‘the development of academic productivity is one particularly powerful aspect of school life which strengthens particular teaching and learning strategies amongst teachers and embeds desired behaviours, attributes and habits amongst pupils’.

As one of our continuing school priorities, we hope to develop strategies to foster effective study habits. This week you will see phase 1 of our new Academic Productivity Profile – a new, more holistic type of reporting student progress. Students have been completing a self-evaluation questionnaire based upon their assessment of their own productivity over the term and this will be released to you in the new year. We hope that this will encourage further discussion with parents, tutors and Year Managers.

One of the central pillars to productivity is the continuous development of a child’s reading age. This week, as part of Readathon, we have been promoting reading across the school and have continued to stress the importance of reading over the term. The rationale behind our commitment to improve productivity and reading is to better prepare students for the linear nature of examinations. We would like to thank you for your support in encouraging reading at home across all year groups.

Celebration Evening

This was a fantastic event for all involved and this year we welcomed Richard Sheriff our Executive Headteacher, CEO of the Red Kite Learning Trust and President of ASCL along with Jim McHugh, Chair of the Red Kite Learning Trust, to present the prizes. We celebrated the achievements of all our prize-winners, but also of our school community as a whole. It was an uplifting and inspiring evening for all concerned and if we had a big enough venue, we would take the whole school. This year we particularly enjoyed being entertained by both the senior choir, wind band, Year 13 BTEC students and the outstanding cast of our school production of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, who also performed in the final week of term at the senior citizens annual coffee morning.

University Applications

This term has been the peak in the year for completing university applications; this year so far the Sixth Form team have processed 220 UCAS applications. Our students have applied for places at universities all over the UK for courses ranging from Aeronautical Engineering to classics. This year 11 students have gained Oxbridge interviews, 19 students are applying for places to study medicine, veterinary science and dentistry and many students have already received offers for a whole range of other courses. Achele Agada has successfully achieved and unconditional offer to study Liberal Arts at Harvard University – a tremendous achievement. Further, Megan Humphries has been offered a scholarship at the Royal Academy of music. In the New Year, we will turn our efforts to securing apprenticeships for those students who have not chosen to apply to university.

And finally…..

Our first term has been incredibly busy as students adapt to the higher level of study in their new year academic year. Our students will be tired and ready for a break by the time they leave us on Friday afternoon. It has been a term of hard work across the whole school. With mock exams for Y11 students having just finished and Y13 Mocks in the first week of the new term, we are very aware that the official examination season is not far away. We do hope however that our students will take time out with their families to relax this Christmas and make sure that they are fully rested and refreshed for the new year. We all want our young people to be successful, but more than anything, we want them to be safe, happy and healthy. Getting the balance right is sometimes really difficult for young people and for us as parents and teachers. We hope that this Christmas, you find that balance and are able to enjoy the festivities to the full.

We thank you for your continued support and a very happy Christmas from all of us at HGS.

Mrs Kirstie Moat and Mr Neil Renton – Associate Headteachers