Update 10th October
Open Events, Extra-Curricular Clubs, Attendance & Punctuality, Communication, Mental Health
I hope this finds you well. We have approached the five-week mark from when students began this academic year. For our new Year 7 students, it’s five weeks today since they started with us. Time has gone incredibly fast and half term is not long away! There has been much happening in school. There are some notices too for moving forward. Please see below.
The last few weeks:
Whilst each day has the absolute pleasure of seeing our students arrive ready for morning line-up then to tutor rooms to start their day right to seeing a large number off at the Coningsby gate at the end of it, we have had a number of stand-out events:
- The Open Evening for prospective students and families 2024 was a resounding success. We had just short of 900 people in attendance throughout the evening. Whilst I conversed with a small number in between the three Headteacher presentations, there was a buzz in the air and, importantly, our student helpers were an absolute credit to our school. The number of visitors who commented on their conduct, their interactions and their guidance is a testament to them exemplifying our three values of Aim High, Be Kind and Take Responsibility. For any of you interested in seeing the presentation (even if you do not have children eagerly awaiting to join us next year!), please see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIs4bCzQIW4&t=4s
- We have had an Open Morning and an Open Afternoon in the last two weeks. We have another two in the next two weeks. The first Open Morning was attended by over 100 people who were able to see our ‘school in action’. I hope this gave them a real insight into our school, in any given hour. I have relayed this before; for anyone wanting a tour to observe our ‘school in action’ please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Last Monday we held the ‘Extracurricular Clubs Fayre’ during lunchtime so that students could see what is on offer, and sign up. It has been great seeing students embrace these opportunities and attending whether during lunchtime or after school. Please continue to encourage your children to attend the clubs that are on offer. Any updated timetable will be available here: https://brakenhale.co.uk/learning/clubs
- The auditions for the Addams Family production 2024 have not only taken place but rehearsals have begun. I popped in last week to see our budding actors and actresses in full swing. I look forward to seeing it in the new year and anticipate that it will top Matilda from this year!
- Two Tuesdays ago, we had a film crew in school from Casio (the company that makes calculators). They worked with the Maths teams and filmed students using their products. Not only did they leave us with some of the most up to date calculators as a gesture of their good will, their promotion video will include our school in it. Well done to all of those who took part!
- Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of having lunch with 15 students in the first ‘Pizza with the Headteacher’ event. Students were selected for the ‘flying starts’ to the academic year and the number of House Points they had attained. We were spoiled with a fresh delivery from Domino’s! More of these events will run throughout each half term.
- This morning, we had the whole of Year 7 in an additional assembly whereby they participated in the ‘Great Live Assembly’. This was a national project and we chose to be part of it. The focus of the assembly was on Black History Month and, in particular, the impact of black women on our knowledge and understanding of the world. A film crew from Sky were present and they spoke to a small group of students as a result of the assembly. This will be aired in due course; when we know, we will relay this to you.
- Further to the above, M’s Bunkell and the History department have put together a ‘Do you Know’? quiz focussed on facts about black history and key individuals. Students who completed this will be entered into a prize draw.
- Year 11 and 13 have made a great start to this academic year. Just after half term, they will sit their first round of PrePublic Exams (PPEs). The timetable has been finalised and will be shared with respective families. It’s important that students focus on these so that it gives them a real indication of where they are on the journey to the final exams in May / June 2024.
Attendance and Punctuality
As I relayed at the beginning of this academic year, the importance of good attendance plays a direct part in how a student does in school. Thank you to all of you for supporting us with this. We have seen over a 2% increase in attendance compared to this time last year. This is a real positive but we should not become complacent about this. Please continue to liaise with your child(ren)’s Tutor or the attendance team so that we continue to work together to ensure great attendance for all.
Thank you to all of you who have been in touch in the last few weeks. This may have been in person during the Year 10 Information Evening, the Year 13 Destinations Evening, the Opening Evening or having booked a meeting in person. Thank you for your emails too. If I have yet to get back to you - apologies! This is not deliberate but I will endeavour to get back to you all.
In light of this and feedback, we have made some refinements since we started. One element which has been recurrent is that we have not always been clear with the purpose of some of what we do. For example, the introduction of Culture Cards has been a success but I have taken on the feedback that not everyone has understood their purpose. With this in mind, between now and half term, we will be sending you short snippets of certain aspects of our daily routines. This will include visuals and a short explanation of the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. I hope you will find these useful.
Furthermore, the half termly newsletter is being refined. Last year, this came to all of you and was 40+ pages. It had too much in it. As of this year, this will simply be 6-10 pages. It will include the highlights from the half term. Year team updates will be sent to respective year groups families only. This will be no more than two pages. Any notices/adverts will be removed.
We will continue to share on our Facebook page. I know not all of you are on it but it’s another mechanism whereby we can communicate what is happening in the school. I hope you find this useful.
As a reminder, please use the email@example.com email address for any questions or queries. Your email will then be directed to the relevant member of staff, or team, who will get back to you. This helps to streamline communication and avoid emails going to the wrong member of staff.
World Mental Health Day
Finally, today is World Mental Health Day. Our mental health matters always. Today is about raising awareness. Here are three tips for all of our mental wellbeing:
1. Reaching out to others and speaking not only helps an individual but it fosters a healthier society.
2. Allocating time to a relaxing activity beyond the working week helps: exercise, reading, meditation...
3. Practising gratitude to remind ourselves of what we should be grateful for; telling others about theirs.
Mr B Tailor, Headteacher