28th September: Harvest Festival Foodbank Donations
To our Brakenhale Community,
Over the past few years Brakenhale have been proud to donate food parcels to Bracknell Foodbank. Last year the foodbank was able to provide over 6000 people in Bracknell Forest and the surrounding areas with emergency food parcels and they are so grateful for the incredible generosity shown by the local community which enabled this to happen.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the cost-of-living crisis has hit our communities hard. So many more people are now struggling and need to turn to us for help to feed their families, and the Bracknell Foodbank is hoping that the donations they have coming in will continue to meet this demand.
With the harvest festival fast approaching, we, as a school, wanted to support this indispensable community service by asking students to bring in a donation and place it in student reception. Students will, of course, get a house point and two signatures on their culture card in appreciation of their act of kindness, and looking after their community, pertaining to two values we always aspire to uphold here at school.
Some ideas of items to donate are:
- Tinned meat (hotdogs, meatballs etc.)
- Tinned fish
- Tinned fruit
- Sponge/rice puddings
- Coffee (small jars)
- Long-life juice
- Pasta sauce
Please bring in your donations to student reception either before 8:35, or during break or lunch.
Mrs Lister, Assistant Headteacher
15th September: The Addams Family Auditions
Brakenhale Performing Arts department would like to invite all Brakenhale students to audition to be part of this year's whole school musical - The Addams Family. No experience or expertise is required, just enthusiasm and energy to take part.
Auditions: Thursday 21st September 1.30pm until 2.15pm in the Main Hall.
We are looking for students to be part of the cast, backstage crew, props and costuming department. Please visit our website and fill in the attached form to find out more about the show and auditions.
We hope to see you there!
The Performing Arts Department
15th September: Safeguarding
Dear Parents / Carers
We have been liaising with Thames Valley Police following a report of a man acting suspiciously outside of school but in the vicinity, in the last two days. This was also reported to us yesterday. The police have been prompt in their response and we continue to be in contact with each other. We have been told an arrest has been made too. However, we do not have any further information.
As always, students are reminded to walk to school and walk home safely. I advise anyone who observes any suspicious behaviour to contact the Police via the non-emergency 101 number. This can be the parent/carer or the student themselves. Please also inform us via firstname.lastname@example.org too.
Mr B Tailor Headteacher
14th September: Communications and Social Media
I hope this letter finds you well. As we start another academic year, I want to take a moment to emphasise the importance of maintaining respectful and constructive communication with all of our staff members. Additionally, I would like to provide a friendly reminder about the use of social media in relation to school matters.
At Brakenhale, we pride ourselves on fostering a welcoming and supportive environment for our students, families and staff. Effective communication plays a pivotal role in maintaining a positive school community. As a school, we believe that it should always be conducted with kindness, courtesy and respect.
Since we have started the term, we have noticed instances where the tone and language used in communication with some of our staff has not always been kind. It is essential to remember that our teachers and staff are here to provide the very best for our children. Constructive feedback and open dialogue are encouraged and valued. However, we kindly request that all interactions - whether in person, over the phone, or through written communication - reflect the same respect and consideration that we expect from our students.
As a school, we continue to snag and make refinements for the betterment of all. For example, we made some refinements to the uniform expectations and these were communicated to everyone in July and again before the students started on the first day back.
I have always welcomed any parents/carers/family to visit us so you can see our school in action. This can be at a time convenient to you. Please click here to request a meeting and we will arrange a time that this can happen.
In the age of social media, I want to remind all parents and carers to be mindful of their online presence when discussing school-related matters. While we understand that social media can serve as a platform for discussion, it is crucial to exercise caution and restraint to avoid misunderstandings and maintain the positive reputation of our school. Please remember that you can email email@example.com which is always available for addressing concerns or questions you may have.
As we continue to work together to provide the best possible education for our students - we all continue to Aim High, Be Kind and Take Responsibility.
Mr B Tailor, Headteacher
6th September: School Uniform - Blazers
I hope this finds you well.
It has been great to see all of our students back in school today. Having seen Year 7, 11, 12 and 13 yesterday, Years 8, 9 and 10 joined today. I have led assemblies with each year group and it's been a real pleasure to see students back, ready for learning.
There have been a small number of emails to our pastoral inbox about blazers. To be clear, students should have these on them for the morning line-up at 08.35 when the weather is cooler. As the heat rises in the day, students have the option to remove blazers for the rest of the day. This was the case yesterday and has been the case today too. Many had them off by break time; some chose not to! This will be the case tomorrow and Friday too. On Friday, as already communicated to respective families, Year 7, 10, 12 and 13 have photographs by a professional company too so appearances will be of the highest standard no doubt!
Please remind your child(ren) about keeping hydrated and out of the sun for prolonged periods, whether that is in the evening and weekends. We will be reiterating these messages too.
Finally, attendance matters as we all know. Students in school, in front of their teachers learning, makes a big difference. Please continue to support us with this messaging.
Mr B Tailor, Headteacher
6th September: Year 7 First Day
Firstly, it was an absolute pleasure to see your child join our school community today! Whilst there will have been nerves and anxiety, these are 'normal'. With time and familiarity with our school, these will ease. Mr Tailor relayed this message in assembly to all Year 7 students too.
Secondly, we are delighted to report that Year 7 have recorded an exceptionally high figure of attendance for their first day at Brakenhale School! Despite some of these first day nerves, Year 7 have demonstrated resilience, resulting in a successful first day at their new school. We thank you all for supporting your child in getting into school today and long may this continue.
It is strongly encouraged that in this early period of their school life that Year 7 students attend school every day, with no avoidable absence. Substantive research tells us that students who miss at least two days of school during the first month of September are significantly more likely to become persistent absentees. This means that they will end up missing over 10% of their schooling throughout their time here. This inevitably leads to having undesirable impacts on attainment and well-being throughout a young person's time at school.
If you require any support or guidance regarding school attendance for your child, please do not hesitate to contact their Tutor in the first instance or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thirdly, students will continue to wear blazers as they arrive into school and in the morning line-up. Today, we made the decision that students can choose to take them off for the rest of the day. The same will apply for the rest of the week: students will come in full uniform for the morning line-up. As the heat increases in the day, they will be allowed to remove blazers should they wish.
Finally, we look forward to seeing everyone back tomorrow as we embark on day two which will be
as great as day one! Remember, we continue to Aim High, Be Kind and Take Responsibility.
Mr Hilton / Ms Meacock / Mr McKane / All of our Year 7 Tutors
1st September: Expectations
I hope this finds you well. Further to Mr Tailor’s communication earlier today, as the summer break comes to a close, I would like to inform you of some refinements that will be in place from the first day of term.
As previously communicated at the end of the summer term, there are some refinements to our uniform standards and expectations that will be in place. These are detailed in full in a previous letter dated 18th July 2023, which has been attached for your convenience as a reminder.
In order to allow for a smooth start to the new academic year, please support your child in ensuring:
- All piercings (expect a small gold, silver or diamond stud in each ear lobe) have been completely removed.
- All jewellery has been left at home and not brought to school.
- Any false nails or nail varnish that is not clear in appearance has been removed.
- All hair is natural in colour and any unnatural colours have been completely removed.
- Any coats worn to school are in dark colours only and are not to be worn inside the school building at any time.
- All expected uniform items are in place and ready to be worn on the first day back to school.
Please note that any items brought to school that are not permitted will be confiscated. Confiscated items will need to be collected by a parent / carer on every occasion.
2. Culture Cards
All students will carry a new Culture Card on their person throughout the school week. Culture Cards are a mechanism for increasing buy-in to our school culture and ethos and will allow teachers to both reward and sanction students for various behaviours around the school site where appropriate. Culture Cards are double-sided and contain six positive and six negative behaviours on either side where school staff can sign accordingly.
Students that accumulate positive signatures will obtain house points, which contribute towards their invitation to various rewards events. Positive behaviours include good manners and kindness being shown, exceptional uniform standards, positive contributions to the wider school community, among others.
Signatures obtained for negative behaviours will result in a detention if two signatures for the same behaviour are given on the same day. One signature should be treated as a ‘warning’ to change or rectify the issue. This supports students in preventing repeated patterns of negative behaviour such as wearing uniform incorrectly, rude or boisterous behaviour in the communal areas of the school or disrespecting the wider community via littering or vandalism.
New Culture Cards will be issued every Friday (Monday for Year 11) with the previous week’s card being collected by the tutor to allow for points to be recorded on the school system. Failure to present a Culture Card to a member of staff at any time will result in an automatic detention the same day.
Some refinements have been made to our centralised detentions' system including:
- A standard centralised detention has been reduced in length from thirty minutes to twenty minutes.
- Students who receive two detentions in one day will be required to sit both detentions in the same night. For example, two detentions will result in forty minutes being sat that afternoon.
- Three detentions obtained in one day will result in a sanction of Reflection Room (internal isolation) being sat the following day.
- Students who choose not to behave appropriately in a detention and receive a warning will receive a ten-minute additional time penalty to their detention length. A second warning will result in a failed detention and the student will be removed.
- Missed or failed detentions will result in a sanction of the Reflection Room being sat the following day.
Similar to last academic year, detentions are communicated to parents via the ClassCharts app with a headline reason for the detention. Should you have any issues with using or accessing the app, please contact Pastoral@Brakenhale.co.uk as soon as possible.
We appreciate that households are busy and there may be occasions where doctors/dentists appointments and other commitments may clash with a detention that has been set. We will always work with households to ensure that these can be attended as planned. However, it is essential that these occasions are communicated in advance to the school. On occasions where advanced notice has not been given, students will not be released until the detention has concluded. It is advised that such appointments are not made before 4pm, where possible.
4. Toilet usage during lessons
Students are encouraged to use the toilet on all occasions before school as well as during break and lunch times. “Travel time” has also been built in to the school timetable this academic year, and students will be able to quickly access the toilet during these times where absolutely necessary*. Therefore, as adequate time is provided throughout the school day to use the toilet, students should not request to use the toilet during lessons. Our priority is ensuring that students maximise their minutes spent in front of their teachers and lessons are not disrupted through absence.
In the case of an emergency (and the absence of a genuine medical need), students will be permitted to use the toilet mid-lesson via a medical call-out only. This is to prevent unnecessary absence from lessons including cases of internal truancy. Any genuine medical conditions / needs should be communicated to Pastoral in advance, with medical evidence where appropriate.
*Please note, toilet usage between lesson transitions should be quick and students do so at their own risk. If a student is late to a lesson, this will be recorded and sanctioned as usual.
Should you have any questions or queries regarding these refinements or anything else regarding the upcoming academic year, please do not hesitate to contact Pastoral@Brakenhale.co.uk.
I look forward to welcoming all students back to school next week.
Mr P McKane, Assistant Headteacher