Dear parents and carers,
As we begin the new term this Parent Bulletin (as it does each week) contains information from each Head of Year as well as the weekly Wellbeing Newsletter and Collective Worship.
We are very much looking forward to what we hope will be another successful term full of both interesting lessons and as many extra curricular opportunities as possible. A reminder that students are now required to wear a face covering in lessons until at least the 26th January and we appreciate support from families to ensure that all children arrive at school with a face covering each day. Thank you.
Please find the latest copy of the Wellbeing Newsletter here: The Wellbeing Newsletter Issue 37
A copy of the latest Pathfinder Newsletter is available on the MAT website here: https://pathfinder.academy/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Pathfinder-Newsletter-December-2021.pdf
Some updates for the start of term
Late to school – Being late to school can put students at a disadvantage for the rest of the day, meaning they miss key messages in morning form time that can then lead to other issues later in the day. To support all students being in from time by 8.45am each day we will, from Wednesday, be closing the Black Bull gate at 8.40am, meaning that all students have more than enough time to reach their form rooms. Students who arrive on site after this time without a good reason will be classed as late and will go into a lunch detention the same day. We would politely ask that parents ensure their child is on time and at this time of year allow for extra travel time due to any weather condition changes. Thank you.
Phones – A reminder that these must be turned off on arrival at school and then must not be seen until the end of the school day. If students have their phones out during the school day they will continue to be confiscated and returned at the end of the day. We would politely ask that parents do not communicate with their children via their mobile phones during the school day.
Uniform – A reminder about the letter that was sent out prior to Christmas about the importance of appropriate school uniform. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact school. Key parts of the uniform letter included:
- Trousers and skirts will remain unbranded due to our continued commitment to poverty proofing uniform.
- Leggings, Jeans, short skirts and bodycon skirts do not meet the school’s uniform standards. Any student wearing these items will be asked to change into uniform provided by school.
- School skirts should sit just above the knee·
- Trousers and skirts will be purchased by school to offer students the chance to change, should they arrive to school in inappropriate uniform.
- Two plain studded earrings will be allowed, no more. A single plain nose stud will be allowed; however, this must not be in excess of 0.5mm.
- In the case of new piercings, students must wear a plastic temporary stud until they are able to wear the smaller nose stud.
- Any additional jewellery will be confiscated and handed into main reception. Students will no longer be allowed to ‘put away’ their jewellery. Jewellery can be collected from reception at the end of the school
- Please note that nose bars, nose rings and septum piercings are strictly prohibited.
- Students should not wear false eyelashes, painted nails and eye makeup. Students will be provided with makeup wipes to remove any obvious signs of makeup. Students with painted or acrylic nails will be asked to remove them at reception.
- School shoes need to be smart, black, leather like or leather shoes with no obvious colouring, patterned designs or metallic bars on the shoes.
- The wearing of trainers is strictly prohibited in school. Students who wear the wrong type of shoe to school will be sent to reception to change their shoes. Upon return to reception, shoes will be thoroughly disinfected ready to be worn again.
- For the time being, branded school shoes will be allowed, however this will no longer be the case in September 2022 in line with our commitment to Poverty Proofing.
- Hoodies are not to be worn around school, or at break and lunchtime. A ‘Hoodie’ is classed as a hooded jumper or an item of clothing that resembles a jumper like garment.
- The only exception to this is the AHS hoodie, which is allowed to be worn over the standard shirt, tie and Jumper. As part of our continued commitment to poverty proofing uniform, AHS hoodies will be provided for disadvantaged students.
- Should a student come to school in a hoodie, parents will be called and asked to provide an alternative item of clothing for their child and an agreed deadline will be put in place. Should the student continue to wear the hoodie to school, it will be confiscated from the student and an AHS school jumper will be offered as a temporary alternative.
- Students who attend school without a tie will be lent one at main reception. The students name will be taken and they will be expected to return the tie at the end of the school day.
- Parents of students who do not return ties will be contacted by school in order for the tie to be returned. Lost or damaged ties will be charged at a price of £7.
- Students will be able to purchase a tie at the price of £7 from reception at any time.
It is also essential that all students bring a school bag each day and have their planner with them. The planner is viewed as part of our school uniform.
Wearing the correct school uniform is a vital part of school life and we appreciate the ongoing support from families in this regard.
Head of Year Updates
Year 7 – Miss Kincell, Miss Powell and Miss Cooper
We hope you have had a restful and joyful Christmas, and that it has provided much needed time for rest, recuperation and fun! We are very excited for the start of our second term, please read this week’s Newsletter which will include the full Year 7 update.
We really enjoyed the last week of last term and we were so proud of the way students showed compassion, support of one another and celebrated the festivities.
Our Students of the Week:
Bl: Daisy Marriott – Always being a kind and caring member of the form.
Cy: Lily Jackson Clark – For having a fantastic attitude every day and living out the school values.
Gr: Niebiesniak, Josh – Outstanding number or merits Josh, well done for all that hard work!
Hf: Emily Bower – For the extra Christmas decorating effort.
Hv: Sienna Hudson – Always polite and a delightful member of the form
MLn: Jiwon Shin – For showing resilience and a very positive attitude this term!
MPe: Rocus Leung – For being a superb member of 7MPe
Mr: Dylan Kettlewell – For modelling the school values
SMf: Jenson Wilson – For a fantastic attitude and spirit in all things he does here at AHS! Settled in brilliantly
Our Head of Year Awards:
Max Shaw 7MPe – for singing the solo at the school carol service. Well Done!
Leila Kondi 7Gr – for being kind and compassionate to everyone! Well Done!
Hurrah! What a final week we’ve had. Lots of you bought books, gifts and sweets which were then wrapped up and tagged so they were ’tree ready’ for when you got home. The sum raised in the library is £316.50, bringing the amount raised in total throughout the school to a whopping £1823.37. Some of our paired readers enjoyed a ‘pub style’ quiz. Congratulations to all those who took part. The questions ranged from easy (Which reindeer had a red nose?) to some slightly harder (What colour are the berries on mistletoe?) Each team had a 6th form helper as they couldn’t resist joining in the fun.
We’ve had a busy year, starting in September with bookmark making, Roald Dahl style writing competition and a new school poetry competition. October and November saw activities around Diwali, Remembrance Day, bonfire night, anti-bullying week and competitions for spooky stories and poems. December, we busied ourselves with getting ready for the fayre followed by pop-up-stalls. We ended the year making Christmas cards.
Year 8 – Mrs Avey, Mrs Mennell and Mr Handley
We hope that families have had an enjoyable Christmas break and were able to spend some time with families and friends. We are really looking forward to seeing the Year 8 students again when we return on Tuesday 4th.
The first full term in school is always long and tiring and we have been really pleased with how well Year 8 have conducted themselves overall around school. As a year group there is a lot they have been doing well and we have been pleased to see many students making the most of the ‘opportunities’ on offer. There will be an updated extra-curricular timetable on the school website in the coming days. Overall, they continue to be excellent ambassadors of our school. Year 8 also have the strongest attendance in main school so far this year as well. This is really pleasing and it shows the commitment of our Year 8 students, particularly considering the challenges of the current COVID climate.
There are a few important dates for that we want to highlight to parents for this coming half term. The Year 8 Parents Evening is scheduled towards the end of the half term on Wednesday 9th February. There will be more information on this closer to the time but it is an important date for your diaries. There will also be the full reports for all Year 8 students shortly before the parents evening as well. As well as this the school will also be putting on the Anne Frank exhibition as it has done in previous years during the week beginning 14th February. There will be opportunities for some Year 8 students to take part and act as guides. Training for this will be provided to students. There will also be additional opportunities this half term as well that we will talk about in future bulletins.
As you will have already seen from the letter that went home just before the Christmas holiday there will be a strong focus on uniform when we return. The first lesson back will be spent in form time going over the school’s uniform policy as a reminder. We would like to add that if any parents/carers have a question about uniform please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help.
Some of this extended form time will also be spent looking through students Journey Passports as they did on the first day of the school year. This is a chance for them to reflect on their year so far and update their targets for the year and highlight what they have managed to achieve so far and what opportunities they have taken. We would like to encourage students to have a think about what they have already achieved so far this year.
As stated in the bulletin the week before Christmas, the Year 8 team took part in a celebration even with Year 8 students. This was part of our usual weekly Year Group collective Worship. Messages from teachers about classes and teachers were given to students, of which there were many and highlighted the excellent reputation of Year 8 with staff. We also put on a staff talent show which included a martial arts nunchuck performance, walking on hands, drumming, a comedy routine and many others. It turns out we have a talented group of form tutors – thank you to the Year 8 team for all taking part. The students really enjoyed this and it was a really nice way to end the term.
As ever, thank you for your continued support. If you have any issues regarding your child in Year 8, please do contact school reception to get in touch with Mrs Avey (Head of Year 8), Mr Handley (Assistant Head of Year 8) or Mrs Mennell (Year 8 Pastoral Support Worker).
Year 9 – Mr Arthur, Mr Deamer and Mrs Deacon
As we will very shortly be welcoming students back into school, and I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. It will be wonderful to welcome Year 9 back into the school community as they continue on their AHS Journey stage of ‘Understanding yourself and others’, so that they might live into being the words of John 10:10 and ‘have life to the full’.
Firstly, I do wish to bring to your attention a whole school focus on fundamental standards, and of course I want Year 9 to be the frontrunner across the school for driving these standards forward. As students will learn in their extended tutor time on Tuesday, there is a big focus on the ”Rights and Responsibilities’ of AHS Students – ‘Rights’ in terms of what students can expect from the school, and ‘Responsibilities’ in terms of what students need to be doing as part of the AHS community. At AHS, students can expect to receive; excellent, high quality lessons; a broad extra-curricular programme; a safe, welcoming environment; individual care for each student and the capacity and opportunity to go onto their next steps. As a school we work very hard to ensure our provision is outstanding, and our recent Ofsted inspection certainly supports this. Young people have a right to a top quality education, and we will always strive to improve our offer to ensure students at AHS receive the best quality education and care possible.
Whilst students certainly have a right to a top quality education, they also have ‘Responsibilities’ as part of our school community. When considering this, I was reminded of the immortal words of US President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” We wish to develop students that are active citizens within the larger community – who consider the community as a whole and not just their own individual interests. This is why we are focussing also on the key ‘fundamentals’ that students should be following during their time at AHS (none of which will be a surprise to anyone!). These fundamental standards are that…
- We turn up on time to school and to every lesson
- We speak kindly and appropriately to people
- We wear the correct uniform
- We work hard to meet the deadlines we are given
- We care for our school and the people in it
The first two of these that I wish to bring to your attention at the start of this new term are turning up on time, and wearing the correct uniform – these are basic standards within school that the vast majority of students meet consistently. If a student struggles with either of these, as a pastoral team we can of course offer support. Students can be placed on late report for example with a system of rewards and sanctions. We can liaise with parents to offer borrowed uniform if there are any issues, and we will contact you if there are any issues in school. However, students must ensure they are compliant, and follow staff instructions to follow a reasonable request in making sure they meet these most basic of standards.
Finally, as I stated before Christmas, Year 9 will have their Roller Skating Reward activity on Friday 21st January. Whilst students may have been disappointed that their Christmas reward was postponed, this is something really nice for students in Year 9 to look forward to as we come towards the end of January! The roller skating reward requires parental consent for students to attend. If you have already completed this before Christmas, there is no need to do so again. However, if you are yet to do so, please click the link below to make sure you have given consent: https://forms.gle/UBZDRTcZspFAVezf8
Students will not be allowed to roller skate if they do not have consent. However, a note in the planner on the morning of the event will be enough to allow students to roller skate. This is a reward that is fully funded by the school, so all students are entitled to take part with no charge for you as parents/guardians!
Thank you for taking the time to read this parent bulletin. If you have any issues regarding your child in Year 9, then please do get in touch by emailing email@example.com (head of Year), firstname.lastname@example.org (Assistant Head of Year) and/or email@example.com (Pastoral Support Worker); or alternatively, you can call Main School Reception and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you, and have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!
Year 10 – Mr Avery, Miss Johstone and Miss Montagu
I hope all students and families in Y10 have had a very relaxing Christmas break, and are full of energy for the term ahead. I am really looking forward to seeing them next week, and hearing about all the exciting things they have done over Christmas. The students of year 10 had an excellent first term, and have laid a very strong foundation for success across the rest of the year. Hopefully the students can hit the ground running and build on the success of the first term. It was really nice to see our students enjoying themselves in the last week of term, taking part in the roller disco and enjoying their form Christmas party on the last day of term. This was certainly a well earned reward and I hope students made some memories they will keep with them for life.
Before the start of the new term and a new calendar year, I wanted to remind parents of the most important areas of focus for Y10 students. As always, the best results come when there is a strong home/school partnership, guiding the students to success. I thought outlining the key priorities for the Spring term would be of use to parents, in order to support your child’s return to school.
1 Work Experience – The deadline for Work Experience forms is Monday 10th January. I have been delighted to see so many students confirming their placements before Chritsmas, and have been very proud of their maturity and resilience toward organising a Work Experience placement for themselves. As always, support is on hand to help those students who need it most, but please be aware that we also need students and parents to be proactive in organising a placement for themselves. Students often are not successful in their first attempt, but it;’s important to remain resilient toward confirming a placement for themselves. Should a student have lost their Work Experience form, there are plenty more in the careers office to be collected at break or lunchtime.
2. Uniform – As you will have seen from communication by the Headteacher there is a renewed focus on school uniform standards when we return to school. The focus will be in the following areas:
- Trousers/Skirts – Jeans and Leggings will be a particular focus.
- Jewellery – two plain studs in each ear and a single plain nose stud are allowed, but nothing more.
- Makeup – any obvious signs of make up will be removed.
- Trainers – will be swapped at reception for school shoes.
- Hoodies – any jumper that is not AHS branded or a coat.
- Ties – will be issued to students, but any that are not returned will be charged.
Uniform standards across Y10 are often very good, and I fully expect there to be no major issues when we return in January. However should you have any questions regarding uniform expectations, please feel free to contact either myself or a member of the Year 10 pastoral team.
3. The Five Fundamentals – With regard to Year 10 being successful on their return to school, this term we are focussing on the fundamentals to ensure students make the most of their time in school. We ask that, as always, parents are supportive in assisting their child to meet these reasonable expectations on a consistent basis. Should you have any concerns about your child’s welfare or education, please feel free to contact either myself or a member of the Y10 pastoral team.
- Attending school
- Arriving to school on time
- Wearing the correct uniform
- Behaving and working hard in lessons
- Completing homework
I wish all our parents and families a very happy and healthy new year, and I look forward to the continued success of Year 10 in 2022.
Year 11 – Miss Turvey, Miss Reeder and Miss Chambers
Happy New Year from the Year 11 team as we excitedly look ahead to the start of the Spring Term. We hope all of our students and their families have been able to enjoy a restful and family-orientated Christmas period and we hope that the return to school will bring with it a refreshed sense of purpose and normality for everyone.
Last half term saw a tremendous effort from our cohort over the mock period and we were incredibly proud of and pleased by the dedication shown by the vast majority of students. The marking and standardising of mock exam papers is rigorous at AHS to ensure consistency across different teachers and classes, however students can expect their teachers to be beginning to review mock exam material in class with them from this week (if they haven’t already). Students will find out their grades as part of a ‘Mock Result Day’ that will take place ahead of Parents Evening. Parents Evening is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 19th January, the finer details of which will follow.
Tomorrow morning, students should arrive at school at the normal time, with drift in taking place from 8:35-8:45, where we will spend Period 1 in an extended Form time to allow students time to re-orientate and prepare for the upcoming term.
As we approach the halfway point of the school year, the extended form time will provide an excellent opportunity to review our AHS Journey Passports and take stock of what has been achieved. We are thrilled to have received almost 200 Sixth Form Applications as of the final day of term, so there will certainly be much to discuss around Next Steps and families can expect further communication regarding Sixth form applications and other pathways students have selected through the next term. Thank you for all of your support in our combined efforts to ensure every individual is on the right Post-16 pathway. If your child has missed the deadline but still wishes to submit a Sixth Form Application, it is not too late and they should speak to their Form tutor in the first instance to support them with this.
The extended form time will also provide an opportunity for resetting expectations. As members of our school community and the eldest main school year group, we expect our Year 11s to act as role models to younger years in the behaviours and values they demonstrate around school. All students will be reminded that they have both rights and responsibilities within school. All students have the right to excellent, high quality lessons, a broad extra-curricular programme, a safe, welcoming environment, individual care and opportunities for next steps. In return, students also have responsibilities which include arriving on time to school and lessons, being kind to other staff and students, wearing the correct uniform and meeting reasonable deadlines (e.g. for homework). For Year 11, we are approaching the final push and all of our young people need to make sure they are following these basic expectations every day.
On the last day of term, students took home a letter outlining the school uniform policy in detail, and some parents may have also received a courtesy text message alerting them that their child needed to amend their school uniform ahead of the new term. We continue to be incredibly grateful for all of your support in ensuring your child is in compliance with our uniform policy. Ready for tomorrow, we would very much appreciate ensuring your child is wearing no more than one plain set of ear studs, one 5mm plain nose stud, no alternative hoodies, no trainers, no extreme/unnatural hair colours and has their school jumper with them, which they should wear to school every day. AHS hoodies are permitted to be worn in lessons and around school.
To reiterate, we hope that all of our students have had a wonderful break over Christmas which was certainly well-deserved, and we very much look forward to welcoming our cohort back tomorrow.
Thank you for your continued support. If you have any issues regarding your child in Year 11, please do contact school reception to get in touch with Miss Turvey (Head of Year 11), Miss Chambers (Assistant Head of Year 11) or Mrs Reeder (Year 11 Pastoral Support Worker).
Post 16 – Mrs De Lashley, Mrs Walton, Miss Balmer and Mr Charlton
Welcome Back! – I hope you and your families have had a happy, restful and healthy Christmas break; I know it was eagerly awaited. The term ahead is a busy one that will set the way for progress this coming summer. We have Year 12 Winter mock exams in January as well as external BTEC assessments for some Year 12 and Year 13 classes. We also implement our progress plan for Year 13 following their Winter mocks completed last month. We look forward to getting stuck into exam preparation and supporting our ambitious and motivated students to reach their potential.
Y11 Sixth Form Applications – A last plea for Year 11 to submit applications to the Sixth Form. Please support your son/daughter in applying or seeking guidance if required. There is no limit to the amount of applications they can have for Post-16 providers and there is no obligation to take a place once offered. Having an application secures a conditional place. Any questions, please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Y13 Mock Result Actions – Year 13 progress plans will be rolled out on our return to ensure that all our students are as beat prepared as they can be to be successful in their aspirations this summer. We have a full P6 timetable to provide both subject specific support and to encourage healthy and effective study habits. If you were unable to attend parents evening or were unable to speak to a particular teacher then please do not hesitate to get in touch. We also welcome back Mr Charlton as Head of Year 13. We are delighted to have an experienced member of the Sixth Form team lead this important year group over the finish line. Should you have any Year 13 queries please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mr Charlton email@example.com or Mrs De Lashley firstname.lastname@example.org
Y12 Mock Exams
Y12 will enter a two-week period of revision in school on our return and then complete mock exams in the third week back. Exams will take place within timetabled lessons during that week. There will be no disruption outside of timetabled lessons. These exams will be an important measure for us to establish best plans for the rest of this academic term and an indication of suitable curriculum options for Y13. Revision must be part of home study and cannot be relied upon to be completed on school alone. A small number of our BTEC subjects sit January external assessments, exam timetables have been released for these subjects.
This week the theme of our Form Tutor Collective worship is inspired by the life and work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Each of our daily quotes comes from him.
“You don’t choose your family, they are God’s gift to you as you are to them.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realise that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Do your little bits of good where you are, it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Without forgiveness there can be no future for a relationship between individuals or within and between nations.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people?” Archbishop Desmond Tutu