Dear parents and carers,

I would like to start this update by congratulating all our students for the exceptional way that they have returned to school after the Christmas break. The School Walks (when I visit all classrooms in school) I have done over the last week have been some of the very best in the twelve years I have been Headteacher. Student conduct in lessons has been excellent and all students need to be commended on the way they have adapted to wearing face coverings in lessons, a measure that I very much hope will be a short temporary one. I would also encourage all students to get involved in the extra curricular life of the school with clubs and activities back up and running after the Christmas holidays.

School Uniform
I have also been extremely impressed with the way that almost all students have responded to our post Christmas focus on school uniform, something that will continue throughout this half term. I would also like to thank parents for working in partnership with us to make this a success. As a school we have purchased an extensive amount of brand new uniform to support any young person who needs it. A reminder that any family who are having difficulties purchasing school uniform should contact the school and we will provide any support needed. This will of course be done on a confidential basis.

Ventilation in Classrooms
Ventilation remains a key control measure in limiting the transmission of Covid-19 in school, however we are mindful of the need to balance good airflow with a comfortable working environment. Following recent installations of CO2 monitors across the school, we are now far better equipped to understand any classrooms of concern and have plans in place to mitigate any areas of poor air flow. We are also very conscious of the ongoing cold weather and where possible will do everything we can to keep classrooms warm and comfortable, whilst balancing the risks of Covid-19 transmission. A reminder that students can wear their AHS Hoodie in lessons for extra warmth.

Year 11 Parents Evening – Wednesday 19th January
Given the importance of this evening to families I had hoped to hold this face to face. Reluctantly given the proximity to Christmas and with high levels of the Omicron variant we have decided to hold this event virtually. Further details will follow this week.

Head of Year Awards
The Head of Year Awards for the last week are included below:

Head of Year Updates
Year 7 – Miss Kincell, Miss Powell and Miss Cooper
We have been so proud of the way that Year 7 have returned to School after the holidays. This term students will continue their AHS Journey with lots of opportunities to join in. All Year 7 students should be attending at least one club a week.

The clubs that are highlighted in yellow are clubs that previous year groups requested. We are always looking for suggestions for clubs from students so please let the Year 7 team know if you have any ideas! One of the most popular suggestions was the Warhammer Club. Our Year 7 students have really enjoyed this club and have spent time painting model figures which look fantastic. In Year 7, Science club has also been really popular. Our students have had the chance to set sweets on fire and complete dissections! There are so many exciting clubs to choose from. If your child would like support in choosing a club that is right for them then please let us know.

You can see all of the clubs that we have to offer on the website and there are so many to choose from.

Student of the week
ANn: Conor Reynolds – For fantastic contributions to form time discussion and for always being polite and considerate.
ASu: Dylan Connolly – For engaging fantastically in form debates.
Bl: Cormac Maloy – being a polite and hardworking member of the form.
Cy: Junior Collins – For settling into the new term really well
Gr: Bryanna Martyn – showing great independence – well done!
Hf: Charlotte Sykes – for excellent contributions in form time discussions.
Hv: Finlay McIntyre- consistently hard working and always polite
MLn: Lucy Rouse – for always living out the School values
MPe: Alin Arishi – For being continually positive and pleasant every day
Mr: Alisha Halsey – for being a polite and kind member of the form
SMf: Agata Bialczak – For being a really positive, hard-working and approachable member of our form. Fantastic start to Year 7!

Well done to our Head of Year Awards
Zak Leckenby – For making an excellent transition into your new timetable – Well Done!
Tilly- May Hope – For always being kind, considerate and helpful to others

The Library Newsletter
Happy New Year everyone. We hope you all had a lovely break and that most of you received some good books for Christmas. If someone bought you a book, why don’t you read them some of it, even if you have to do it over Zoom or WhatsApp video. Those of you who have younger siblings that received books could read their new books to them. It is really important to promote reading at a young age as those who read well, generally have better knowledge, and pick up a wide range of vocabulary. Reading with a younger child costs you nothing, but the benefits to them are huge. It really is a gift in itself.

This week we have been making thank you cards. Hopefully you have managed to thank everyone already, most of us say thank you by phone or text nowadays, but it is really lovely to receive an actual thank you card. So, if you would like to thank someone by sending a card, even if you have already sent them a text, then just let us know and we will continue with this next week.

January Hosts National Science Fiction Day!
National Science Fiction Day promotes the celebration of science fiction as a genre, its creators, history, and various media, too. Millions of science fiction fans across the United States read and watch their favourites in science fiction. Lots of authors try their hand at writing this genre, so we have picked two authors who are better known for their other books. Patrick Ness, of A Monster Calls fame writes a lot of science fiction, and Malorie Blackman who wrote Noughts and Crosses, has written Whizziwig for a younger audience so you might have missed it.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Quiz 213475. Level 4.4. Purple) is the first of a Sci-Fi trilogy.
Everyone knows your thoughts, and silence has never been heard until now… Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear, too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

Whizziwig by Malorie Blackman (Quiz 211182. Level 3.7. Colour Black)
Whizziwig is an alien who has crash lands on earth, on the top of Ben’s roof. At first, he is afraid of it, but soon make friends where he finds out that the alien can grant wishes, and just wants to go home. This book is a really easy read that is available in the library. A perfect one for you to read out loud to someone younger. Both books are available from the library.

Competition Time
You have until 21st January to design a mask for Gangsta Granny. In celebration of the new book by David Walliams, you can win goodies and a signed copy of the book, if your mask is chosen. We will print out some templates for the library, and a template that you can email along with the competition details is available in this link:

Can You Design a City of the Future?
To celebrate the book A History of the World in 25 Cities, Nosy Crow publishers would like to see your ideas of what a city might look like in the future. Can you think about ways to combat climate change, encourage plants and animals to thrive and reduce air pollution? Draw and write your ideas for a city of the future – the sky’s the limit! The deadline is 1st February. For more information log on to Again, there will be some templates available in the library, or you can find one and the details of the competition in this link:

Good Luck Everyone!

Year 8 – Mrs Avey, Mrs Mennell and Mr Handley
We have been really impressed with the very positive start that year 8 have made at the start of this new term. As the school continues with its focus on uniform and the five rights and responsibilities for students we think Year 8 have made a good start with this. As part of this we will continually be focusing on students wearing the correct uniform in school and challenging those who are not. We very much appreciate the support we have had from parents with this. If you have any questions or concerns about uniform please do not hesitate to get in touch and one of the Year 8 team will be happy to help.

This half term every Act of Collective will focus on the British value of ‘Tolerance’. In our first whole year group Act of Collective Worship, we focused on where we want our Year 8s to specifically focus with regards to their responsibilities. There are many things that our Year 8 community do excellently; they are a very polite and well-mannered cohort, they have been excellent at getting involved and taking up the opportunities on offer and have been mainly very good in lessons. We have also had lots of year 8s leading form time activities which shows maturity and desire to contribute to their community. There are some areas we are keen for some students to focus on and consider. This includes the importance of treating all staff equally, cleaning up after themselves in their social area and in some instances making sure they are supporting one another as much as possible.

In form time this week the school’s rights and responsibilities were a big focus and each week there will be a session on a different student responsibility – this week it was the importance of being on time. In our form group act of collective worship, forms spent some time learning about the life and impact of Desmond Tutu and the important role he played in helping South Africa during Apartheid. It is important the students learn about the impact just one individual can have when they are committed to their cause for good.

This week’s newsletter, sent out on Thursday, has this half terms section on Year 8 and will have lots of extra information about what other things are going on for Year 8 this half term and other additional information that will be helpful for Year 8 students and parents. This will be worth having a read of when this is sent or emailed home on Thursday.

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
Despite all of things going on in the world at the moment, Year 9s return to school this week after the Christmas break has been a fantastic success. Myself, Miss Deacon and Mr Deamer are very proud of them for the manner in which they have returned. Year 9 students are taking on board the renewed focus on standards, and making sure they meet the ‘fundamental’ expectations of the school which is brilliant to see. As always, if you child in Year 9 wants to discuss any issues they may be having, they can of course speak to their form tutor or a member of the Year 9 Pastoral Team.

I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the whole school focus on fundamental standards. Of course I want Year 9 to be the frontrunner across the school for driving these standards forward, and they are certainly demonstrating that this is possible in our first week back since returning to school. As students learnt in their extended tutor time on Tuesday morning, 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…

  1. We turn up on time to school and to every lesson
  2. We speak kindly and appropriately to people
  3. We wear the correct uniform
  4. We work hard to meet the deadlines we are given
  5. We care for our school and the people in it

Each week, students usually receive a session called ‘Cultural Roadmap’, where they discuss issues that help to broaden their cultural horizons. This programme has been suspended for the time being, and each week students will be discussing an aspect of the ‘fundamental’ responsibilities students have as part of the AHS community. This week, we discussed the importance of punctuality, and why this is a big focus across school at the moment. School is preparing our young people for the wider world and one key aspect of that is being on time. Being on time does not just show respect but also helps our young people show they are trustworthy, dependable, prepared and makes sure they don’t miss out on any opportunities currently within school that will contribute towards their future. In order to make sure our students are successful it is crucial they are on time to school and lessons; if a student was 15 minutes late every day this would account to missing two weeks of school a year, valuable time for study and developing life skills. This also links to our British Value of Mutual Respect – being on time highlights respect to employees for example, furthermore enabling trust to be built, as well as showing compassion to understanding the place of work. As Proverbs 12:27 says “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.” Showing that being diligent and punctual has many benefits – being late does not deliver rewards. If there is any way we can support your child in punctuality, please get in touch with the pastoral team.

I also spoke to Year 9 in Collective Worship this week about their Roller Skating Reward activity which was postponed until Friday 21st January (and is now fast approaching!) 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…

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!

Finally, I would like to congratulate the winners of the Head of Year Award for Week 15 – they are…

Katie-Anne Varga9RPrFor qualifying for the U15 Ice Short-track Speed Skating British Championships – this is an amazing achievement! Well done!Individual Liberty
Mishi Vida9SLaFor always living the school values into being every day. Well done!Mutual Respect

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 (head of Year), (Assistant Head of Year) and/or (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!

Year 10 – Mr Avery, Miss Johstone and Miss Montagu
Our Yr 10 students have had a great first week back. The cold weather and snow have not dampened their spirits and we are glad to see their enthusiasm and readiness to learn.

At our first assembly of the year we focussed on New Year resolutions. We encouraged all students to make a very positive one: commit to being on time both to school and to lessons. Arriving on time is a sign of respect. Equally importantly, it ensures that students don’t miss out on key messages or valuable learning time.

Another area where we want to make a renewed commitment is school uniform. This was, of course, the subject of our recent letter. Our goal is simply that students should feel confident, look smart and be safe. With this in mind, we will focus on the following areas:

  • Trousers/Skirts: Jeans and Leggings will be a particular focus. (You should clarify whether these are acceptable).
  • 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: these will be swapped at reception for school shoes.
  • Hoodies: any jumper that is not AHS branded or a coat. (Clarify this)
  • Ties: these will be issued to students if necessary, but any that are not returned will be charged.
  • Your support will be greatly appreciated and we thank you in advance for this. Your help in this area can make our job very much easier

Please also make sure that students are wearing masks unless they are exempt.

Finally, we congratulate the two winners of this week’s HOY awards: Jack Taylor and AJ McDowell who have both shown great resilience in the face of adversity.

Year 11 – Miss Turvey, Miss Reeder and Miss Chambers
Thank you for your support through what has been a hugely successful first week back in school. It has been lovely to welcome our Y11 students back and feel them settle back into a school routine following the excitement of the Christmas period.

As always, we feel very proud of our Y11 cohort this year for their fantastic effort in lessons and excellent conduct around school. We undertook a number of walkarounds of school last week and, right up to Friday Period 5, students have been working hard and showing great commitment to their studies.

We are very grateful for all of your support in our renewed push on upholding high standards for uniform and attendance. On Tuesday, all students were reminded of their rights in school: the right to excellent, high quality lessons, a broad extra-curricular programme, a safe, welcoming environment, individual care and opportunities for next steps. Students were also reminded of their 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). It has been pleasing to see students respond so well to this and we are thankful for the steps that have clearly been undertaken over Christmas to ensure students are arriving to school on time in the correct uniform. We appreciate the vast majority who always meet these responsibilities.

We understand many students have returned to school eagerly awaiting their mock results. To confirm, students will receive their mock results on Monday 17th January. After these papers are marked, our standardising and grade review process is rigorous at AHS to ensure consistency across different teachers and classes. This year, we also have several students who sat their mock exams during catch-up time and it is important the grading of their papers is quality assured in the same way and, for fairness and consistency, everyone receives their results in full and at the same time. Orientating results day with parents evening also furnishes all parents with the opportunity to gain meaningful feedback and hold discussions with the child’s teachers around subject performance promptly. Parents evening will take place on Wednesday 19th January. Thank you for your patience here.

This week, taster days are taking place at external colleges and Sixth Forms on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th January. Students who are applying to these providers will have already booked at the events and this will be an authorised absence from school. This will be a minority of students and the school day and lessons at AHS will run as normal for everyone else.

We did have a rare grievance last week in that, unfortunately, the Year 11 Common room was left very messy following some poor choices made by students, much to the dismay of staff who monitor and clean this space. This is not in line with the responsibilities or behaviour we expect of our students. It had been suggested last week that the Common Room would close on Friday. Upon reflection, the decision was taken not to do so in line with our school value of Care, given the number of students who use this space and the nature of the cold weather. However, students must remember that this space is a privilege for Year 11 and the continuation of poor behaviour will result in individuals being banned from using the space. For social times, Year 11 students have been reminded that (as well as the Common Room) they can continue to access the school hall from 1:20 and the Resource Centre every break and lunch time in addition to outdoor spaces comprising the covered seating by the Common area, Gazebos, picnic benches and school field. Students may also choose to attend extra-curricular activities on certain lunchtimes.

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
Y11 Sixth Form Applications – We have been inundated with applications; we are delighted. If you intend to apply but still haven’t then please do get in touch this week so that we can include your son/daughter’s subject choices in our planning for next year which commences shortly.

Y13 Lunchtime and Period 6 sessions – Subject support sessions commenced last week and continue this week. Students should be attending any session that is available for the subjects they study. Some subjects are spending time in the Sixth Form Library getting into good study habits when they do not have a subject session to attend. Should you have any Year 13 queries please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mr Charlton or Mrs De Lashley

Y12 Mock Exams – A reminder that Y12 enter a second week of in-class guided revision before commencing their winter mock exams next week.

BTEC External Assessments – External BTEC assessments will take place over the next four weeks. Below is this week’s timetable. Students must be prompt and have the required equipment/notes with them.

Exam DateTimeCourse and LevelYear GroupFinish TimeLengthLocation
Weds 12th Jan09:00BTEC Ext Cert SportYear 1311:302hr 30Studio
09:00BTEC Ext Cert H & S CareYear 1312:003hrsStudio
09:00BTEC EXT Cert Applied LawYear 1210:301hr 30IT 3/4/5
Thur 13th Jan09:00BTEC Ext Cert Travel & TourismYear 1312:003hrsStudio
Fri 14th Jan09:00BTEC Ext Cert Child DevYear 1312:003hrsStudio
09:00BTEC Dip in BusinessYear 1312:003hrsL34
09:00BTEC Protective ServicesYear 1211:002hrsStudio
13:00BTEC Ext Cert H & S CareYear 1214:301hr 30Studio

Collective Worship

This week the theme of our Form Tutor Collective worship is linked to the idea that a new term and a new year bring with them new opportunities and the chance for a ‘fresh start’. Each of our daily quotes are also about Fresh Starts.

Monday – “No, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3.13).
Tuesday – “Don’t start every day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Each day is a new beginning.” (Anon)
Wednesday – “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” (George Eliot – English novelist, poet and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era)
Thursday – “Every day is a fresh start. Wake up with a thankful heart.” (Kristen Butler – Social media entrepreneur)
Friday – “God’s love goes on forever and his care for us is new every morning.” (Lamentations 3.22-23)]

The Wellbeing Newsletter Issue 38