Headteacher's Blog

26th March 2022

I hope that you and your families remain safe and well.

As we make our way closer to the Easter break and the longer days kick in we know that many of our Year 11 & 13 students are working hard in lessons and at home to respond to the results of their recent core mock exams and to prepare for their summer exams. These exams are approaching fast and with this comes the associated stress and anxiety, not only for our students, but also for staff and for you too as parents and families.  It is important to remember that we are here to help, so if your child is experiencing difficulty please let us know so we may support them appropriately.  For those of you who are parents of Year 11 & 13 students I am sure you will be encouraging revision and exam preparation at home. We know there will be some students who have yet to commence revision, and so we would urge you to ensure your child is starting to revise and prepare at home now!  This will also be incredibly important over the holiday period, balanced of course with time to rest and relax.  We would encourage students to be completing at least 3 hours of uninterrupted study each day, broken down into a maximum of 45 minute intervals and with plenty of other activities to support their general wellbeing. Students will have been supported in tutor groups and lessons with developing an understanding of how to approach revision, with a clear timetable and the use of various activities and strategies to help them recall and retrieve their learning.  As parents you will find lots of useful resources on the internet to support them including:

https://getrevising.co.uk/

https://revisionworld.com/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/learn

Our Year 11 students should also have school accounts for GCSE pod in English, Dr Frost in maths, Kerboodle in languages, and a trial account for GCSE pod in humanities.  These resources will help them to prepare for the summer series of exams.  This year the exam timetable is very elongated to account for any student who may contract Covid during the exam period.  The exams are spaced out over 6-8 weeks  to ensure students will not miss too many of their exams should they fall ill.  This is sensible, but it does present other challenges for how we manage the time in and around the exams.  We will shortly be publishing our dates for study leave and how we will support students with exam preparation sessions.  We will also look to make use of technology wherever possible so that any student who is unable to attend these can still access the resources.

Our student wellbeing team continues to support our school community with a variety of wellbeing activities.  If you are interested in keeping up to date, then please follow them on Twitter using the address below.  They post regular updates on their activities and signpost resources for students and parents.  There is also further information on the school website.    

PlantbrkWellbeing  @PBRKWellbeing 

The numbers of staff and students who have been absent as a result of a positive covid test has remained relatively low.  However, in the last two weeks we have seen a gradual increase in positive case numbers, so we will be monitoring these in the run up to the Easter break.  We know living with Covid is the government plan but we also want to ensure we protect our school community, so if things do worsen we will keep you updated.

As you will know we are currently consulting on the timing of our school day.  I would like to thank those of you who have responded.  As is usual in these cases the matter divides opinion.  For those of you who have not yet responded please be advised that the consultation closes on Friday 5th April at 2pm.

For your information there will be a non-uniform day on the last day of term to raise funds for a memorial Japanese garden for Louis Watkiss who we sadly lost earlier this academic year.  This will be for the usual contribution of £1 through parent pay, please do contribute a donation if you are able to do so.

The Arbor parent app that was launched earlier in the term will continue to develop over the coming weeks and months.  We hope that you have found this a useful resource and if you have not yet logged on we would encourage you to do so.  Similarly, if you have used it and have any useful feedback please let us know on the enquiry form on the school website.

The bomb hoax and disruption we experienced this week was dealt with by students and staff in a very calm and sensible manner.  We did our best to manage the situation as best as we could in conjunction with the police to avoid panic and confusion for all parties concerned.  These unfortunate events are thankfully rare and infrequent.  I would like to thank you for your messages of support and for letting us deal with the matter in the interests of safety and the wellbeing of our school community.  

Finally, if you do get a spare 5 minutes at any point over the next few days or weeks we would really appreciate it if you could offer some feedback using the parent view Ofsted questionnaire.  I have provided the link for you below.

https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/login?destination=give-your-views

Stay safe, take care and thank you for your continued support.  It is most appreciated.

Kind regards,

Mr Farr

Headteacher