Health and Safety
On the first week back from the half-term break, we received a visit from The Health and Safety Executive. They are carrying out random spot checks on schools across the country and St Andrew’s was one of those chosen. I am pleased to report that they were very happy with our COVID-19 risk assessment and all the measures we have put in place. They stated that they could clearly see that we are following all the current guidance and taking all reasonable precautions. I was very pleased to hear this because, as you can imagine, it has been a relentless task making sure we are doing everything possible to keep our pupils and staff safe, particularly because the guidelines are continually changing.
Please can I ask parents and guardians to wear a face covering at all times whilst on the school site. If you are dropping off or picking up, please ensure you are socially distancing and you are wearing a face covering.
Pupil Voice We are always keen to hear what our pupils have to say and the Pupil Council at both sites have been meeting to discuss various ideas on how we can improve their school days. Members of the groups were invited to discuss travel issues recently with the Local Authority via a Teams meeting. They gave some good ideas towards the Council’s action plan for school and business travel. They are very much encouraging the pupils to walk or cycle to school where possible, although we did explain many pupils live a distance away from Bedford.
We have a number of Wellbeing Ambassadors throughout the year groups who have been working with Mr Swannell to come up with ideas to mark various events for wellbeing. This began on Friday 13th November when pupils were asked to complete an act of kindness during the day. Today, Friday 20th November, pupils were asked to exercise more than normal at break and lunch. Next week, on Friday 27th November, we will be celebrating ‘Thankfulness Day’, where we can all wear an accessory that is brightly coloured, or rainbow themed, to say thank you to the NHS workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle. School uniform should still be worn with, perhaps, a bright badge, socks or hair accessory. The object of the exercise is to think about others and to discuss ways we take care of ourselves too.
This year, we have appointed ICT Ambassadors amongst the pupils. After all, this generation is far more computer ‘savvy’ than most of us! They have been complimentary about the recent improvements in IT and our Wi-Fi speed. Information technology will always be an ongoing battle with ever-changing resources and we will meet with the ambassadors regularly to ensure we continue to make progress in this area. IT has been an important discussion point whilst planning the new school site and we have now finalised the floorplans. Our present and future IT provision has become a hot topic of conversation over this week.
It was nice to see the pupils enthusiastically taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday 16th November at the start of Anti-Bullying Week. I hope they appreciate the message behind the idea as an opportunity to encourage people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality. We have discussed this during the week, together with the anti-bullying theme. This ties in well with wellbeing.
Despite COVID-19, we have still been supporting our usual charities. This year’s Children in Need Day was a far cry from our party last year, attended by Matt Baker and his Rickshaw Challenge Team; however, the pupils still had fun and raised money for this great cause.
I hope they have all donated directly via the Children in Need website https://www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/ Particular congratulations must go to our sixth former, Autumn Handscombe, who raised an incredible £652 by running 17K in the ‘Act your age’ challenge – 17k for 17 years. You should be extremely proud of your achievement Autumn!
Maths in Action Day
Pupils in Year 10 and 11 enjoyed the Maths in Action Day. Despite not being able to make the usual visit to Warwick University, pupils were able to engage in virtual lectures and demonstrations. They learnt about the important use of studying patterns and sequences, vectors and trigonometry in Air Traffic and Maritime Control systems to help predict behaviours and prevent accidents. They also learnt from a structural engineer on how they apply maths to ensure their construction projects are safe and the potential consequences of errors. Also, why triangles are so important and why we spend so long studying them in maths! Further sessions on the truth behind statistics, angular momentum and its application in satellites and space, plus revision techniques, made this a really engaging and informative day.
Mrs Beattie, who has been our Director of Sixth Form for the past few years, has now decided to step down from the role. She will continue to teach Business Studies to our GCSE and A-level groups, but wants to move away from the leadership duties from April. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Beattie for her hard work in leading the sixth form. We have been conducting interviews over the past week and will be announcing the name of our new Head of Sixth Form shortly.
There are a few changes to the staffing after Christmas: Miss Bamber from the English Department at Rushmoor is leaving and Miss Clifton is her replacement, joining us from Stamford Endowed School. Mrs Couzens, who teaches food technology and some business lessons, is also leaving. Mrs Brewer, from Goldington Academy, will be joining us as the food technology teacher at Rushmoor. Mr Evans, Deputy Head at Rushmoor, will now teach the business lessons that Mrs Couzens taught across both sites. Mrs Maxwell will also be joining us as an additional member of the science team, teaching biology. We would like to wish Miss Bamber and Mrs Couzens well as they take up their new posts and thank them for their contributions.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we have invited some of our parents to talk in career assemblies. These are aimed at giving our pupils ideas to ponder about their future careers. We’ve already had question and answer sessions about science, computing and business, which were well received. Today, I invited my friend to talk about careers in law as he has been a barrister and coroner. I would like to thank everybody who has given up their time to speak to the pupils about their career choices, as I am sure they have found it inspiring. Having had one of our sixth formers recently go off to study law at university, two going off to study business, advertising and marketing, another medicine, together with previous cohorts studying fashion, geography, history and art, to name but a few, we need a broad spectrum of careers advice.
Over the half-term break, I tasked our Year 11 pupils with starting to writing their own CVs. Those I have read through have been interesting and I provided advice on ways to improve them. Under the guidance of Mrs Lowe at St Andrew’s and myself at Rushmoor, ably supported by Mrs Ciuro, we will be providing more advice on how to write a good CV over the weeks ahead. For those of you who have now experienced the Microsoft Teams meetings version of parent consultations, I hope that you have found them useful. It is certainly a different way of working for the teaching staff and I would like to thank you all for adapting so well during these strange times.
Junior Stars of the Week
St Andrew’s School
Week ending: 6 November
Reception – Nathan Olayade
Year 1 – Nari Molo
Year 2 – Liliana Sepede
Year 3/4 – Ariana Mule
Year 5 – Alexandra Simpson
Week ending: 13 November
Reception – Chloe Forton
Year 1 – Veer Mills
Year 2 – William Woodrow
Year 3/4 – Kieva Walker
Year 5 – Bronwyn Phillips
Week ending: 6 November
Reception – Emerson Manser
KS1KG – Tom Hall
3JM – Megan Pyatt-Slade
4ET – Valentino Ianiri
4ST – Leo Mehmi
5CR – Ophelia Manser
5TS – Danushka Gunasekara
Week ending: 13 November
Reception – Sophie Surridge
KS1KG – Rafael Mehmi
3JM – Ethen Canning
4ET – Sebastian Rooke
4ST – Josh Miller
5CR – Olivia Crabtree
5TS –Mohammed Deen
Maddison Agama-Spencer for PE and games.
Florence Steed for maths.
Lily Eade for organising the Children In Need presentation.
Ruby Ryall for outstanding work in geography.
Arman Treis for his geography poster.
Oliver Stock for getting 100% in his history test.
Franky Wolkenstein for excellent work for Miss Braines.
Amrit Gill for working hard on her travel writing, including relative clauses.
Congratulations to the following pupils have been awarded their 25 House Point Certificate this fortnight:
Emma Hindocha Elijah Masih Isabella Diffey Stephen Muniu
Tanishk Barve Billy Bell Harry Clayton Ophelia Manser
Ruby Stoughton Zarah Sheridan Josh Miller Sebby Thomas
Alex Harrison Kyan Sohal Sienna Nandha Lilia-Diya Dass
Jonah Steer Tara Adams Ethan Kenna Qais Ghazzawi
Christmas will be different this year as we are unable to hold our usual festivities due to the Pandemic. I will miss seeing pupils and their families at the Winter Fayre this Christmas! The Junior Nativity will be recorded and sent to parents and guardians to watch at home. The younger pupils will celebrate Christmas in small groups during the last week of term. Education has been disrupted enough this year, therefore pupils will be working up to lunchtime on Friday 11th December when we break up for the holidays.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH