Principal's Blog

20 - 24 February 2017:

I hope everybody had a great half-term break. Mine was pretty busy and more about that later.

This week our A-level geography group went off on an enrichment opportunity. They had an early start on Wednesday morning, meeting at the school at 6.30am to head off to Swanage for a 3-day fieldtrip. Their location for the trip is Leeson House, the ideal venue for A-level fieldtrips, it is a secluded and comfortable residential centre situated near the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The itinerary has been set to ensure our students learn and practice as many field skills as possible on the coastal topics. They will also have evening classroom sessions in order to collate data, collect secondary data, analyse their findings and write up their conclusions. They will visit Corfe Castle village and Studland Knowl Beach. My thanks to Miss Ross and Mr Whomsley for accompanying the students.

We have a great deal going on at the moment in terms of performing arts, with the Peter Pan production rapidly approaching. I am really pleased to hear that the students are very committed and rehearsals are going well. Tickets will be out soon for this and we would appreciate parental and family support.

We also have many students taking part in the Bedfordshire Festival for Music, Speech and Drama, with a joint choir made up of students from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s performing for the first time this year. The students have been invited by Mrs Gittins to rehearse for the Festival during our Open Morning next Saturday. I look forward to them being able to showcase their talents to our visitors. We have a good range of students participating this year, all the way from year 3 upwards, which is brilliant. I do hope that parents will be able to attend the group and individual performances. My thanks to all the staff from across the alliance for their work in preparing our students for this Festival. The choir will be performing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, Brave by Sara Bareilles and For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter.

Subject help desks and booster sessions are available to students in year 11 and my advice is that everybody makes good use of them. In the run up to the formal examinations this support really helps. I would also reiterate the fact that revision needs to be something that is done routinely now, right up to the last examination in June. Little and often is the key! A sensible revision timetable is vitally important.

Tonight is disco night for the students in years 6 and 7 from across the alliance. I hope the students all enjoy the night and my thanks to the volunteers from the PTFA and the staff for arranging this. Thanks should also go to the Headboy, Oliver Sadd and his father for doing the disco for us!

Aesop's Touring Theatre Company specialises in Theatre in Education, touring Schools, Children's Centres, Art Centres and Theatres nationally throughout the year with plays and workshops specifically written and designed for Nursery, Infant, Junior and Senior age groups. The Company aims to educate young audiences through the powers of entertainment and imagination whilst, at the same time, encouraging children to question and think for themselves. This Friday, 24th February, Aesop’s performed to an audience made up of students from across the alliance from Reception year through to year 6. It was arranged to support their history lessons. I hope they all found this enrichment opportunity enjoyable. Thank you to Mrs Djukic for organising it.

The Junior School Council have been meeting each week to think of ways to improve the school. They have come up with the idea that there will be a football referee during break and lunch times and have drawn up rules for them. It started this week and it has already made a difference.

Due to Storm Doris this week most fixtures have been postponed. However the Year 6 football team ended the week with a great win versus Westfield. All pupils have been training hard ready for their matches next week.

Junior School stars of the week:

RCM -   Elle Nyoni
1RDF -  Harry Clayton
2EB -   Watida Saunyama
2LC -   Leonard Owino
3JM -   Maya Brown
3ST -   Alex Clayton
4AB -  Alan Bailey
4ET -   Jacob Mead
5CR -  Brandon Venn
5AC -  Noah Peck and James Coplin

Principal’s Award:

Congratulations to Arman Treis, Jago Hooley and Sebastian Hendrix for receiving a Principal’s award this week. They have all produced fantastic work for their teachers, well done boys!

Over the half-term break I visited Boston, Massachusetts in my role as Vice Chair of the Legacy of the Olympic Committee across Bedfordshire. I really didn’t know what to expect, but we had a jammed packed itinerary for the week. As Principal of two schools I found it fascinating to be able to visit a range of educational establishments from state schools, to independent schools, colleges, right up to Harvard University. Our base was Endicott College, home of the founder of the ice bucket challenge, Peter Frates. I brought lots of ideas back, not just about sport, but also the wider curriculum. I will be discussing these with teachers across the alliance. There was a huge emphasis on sport and fitness, right from a really young age and I witnessed the very best PE lesson for junior school children I’ve ever seen. The cheerleading was great. You can see from the indoor track facilities in the photograph, they are well prepared for the adverse weather they have. We saw a lot of snow!!!

Whilst in Boston, we had the fantastic opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela’s grandson, who is continuing his grandfather’s legacy. He travels the world to give talks on what happened to his grandfather, apar theid and how Nelson Mandela overcame adversity to lead South Africa into a brighter direction. It was a truly inspirational night.

Ndaba Mandela spoke in detail about meeting his famous grandfather when he was 11 and living with him in South Africa's Presidential Palace. He said “I carry with me the values of my grandfather, I am an African and I know what it means to be African, and I’m proud of it.”

Ndaba Mandela is chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that works to improve Africa's image around the world. The organisation also works on economic development in Africa. Their aim is to create a mindset that instills and uplifts a heightened sense of pride and purpose in young Africans to ignite a New African Generation. I will use some of his words and put together an assembly on the subject for the senior students’. His message to the audience was ‘together we can achieve anything’.

Open Morning is on the 4 March and it would be great to see the whole school community attend to show off their school. This really helps our visitors to see the real sense of pride and belonging the students have for their school. It is also fun for students to help in their particular area of interest. I hope all families received the invitations and I hope to see you there.

I hope you enjoy the weekend.

Kind regards

I M Daniel

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