Last week I was away for a few days carrying out an inspection for the ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate). I always find it interesting visiting other schools because I come away with ideas, and being an inspector also means that I am up-to-date with the regulations the ISI expect - all of which benefits Rushmoor.
One of the areas covered in inspections is the level of pastoral care schools provide. Most small independent schools focus on this as a key area and that is certainly the case here. Teachers nowadays need a wide set of skills, we are not just required to be knowledgeable about our subjects, but we are required to be motivators, evaluators and occasional counsellors. We have to teach our pupils to be resilient and how to cope with the demands of an increasingly difficult education system. Good pastoral care provision is crucial to being a successful school. Pupil wellbeing should be at the top of any school’s agenda because happy children will learn better. It is certainly at the top of my agenda.
Pastoral care was barely heard of twenty years ago, but schools are now making huge efforts to create a supportive setting. That is easier said than done in large schools, so Rushmoor certainly has the advantage in this respect, with years of great quality pastoral support behind us – judged so by the ISI and also consistently confirmed in parental and pupil surveys. Pastoral care falls into the remit of all our staff, from the Principal down. Whilst away on the inspection it made me reflect on the standards of education and pastoral support that we offer and this is always a beneficial thing to do.
Year 9 pupils had their parental consultation evening on Tuesday. Over the next few months they will be deciding their GCSE options, so I hope the evening was useful in this respect. Pupils should take time to think things through before finalising their option choices. Choosing a balance of subjects may help to keep future options open. If they are trying to choose between two subjects, they need to think about how each option fits with their other GCSEs. Does a subject go well with the other choices? Or does a subject provide a welcome change?
Above all, they need to talk to their subject teachers and form tutor, as well as people at home, to discuss their own thoughts and weigh up pros and cons. There are subject overviews provided on our website which might help. Remember, GCSEs are there to give children a broad general knowledge, from which they can then become increasingly specialised through further and higher education. GCSEs are like the broad base of the pyramid, with subsequent qualifications getting increasingly narrow in focus the further up the pyramid you go.
The sixth form year 12 students visited the Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham this week. It is the nation’s largest skills and careers event with over 200 employers and training organisations on-hand to engage with young people. There are hundreds of great career ideas to explore, including jobs of the future. I hope it gave our sixth formers some inspiration.
We were delighted to celebrate the achievements of last year’s GCSE cohort by holding a presentation evening this week. This is when they receive their actual GCSE certificates. We also present special awards on the evening in recognition of specific contributions to school life at Rushmoor. It is a lovely evening for the young men and their families to enjoy and reflect on their successes at school. The presentations are followed by drinks and buffet reception, which is a lovely opportunity for the families and staff to chat informally.
We were delighted to welcome back Mr Richbell to present the certificates at the GCSE presentation evening. Mr Richbell talked fondly of his memories about how special Rushmoor was to him and how great our pupils are. Rushmoor will always be close to his heart and never forgotten. Pupils, parents and staff were delighted to see him return.
Today the school has been participating in the annual fundraising activities for Children in Need with money raised through a mufti day. Many pupils have come in fancy dress and following the ‘spotty’ theme. It has been a great atmosphere in school today.
On Sunday 19th November there is also the opportunity for families to take part in the St Andrew's and Rushmoor Junior Schools Children in Need Fun Family Cycle; setting off from the entrance to Priory Marina at 10am and are aiming to cycle to the Danish Camp and back again. A mid cycle pit stop will take place at the Danish Camp car park to keep spirits up. The round trip is approximately 6 miles and we are recommending that people sponsor the children £1 a mile. All sponsorship monies can be paid directly via our fundraising page.
This will be a fun activity for the whole family and parents will need to accompany their children at all times. I wish everybody the best for the morning; unfortunately, I am unable to attend because I will be travelling back from Doncaster due to my own family commitments. Happy fundraising to all involved!
Despite our small school size we have already reached our target of £300 and are now hoping to reach £500! In fact due to the hard work of one of our pupils we have even received sponsorship from some very impressive people:
Boris Johnson MP - Foreign Secretary
Nick Gibb MP - Schools Secretary
Rory Stewart OBE MP - Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Mark Field MP - Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Jo Churchill MP
We are hoping to get a mention on the One Show so make sure you watch tonight!
Year 5 pupils have been very busy over the last few weeks completing their geography and science projects. For geography they were asked to research a country and produce a poster, model or video on it. For science the boys made a model of the Earth, Moon and Sun explaining how they rotate and orbit. To celebrate how well they did and all the hard work they put in to their projects they held an exhibition in Randall Hall for other classes to come and see. I was very impressed with how imaginative the boys were!
Firstly, good luck to all the boys going on the rugby tour to Yorkshire which departed today and will return on Sunday evening. Thank you to Mr Hawken, Mr Morrish and Mr Walker for giving up your spare time to take the boys on tour and particular thanks to Mr Walker for the entire organisation. I hope everybody has a great trip.
A mixed year 6 hockey team are taking part in a local tournament over the next few weeks. So far they have played 6 games, winning one, drawing four and losing one. The team have improved with each performance and are enjoying playing hockey.
The U9 rugby team are currently at BMS on a fixture. We wish them luck!
I would like to congratulate brothers Javid and Samir Lockhat who did very well in the annual Blunham Youth Cricket awards last week. Samir got the best fielder and best bowler, and Javid got the most improved player. We are very proud of you both, well done!
I would also like to say well done to Harry Phillips who was player of the week at Olney Rugby Club last Sunday. Also, the week before he got the ‘special mention’ at his football match. Well done Harry!
Rushmoor Robins News from Miss Harrow:
Our Storytelling Journey….
In EYFS this week we have been on an exciting storytelling journey. The children have been using storytelling props to create their own stories based around the book ‘Whatever Next’ by Jill Murphy. Our journey began as the children created their own creatures that could have lived on the moon using playdough and a range of resources. The children had to think about what their creature would look like, what their creature would be called and what their creature might eat. The children’s creations set their imaginations alight and we soon began to see the children telling their own stories about their creatures. With a little scaffolding by the adults in the way of modelling storytelling the children’s own storytelling started to expand and their stories started to make more sense and have a beginning, middle and an end.
An update on the Business Studies A-level students taking part in the Student Investor Challenge competition; I am happy to announce one team are 17th out of 4039 schools and colleges in the country!
Junior School stars of the week:
RLH - Rahaf Adam
1TS - Ben Brading
2EB - Ethan Ndokera
3JM - Basil Anstee
3ST - Arman Treis
4AB - Rio Noto
4ET - Alex Clayton
5CL - Troy Williams
5CR - Samir Lockhat
5JP - Diyan Adil
Congratulations to Erik Treis for receiving a Principal’s award this week. I was very impressed with the work he came to show me. Well done Erik!
I’m sure you will all join me in wishing Miss Simic luck as she starts her maternity leave. We are lucky to have had Mrs Hutcheon with us from September and she will be taking over Miss Simic’s lessons.
I would like to mention one of our Sixth Form students, Oliver Lewis, who over half-term took part in a production of ‘The Producers’, committing himself to many rehearsals and a full week of shows. A number of our staff went along to support Oliver and I have heard wonderful comments about his performance in the show. Well done Oliver, we are all proud of you and really look forward to witnessing you progress further on the stage.
I hope you all enjoy the weekend.
I M Daniel, BA, NPQH