Thomas Alleyne's High School
Friday Roundup - 23rd January 2015

Headteacher's Blog

Whilst, as you expect we mainly focus our attention on children's achievements in school; on their performance in our sports teams; the art work they produce; musical performances; leadership qualities where they support each other; and academic success, we sometimes get an insight into their lives outside school. Often these insights happen just by chance.

This week I was fortunate to meet with 2 parents who needed to share with me a little more than I already knew of their daughter's life. Bethan gets up every morning at 4.30 to go to swim training whilst some of us struggle to get up for 6.00! To be honest we are still struggling to ensure that all students are in their form rooms by 8.40 in the morning. Punctuality is a key skill for all of us.

You need to be driven to drag yourself out of bed at that time on a cold winter's morning and she clearly is. Until now I was not aware that she has qualified for the 2015 British Championships/World Trials which is the highest level of domestic competition. Her coach says she has the potential to go on to swim for Great Britain and describes her improvement in swimming over the last months as 'meteoric.'

Getting to be an elite athlete can be punishing. However the experience of training hard, organising one's life to ensure you can train for 19 hours and do everything else you want to do must be a discipline which, learnt at the age of 13, can potentially assist her in all areas of her life (at this point I must also pay credit to the taxi driving parents!).

I know Bethan is not alone in performing at the top of her game and I would love to be able to celebrate the achievement of our young people in our round up each week - if you have a story which you are prepared to share please email it to:

I would also like to hear the stories of those young carers in our organisation: those students who have to put the lives of others, some of them their parents, before themselves. On the gate this week, I got the chance to speak to one young lady who cares for her grandma before coming to school. She spoke passionately about the importance of this to her. The sacrifices are tough, but clearly both she and Bethan value the rewards of these. The thing both girls have in common is a sense of responsibility.

On a different note, as many of you will have seen in the local press, one of our students was hit by a car whilst crossing at the crossing patrol site. The police are dealing with the incident and our student was very fortunate not to be seriously hurt. I was asked by our local journalist if I would be organising road safety sessions as a result of the accident with our students. I have not as yet. This was partly because I was concerned that the young man who was so unfortunate to be knocked over, should not feel that he was at fault.

However on reflection, there is never any harm in reminding people that behind the wheel of a car is a human being and that sometimes we cannot predict what may happen just as in the tragic accident in Glasgow before Christmas last year. Being as vigilant around roads as possible is an important reminder to us all. That message is just as important perhaps to the drivers in our community as to the pedestrians on the street.

Last week I wrote about chances graphs: how target grades are in some ways a blunt instrument. Who truly knows what individuals are actually capable of? Prior performance gives us an indicator, but as in Bethan's case, no target it seems would have predicted her 'meteroic' rise. I read a letter from a student this week: it was articulate and deeply felt. He receives one to one teaching from our teacher Mrs Ream. I do not believe he had read my blog last week,so it is just by chance that our thinking connected. He knows how important it is for him to achieve in his GCSES and says he will, 'revise because it will have a huge affect on my life.'

His aim is to achieve beyond his targets. He would like to achieve a C in Health and Social, Maths and English. He says that he thinks this is unlikely and his target grades are a lot lower than this. I hope that Bethan's story of training inspires him to put aside his target grades and to put everything into achieving the targets he has set for himself.

Finally, I would like to share two meetings I had with members of staff this week. The first was Miss Quinn who was talking to me about World Challenge and their trip to Tanzania. As a former employee of World Challenge, I know that when she gives up her Summer holiday next year, it may well be one of the most exhausting weeks of her life. However, my experience was that it was also one of the most rewarding. I appreciate the time that our staff put into everything outside classroom hours to broaden the opportunities available to our students. The second meeting was with Mr Crum about another area close to my heart: Duke of Edinburgh. The Uttoxeter D of E group have over 10 BELA and ML trained adults, some of them Thomas Alleynes's parents, teachers, support staff or members of the local community.

These people give up their weekends and evenings to support young people in achieving this fantastic award.

Year 9 Options

It will soon be that time in the school year when Year 9 students get to choose the courses they will be following in years 10 and 11. To ensure these choices are as well informed as possible and that the whole process runs smoothly there are a number of key dates and events that you should be aware of.

  • The option process begins on 26th January. During this week students will experience lessons from subjects that they can opt for but do not currently study. These subjects are child development, health and social care, environmental and land based sciences and business studies. They will also receive guidance on how the process works and possible career options.
  • On Thursday 5th February we have our Y9 Future Intentions Evening. This is an opportunity for you to come in to school to have the process explained in detail and ask any questions.
  • In addition there will be a careers fair with over 25 employers and 18 higher and further education providers present and also an opportunity to meet with all our Heads of Department so that you can ask any questions about the courses on offer. THIS IS OPEN TO ALL PUPILS
  • On Tuesday 10th February there is the Year 9 parents’ evening where you can discuss your child’s progress with their subject teachers.
  • The options are completed on line via Frog. This will go live on Wednesday 11th February and the deadline for completing the form will be Monday 23rd February – the first Monday after half term. There is no rush to complete the form as we do not allocate places on a “first come first served” basis.

This is a very important set of decisions you and your child need to make in the next few weeks and as a school we hope to support you in this as fully as we can.

Due to the numbers involved and the seating capacity of our theatre we are splitting the presentation on a house basis. There is no need for the students to attend the presentation as they will be receiving exactly the same information in school, they can visit the careers fair or talk to Heads of Department. The timings are as follows:

6.15 pm Elkes and Orme parents in the Theatre for a presentation on the options process and an opportunity to ask any questions.

Torrance and Whitmore parents and students can visit the careers fair and subject stands

7.00 pm Torrance and Whitmore in the Theatre

Elkes and Orme visit careers fair and subjects

We look forward to seeing you on the 5th. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact the school.

MFL Coursework Support

Controlled assessment support sessions start Wednesday 28th January at 3.05 room 23. Help with tenses, remembering your draft and spotting errors.

Punctuality to School

From Wednesday 28th January students who continue to arrive to school late & without a genuine issue will be issued with a same day 20 minute lunchtime detention. As parents /carers you will be informed via text.

Please continue to support us in in ensuring your child is punctual to school, in correct uniform and ready for the day.

Saatchi Art Prize

We often promote the Art/photography work students do to a wider audience via exhibitions and competitions. Please wish our student luck for their recent entries into the acclaimed Saatchi Art Gallery/Deutche Bank Prize for Schools.

The prize fund could potentially reward students with £2000 towards art and computer equipment and £10,000 for the school which would be very handy! Whether they win or not, please take time to appreciate a selection of work from our very talented youngsters.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

On Thursday 29th January Thomas Alleyne’s Senior Prefects are organising a ‘Doughnut Day’. Fifty percent of profits will go to the Salvation Army Burton Corps (Food Bank) and fifty percent will go towards subsidising 6th Form Events. This is very popular with this being the fifth year running the Doughnuts have been sold.

Famous Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts will be on sale at break and lunch time around school where students and staff will be able to purchase them. The Doughnuts will be sold at 90p each or £8.50 for a box of a 12, considerably cheaper than retail price!

Casual Exam Invigilators

Casual Exam Invigilators
Grade 2 pt 7 £7.10 per hour

We are looking to recruit casual exam invigilators to cover the exam periods throughout the year. The post is on a casual basis invigilating GCSE and A levels and helping to support students through the provision, supervision and monitoring of internal and external exams.

Working within a team of invigilators, you will report to the Exams Co-ordinator Officer. You will be playing a vital role in supporting the school by providing important support to the students.

If you are interested in working on a casual basis and you can be flexible with your time, we would like to hear from you. The post requires an Enhanced Disclosure check as we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expect all staff to share this commitment. Details of this check can be found at

Closing date for return of applications: Friday 30 January
Interview date: Wednesday 25 February

For further details please see the school website linked at the bottom of this bulletin.

PTA Meeting

The next PTA meeting is on Wednesday 28th January here at the school. All are welcome to attend and support the PTA in their fundraising efforts.

They do a tremendous job is organising events and raising funds to support your child's education and any help you can give would be most appreciated.

Sports News

The Year 9 netball team beat Pingle 29-5 this week. They remain unbeaten in the pool and have one game left to play.

Well done Maddison Hill, Rachel Greaves, Milly Radley, Tamzin Hemmings, Jess Greenaway, Maisy Bettany, Ellie Jeffery, Abby Smith & Tash Young.

Girls fixtures next week

Tuesday 27th - Year 11 netball Vs John Taylor

Wednesday 28th - Year 10 & 11 girls football league

Thursday 29th - Year 10 & 11 netball Vs Pingle

Tackk App

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Simply search tackk in the App Store or Google Play and download the free app.