Thomas Alleyne's High School
Friday Roundup - 8th February 2015

Headteacher's Blog

Last week I wrote about the balance between what a school provides extra-curricular wise and the achievements which pupils make academically. This week the connection between the two could not have been more evident. As students strive to achieve their best possible grades in lessons, as we get ever closer to GCSE and A level examinations this week, our staff put on a careers event which has had many of you sending in notes of commendation. Having had no part in the organisation of the event myself, I feel comfortable saying that I can only agree with the comments below that we have had in from parents.

‘Last night’s event was very useful and informative for both my year 12 daughter and year 10 son so thank you for hosting and putting in so much effort.’

'I thought I'd let you know how useful I found both the presentation and the careers fair tonight. It was interesting and informative and I feel better equipped to proceed with my first 'options experience'.

I would like to thank parents who send compliments in to the school which I can pass on to the staff and students. We always want to know when you feel we can do something better but it is also very much appreciated when you let us know we have got something right for you.

If you did not join us on Tuesday evening, don’t worry as we will be holding this event every year and you can join us in future whichever year your child is in. Many people who came this year have said they will be returning next year as their children’s ambitions change.

If you attended and had the opportunity to walk around the school site I am sure you will agree that the combination of: the information session in the hall; careers and Higher/Further Ed guidance in the canteen, geography rooms and gym; in addition to the guidance teachers provided for parents and students, meant that this truly was a powerful and informative Independent Advice and Guidance evening.

Some of you may have noticed one of our members of staff on crutches during the evening. This was Mrs Lyon’s event and one I hope she is very proud of. When I thanked her however her only response was about how she would make it even better next year and how much she appreciated the help of the sixth form especially Beth and Tom who we have to credit with the photographs in Round up this week!

Of course an evening like this stirs up curiosity and consequently led to me reading the Stoke and Staffordshire Enterprise partnership: Strategic Economic Plan (Summary March 2014.)

I had been told earlier in the week at a headteacher briefing that one of the exciting things about the future for us in Staffordshire is that there will be enough jobs for our students when they leave school. Apparently the problem however, is that students do not necessarily train in the right areas. What shocked me, as a parent, was a survey that has been done with young people which showed that 70% of children trust their parents for advice when looking at potential careers! I was told however that typically parental advice was likely to be wrong. The careers evening is in place to counter this so that we as parents can get up to speed with the jobs market of the future.

According to the report there are lots of strengths in terms of economic growth potential for Staffordshire for instance:

  • ‘Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is home to numerous international businesses including Alstom, Coors, JCB, Jaguar Land Rover, Michelin, Moog, Steelite, and Zytek
  • Similarly the area is home to a buoyant SME sector making a significant contribution to economic growth
  • Inward investment performance has been strong in recent years, with notable recent projects including Jaguar Land Rover and Amazon
  • Local universities actively engaged in research and innovation support
  • Area benefits from location at the heart of the UK, with strong connectivity via road (including the M6, A50, A500, A38, A5) and rail (including the West Coast Mainline)
  • Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s physical environment – including historic urban centres and a high quality rural landscape – provides good places to live, work and visit
  • The rural economy has performed strongly in recent years, with growing employment and strong enterprise performance.’

We do however need to take on the challenge of ensuring that our sons and daughters are qualified to higher levels with the right skills. If we do not respond to these skills challenges (both at higher and lower levels), this will have the potential to constrain growth in identified priority sectors and activities.

Developing our skills was very much at the heart of our staff meeting this week. We worked together to look at what strategies work for different students. We also continued to work on achieving consistency with our behaviour policy and have started to touch on how we support sixth form students to ensure that they collate their notes from lessons in the most useable way possible. Not all 16 year olds find that organisation comes to them naturally.

Finally this week I had the pleasure to work with a year 11 group preparing for their English GCSE. We were looking at a play called ‘Inspector Calls’. Once a text becomes your exam text and you begin learning quotations and completing timed essays, there is a risk you lose sight of the brilliance of the writing and the moral purpose which drove the writing. It was good to work with this group as we discussed how Priestley sent his message that: if we don’t ‘take responsibility for each other’ as the Inspector in the play says, we will learn ‘lessons in blood, fire and anguish.’

Watching all our student helpers at our careers evening that deeply held belief in the importance of taking responsibility for others was clearly evident. Equally the sense of responsibility that our staff have for young people is shown in the attachment below which I hope you find helpful. It gives you an indication of some of the extracurricular events available for our students. I think you will agree, whilst we would love to offer even more, it is an extensive offer.

Future Intentions Evening

A fantastic evening was held at the school on Thursday for our Future Intentions evening.

A massive thank you to all the external exhibitors who attended and we hope that the pupils found the evening to be both interesting and beneficial in aiding their decisions.

Level 1 Arts Awards

19 students from Thomas Alleyne’s High School, have achieved the Level 1 National Qualification Bronze Arts Award, equivalent to a GCSE.

TAHS are held as an exemplar school for their trial of this award and had the highest number of successful students in the County take part in 2014.

Arts Award inspires young people to grow their arts and leadership talent. To achieve Bronze the young people took part in an arts activity they enjoyed, went to an arts event, researched someone in the arts who has inspired them and shared an arts based skill with others.

All the students had participated in Staffordshire’s Young Teen Fiction (YTF) Book Award and this was used as a base for their work towards the Arts Award.

Both this national qualification and YTF are important for helping students to develop new skills and experiences which in the long term will support them with college and job applications. Rhys Langley from Thomas Alleyne’s High School commented, “YTF has changed my choices, it’s made me take all the opportunities available, helped me to reach my skills potential. I have improved so many arts skills and feel a more confident and enthusiastic person.”

Eleanor Shakespeare, Librarian and English teacher Karen Fisher said

" This extra - curricular activity was an opportunity for a wide variety of students to pool their ideas and skills working collectively and achieving individually. We are impressed with the standard of their work across drama, literature and art.

Tom Becker who won the 2014 Staffordshire Young Teen fiction Book Award ( due to our students' drama performance) has agreed to present the certificates but due to various commitments is only able to make this MONDAY 9TH FEBRUARY at lunchtime in the library.

House Literary Quiz

The first heat of the 2015 House Lit’ Quiz took place during Friday Form time. Three keen teams supported by their form tutors Miss George, Mrs Payne and Mr Gilson rushed to answer as best they could three rounds of questions. The winning team from 9E2 ( Mrs Payne’s) of Ruby Woolard, Sophie Smith, Callum Marcroft and Jensen Hulbert will represent Elkes House in the final on World Book day, Thursday 5th March .

Key Dates Reminder

February half term: 16th - 20th February

School opens on Monday 23rd February

Easter holiday: 3rd - 17th April

School opens on 20th April for students

Service 32 from Tean

In response to complaints from both families and school, First, the provider of service bus 32 to/from Tean, have agreed to change the times of the morning and afternoon buses which students in Tean, Checkley and Stramshall catch to get to and from school.

From 29th March 2015 there will be a 32 bus leaving Tean at 08:15 am which will arrive in Uttoxeter at 08:34, and there will be a bus leaving Uttoxeter at 15:15 pm which will arrive in Tean at 15:34 pm.

Hopefully this will solve the problems experienced by students who use this route and who have found the current times are not suitable for school times.

Farm News

A lot of pig whispering is going on in the Rural Science department at the moment as
this year we are going to take our Oxford Sandy and Black Gilt to the Staffordshire
County show! She will be competing on Wednesday the 28th of May against other
pigs of similar age with one of our year 10 Environmental Land Based Science
students handling her. The handler will also be entered into the young handler’s
competition on the second day of the show to compete against other young handlers
from across the Staffordshire. Fortunately we have had one of the leading pig
pedigree experts in to give us a few pointers on how to prepare the pig and how to
prepare her for the day. This will be our first year of showing pigs and we hope to
carry it on into the future.

Our new arrivals the Ayrshire calves are also starting their halter training, as these
will also be going to a show this year! We will take the calves to Leek show on
Saturday the 26th of July and a couple of our year 10 students will have the
opportunity to prepare them for the show and handle them in the calf classes.
Any support on the days will be very welcome and fingers crossed for Thomas
Alleyne's in the show!

T & T in Manchester

Travel and Tourism students recently visited the Destinations Holiday show at Manchester's Event City followed by a visit into Manchester City Centre.The trip to the holiday show allowed students to meet holiday suppliers and tourist boards to learn about different destinations and gather a few freebies!

They then took the tram from Salford Quays into the city centre for some time to look around the city. The majority of the students had never visited Manchester before, the visit has enabled them to see what it has to offer both inbound and domestic tourists.

ELBS Wildlife Garden

ELBS students have just begun stage 3 of the wildlife garden and access path at The Hermitage Home for Elderly ladies in Uttoxeter. They will be building a path, together with a seating area and rockery, to enable the residents to access the summer house and enjoy the wildlife during the summer months. They are working alongside a local landscape gardener who is providing the professional support and advice in the project.

Sports News

Over the past two weeks there has been a flurry of snow and netball.
Year 11 went away to John Taylor and fought hard but lost 8-11 and Hannah Kiddle was awarded player of the match.

Year 10 took on Year 11 in the last game of the season and won 16-6, well done to all that played.

Year 9 went to Paget and won 18-6, well done to Tamzin Hemmings who was player of the match.

Congratulations to both Year 9 and 10 teams who have been unbeaten all season, and have finished first in their pools and are awaiting the semi-finals. We are currently waiting to confirm the Year 11 finishing position.

Last week we played against JCB in the girls U16 football league. The game finished 6-1 to Thomas Alleyne's. There is one game remaining, where a win against Blythe Bridge would see us qualify for the next round.

The Under 15 girls football team beat DeFerrers in an epic county cup semi final. In an evenly matched game, TAHS battled to a 7-4 victory. Goals came from Rhiannon Kenny 3, Alisha Hudson 2, Tash Hall and Abbey Hodgkinson. Rhiannon Kenny was the player of the match.The final will be after half term venue and opposition to be confirmed. Many thanks to Luke Bebbington for refereeing.

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