Thomas Alleyne's High School
Friday Roundup - 13th February 2015

Headteacher's Blog

Many parents may not be aware of the amount of time and commitment which governors of the school put in to supporting the school. Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in our country and play a hugely important role in raising school standards. Our governors support the school in a whole myriad of ways bringing their expertise from their work as: accountants, parents, nurses, educationalists, managing directors of large and local companies and community paediatrician.

Practically they brought their expertise to the school this week in the form of supporting myself and the senior team with appointing new staff; monitoring the Ofsted getting to outstanding work; attending Year 9 parent’s evening so that parents can talk with them directly; and meeting with senior members of staff to offer support and challenge. I realise, as governors read this, there will be many parts of their role and experience which I have not covered but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank them for the work they do for the school.

At our latest meeting a governor asked me who was responsible for putting together Round Up each week for the school, and I realised that Mr Cartwright never really puts his name on our weekly newsletter. Round Up is much like the weekly newsletter I have from my son’s primary school but a weekly newsletter is not so common in Secondary and High schools. Mr Cartwright ensures that he sources and collates school news during the week, and then on receipt of my blog, publishes Round Up to you. I have had a number of parents say they find it useful and we now have over 700 regular readers.

This week in assembly however, when we asked the pupils if they know about Round Up, few raised their hands. This could be in part due to a tendency for some teenagers and adults not to want to raise their hand in a large assembly room but I feel that it may also be a true reflection of the readership. If you do therefore get the chance to share Round Up with your son or daughter please do. You may want to go to a link which you both agree could be useful for you, or ask them questions such as: did you realise there are over 30 after school sessions running at the moment from last week’s Round Up?

Round up is made easier due to the growth of the internet. Rather than printing and compiling over 1000 copies of a newsletter, giving it to students where it may end up at the bottom of the bag, it comes direct to you to be opened at a time of your choice via email. The cost to the school is only the time it takes to put it together. This is one of the huge benefits which the internet has brought to our lives: it can improve our communication and provide us with quick access to information. We no longer need to send off for leaflets or go down to our local information centre instead we simply click on a link. For instance, this week I will use Round up to share with you links to some career websites which I shared in assemblies this week. The theme of this week’s assemblies was based around the words of Ann Lander, ‘Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.’ My story of when something hard work showed up as an opportunity came from when I was 17 and was working as a cleaner. The house I was working in was beautiful and to be honest I never really understood why they needed me as it seemed spotless. However one day when cleaning I took some spray from the cleaning box and sprayed it on to my employer’s wardrobes. As I watched, the paint on the wardrobes began to run. I admitted to students this week that the following thought passed through my mind at that time, “If I clean it up she might never know it was me”, but just as quickly, another thought came which told me I had to go downstairs and admit that I had just ruined these wardrobes. As I walked down the stairs I still remember that I thought I knew two things: one was that there was no way I would get paid that week and the other was that I would be given the sack. I walked into the kitchen, explained and we went to look at the wardrobes. I was right in one way as my employer was devastated. But I was wrong on two counts. As I left that afternoon, I was handed my wages and was not asked to leave. How does this relate to Ann Lander’s words? Well for me the rewards of honesty and integrity here are clear, especially when there is an easier and seemingly less painful option.

I also shared with students the websites below:

› Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (list of Sector Skills Councils)

› Total Professions (site listing professional bodies)

› Job market information (from the National Careers Service)

› UKCES

These may be of some help for you as you support your sons or daughters in their choices regarding what comes after education at Thomas Alleyne’s High School.

The internet however, just as with many good inventions, does not come without its challenges. The risks include children being contacted by bullies or people who groom or seek to abuse them. They may access age-inappropriate or unreliable content or may be influenced without their own knowledge by advertising in the websites and games they access. Of course this does not simply affect children. To address this, the UK Safer Internet Centre is promoting the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. I personally like their simple strapline to create ‘a kinder and safer internet’. Within their work they recommend four main steps to us as parents which I have quoted from their website, http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers, below:

‘Four steps to keeping your child safe:

Have ongoing conversations with your children about staying safe online Use safety tools on social networks and other online services, eg Facebook privacy settings Decide if you want to use parental controls on your home internet Understand devices and the parental control tools they offer in our Parents' Guide to Technology.’

Whilst many of you will already have this in hand, there is so much I wasn’t aware of in terms of guidance for parents that you may wish to take a look with your son/daughter.

Well that brings me to the end of my blog as we move into half term. It was a busy final week with Year 11 receiving their results from their mock examinations and, whilst many have done well, others will I hope use these results to motivate themselves into ensuring that they have a clearly structured revision plan and that they are well on track with their revision now.

The final hour of my week was perfect as I joined the climbing club run by Mr Melland and Mr Hunt. I got to work with Saskia, Blake and Iona. It was Sasha’s first week and it was incredible to see just how quickly she took to the sport. I asked her if she loved lots of sports and she said no but had clearly took to climbing. She reminded me how important it is that we help find students their niche where they can excel. Perhaps more impressive than individual accomplishments was the support the climbers provided for each other. There can be possibly nothing which asks for more responsibility than holding your friend 15 m up on a rope. Every student at the club showed that responsibility. I would like to thank the 2 teachers who ran the session and provided outstanding tuition. Admittedly though the niche we look for is not always found in school. This week in Round up, you will see a picture of our cake maker! Jess took part in Europe’s largest cake competition, Cake International, in Manchester last week and came 1st in the under 16s group! She is now the under 16 Champion of 2015. The competition was judged by the likes of Mich Turner and Mary Berry. So Jess you have inspired me to bake this half term so thank you.

Have a lovely half term and as ever if there is anything you would like information on in Round up or have individual achievements to share with us please let me know.

Year 11 Mock Results Day

Year 11 have received their mock examination results in a 'dry run' of results day. They all came down to the canteen and were presented with their own brown envelope containing their results. There were mixed emotions amongst the students, well done to those of you have achieved to your potential and for those of you who haven't now is the time to pick up your game. All students need to continue to work to their maximum, as these exams were only mocks!! The real pressure will be when these envelopes are picked up on 20th August this coming summer.

Key Dates Reminder

School opens on Monday 23rd February

Year 10 Parents Evening -Thursday 5th March 4-7pm

PTA meeting - Wednesday 1st April 7.30 pm

Easter holiday - 3rd - 17th April

School opens on 20th April for students

Readership

As a school we want to get as many people as possible reading this news bulletin as the information contained therein is as relevant to pupils as it is to parents. From this week we will be emailing the link to all pupils via their Frog email accounts. Please can you encourage your children to read the Roundup. For the pupils to access the email they need to login to Frog at:

www.uvle.org

They simply click on the school badge and then login using the same details that they use on the school network.

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.

Safer Internet Day

Tuesday saw the national Safer Internet Day where all pupils, teachers and parents were encouraged to think about making the internet a safer place by virtue of what we all put on-line.

This is a very important issue and one that should be addressed as much at home as it is in school. To access the resources and a very informative and enlightening quiz please see the SID website.

House Lit' Quiz

Well done to Mrs Baldwin's form, 903. Orme heat winners of the House Lit' Quiz . They will now go onto represent Orme at the final on World book day.

& in Music....

Year 12 and 13 music students have completed their performance modules this week. Friends and family members were treated to some outstanding performance recitals in the theatre and this clearly demonstrated the students' hard work and passion for music.

The music department is preparing for 3 big events in the Summer term. The summer concert rehearsals begin on Monday 23rd February with Wind Band after school. Choir will be on Wednesday lunch time, Jazz Band after school on Wednesday and String Group on Friday lunch time. A full schedule of all rehearsals for next half term is on the notice board in room 67. The Summer concert is on 14th July.

The House Music competition is on 6th July and the House Music Captain selection process will begin after the half term holiday.

Rehearsals for the music tour to New York will begin after the half term holiday. Notices for rehearsals will be on the main notice board and on Frog.

Bronze Level Arts Award

Staffordshire Library staff have been working in partnership with local School Librarians to enable 19 students from Thomas Alleyne’s High School, to achieve the level 1 national qualification Bronze Arts Award. Thomas Alleyne’s are held as an exemplar school for their trail of this award and have the highest number of successful students in the County to have taken 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 skills 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. The passes (equivalent to a GCSE) achieved by the students reinforces the value of a professionally qualified Librarian in schools”.

Sports News

Practices after half term:

U18 Rugby Tuesday after school

U14 Rugby Wednesday after school

U14 Football Thursday after school

Badminton Tuesday

Swimming Thursday

Climbing Friday

Girls Football Wednesday

Fixtures for all years and teams will also resume after the winter break.

Ski Trip Parents Evening

A reminder that it is the final parents evening for the 2015 trip on Wednesday 25th February starting at 6pm. All final details will be given out at this evening. Please can you bring the EHIC card to this meeting for collection. There are also 7 pupils who have not ordered a hoodie. In the meantime have a look at the live webcam from resort...

Ski 2016 is to be advertised after half term if you think this trip is for you!

Tackk App

You can now view the Roundup directly on your Apple or Android tablet or phone by downloading the tackk app.

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