13th September 2012
After a year of waiting it is so good to be enjoying the new Sixth Form building. At last we have the facilities that our post-16 students deserve and it is fantastic to see the study centre full and the classrooms and lecture hall in use. Our new Head of Sixth, Jeanne Fairs, has been settling in and working with students on their new options. With record numbers in the Sixth Form and a great new building I trust that we are set fair for a highly successful year.
The after-shocks of the GCSE controversy are continuing to hit us in school. A number of North Somerset schools, ourselves included, were seriously affected by the changes to grade boundaries for the June exams in English and Science. Equally, a number of schools saw their results shoot up having entered their students for the January exams. The injustices of this situation have been explored in the press and I shall not tread over them again now. I am, however, sure that parents will want to know what we have done to challenge this interference in the examination system. Gordano School has submitted a sample of twenty students’ work in English for remarking. Should errors be identified this would allow for a statistical upgrade for all students. We have written in conjunction with Backwell, Clevedon and St Katherine’s schools to seek the intervention of our MP, Liam Fox. I have also shared our data with the Association of School and College Leaders who are mounting a legal challenge. I don’t know if anything will come of this but at least we will know that we have turned every stone.
To turn to a much more positive matter, I would like to offer my congratulations to Maisie Dodds in Year 12 who won a Gold medal for England in the Senior Women’s Athletic Gymnastics Leverkusen Cup in Germany last weekend. This crowns a superb summer of achievement for our gymnasts and admits Maisie to the top ranks of achievement in her sport.
Our school parents’ association, the GSPA, will be holding its AGM on Wednesday, 19th September at 6.30pm in the New Conference Room by the main Reception. I would like to invite any parent, and especially new Year 7 parents, to come along, see what we do and perhaps join the GSPA’s work. The Association is not just a fund raiser but also a crucial forum for exchange of ideas and views between the school’s leadership team and our community. It is also great to be on first name terms with at least some of our parents and GSPA meetings are informal, lively and short!
Our new cashless catering system is proving very popular and after a glitch on the first day back is running very efficiently. If your son or daughter eats in our school canteen you may wish to encourage them to consider the cooked meal option. For £1.95 it is excellent value as it includes both a main course and pudding or fruit.
Lastly, I would ask parents who drop off or pick up children from school to avoid doing so in the Clevedon Road gate as we have had some problems with obstructions there. It greatly helps if parents can arrange a pick up point a short walk away from school as we don’t want to block traffic in our neighbourhood and a large secondary school inevitably generates a lot of activity at the start and end of the day.
I hope to see some of you at the GSPA meeting on Wednesday, 19th September.