Friday 11th November 2016
It was great to welcome so many pupils, parents and visitors to our Sixth Form Open Evening last week. I feel very confident that our post-16 provision is very strong and still improving so I hope that our guests will have been impressed and excited by the opportunities ahead. A particular strength this year is the study culture that has developed around use of the Library and Learning Curve. Our study areas are still busy well into the evening which is a real sign of how our students are learning to manage their time. Of all the essential foundations for success, this is one of the most important.
I heard this morning that the Department for Education have given their approval to our request to expand our school roll by one Year 7 tutor group from September 2018. This is great news for two reasons: firstly, it will relieve much of the over subscription generated by the building of new houses in Portishead; and secondly, it allows us to proceed with the new building scheme for additional classrooms, dining facilities and library which will be funded by North Somerset’s Basic Need Grant. This is a multi-million-pound project and will give us both the space and the quality environment that we need. We go to Planning next week!
Lastly, can I raise an issue of real concern to me. We have seen some of our pupils using a mobile phone app called ‘Yellow’. This is most inappropriate as it is set up as a dating app for teenagers but the content is highly sexualised. Please check your children’s use of phones in this regard. I will be writing to parents in the next few days about reconsidering our policy on mobile phone use at Gordano as we are facing a real tide of worrying problems about their use. I am considering how we can address these risks, possibly by taking some steps back from our current approach. As always, I’ll be seeking your views.