Dear Parents and Guardians
This term has certainly been eventful and as always in such a busy and vibrant community as ours we are already anticipating a packed Summer term. As I type I’m remembering a day when we closed the school due to the adverse weather and the following day dressed up for World Book Day with celebrations throughout the school. Whilst you could argue it was an atypical week, this collective sense of energy and community working in good spirits and warmth is evident every day here, and I continue to be incredibly appreciative of it and grateful for your continued contributions to it.
Last week, Alison Wilkinson and I spent some time in assemblies outlining the building developments starting this Easter holidays and I thought it was important to share these with you. We have a two-phased approach and I’m afraid it will mean there will be some significant disruption to the centre of school. Of course, this has to be very carefully managed and we have been looking closely at the short-term implications for our community, but I’m confident that we can keep the long-term improvements in mind and that children will agree that they are worth the disruptions.
Phase one of the building project means re-roofing our main library and staffroom amongst other rooms, therefore closing some spaces and re-rooming activities. This means that until September, this central corridor will not be able to be used as an access route at all. Phase two is a long-imagined plan to improve provision for Pupil Services. This will involve making use of the previous Design and Technology areas, re-locating Learning Support, Pupil Reception, Pastoral staff and several other services that need better housing such as the medical room and lost property. This has a fair degree of ambition about it and for various reasons we may need to do this in stages, but either way, we thought it was important to let everyone in our community know what we are hoping to achieve over the next few months.
Whilst this exciting project starts in a matter of days, in early May we hope that building the new QEStudio will begin in anticipation of opening by the summer of 2019. This will be less disruptive to day to day routines as the building is situated near the Sports Hall at the back of school, but simply starting the building heralds a new dawn for QEStudio, bringing with it some wonderful new facilities that so many of our pupils will enjoy.
Of course, whilst this is all very exciting, Health and Safety is central to all of these developments. In our assemblies we have been clear to the children that they must not go anywhere near building compounds, some of which will be constructed this Easter, and we’d be grateful if you could reiterate the importance of these messages . As with all aspects of safety, we are explicit with everyone in our community that it is the priority and that we share the responsibility of ‘looking out for others’. If you ever have any concerns about this aspect of school please do not hesitate to bring it to our attention.
Obviously ‘normal’ school life continues even as we look to the future, and as I said at the beginning, what an eventful term this has been. From Chicago to the Sixth Form Easter Balloon debate, from the successes of Rugby Sevens to the sheer joyous celebration of the Easter Concert, it has been a lively and celebratory term. There have been extra- curricular activities and school trips that are too numerous to mention, and, of course, day to day interactions that acknowledge our long held understanding that education takes place in and beyond the classroom, and that the young people in our care really are remarkable and deserve the best we can provide.
I know that every term has its rhythms and every year group in school faces different considerations throughout, from option choices to exam pressures. I know that the challenges facing young people can be difficult and that we have our part to play in helping them through, but equally, as we see the green shoots of spring pushing through, there is no mistaking the energy and optimism that young people bring and I am grateful to be working with them every day.
Thank you, once again, for your continued support and all the very best for Easter.
Cathy O’Neill, Headteacher