QES Headteacher's Messages 2018-19

Spring 2019

Originally posted on 11 March 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians

As you know, since Christmas it’s been an incredibly busy time and when you think that we are only weeks away from Year 11 and Year 13 leaving us to take their exams, it is a reminder of how quickly these precious school years go by. I know that pupils are working hard in readiness for these important exams and I hope that pupils and parents feel they have all the support they need from us in preparing for them. Equally, I hope everyone can continue to enjoy those other significant aspects of our community here – the aspects that make the days vibrant, supportive and fun – such as the recent delights of World Book Day (see photo), the wonderful achievements and opportunities in areas like Vex Robotics, sports’ teams, music and drama, and the warm, considered contributions of different Student led groups such as our Amnesty, Equality and Diversity, Well-being and Sustainability groups. Of course we know the exams are important for the young people here, but we know that participating in these many other activities helps in so many ways, not least in keeping a sense of perspective and balance at times of potential stress.

In other developments we have (finally!) moved Learning Support, Pupil Reception and Heads of Year and we are naming these new areas after the House System we introduced last year named after the tributaries of the Lune. So, the rooms around the area will be called: Roeburn, Greta, Hindburn, Keer, Dee and Wenning and we hope to create some pupil art work in the area as a celebration of our beautiful locality. Pupils have been wonderfully patient and considerate throughout the building works, as have staff, and whilst there are bound to be teething issues as we review some of the ways we work in this new area, it is a very promising development for us.

As we name these areas in our assemblies and form times over the next few weeks and get used to inhabiting the spaces, we are reiterating our school Values of ‘being decent’, ‘looking out for others’, and ‘respecting our environment’ in recognising how important it is to be appreciative of our wonderful site, cafe and maintenance staff in particular; they work so hard to look after the place we share, often in an understated, modest manner and I’m sure you will share my appreciation of their contributions.

This term we have been reviewing our 2018-19 Development Plan and beginning the process of identifying key areas which will be our focus for next year. Some of the areas we are looking at are:

  1. a new QES website for September 2019
  2. the quality of our Key Stage 3 provision
  3. the pastoral staffing structure
  4. a staff Professional Learning Twitter community - sharing ideas, resources, research and no doubt polite disagreements!
  5. a better Awards system for celebrating the achievements of our pupils
  6. improving Visitor Reception and the front school

The pace is so speedy here that it is always difficult to give a single account of developments, but I hope this provides you with a snapshot of just some of the areas that we hope to improve over the next few months.

I’m also delighted to say we have made promising appointments for September in Maths, English, Music and Physics, and Gareth Leather is our new Head of Music; we are now looking forward to appointing a new Deputy Headteacher for September having posted the advert in the TES only this weekend.

So much continues to preoccupy us as we move towards Easter and I encourage you to follow us on Twitter if you don’t already, as we continue to try and improve our communications with you. Continuing this theme we will be sending more surveys out to parents and pupils in the hope of receiving as much accurate feedback on key areas of school as we plan for next year; I appreciate that these can be irritating to receive in your inbox but we are extremely grateful for your input so thank you in anticipation.

As always, please don’t wait for a survey request to contact us if you have any queries or concerns or would like some more information on any aspect of our provision.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes.

Cathy O’Neill, Headteacher

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 April 2019, 9:35 AM