Welcome back to a new school year. This year is the year to think about 61.4 reasons to smile. We start with the GCSE examination results which came out at the end of August. Year 11 did themselves and their families proud. I am sure that there was much celebrating in Weston on Thursday 24 August. 61.4 % of students attained both English and Maths at grade 9 – 4 – the so called ‘basics’ measure. This means that we are the second best school in Weston on this measure – Priory gained 67%. If you compare this to last year it is a 17% increase in results. WOW. For the 9 – 5 measure, we come out top – yes top. This is simply a great testament to the hard work and resilience of students and staff, in the face of reformed GCSEs and so much unknown. There are very few students in the country who can claim to have passed ALL of their GCSEs with the top grading of 9 or A*. Our very own Huw Pearce can make this claim and we are extremely proud of him.
It’s not all about examinations of course. I chatted to a lot of parents about timetables and provision and getting the right option choices. I do hope that everyone is happy with what we have in place for the new school year (if not, please get in touch with me directly). I am excited about our new staff – we made some excellent appointments in the summer term and a couple more staff were recruited over the summer break. So, we open our doors fully staffed. We have our cover teaching team in place, should someone fall sick, so that we can avoid supply agencies and unknown faces for our students.
Personally, I have always looked forward to lunchtime here at WCSA, largely due to Steve Spofford in the Willow Restaurant who cooks us all our lunch. In a bid to encourage students to enjoy a healthy lunch, through a joint contract within the Priory Trust we have reduced the cost of a meal to £1.70. This will buy a hot meal and a pudding. There are also vegetarian options and oven-cooked jacket potatoes are always on offer. I have worked in a number of schools and can honestly say that you would have to travel far and wide to find a school chef much better than Steve. All biometric fingerprints have been redone but there will be additional opportunities on Monday to do this.
Listening to parents, I am aware that you would appreciate even more communication. So, every Friday, I will post on our Facebook page and also on the new-look Worle website, key messages for the week ahead. Please be aware that we will happily reply by e-mail but cannot reply personally on Facebook. The main communication channel is through our e-mail system and we will get back to you quickly. Mr Coles is insistent on quick communication so please also e-mail him if you need help.
Coming up, please note the 100% attendance Celebration Evening on Tuesday, 26 September. We have our Open Evening on Thursday, 21 September – please share that date with friends and neighbours. This will be followed by a family breakfast on Saturday, 7 October. I know that many of you have attended one of your family breakfasts this last year and enjoyed getting to know us. We do have the two-week half term break this Autumn. School will finish on Friday 13 October for two weeks, and holidays home and abroad are much cheaper during the first week.
Finally, we have again improved our approach to teaching and learning. All students will be provided with homework booklets and folders. It is an expectation that these are carried at all times. Please do support us with this. We have also introduced a modular curriculum – learning cycles every 9 weeks. This will help with the new demands of GCSEs. Essentially, we have divided the year up into four learning cycles. We would like to tell you more about this and are currently planning an information evening. I will publish the date for this early next week.
I look forward to seeing students on Monday at 8.40, smart and ready to learn.
Thank you for your great support in 2016-17.