It doesn’t seem only eight weeks ago that this academic year began with students arriving in their new uniforms anticipating the term ahead.
Here we are at half term with many things to celebrate and so much more to look forward to in the forthcoming term. The final two weeks of this term have been further packed with opportunities for young people to thrive and develop themselves as individuals.
On Thursday 15 October we held our Into KS5 evening for prospective parents of our Sixth Form students. The feedback from those parents/carers who were able to attend, indicates that the evening was informative, thought provoking and produced a clearer understanding of the work ethic and academic qualifications required at GCSE to secure a place on particular courses. Through achieving good progress in Year 11, our students will provide themselves with extensive choices at post 16. At a time when the exam system is getting harder, our students really do need to demonstrate their RESILIENCE and COURAGE to achieve the qualifications they will require to bring them closer to their future goals.
It has been an eventful and extremely HAPPY fortnight for our rugby and football teams as the success of Denefield students on the sports field continues to grow. The U14 girls’ football team beat St Joseph’s a comfortable 9-0 and finished runners-up in the Reading schools football league, with the U12 boys beating St Joseph’s 4-0 in the national cup and the U18 boys’ football team beating Bulmershe 4-2.
In the rugby fixtures our U12 boys beat St Joseph’s 20-0 with our U13 and U16 boys beating Prospect 35-5 and 16-7 respectively. In the U14 league, the Year 9 A team secured victories over Chiltern Edge 29-7, Oakbank 46-5, JMA 53-0 and Bulmershe 57-7, all tremendous margins of success. Three cheers for all of our sports teams!
Following the election and appointment of Jack Ellison to Deputy Head Boy and Samuel Szymczyk, Laura Morgan, Daniella Charles, Laura Gracey-Stokes, Courtney Basden, Maddie Kay, Bethany Ivens and Chloe Muir to the roles of House Captain, our Sixth Form leadership team is now complete.
Hot on the heels of their appointments, the Sixth Form leadership team collectively organised their very first event: a fancy dress Halloween disco for Year 7 students on 22 October. Excitedly students bought their tickets, organised their outfits and had a good time, dancing to the latest downloads whilst taking time out to rehydrate with a can of fizzy drink and a few sweets to treat the appetite!
We are committed to encouraging students to take the lead and have a voice and this was further reflected when, this week, our student ambassadors from across all Houses joined together to plan an eventful charity fundraiser in the form of an Autumn Fayre over the school lunch time. There were many happy faces in our community room as students were provided with great entertainment, all paying for the privilege to sample monster mocktails, tantalise their taste buds with Halloween crispy cakes and get wet hair and faces during the apple bobbing! It really was fantastic to see all participants putting others first in spending their money, to show their commitment to those less fortunate than themselves.
Many parents/carers will be fully aware that at the end of each school term we build on our CHARACTER values and provide the opportunity for students to work together in their vertical tutor groups to address the social and emotional aspects of their learning. On Thursday 22 October, students in all years participated in the anti-bullying T-shirt design competition. Students worked in vertical tutor groups to create an attractive and eye-catching T-shirt design promoting an anti-bullying message. Each House then chose an overall winning design which will now be printed onto T-shirts in the House colour. The House T-shirts will be on sale during anti-bullying week which will take place from 17-21 November. The winning House will be the first House to sell out of their T-shirts. All students who purchase the T-shirt will be encouraged to wear it over their jumpers throughout anti-bullying week to demonstrate their personal pledge in combatting bullying in schools.
A further tradition since the emergence of the House system is our celebration assemblies, which all took place this week. It was wonderful to see so many students rewarded for their commitment to learning and high levels of attendance; I am personally very proud of each one of them. A particular mention should go to the students who secured the most prestigious prize: a House medal for achieving the most House points. In Sulham these students were: Molly Harris, Caiden Davies-Hitchman, Charley Guelbert and Callum Timms; in Kentwood: Louise Braine, Joshua Lowe, Ellise Lowe and Ciaran Martin; in Langley: Elise Brunsden, Nathan Andrews, Ruby Kirk and Norbert Kondratiuk and in Norcot: Abi Anderton, Harry Haines, Naomi Paxford and Luke Chapman.
Our overall winner of the House trophy this term with a collective points total of 8284 was Langley, whilst in the House attendance competition, Sulham were the winning House with an outstanding attendance of 96.16%. Very well done to all students and staff and I shall look forward to the competition commencing again on 2 November to see if Norcot and Kentwood can respond!
You will have noticed one of our CHARACTER values, HAPPY, is the title of the final blog of this term. This seemed an appropriate title, as I look back on what we already have to celebrate and as I wish our students, parents, carers, staff and local community a very HAPPY and safe half term.
On behalf of staff and governors, I would like to thank you for your continued support and look forward to seeing students bright and early and eager to learn at 8.30am on Monday 2 November.
Miss L A Dawe