Welcome to another exciting term of learning and opportunity, after what I hope was a happy and restful half term break for all. The term has started positively and students have adapted quickly back in to their routines.
On the very last day of the term, you will recall that as part of the house activity, students were designing anti-bullying logos as part of a competition. Four outstanding designs have been selected and will now be made in to T-shirts, to be sold during the week of 16-20 November. Our amazing winning designers are: Casey Thomas, Lia Thomas Venn and Lucy Everitt for Sulham; Ruby Kirk and Ewan Evans for Langley; Katie Tordoff, Maddison Holder, Erika Pickering and Amber Blake (with their ‘Make Bullying Extinct’ slogan above a picture of a dinosaur) for Kentwood and Gabriella Goodwin, Sally Nicholls and Alice Saunders for Norcot. A warm congratulations to you all.
The T-shirts will be sold for £5.00 and all proceeds raised will be donated to the relevant house charities. It would be wonderful for as many students in each house as possible to get involved and wear their T-shirt with pride to combat bullying. I know I shall be purchasing one of every design and wearing them throughout the week.
Fundraising at Denefield is something that we remain passionate about and our students take great pride in putting themselves out in order to give to others. Each house has dedicated charities that they raise funds for and they choose to raise money in a variety of different ways.
Kentwood students are challenged to raise £20.00 in their tutor group to be awarded a jigsaw piece, racing to complete the puzzle before the other tutor groups. Kentwood House supports Partner West Africa and My Cancer, My Choice and last academic year raised £881.24.
Sulham students are using tin cans as collection pots, which will be weighed every half term (no coppers allowed!) to find termly winners. At the end of the year we will open the cans and count up for a final winner. This approach adds great suspense to the competition and encourages all students and staff to keep focussed! Sulham House supports Save the Children and the British Heart Foundation and last year raised a total of £537.19.
Langley students place any of their spare change into a tutor Pringle pot and for every £5.00 raised they receive a Langley lion puzzle piece. For every £20.00 raised, and therefore four puzzle pieces, they complete their lion puzzle and receive a prize. Tutor groups can collect as many puzzle pieces as they wish. This provides lots of exciting incentives for the students of Langley whilst supporting others. Langley House supports Cancer Research UK and Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service and last year raised a total of £457.65.
Norcot students compete for tutor group petals. These are awarded each week in assembly for every £10.00 raised. Students display the petals on their tutor notice board, and the aim is to grow a flower. Tutor groups are awarded a golden petal in place of their tenth, as this marks each £100.00 raised. Norcot House supports The Lion and Dolphin Children’s Ward at the RBH and Scope and last year raised £1020.83.
Although the individual houses like to raise funds for their own charities, as a school we also like to recognise some of the national charities. On 13 November we united with much of the country in holding a non-uniform day in recognition of ‘Children in Need’. It was super to see so many of our young people getting involved with the event and taking the time out once more to think wider than our school community.
As many of you will be aware, at the start of this academic year I introduced a new method of praise, the Headteacher’s handshake, which I award for excellence in learning and the demonstration of CHARACTER inside or outside of lessons. I have awarded a total of 79 handshakes so far this year, and when a student receives two, I invite them to cake and tea with me in my office. I am delighted to report that I enjoyed a nice piece of chocolate cake with Jake Hill, Katelyn Maybanks, Olivia Kimbell, Grace King, Liam Beazley and Charley Guelbert on 13 November and I very much look forward to enjoying more with other students before the Christmas break!
Further success on the rugby field has been noted this term with all four of our rugby teams at U12, U13, U14 and U16 level reaching the semi-finals of the Reading Schools Rugby League. This is a huge achievement and my congratulations go to both students and staff for their continued commitment. On Tuesday 10 November our Year 9 rugby team secured a semi-final victory against Little Heath 27-5 and were just beaten in the final by Blessed Hugh Faringdon to finish runners up overall, our Year 11 team also finished runners up. However, our Year 8 boys were crowned champions on Thursday night after winning their league. Congratulations to all!
To complete my blog for this week I wanted to share some very exciting news. Over half term, our nursery children went on a visit to Windsor castle as part of a national Reading initiative for 2-4 year olds. Whilst the children were there, they were encouraged to have their own tea party and to capture their experience some photographs were taken. The staff at the nursery decided that Her Majesty the Queen might be interested in the fun that the children had and therefore a letter and a photo were sent to her. This week, the nursery received a reply, bearing the Royal coat of Arms and inside was a wonderful response on behalf of the Queen from the Lady in Waiting, who stated how thrilled the Queen was to see the pictures and even more impressively, Windsor castle staff have asked if the photographs can be used for publicity! For those of you who are regular visitors to the nursery, you will be able to see the framed letter in the entrance hall.
As my next blog will not be published until Friday 27 November, please be reminded of the following key dates:
Thursday 19 November is Review Afternoon. All Year 7 parents will have been invited to this event along with a selection of students from other year groups. If you would like to meet with your child's tutor, please contact them for an appointment.
Friday 20 November is an INSET day and therefore the school is closed to students.
Wednesday 2 December is our Christmas market and carols around the tree. More information to follow via the school website and Keep Kids Safe.
Miss L A Dawe