The final two weeks of this term have been busy with numerous events which have brought much happiness to students, parents, carers, staff and our local community.
As I noted in the dates for your diary section in my previous blog, British Science and Engineering week ran from 14-18 March. Throughout this week, colleagues in STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and maths delivered an exciting programme of activities for students to get involved in. Attendance to sessions was good and students commented on how the activities allowed them to think in new ways about the different subjects. They were able to identify how these subjects can open up opportunities for them in a vast number of careers. My thanks to Miss Stewart for coordinating the event and also to my maths, science and technology staff for giving up their time to extend experiences for our students.
Another exciting event in our calendar was the German exchange. From 10-18 March, 18 Denefield students played host to students from Ausburg. This experience was an opportunity for all participants to extend their language skills, as well as foster long lasting friendships. My thanks go to Mrs Robinson who led the exchange and I am sure our students will look forward to their return visit to Germany in July.
Continuing the languages theme, Denefield was pleased to offer its first visit to Spain from 7-11 March, following the introduction of Spanish into the MFL curriculum last academic year. Mr Boys, Miss Vazquez de la Rosa, Miss Yates and Miss Critchley accompanied 34 students to Madrid experiencing many exciting sights including a visit to a local school, the zoo and, the highlight for many, the Bernabeu football stadium home to Real Madrid. My thanks to all of my colleagues for their commitment to the success of this trip.
Fill your life with experiences not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
This final week of term has been hectic. Year 11 sat their English Literature PPE on Monday and will receive the results for these immediately after the break. This examination will give them a strong idea of their likely outcomes this summer. I would however, encourage all of our Year 11 students to continue to believe that with hard work and determination they can do even better, but it won’t just happen by itself!
I’d rather be completely exhausted from the hard times which breed success, than well rested from achieving nothing.
On Tuesday, we held our annual Key Stage 4 awards ceremony, where students in Years 10 and 11 were invited to accept public recognition for their commitment to learning. I was delighted to see so many students receiving awards and how proud parents/carers and staff were in recognising the success of each individual. Warmest congratulations to every attendee and to those who unfortunately couldn’t make it on the evening. The school community are proud of you, as you should be of yourselves.
Take pride in how far you have come. Have faith in how far you can go.
On 17 March I enjoyed tea with 25 students from Years 7-10 who had recently achieved their second Headteacher’s handshake. It was a real pleasure spending time with these young people who are without a doubt a real credit to the school. We were treated to delightful homemade cakes from Harrisons, our caterers, which I served to each student and which were devoured in record time! I shall look forward to my tea with Year 11 prior to half term and seeing many other students across the school who achieve two or more handshakes before the academic year is over.
Yesterday, I was able to celebrate once more with 28 students across all seven years, who were nominated by their house teams for a Headteacher’s Award. Many received awards for demonstrating our CHARACTER values. I always enjoy spending time with students at the Headteacher’s awards. Praising young people for getting it right day in day out is vitally important, and I would like to further congratulate these individuals for being super ambassadors for this school community.
For the second year running Mrs Shaw, Mrs Edwards, Miss Grant and Mrs Jackson, along with our student ambassadors, have hosted the Primary School Easter Egg Hunt this week, following last year’s positive feedback from participants. We were delighted to welcome students and staff from Long Lane, Downsway and Westwood Farm and I hope that each and every one of them enjoyed their short time with us. Well done to all of our ambassadors who I know spent a significant amount of time preparing for the event. The community spirit that these young people generate is commendable. Thank you.
Devote yourself to your community around you. Devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
Today has also been busy and has been themed ‘Emotional Health Day’. Students have participated in a number of activities which have enabled them to recognise their own thoughts and feelings, as well as how they might learn to be more resilient when things are getting a bit difficult.
Staff and students (through the support of parents/carers) have participated in a non-uniform day, to support my fundraising efforts for Reading Samaritans, in advance of the London Marathon next month. Thank you to you all for your donations.
Our Sixth Form leadership team wanted to take it a step further as they organised an obstacle course made up of 26 stations to acknowledge the 26 miles in the marathon. Staff and students were challenged to seek the ‘quickest’ time for their Easter egg prize, but also to raise as much money as they could for the Samaritans. I would like to thank our Sixth Form students, who all received some sponsorship for this event, for their effort and commitment to the fund raising activities and many thanks to all who sponsored the Sixth Form to participate.
Some of you will be aware that a small group of our Sixth Formers have been working with Thames Valley Police on a Young Enterprise project. The team of students developed the company CoGen to increase awareness across society of Child Sexual Exploitation and the need for all of us to work together to prevent it. Our Young Enterprise team developed a full campaign, complete with video and comprehensive resourcing and after months of hard work, presented their project to the Young Enterprise experts at Sulhamstead Police training college on Wednesday 16 March along with ten other local schools. I am delighted to inform you that Denefield won ‘Company of the Year’, the most prestigious award at the event. As a result, CoGen are now heading to the County Finals in May. Congratulations to all students who have committed to the success of this company and to Mr Wheeler and Mrs Williams who have ably supported them throughout. I shall certainly be at the finals encouraging them further success. Well done all, I am very proud of you.
One final note on uniform. May I thank parents and carers for maintaining the high standards of uniform that we expect. School shoes, appropriate length skirts, smart trousers (not skinny) and the use of rucksacks, not handbags, all help to maintain the business like focus and positive image of the school. Please be reminded that tutors complete daily checks and that sanctions are in place and will be applied for non-conformists.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Easter break, and I shall look forward to welcoming students back for the start of the summer term on Tuesday 12 April at 8.30am.
Miss L A Dawe