I think it would be a fair comment to make that, during my years of teaching and leading schools, including Christ the King College, this last week, the first back after our Easter break, has passed more swiftly than any I recall—indeed, I find it hard to believe that it is Friday and I am already writing the Principal’s message!
However, It is a sobering thought how quickly the time has passed and our students must be feeling the countdown to their GCSE, AS and A Level Examinations as much as myself, my colleagues and you, their parents, are feeling it!
Linked to this, of course, is a huge thank you to the students and parents who attended the English, Mathematics, RE and Science Intervention and support evening on Thursday. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from parents and students who found the presentations informative and the resources and material on offer a real support for the forthcoming examinations. All of the materials from Science, RE and English have been shared with students through the Year 11 Google classroom.
Also linked with Examinations, a thank you is also due to the students who have been working on their Art and Photography Examinations. Their commitment and focus has been excellent and I am sure you share with us a feeling of pride in the work that has been accomplished. As Examinations continue I am sure our students will continue to impress with their mature and dedicated approach. Well done to them all.
Finally, you will also notice that we have included in the Parent Bulletin events that have happened during the course of the College week. Though we usually save these stories until the Termly College Newsletter, we thought we would pilot a new version this half term. The feedback we have for the Newsletter is very positive and we do not wish to lose the opportunity to share the achievements with and about our students. However, we can often be weeks late by the time we have reached the end of a term. Please let me know your thoughts on the pilot and, as always, keep us informed!
As we move towards the end of another term, I know you will want to be informed of the end of term arrangements and, indeed, of any activities taking place during the Easter two weeks. Last Wednesday evening, the termly music concert took place in the Sixth Form Centre and, once again, it was a pleasure to watch so many talented students performing such a wide variety of pieces. Of particular significance was the choral performance of an extract from Handel’s Messiah by staff and students, accompanied by the orchestra. I know that there are plans to build on the wonderful concept of a staff and student choir…which, I am sure, could include parents if anyone is interested. Perhaps a Christ the King College Community Choir is about to develop; how wonderful.
Plans are also in place to build on our weekly Mass and Holy Communion with our end of term Mass and Holy Communion for all students. These will be taking place during Period 1 next Friday. On Thursday next week, we will be holding our Celebration Worship for Years 7 – 10. It is always pleasing on these occasions to take the time to reflect on the term and to appreciate the vast amount of positive experiences and achievements that we have had the pleasure to be part of throughout the past few months. If your son or daughter has an achievement outside of College that you would like us to celebrate, please do not hesitate to let us know.
It truly is a delight to spend time with our young people and this is evident in the time staff are willing to give of freely to spend additional time supporting them with revision activities and extra-curricular trips to support their learning. For all of our Year 11, 12 and 13 students, and for many of our Year 10 students, we are rapidly approaching the examination period and I am aware of the pressures put upon them at this crucial time in their education. Last Wednesday, for example, there were nearly 100 students attending the Maths Revision Session after College; a real tribute to the students and the staff leading the sessions. Of course, these sessions are taking place across other subject areas at other times. Please see the attached timetable and encourage your child to attend the appropriate sessions.
Our thoughts, prayers and support are with them as they approach this potentially stressful time, though please be assured that plans are in place to assist them with their individual subject revision, their preparation for the examinations in general and coping mechanisms to deal with the pressures of this period. We will be writing to Year 11 parents in the near future to invite you to an evening on which we will provide information as to how you can support your child throughout this period in the core subjects. The evening that has been identified is Thursday, 16th April. It is this partnership working with families that we pride ourselves on and that contributes to our many successes
Thank you for your continued support as we move towards the end of this term.
As is so often the case, I would like to begin my Principal’s Message this week with a huge thank you to the parents and students who attended our Sixth Form Information Evening on Thursday night. I am sure that the excitement of the evening, the information shared and the wonderful atmosphere in the Sixth Form Centre is a true sign of our ever expanding, thriving and successful Sixth Form and a glimpse of what is to come next year. Details regarding the application process were shared during the evening with the paper application form shared with students on the evening and an electronic version available on the College website. We look forward to this exciting time.
I hope and trust that you will also be excited by the new step we are taking with regards to the Homework that is set across our College. Following on from the Parent Questionnaire of only a few weeks ago, homework was raised as an issue for some students and some parents. In response to that, I am delighted to be able to announce the launch of the Show My Homework online tool. You will see to the right a brief introduction, with a more detailed letter later in the Parent Bulletin. We are taking the next few weeks, before the Easter break, as a time to ensure that all students and parents, as well as staff, are utilising the system. At the very simplest level, all homework set by the College can and will be displayed on the Show My Homework calendar page, where filters can be applied to specify year groups, teachers and subjects. During next week, individual login details will be shared with students and parents, in order to be able to use the tool to its full potential. You will also see, by visiting the College website, that we have shared a Parent version of a PowerPoint that was shared with students this morning, demonstrating the potential, range and scope of the Show My Homework software.
Finally, I would like to mention some events for next week. Tonight is the opening night of our Year 10 students’ Photography exhibition at Dimbola Lodge. The feedback from last year was quite amazing and the expectation is high for this year’s exhibitions. The second event is our College Easter Music Concert, being held on Wednesday in the Sixth Form Hall. The standard, professional and the high quality of music from our Christmas Concert will be a hard act to beat; however, I am hearing great things (especially a special surprise item!). Finally, on Friday evening, the College Worship Band will lead a time of reflection and worship. The standard of these evenings has been nothing less than wonderful. I hope to see as many of you as possible at these events.
As soon as our College day began on Tuesday morning, Year 11 students were embarking on their English Mock Examination, a two hours and fifteen minute paper with those allowed extra time and other access arrangements gaining additional support and allowances. This was followed on Wednesday and Thursday by their non-calculator and calculator Mathematics Paper respectively. The only appropriate response is a thank you and well done to all of those involved. Indeed, Mr Goodhead, who has oversight and responsibility for the Examinations and these Mock Examinations, stated in our SLT Meeting on Thursday afternoon that if the students' outcomes equals their effort then they will achieve some fantastic results. Our intention is to share the results of the Maths and English Mock Examinations with the students next week. Once these results have been released, if or where issues or concerns arise, please feel free to contact Mrs G Hutching in the UC Administration Office to arrange one to one discussions with members of the SLT Team.
In addition to the Mock Examinations undertaken by Year 11, students in Year 10 through to Year 13 have also received their Examination Entry information. The Examination and Data Team are presently working on final timetables and seating arrangements for these Examinations. Therefore, any concerns regarding the Examination Entry information should be shared with the College as soon as possible. Similarly, if parents believe their children should be receiving extra time or other access arrangements, then please contact the College as soon as possible.
On a different note, and yet with similar excitement and interest, students in Year 7 and Year 8 are participating in the College Eisteddfod competition. Students received the Eisteddfod completion booklet at the end of last term and have been busy discussing, completing and handing in their entries. Students are able to enter as many of the subject Eisteddfod tasks as they wish and, based purely on the entries seen and completed to date, the completion is going to be a most fascinating challenge for markers and assessors. I look forward to being part of the Eisteddfod marking panel next week.
Finally, a reminder of the forthcoming Sixth Form Information Evening. Information is available on the website, an advert is attached to this Parent Bulletin and a letter inviting students in Year 11 will soon be delivered to our students. The evening offers a unique opportunity for students (and parents!) to experience a taster of the AS courses on offer and ask the vital and important questions regarding the content, curriculum, assessment and future pathways. We look forward to welcoming our Year 11 students and parents to the evening.
You will be aware that the official 2014 examination results for schools across the country have been published. There is significant media coverage both nationally and, as one would expect, here on the Island. Whilst I know that our parents have confidence in our work, I would like to clarify our results for 2014, given some of the statements that are being made in our Island media and emphasise how well Christ the King achieved in 2014. I want us all, as a community, to be clear about our academic achievements for the sake of our students and staff who continue to excel in so many ways and for our parents who quite rightly invest their support and trust in us.
It is a fact that the percentage of our students who achieved 5A*- C including English and maths (referred to as 5A*-C EM) in 2014 is 55% which, when compared to the percentages of 2013 and 2012, would seem a considerable drop. We were disappointed as the figure was a little lower than we expected. However, there were reasons for this; some complex and some simple. For example, national changes to the way that GCSEs were assessed for 2014, including the imperative to report first entry and not best entry and changes to the English assessments, have distorted results for most schools nationally and had some impact on our results.
On a more simple level, and one which I am pleased to see the County Press is beginning to acknowledge in line with national trends, each cohort of students is quite obviously different in their potential. Therefore, whilst a year on year improving picture on the 5A*-C EM figure always looks very positive, it is not always achievable for schools. On a simple level again, last year’s Year 11 as a cohort of students were not predicted to achieve as highly as the previous years on the 5A*- C EM measure because of their starting points. In reality, however, all the other measures show how well last year’s students did achieve.
Indeed, when the overall progress of students from their starting points (from when they enter in Year 7) is measured, last year’s Year 11 achieved exceptionally well. This is the measure called Value Added and is based on students’ best 8 GCSE results. Any figure reported above 1000 indicates that the school is adding positive value to its students (the progress they have made); our figure is 1028.3. I have just received the excellent news and seen the statistics that show Christ the King College is the only school on the Island with a positive Value Added score and we have the highest Value Added figure across all Hampshire and the Isle of Wight secondary schools. Good news, indeed!
Whilst it is not my position or intention to comment on other schools, I am aware that there is comment in the media and on websites which refers to us. Whilst it is not a problem that people express opinions, I feel it is important that our parents understand the facts. It is my duty to assure parents that our standards have definitely not dropped. I rarely use the page of our weekly bulletin to communicate such messages, as I know our parents respect our work and see the evidence of it day by day. Also, as we all know, good schools are not just about league tables.
I sincerely hope that this information is helpful to you. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further details.
Thank you again for the responses received following our recent request for thoughts and comments on the communication systems we use at the College. The feedback we have received is, I trust as you would expect, positive. However, as a result of discussion with parents, students and staff, we will be acting upon some suggested improvements to ensure our communication remains excellent.
Firstly, this Parent Bulletin has been printed and distributed to all students in the College, along with being available as an email, a link in the email and posted on the website. There is a returns slip that we would request all parents to complete, simply indicating how you usually receive your Parent Bulletin with some follow through questions.
Secondly, we would encourage our parents to access Facebook and Twitter to ensure they are linked to our Christ the King College social media.
Thirdly, to reassure parents that the communication discussion is on-going, any further comments or suggestions are always more than welcome and should, in the first instance, be directed to Miss Gemma Long, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will also see in the Parent Bulletin some information regarding the prayer life of our College. As a Christian College, it is impossible for us to fully appreciate the impact which prayer has and will have on our day to day running and long term planning, but it would be remiss of us not to both thank you for your prayers and encourage you to continue. Prayer Boxes are situated at Reception desks on Lower College, Upper College and in the Sixth Form Centre, in addition to Student Services.
Firstly, may I express my thanks to the families of our Year 9 students who braved the wind and the rain last night to join us for our Options Evening. Once again, the parental support was overwhelming and I sincerely hope that you enjoyed the evening, in addition to finding it helpful and informative. This should be an exciting time for Year 9 as they focus on their future choices that will not only take them through their GCSEs, but also prepare them for life and learning in the Sixth Form and beyond. Those families who were unable to join us will receive their packs though the post as soon as possible. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
You will be aware from previous newsletters that we are in the process of reviewing our communication with parents. Thank you for the extremely positive feedback received and for the constructive suggestions. We are also pleased to be embarking on a new website, probably ready to launch in the Summer Term, and this will incorporate many additional ways of keeping our parents informed of a whole range of aspects of College life to help you and your child. In particular, we are investigating ways to keep you more fully informed about homework. As indicated in last week’s Parent Bulletin, if you are interested in working with us by joining a Parents’ Forum, please contact Miss Gemma Long at Gemma.Long@christ-the-king.iow.sch.uk.
Parents will be pleased to learn that our Head Boy, James Shelley, is going to be our very first student to win a prestigious place at an American university. James has won a place and a financial aid package to study at Claremont McKenna College in California after participating in the Sutton Trust’s Programme run in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission. James competed with no less than 2,200 applicants to win one of 175 places on the programme. This is a tremendous achievement and I know you will be delighted to read about James’ achievement.
Indeed, we are also very proud of the exceptional successes of our other Sixth Form students who have been applying to universities across the country and are receiving well deserved offers very quickly in return, offers that include many of the most prestigious universities. They now have to continue to work hard to achieve their grades, but I have no doubt that this is what they are doing, motivated even more by the offers they have received. You will recall how impressed Ofsted were last March with our Sixth Form, rating it as outstanding, and it continues to go from strength to strength. Those families with students in Year 11 are reminded that we are looking forward to our second Sixth Form Information Evening on Thursday, 12th March. If there are any Year 11 students who have not returned their subject application forms, then it would be helpful to do so to help us confirm the curriculum as much as possible by that date.
I hope that, following the extremely stormy weather of this week, the sun shines and everyone has a lovely weekend.
It hardly seems like yesterday that I was writing the final newsletter of 2014! I sincerely hope that our families enjoyed the Christmas and the New Year break and are looking forward to 2015 and all that a new year brings. Our students returned excitedly ( well, most of them! ) on Monday, and there has been much talk about new year resolutions; apparently the staff decided that mine must be to eat lunch…contrary to my resolution which was to eat less after the inevitable Christmas excesses! As you know, Christ the King College is a very busy place which probably accounts for lunchtime seeming to pass unnoticed by me most of the time! Already, there is much to report.
Firstly, we have welcomed new staff to our College this week. Your children may have mentioned Mr Robin Holdsworth who has joined the Maths Department from Ryde Academy, Miss Charlotte Wright, also from Ryde, who has joined our English team and Ms Maureen Kelly who has joined us from Lancashire. Mr Ben Donald from Cowes has joined our Science team, and we have also welcomed Mr Jack Sacre who is supporting ICT across the College. We are anticipating two additional staff members arriving next week from abroad and are looking forward to welcoming them to both the Island and our College.
Please also be aware that Dr Kevin Dean and Mr Ben Stolborg have joined the Senior Leadership Team and Mr Ryan Williams, Assistant Principal, is undertaking the role of Head of Lower College while Mr Richard Clark has transferred to Upper College, replacing Mr Jackson who left at the end of last term.
Next week sees one of the most important annual events for parents and students: the Year 9 Options Evening. Last year saw unprecedented support with only a handful of parents not attending. I sincerely hope that you will all join us for this essential evening that marks the beginning of Year 9 choosing their GCSES studies for the next two years.
As we reach the end of yet another successful term, it remains only for me to thank you for your continued support for Christ the King College. Despite the many commitments and demands on your time during this busy period, your presence at so many of our events has been very much appreciated. I hope that these events have given you the opportunity to share in the many successes of our students and also to meet staff in different circumstances.
The successes of our students are also well documented in the very full newsletter coming home with your children and posted on our website. Yesterday morning, our traditional Celebration Worship also took place, yet another opportunity to showcase each other’s achievements and, importantly, to share in each other’s successes and talents.
It is at the end of term that we also find ourselves saying good-bye to staff who, for various reasons, are moving on from Christ the King College. I know you will be saddened to her of the following departures, but I also know that you would wish to join me in wishing these staff well for their futures. We say farewell to the Reverend Clive Leach as he leaves the Island to take up post as a head of a middle school near Birmingham; to Mrs Justine Doughty who is moving to Cowes Enterprise College; to Mr Chris Jackson who has been successful in securing an Assistant Headship in Bournemouth and to Mr Mark Staniforth who is moving to Carisbrooke College. We also wish Ms Jacquie Woodhouse a long and happy retirement following the years of service that she gave to Archbishop King and, latterly, Christ the King College and Mr James Cooney who returns to Ireland. We hold all of these colleagues in our prayers as they leave us for their new lives.
Please be assured that all arrangements are in place to ensure that the education of your children continues to be well supported by the staff who will be taking those classes that were previously taught by staff who are leaving. I look forward to introducing the new staff to you through the pages of the January newsletter.