Principals Letter to Parents January 2015

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Upcoming Events

Happy New Year!  I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year break.

Here we are in the middle of the term already, so this is not really a start of term letter, but I wanted to update you on a number of developments in school and some of the forthcoming events during the next few weeks.

Term Dates 2015-16

I know some parents will be thinking about booking holidays during 2015-16 now and I would draw your attention to the term dates on the web-site and ask you to check these before you book.  As you know, we are not able to authorise holidays during term time, so it is important to be aware of the term dates and these are not always the same every year.  For example, the October holiday is a week later in 2015-16 because of the later start to the Autumn Term.  If you have any questions about this, please contact us.

Year 8 Choices

We are part way through the period during which Year 8 students will be making their choices regarding the subjects they will be studying in Year 9.  All Year 8 students have had the process explained to them in assemblies and have received a copy of the Choices Information Booklet in either I-Book or hard copy.  We have enjoyed a very successful Year 8 Choices Evening when lots of parents and students attended and were able to visit the subject displays in the new Market Place format which seemed to work very well.  Most of the students and parents have now also had their individual mentoring discussions with the tutor to talk about the best choice of subjects for each student.  We would also encourage the students to talk to their subject teachers and to continue to find out as much information as possible before the deadline for submitting choices which is Thursday 5 February.  If you have any questions about the process, please get in touch with your son/daughter’s tutor or contact the Discovery College Office.

6th form matters

We are currently accepting applications from Year 11 students for a place in our 6th form for September 2015.  We have had a high volume of applications already, including a large number of external applicants wishing to join us from another school.  We would encourage any Year 11 student who has not yet made an application to do so as soon as possible so that we are certain to be able to accommodate their choice of courses.  We are always able to reconsider the selection made once GCSE results are known in the summer but it helps us to have a clear idea of provisional choices at this stage.

The deadline for submission of applications to University is now passed and once again we have a large number of students applying for places at University this year.  Lots of offers have already come through, including an offer to a Homewood student to study Mathematics at Cambridge University.  We believe this is a first for the school and follows our decision to offer Further Maths A-level as part of our 6th form curriculum. 

School Improvement Partner Report

We benefit as a school from the expert advice of two experienced School Improvement Partners who visit the school regularly to assess standards across a range of areas, using the Ofsted criteria to make their judgements.  Our latest School Improvement Partner report, which we received in December, confirms that we are “Good” in every category of Achievement, Behaviour, Teaching & Learning and Leadership & Management.  The Ofsted criteria are now even more stringent than they were at the time of our last inspection in 2012 so it is really encouraging to receive this positive feedback. 

New building

We have now re-submitted our bid to the Department for Education for funds to build our new building.  We have full planning permission for the build which will provide much needed additional teaching space, particularly for our 6th form students.  We expect to hear whether or not we are successful by the end of March and we will let you know as soon as we hear anything.

Forthcoming Events

Staff Development Day (School closed to students) 6 February
Year 4, 5, 6 Family Learning and Masterclasses 7 February
Year 10 DTP injections 11 & 13 February
Last day of Term 3 13 February
Start of Term 4 2 March
Watoto Choir performance 11 March
Year 8 Easter Services in St Mildred’s Church 31 March
Easter break 2 – 7 April
School Production “Les Miserables” in Sinden Theatre 23 – 25 April
Duke of Edinburgh Awards Evening in Sports Hall 29 April
May Bank Holiday (School closed) 4 May
Start of public examinations 11 May
End of Term 4 22 May

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