Bulletin Collection for 2016
A very warm welcome to Bowland High to all of you who have children starting at the school this term and, to those of you whose children are returning after the holidays, I hope you have all had a very good summer. The pupils have made a very positive start back; the majority have looked immaculate in their uniform and have been well prepared for the new term. Much of this will be thanks to parents/carers for helping them to get organised! This letter contains some important updates and information about the coming term.
Owing to cuts in transport provision, more parents have to bring their child to school, which has increased the level of congestion around the site at the start and finish of the day. Please help us to keep all children safe and ensure people can arrive and leave as quickly as possible by observing these procedures:
- Unless you have an appointment in school, please avoid driving or reversing onto the school site via the main entrance between 3.20 and 3.50 pm. If you do need to pick your child up from within the school site follow the same route in as the buses (via the lodge on the Grindleton side of the school).
- If you need to stop (even for a few seconds) or park on Sawley Road at the start or finish of the school day please do so away from the yellow zig-zag lines. There are not many places you can park near the school and the end of the day is worse than the morning, so if at all possible try to arrive after 3.40 pm. This at least gives the taxis a chance to get clear of the school entrance.
- Under no circumstances park adjacent to where the school buses stop to drop off or pick up pupils. This road needs to be kept clear for access to the school and neighbouring houses and farms.
I am grateful for your cooperation with the above. Congestion at Bowland is an ongoing issue, though it does normally improve after the first couple of weeks of the school year.
Once again we were able to celebrate very good GCSE results when they were released in August. On average pupils at Bowland achieved more than two-thirds of a grade above expectations (based on their key stage 2 levels) in each of their GCSEs and 78% of pupils achieved 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C (including English and maths). Pupils at the school have never achieved better GCSE results overall than these. The results achieved by current year 11 pupils in their three option subjects were also very pleasing indeed.
This term we welcome a number of new members of staff to Bowland. Mr Haythornthwaite is teaching maths, Miss Smith has joined the English department, Mrs Isherwood is working 4 days a week in the SEND department and Mrs Billington has replaced Mrs Taylor as a physics teacher. Last term we also welcomed two new members of our exams team, Mrs Webber (exams officer) and Mrs Lancaster (assistant exams officer).
Earlier this year, the Department for Education issued new guidelines for schools about policies on behaviour and rewards. As a result we are currently updating our policies. Attached with this letter is a draft general statement of principles that will underpin our revised policies. The governors would welcome any feedback on this statement; indeed it is a statutory requirement that we consult all stakeholders about these principles. Comments, suggested amendments or additions and questions should be emailed to email@example.com by Friday 16th September.
School Term and Holiday Dates
Please refer to the school website for our term dates. A number of websites have been set up showing term dates for specific schools, but they are invariably very inaccurate and are a nuisance! They often just show generic dates not the actual dates set by each school. Our term dates for 2016/17 are broadly in line with other Lancashire schools, but be aware that this year Lancashire dates are quite different from some neighbouring authorities. Please double check before booking your holidays!
This year's Open Evening for entry in September 2017 will be held on Thursday 22nd September. To facilitate setting up for the evening, school will close at 1.30 p.m. on that date. Buses and taxis will arrive for this time. If your child is being asked to help, they will come home with a letter to seek permission and explain the arrangements for drop off and pick up at the end of the evening. The reply slip should be returned to the member of staff your child will be assisting. I am very grateful to all pupils who volunteer to help. A summary of key dates for this half term follows. I hope everybody has a very successful and enjoyable year.
|22.09.2016||Open Evening||Pupils dismissed at 13.30|
|28.09.2016||Open Day||BY appointment only|
|29.09.2016||Year 7 Trig Point Walk, Y8 Slavery Museum,
Year 11 RE Day
|Individual letters sent home|
|30.09.2016||Year 7 Waddow Hall||All Year 7 pupils|
|03.10.2016||Year 10 Immunisations
BRAG Event at The Grand
|All Year 10 pupils|
|15.30-19.00 for Year 9-11|
|11.10.2016||Year 10 Geography Field Trip to Blackpool||Letter to parents|
|18.10.2016||District Cross Country||13.00 onwards|
|19.10.2016||Year 11 Exam Preparation Evening||Letter to parents|
|25.10.2016||Year 8 Theatre trip to West Yorkshire Playhouse||Letter to parents|
|26.10.2016||School closes at 2.15p.m. for half-term|
I hope you will take a few moments to catch up on recent news and developments at Bowland. Although the key focus is very much on GCSE exams at present, there have been a number of recent events and issues worth bringing to your attention, as well as a very busy calendar of events planned for the second half of this term.
School Name Consultation
Thank you to all of you who responded to the survey. We had 160 responses, with two thirds of respondents favouring retaining our current name ‘Bowland High’. Reasons for choosing this option included tradition, a perception that the word ‘academy’ was still associated with underperforming schools, a concern that it would involve unnecessary expenditure, a feeling that ‘Bowland High’ just sounds better, frustration at having to change Facebook profiles and even a desire to be contrary to current government policy! A number of other suggestions were also offered including ‘Bowland High Academy’, ‘Bowland School’ and ‘Riversmead’.
Whilst we might have offered more choices in the survey, there is a clear preference that we remain ‘Bowland High’ for the foreseeable future and consequently that will be the decision. Ultimately, most people will still refer to the school as ‘Bowland’ and, whilst many of us probably like the sound and tradition of ‘Riversmead’, I would be very reluctant to remove ‘Bowland’ from our name.
In recent weeks, both the Year 8 and Year 9 rounders teams have won the Hyndburn and Ribble Valley tournaments. This is a very impressive achievement, especially given that we are one of the smallest schools in the area; so congratulations to all of the girls involved and thanks to their coach, Miss Hardisty.
Two notable individual achievements should also be celebrated. Amy Edmondson represented Lancashire at Football, playing in a very successful team that won the ESFA National Cup by beating Essex 3-2 at St. Andrews, the home of Birmingham City. In addition to this, Scarlett Houston has excelled in the field of dance. At the National Championships in April, Scarlett came second in the junior section (under 16s) which is a brilliant result, especially for someone aged only 13. She also holds a number of regional titles.
You will already be aware that this year we have moved Enrichment Week from the end of the Spring Term to the end of the Summer Term. We have had a very positive response to the range of activities on offer in ‘Be-U Week’ and are grateful for the prompt return of choices and (where appropriate) payment. With many of the options already full up; please encourage your child to make choices this week so that s/he does not miss out on the activities that most appeal to him/her.
A very successful and well-attended quiz night was held in the school hall on Friday 13th May. Approximately £500 was raised and I would like to thank everybody who supported the event and particularly the PTFA Committee and the Year 9 Hospitality GCSE Group, with Mrs Bradley, who did much of the organisation and all of the catering. I hope this will become a regular fixture on our calendar. The next PTFA event is a Car Treasure Hunt and Barbeque, which will take place on Thursday 23rd June.
National 3 Peaks Challenge
A number of members of staff are completing a challenge in response to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme 60th Anniversary Challenge. The challenge is to complete walks up and down Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon and drive between them in less than 24 hours. This will take place on 9th and 10th July. Staff are raising funds for outdoor school equipment and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Pupils at Bowland have been participating in this scheme for the last 2 years and we think it is extremely beneficial to them. A ‘Just Giving’ site has been set up and I hope you will consider sponsoring the activity via this link:
A summary of some of the main events for the next half of term is attached to this letter. You should receive details about each event in due course. Please note that there have been some changes to the order of events since the original calendar was published on the website. This particularly applies to Year 10, who have exams and a number of special events to fit into the last month of the term. I hope those pupils preparing for GCSE exams have a productive week of both rest and revision, and that everybody enjoys the half term break.
Dear Parent / Carer
As we enter the last week of term I would like to update you on a few key items.
The School Council have requested that we have a non-uniform day on Thursday 24th March. They have asked that money collected is split 60/40, with 60% going to the Charity Kaleidoscope, which campaigns for equal rights for LGBT people around the world, and 40% going towards funding some outdoor sports and recreation equipment for pupils at Bowland. In particular they are keen to purchase outdoor table tennis tables, picnic benches and other outdoor seats/benches. We would ask for a minimum donation of £1 and very much hope that your child will support this event.
Pupils must still dress in a manner that the school considers appropriate. Earrings must be plain gold/silver stud. No other 'body piercing' is allowed. The only other item of jewellery that can be worn is a wristwatch. Exposed midriffs, cropped or low cut tops, short skirts and items with a potentially offensive wording or logos are not permitted.
Nearly 4 years ago a number of staff members and parents cycled the coast to coast route from Morecambe to Bridlington. The event was sponsored, with the intention that money raised was added to funds already earmarked for an all-weather facility. Approximately £6,000 was raised. We are still a long way from securing the amount of money needed to build a suitable all-weather facility, and £6,000 is a small fraction of the sum required. I therefore propose to use the money raised from the cycle ride to help purchase the outdoor equipment that pupils have asked for. In this way pupils currently at school will get some benefit from those funds. Please be assured that it is still a priority to secure grants to fund an all-weather facility.
Establishment of Multi-Academy Trust
Funding for this development has now been received from the DfE. For the remainder of the academic year I will be spending the majority of the time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on activities related to this project. Mrs Fielden will be acting Headteacher at these times and deal with any urgent issues that arise on those days.
The Wizard of Oz
I would like to thank the cast and everybody involved in the production of this year's show, The Wizard of Oz. I am sure everybody who has seen it will agree that it has been a very high standard and a fantastic team effort from all involved.
End of term
Please note that we break up for the Easter Holiday at 3.25pm on Thursday (there is no early finish). School reopens for the Summer Term on Monday 11th April. I wish you all a very happy Easter.
As is usual at this stage of the term, I am writing with a few items of news and information about things that have happened since Christmas as well as anticipated events next half term.
I am very proud of the success of both the senior and intermediate Public Speaking teams, who have been competing in the Rotary Club ‘Youth Speaks’ competition. In the regional event, held in Kirkham last weekend, the intermediate team (Isabelle Masterson, Dylan Chattle and George Miller) were runners-up, whilst the senior team (Holly Sharpe, George Poole and Patrick Enion) were placed first. The top two teams in each competition qualify for the North West Final, which will be held in Wrexham next month.
In the ‘GRAB’ event final (talent contest open to all pupils in the four Ribble Valley secondary schools), held at The Grand last weekend, pupils from Bowland filled three of the top four placings. Sadly first place proved elusive, but it was wonderful to see the pupils achieve such a consistently high standard. Congratulations to Freya Humberstone, Neve Dickinson, Philip Barron and Tilly Broadhurst.
The school’s official GCSE results were published last month and there is a link to Bowland’s page here. If you do visit this site it is worth looking at the section about performance compared to similar schools (in terms of average ability levels of pupils on entry). There is also data about the performance of pupils in all subjects in all schools in Lancashire. By the main value added measure, both the science and maths results achieved were the second highest out of Lancashire’s 82 mainstream secondary schools and humanities were the sixth highest. In terms of average grades achieved, upper ability level pupils achieved as well (an average grade of A-) as at any other Lancashire school excepting 2 of the 4 grammar schools in the county. Middle ability pupils achieved an average grade of C+, a level only exceeded by pupils at Preston Muslim Girls High School.
Pupils and staff worked very hard to achieve these results and I am pleased to say that the vast majority of pupils in years 11 and 10 are doing the same this year. There are a lot of extra revision classes on offer at present, which most pupils are taking advantage of. If your child is not currently amongst that number I urge you to encourage him or her to do so after the half term break!
Following the consultation on the proposal for Bowland to form a multi-academy trust and apply to be a sponsor, the governors decided to proceed with the proposal. Responses to the question ‘Do you think that Bowland High should form a Multi Academy Trust with the ability to sponsor other schools?’ were 74% in favour, 23% against and 3% unsure. Subsequently, an application has been submitted to the DfE and been approved along with a grant for funding to establish the new trust. I envisage the new trust being established sometime after Easter. Thank you to all of you who took time to respond to the online survey and/or attend one of the consultation meetings.
This week we have welcomed Mrs Taylor back to the science department after her maternity leave and bid ‘farewell’ to Mrs Bootle. We wish Mrs Bootle success in the next stage of her career and are very grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment she has shown during her time here. Mrs Newton, who has worked at Bowland since 2007, first as a teaching assistant and more recently as a curriculum assistant, is leaving to set up a dog grooming business. I would like to thank Mrs Newton for all of her hard work in these different roles and hope she has success and enjoyment with her new venture.
Lancashire County Council is proposing to end the subsidy given to a number of bus services in rural areas. The removal of the subsidy will almost certainly mean that these unprofitable services will cease. These are not school services but the changes are part of a pattern of transport cuts that have already seen the removal of funding for many of our pupils in year 7. LCC are running a consultation until next month. Those of you who wish to contribute can do so via this link.
Parents/carers needing to pick children up from school are asked to refrain from parking in or obstructing the driveways of residents who live in the vicinity. I am very aware of the shortage of parking places near the school but I am also committed to working to minimise inconvenience and disruption to our neighbours, whose driveways do not form part of the highway and are therefore off limits to us.
Make-up and hairstyles
Fashions change, so I am told, and periodically it is right to review our rules about standards of dress in schools. Last year, we reviewed our school uniform and in the summer term, we will review our rules about hair and make-up. The School Council has already started this process, but next term we hope to establish a small focus group or working party to consider our policy. I would really value some parental input into this, so if you are willing to participate (it will probably involve a couple of meetings in school) please forward your name to Mrs Wilson in the pupil services office.
A summary of key dates for this half term follows.
Mr J Tarbox