As we approach the end of a very long term, I write to update you on developments in school. Some of you are aware that schools have monies each year termed ‘Devolved Capital’ which can only be spent on capital costs such as the building, and cannot be spent on revenue costs such as staff salaries. This is usually of the order of £20,000 per year, which for a school of our size is not a huge sum.
One of the projects we carried out at February half-term was to refurbish a disused bike store to make it weather proof for lockers. The site team worked tirelessly on this and the space that was cleared was used to create a conference room which we have been much in need of. This now means that all of the meetings to support students with specific needs or safeguarding concerns can now be hosted in school, which keeps our Heads of Year and Safeguarding team, including senior leaders, onsite and much more available for students, rather than having to attend lengthy meetings elsewhere with additional travel time wasted. We now also have a facility for staff training, external bookings and meetings for students – Debate Mate was held in there last week and the Youth Forum will also use it as a meeting space.
Alongside this we have re-designated our toilets nearest to reception as for staff and visitors with toilets immediately above them for students. The existing arrangement was that the Disabled Toilet was also the staff toilet, as was the toilet upstairs. As we are the designated school for students who need an accessible site, including wheelchair users, this meant that in E block students who needed these facilities were having to share them with staff. From a safeguarding perspective, let alone the logistics, this was far from ideal. In addition to this whilst we were more than meeting our requirements for toilet facilities for students we were not doing so for staff and visitors. Alongside this change we are also reviewing all student toilet provision, which I will update you with on a future blog.
We have identified a pressing need to invest and improve our Sixth Form provision as such I have appointed Mrs McDougall as Deputy Head Teacher to lead on this project over the next 3 years. This role includes relaunching the sixth form and a complete overhaul of “Bewdley Sixth Form” keeping the great parts and building strength where needed.
Energy and Enthusiasm will only take us so far so to compliment this and make the sixth form the natural next step for our students and indeed for external applicants we need to make considerable capital investment in the buildings and facilities. To achieve this I have released from the budget a considerable sum of money (£50,000). I am able to do this as you may recall that the Chancellor in the last budget announced some ‘little extras’ money for schools which has been identified as ‘Devolved Capital’ and so can only be spent on the building.
In addition to this we have secured further reinvestment from our catering supplier of £20,000 for the redevelopment of the sixth form Cafeteria. This level of investment allows us to complete a complete review and redesign of the sixth form facilities. As a fully consultative process students are already firmly involved in redesigning the Sixth Form Cafeteria, and these developments will be reported in full in one of my summer blogs.
As one of many strands to this development, I will be launching a new society in school in the summer term, called ‘The Discovery Society’:
Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist.
They are wrong: it is character.
The Discovery Society has the following charitable object:
To advance the education of the students at The Bewdley School by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities [not required to be provided by the local education authority] for understanding of and engagement in scientific research at the school.
The school offers successful A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths and Physics.
A Level Computer Science will be offered next year and A Level Geology will be offered when there exists sufficient demand. All subjects save Geology are also offered at GCSE.
These offer a potential linkage to a wide range of scientific domains, including but not exclusively: Earth Science (Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Plate Tectonics), Atmospheric Science (Weather, Climate, Climate Change, Planetary Atmospheres), Ocean Science (Biological, Chemical & Physical Oceanography), Life Science (Ecology, Taxonomy, Evolutionary Studies) and Astronomy (Stellar/Planetary Evolution, Solar System Dynamics, Gravitation and Tidal Effects). Underpinning all of the research taking place are skills themes of Mathematical Analysis (Mechanics, Statistics, Mathematical Modelling) and Computer Science (Data Systems, Modelling Systems, Information Management).
- A comprehensive programme of guest speakers to present their research in school.
- Involve students in extended projects (EPQ) across a range of fields/domains/themes.
- Over time, develop the school’s own research centre as a home for the society.
If any parents or community members have an interest in this kind of research and would like to be involved, please do get in touch. It is my hope to set this up as a charitable organisation, though some of you may be aware that this can be more complicated than it appears on the surface. It will, if not a charity, at the very least, be a society for students hosted by the school with the purpose as explained above.
There has been overwhelming support and feedback from parents over the past year as we implemented a number of ways for parents to remain in contact with the school through either our social media, the website or our parent app. Following feedback from parents about what they would like to see next in the app, we are excited to announce that in April our brand new school app will launch. We hope this app connects parents to the school more than ever before, parents will be able to see their child’s attendance, behaviour, and key information as well as receiving whole school news and key dates.
I would like to thank parents for their almost overwhelming support of our drive to ensure that students are properly equipped for their lessons. As you will be aware, we had a similar drive to ensure uniform was being worn properly this time last year. The motivation behind both of these
initiatives is simply to ensure that we don’t waste learning time on arguing about things which don’t help children learn. We absolutely can’t make this work without parental support, so I repeat my thanks to those of you whose unquestioning support has made these simple practicalities possible. In connection with these issues we are refreshing our uniform and PE kit in line with our new logo and name.
We have been eagerly awaiting the launch of our new PE kit. Mrs Davies and Mrs Parsons have been working tirelessly to bring together a modern collection of functional yet stylish PE apparel. The new PE kit will be phased in and available to purchase from Easter 2019. There is no requirement for parents/carers of existing students to purchase the new PE kit unless you wish to do so and the need arises. It will be available to purchase from our suppliers and details of how to order the kit will be released in due course. The compulsory items of PE kit for new students will be:
1. Training shirt [will be available in a boys and girls fitment]
2. Shorts or Skorts for Girls
Optional items available to purchase are:
Slim-fit tracksuit bottoms
We have received some extremely positive feedback from students regarding the new kit: “the new patterns really look nice”, “I really like the new PE kit 10/10!”, “I really like the PE kit”, “The material is nice and so are the colours”, “I love the skorts”
All existing uniform will be rebranded with the new Swan logo and will go on sale towards the end of the summer term (in time for September). The blue (summer) polo shirts embroidered with the new logo will be available shortly. Again, there is no requirement for parents/carers to purchase the new uniform unless the need arises. These changes are a phased replacement rather than a wholesale change on a specific date, as we are painfully aware that for many families, uniform costs can be prohibitive, and we do not wish for perfectly serviceable clothes to be replaced or for families to have to bear unnecessary costs.
New PE kit compulsory & optional pieces below, prices and ordering information will announced in due course.
To see our New PE Kit Click Here
We wish you a restful Easter break in the hope of continued sunshine.