Dear Parents

It was a pleasure to see such a large attendance at the Year 9 Options evening last week. Thank you to Year 9 parents for engaging with the various subject videos and guides and for participating in the meeting. The deadline for Year 9 to choose next year's I/GCSE subjects is 1 December. Please return the Options Form to your child's Form Tutor. Later this week we have the Year 11's confirming their A level and BTEC choices for next year. These are all particularly important milestones which inform our recruitment needs.

Congratulations to everyone who completed the recent bout of assessments, Mock examinations and Ministry Arabic examinations. Given the unpredictability of the current situation, this represents a tremendous achievement to gather evidence, especially for Year 11 and Year 12, in the event of next summer's examinations being interrupted. The conduct of the students during the examinations was exemplary.

Current Year 12 students are now preparing for their A level Module examinations in January, whilst the rest of the school can look forward to the imminent holiday. Before then, we have the issuance of our end of term reports on 9 December and our parent / teacher consultations on 13 and 14 December.

Doa (Year 9) and Niha (Y12) recently showed the school their outstanding anti-bullying video. It was a pleasure to see such high-quality work being shared. Last week the GCSE PE cohort enjoyed their first active lesson in many months, and judging by the smiles and heavy breaths it was both welcomed and a bit of a shock to the system! We have gradually been able to allow practical subjects some latitude in Year 11 as I/GCSE assessments loom.

I look forward to seeing some of you at either the Year 11 A level / BTEC Options evening or the end of term teacher consultations. In the meantime, I would like to thank you, for all the support and understanding shown by our parents this (unique!) term. Your children have displayed such remarkable resilience, good humour and patience. You can be proud of them, we certainly are. We are all hopeful that as 2020 passes into history and we all look forward to 2021 it will be a mark of the character and fortitude of our children that they will be able to look back on this term, and this year, and appreciate what an outstanding job they have done.

Yours sincerely,

Ken Haggarty

Secondary Head Boy and Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl

Congratulations to our newly appointed Head Girl, Sian Hollesen and Head Boy, Seann Suley. Seann and Sian have succeeded Ahmet and Serena with effect from this term and will carry out the duties of Head Boy and Head Girl this year. Micayla Newbery has been appointed as Deputy Head Girl and Ayyash Aslam will be Deputy Head boy, succeeding Jodi and Joshua. We all wish them luck and fortitude!

Life in Lockdown by Spyros Kandias

Spyro - Lockdown Article

I longed for the day that I could stay at home and my dad did not have to go to work; little did I know that my wish would very soon come true. Although it did, I found myself wondering, was it truly a dream come true?

Since the time of when the lockdown first began and despite all the games I have played and all the films I have watched, throughout all the boredom, I have grown to appreciate school more than ever before. It has given me a chance to realize that going to school is not an option that is given to me but an opportunity or perhaps a privilege if you will because it truly is an opportunity to be able to walk to school and talk to your classmates and teachers and ask them how they are doing. Through physical presence, we have an opportunity to sit in a classroom lesson and learn new and interesting things every day. Something I now miss.

During the lockdown, school is somewhat different than it was before, as it literally takes me minutes to get ready for school every day. I can also sleep for longer as there is no school uniform to put or no tie to tie in the morning. After the first couple of lessons, I can enjoy my first break by eating breakfast in my kitchen, which I can’t do at school.

My school day has become pretty straight forward. I log into the computer every morning and complete my work. There is a daily timetable which I always look at the previous night to prepare myself.

Schoolwork is distributed by the teachers and if there are any questions the teachers are always online throughout the lesson to assist us. We have break times like we would at school and sometimes assignments to do as well. It hasn’t always been easy though. It did take some getting used to. I did go through some difficulties in the beginning. Finishing work within the allocated time span, saving the wrong document, accidentally deleting it or not being able to type in the required field were all common issues at the beginning of our online learning. I remember when sending my finished work to my teacher was an accomplishment within itself. Remembering back to the first week all this was difficult however now it all seems like a piece of cake!!!

My favorite part of the school day, of course, are the zoom classes, because I get a chance to see and talk with my fellow class members and teachers as if I would in the classroom. It reminds me that I'm not going through this alone and my friends and teachers are there for me.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, the importance of family has really helped me emotionally and mentally. My parents and my younger brother are the closest thing to me right now and I'm glad they are because emotional support is indeed very important during these difficult times, and even my dad works from home now which is great because we can spend more family time together, which I enjoy a lot. The fact that we are all home together provides me a safe and calm environment. We enjoy many activities together in the evenings and we have lots of fun. We play board games and every night we have family Movie Nights which are a lot of fun as each member of the family picks out their favorite movie and we all watch it together.

Thankfully to modern technology I am lucky enough to be in touch with my grandparents and school friends who live on different continents. Being able to see them even if it is just through a screen indeed brings us together and puts smiles on our faces.

My mum has also significantly improved her cooking skills because of all the time she has in quarantine. She has more time to prepare the meals thus enjoying herself and making food taste better. Even my brother and I made dinner together for the family one evening, and it turned out surprisingly good.

My life during quarantine has indeed changed. My everyday routine has been made different. It has taken some getting used to. Online learning has been a challenge at times but as I have had nearly a month of experience it has become a part of my new everyday life.

During the afternoons, I have some time for me where I have re-read all of my books and novels starting with the” My diary of a wimpy kid” collection, and I even re-designed and tidied my room, which my mum is the happiest about.

I feel like the world has suddenly been put on hold and everyone while waiting has changed their way of living until someone presses play and life as we knew it will be set in motion again, so we can experience what the outside world has to offer.

Perhaps I had never thought how lucky indeed I am to be able to go out whenever I like. I took the world and what it had to offer for granted. This experience has definitely made me wiser.

Within my family unit, I have learned that this is a temporary situation that will soon come to an end. I have the confidence that we will successfully get through this and it will also have helped us all appreciate our normal everyday living environment and the outside world. School life will soon become ordinary again, but my virtual learning experience will have made ordinary feel extraordinary.

Our mornings will soon be back to the usual morning rush to get up, get ready, and not be late for school. Since the quarantine began, I have found the answer to the question I asked myself in the beginning, was it truly a dream come true? My answer is that no, it was not a dream but a lesson in life. Being in lockdown has truly taught me that we shouldn’t take freedom for granted, freedom is a privilege, that we should appreciate and be thankful to have.

Year 11 Design Technology work

Year 12 Textile design in art - from start to finish

Our Year 10 students have been hard at work responding to the work of Peter Randall-Page who produces large-scale charcoal images inspired by Natural Forms. They produced their own replicas of the 'Fruiting Bodies' series to develop an understanding of the use of marks to generate form.

Secondary students showing their spirit during anti-bullying week by wearing odd socks to school.