Dear Parents and Carers,
Happy New Year!!
A really warm welcome back to school to all of our children and families for the Spring Term 2018. I really hope that you have all had the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends over the Christmas break and have managed to recharge and refresh for the New Year.
We closed the year with 471 students on roll. This growth is huge testament to the superb work undertaken by my staff and the strong support provided by our TGS parents, your continued commitment to our journey. Thinking ahead to September 2018, we will have 10 Year Groups and I believe will grow to around 670 students. It certainly is very exciting to lead such a dynamic school and develop not only the fundamental 'bread and butter' of teaching and learning, but also to plan strategically and very tightly staffing, budget, site development etc etc.
Student Attendance at TGS has improved over the last academic year and I am very keen to keep the momentum going this year. As you may know, any attendance that is below 95% for a child is proven to be a significant detriment to achievement and for reaching academic potential. It is crucial that children are in school every day and on time so that they are learning and making good or better progress. Holidays in Term time will not be authorised and persistent absence will be followed up by legal means. Every child has the right to a good education and it is the parents responsibility to get them into school.
Every day counts in school and at TGS the aim is that not one moment is wasted. Key focus is on progress for every student in all Year Groups. Secondary Progress Check 2 Reports are being issued this week for year 7-10. Our Year 10 students have a little over 1 year until they start their GCSE exams. We are gradually developing a correct mindset of serious study in them so that they see the ultimate goal of sitting those exams, which are only 4 full Terms away. Some students are very switched on, others need further support to think about the 'end game' rather than the here and now. I have seen this a lot over the years that I have been teaching and is not uncommon in secondary schools. The quicker the students have that realisation, the better they do. However, parents can really help me by ensuring that their child is thinking about their own future direction. If parents are talking with them about colleges and sixth form opportunities and potential courses this will frame their learning. Please discuss regularly with them what topics they are studying, in order for you to understand how they are getting on and to pick up any concerns or misconceptions early on so that they can be passed to us. I will be holding a series of 'Year 10 GCSE Journey Evenings' over the next 4 Terms. These evenings are predominantly designed to bring the school, parent and child together, so that we are working on the 'same page', to get the highest possible GCSE outcomes for all children. The first meeting will take place on Wednesday 17th January 2018 6-7pm at TGS. I would certainly like 100% attendance by all Year 10 parents and children to achieve full coverage and start this momentum towards the exams. I will send a letter of invitation out very soon with further details. Hopefully, PLCs, Smith Proforma's and value added will be terminology understood and commonly used by parents and children very soon. Keeping on the Examination theme, we recently secured approval by JCQ as an Examination Center and are now fully set for Summer 2019.
Some key academic dates coming up this year include:
- Progress Check 3 + 4 (and Phonics Checks)
- Parents Evenings – Y8 - 16th Jan, Y10 - 30th Jan, Y9 - 27th Feb, Primary - 6th and 7th March
- Year 8 Pathways Evening – 24th April
- Yr 10 GCSE Journey Parents Evening – x 3 - 1st Evening 17th January
- KS1 Year 2 SATs – Mon 14th-17th May
- Year 1 Phonics Screening – from 4th June 2018
With reference to school site development, we have secured 'temporary change of use' extension to 31st August 2018. Submission of 'permanent change of use' and further development of the school site (including sports hall, MUGA and Block C inc. dining hall and Library) will be submitted in late January 2018. I would ask all parents to contribute to the Public Consultation regarding our next application via a Survey Monkey link (here) in order to support the school. I will update as soon as I have any further news.
As mentioned previously, we have a School Travel Plan which we are following to work with the Local Authority and Highways in order to secure full planning permission for this site. Please could parents be very mindful of parking only in designated parking spaces, entering and exiting in the correct direction, not turning right onto Gatwick Road and being considerate to all car park users. Car parking in the school car park is restricted to staff, who only have 15 spaces by the Primary Reception. This is to maxmise spaces for our parents. Our staggered starts and finishes are also incorporated to allow as free a flow as possible. Secondary students are strongly encouraged to use public transport. We are very lucky to have such good transport routes immediately outside the front of the school.
Looking ahead a little to the rest of this academic year, I am very much looking forward to our very own 'Oliver' production planned for March 2018. Rehearsals have been taking place on a weekly basis for few months now. Our Primary and Secondary Sports Days were very successful last year and will follow the same format this year. As it is hoped will the 'TGS Prize Giving Evening' which we held at Holiday Inn Gatwick last year. There is lot's to look forward to.
I do hope this year brings you and you family health and happiness and I thank you for your continued support for the The Gatwick School and the journey we are all on together.
Head of School