The start of the new school year could not have been better. If you are not already aware, we have had another year of continued improvements with our GCSEs this year compared to any other year.
More GCSEs this year were part of the Reformed Group meaning that instead of a letter (A-G) being used to signify a pupil’s grade a number was used, 9 being the very top and a 1 being the lowest. In terms of outstanding performances, last year saw 3 departments hit national figures whereas this year we are incredibly proud to say 8 departments were either at or above national levels for 9-1 or A*-C. An incredible achievement which demonstrates the hard work by staff and pupils as well as the fantastic support we get from our parents.
Our Year 13s did extremely well and yet again we have increased the percentage of students gaining A*-C grades and A*-E grades at A Level. Provisionally it is looking like we will be in the top 10% nationally for A Level and Academic progress outcomes for the second year running and shows not only what a great 6th Form we have but that children who choose to stay and transfer here make greater progress than elsewhere in Liverpool and in the country.
We are rightly proud of our pupil’s achievements and we think that our current Year 13 will possibly do even better than those who picked up their results in August.
Standards and expectations
There can be occasions when students and parents feel that we are inflexible on issues such as uniform, behaviour or our expectations and that our insistence on the highest of standards at all times can, in some circumstances, be unreasonable. For instance, a parent may feel that a student who normally wears perfect uniform has been treated unfairly if they are given a sanction on the first occasion that they are not wearing the correct footwear, especially if, in their view, the situation was unavoidable. Similarly, a student will be given a sanction and asked to remove jewellery or make-up if they are wearing it.
Maintaining high standards can be very difficult and, working in a school, you soon realise that the key to success and the absolute cornerstone of all good schools is an absolute consistency in applying your rules and expectations. If one student is allowed to walk around in trainers today then there will be two tomorrow and five the day after. The following week, someone will come without their blazer or tie. The same applies to make-up, jewellery, chewing gum, handing in homework, punctuality and all the other routines and expectations of school life. Routines, procedures and protocols that you work hard to establish can be very easily lost.
Whilst I sometimes understand parental frustrations at what they see as relatively ‘minor’ issues or transgressions of the school rules, it is really important to understand that, with 980 young people in the building, you cannot allow one of them to ignore or disregard the rules and expect the other 979 not to follow suit. Children do, naturally, push the boundaries - that is part of growing up, and if you allow the little things slip then other things will follow. Most parents, if you ask them, would say that they want their children to go to a ‘strict’ and well-ordered school. Supporting the school on the small detail as well as the bigger issues is really important in establishing and maintaining that disciplined and purposeful learning environment.
Keeping up to date
In order that messages of general news, notifications or changes to policy information is passed on we try to ensure that via this Newsflash. We also try to keep our website, MyEd app, Facebook and Twitter feeds as up to date as is humanly possible.
With regards to uniform, we began communicating expectations as far back as December last year with regular updates about wording related to what is and is not acceptable footwear, this was shared with all parents via the Newsflash, the MyEd app, in regular text messages/emails.
Like the previous academic year prior to the summer break in July, all year groups had a special assembly to discuss the expectations for this September which included a talk about footwear, brands that fall into a grey area of “are they a shoe or are they not a shoe”. In truth it is a minefield, but the advice given was to not get your parents to purchase them, instead buy something that looks like the acceptable footwear description. In July and August we posted several images of boys and girls footwear on Facebook and Twitter, links to the uniform and shoe guidance by text, uniform and shoe expectations leaflets and made reference in the Newsflash again in August prior to the start of school this September.
Please do not feel guilty about not being able to buy your child the most expensive or popular brands, all pupils in the current Year 8 to Year 11 were told the information before the summer and we again made it clear that brands such as Firetrap, Emporio Armani, Bamboo, Creative Recreation, Cruyff were not acceptable. To make the whole issue of acceptable footwear even easier for parents to navigate, our booklet ‘Gateacre School Uniform Expectations’ makes it incredibly clear what is and is not acceptable and we have even identified the most popular boys and girls shoes.
Download the Uniform Booklet guide for parents here as a PDF, or visit the uniform information page on the website, or pick up a copy from reception.
We have already informed your children this week that they have 159 days left until their summer exams in 2019. As part of the welcome back I explained how Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores are linked to how they did in their Year 6 Primary SATS.
Essentially, we are asking your child to attend each day between now and the end of the exam season and importantly try as hard as they can to get their very best grade.
Via this Newsflash we will continue to communicate with you some of the special things that we are putting in place for Year 11 so that they are in the very best possible place for next year’s exams. It will be quite high pressure, if you have older children you will know how stressful Year 11 can be, but we have all been through it and survived.
All I ask from you is to make sure your son or daughter attends every single day and for the next 10 months tries as hard as they can. No holidays in term time, absolutely no holidays in May or June 2019, if your child attends every day and they will get results that you will be rightly proud of.
Year 11…on Monday 10th September you have 31 weeks left, that’s 155 days.
Impact Of Energy Drinks On Learning In Schools
You are probably aware that Gateacre School, like nearly all schools, does not allow fizzy or “energy” drinks in school. The reason being that they have a detrimental effect on pupils’ teeth, they are not healthy drunk in the quantities that they are sold in and the very large quantities of sugar and caffeine have a negative impact on pupils’ behaviour and attention spans.
A BBC article, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42298192 , talks about the issues that many schools, parents, carers and teachers face when it comes to the consumption of energy drinks. In the report, one young person gives a first-hand account of the issues faced by drinking lots of these types of drinks:
Victoria Stean, from Milton Keynes, started consuming energy drinks when she was 16 and was soon drinking around seven 500ml cans a day. She said: "I was definitely hooked. I would have a can for breakfast, another one mid-morning and several in the afternoon. t took me a while to wean myself off energy drinks. I would get headaches if I didn't drink them. Since I have stopped drinking them I have lost weight and my vision has improved again. Ironically, I also have more energy now and I sleep better."
At Gateacre, our main issue is when pupils buy lots of energy drinks from the various pound shops across the road in Belle Vale. As partners in ensuring that Gateacre continues to become a better school, I would ask that, where possible, you use our online parent pay facility for school lunches but also discuss with your child what they spend their (your!!) money on, either coming to or going home from school.
We withhold the right to take energy drinks from pupils as they have a negative impact on behaviour and learning within the school.
Community Fair & Family Fun Day
Saturday 22nd September 2018 (Doors Open 12pm - 4pm)
Come along and enjoy the fun! Lots of attractions and activity fun including:
Go Karts, Inflatable Activity Course, Archery, Zorbs, lots of stalls with arts and crafts, holistic and wellbeing therapies, jewellery, soaps and candles, cakes and wedding favours, food and ice cream, chocolates and confectionery, all compared by a fantastic DJ with live demonstrations from local Dance Schools and Groups. It is sure to be a great day out for all the family. Doors open 12pm.
Open Evening 2018
Wednesday 26th September 2018 5pm - 8pm
Dates for Your Diary:
INSET Day: 14th September
Open Evening: 26th September 5pm - 8pm
Half Term: 22nd to 26th October
INSET Day: 3rd December
End Of Term: 21st December
Term Dates and Key Dates can be found on your MyEd parent app or on the school website here: https://www.gateacre.org/about-us/term-dates/