Headteacher's Newsflash 09/02/18
Why are we trying to improve attendance?
You will already be aware by now that, as Headteacher of your child’s school, I talk about school attendance on a regular basis.
We are at a stage this half term where our whole school attendance has rarely been above 90% for any day of the week. That is very poor. I know that there are lots of flu, sickness and vomiting bugs around this time of year and that can affect the level of attendance. I also know that sometimes children can try to stretch the time off by a day or two as well. I know this because I was one of those children.
I also know that many of you are totally committed to your child having the very best education and you are doing the correct thing as a parent by making sure your child is not contagious anymore (for those off with flu symptoms and vomiting).
But all this being said, I have to challenge us all to come in more often and I know that this might cause some tension between us.
When I send you a text to say “Really sorry ‘name of your child’ is off today, I hope they feel better soon and are in tomorrow” it is genuine. I am genuinely sorry that they are not in and I sincerely hope that they recover sufficiently, so that they come back into school as soon as possible to continue learning. Helping your child learn, grow and develop is our purpose.
If your child’s attendance is below 95% that is concerning for us. If your child’s attendance drops below 90% they are officially classed by the Department for Education as being persistently absent. Gateacre School has to reduce the number of children who are classed as persistently absent and we have been told by Ofsted we have to do this rapidly – next year. The year after that is not good enough, it is too late. We have to do it right now.
So, you may receive more calls, letters, home visits and texts from us. We care enough to find out why your child is not here with us learning.
I ask of you this…would you like to send your child to a school that did not care about your child’s attendance as much as we do?
We continue to celebrate some outstanding achievements in sports this week.
After performing brilliantly in the Indoor Athletics heats a fortnight ago, this week our Year 7 and Year 8 boys competed against the city’s best athletes and they were superb. Their positive attitude, grit and determination helped Year 7 boys finish joint WINNERS with St Hilda’s (reaching the Merseyside finals). Year 8 also reached the Merseyside finals in March by finishing in fourth place. Our boys were a credit to themselves and the school.
Year 11 – Examinations and the final push
We are 14 weeks away from GCSE exams starting and 15 weeks away from the BIG core exams (English/Maths/Science).
With this in mind we are going to offer an incentive to Year 11 pupils to attend revision and study sessions.
From Monday 19th February for 10 weeks all Year 11 pupils will have the opportunity to go on a totally free reward trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which has been provisionally booked for Tuesday 19th June.
All they have to do is attend a minimum of 2 after school sessions per week, one must be maths, and have their Passport to Blackpool signed off the member of staff running the session they attended.
100% attendance to the sessions will lead to a place on the reward trip.
I want your child to do brilliantly this summer, I want them to feel confident and calm in their exams. So, in order for that to happen, we are going to help them through this strategy.
Your child will also get a GCSE Study Skills guide which you should ask them about so you can see what they need to know and can help them through these final few weeks.
Finally, if you have not yet seen or heard about your child using GCSE Pod ask them, get them to log in and show you how it works, it is probably one of the best beyond school learning apps I have come across, it is honestly incredibly impressive.
Improving attendance - 5 week trial
From Monday 19th February we are going to trial giving all pupils from Year 7 to Year 11 who arrive before 08:30am free toast.
As I have said above, we need to tackle the attendance issues at this school and I aim to give the pupils the best start in the morning by feeding them, for free.
At the end of the 5 weeks we will conduct a pupil voice session, with pupils across the year groups, to hear their views and compare attendance rates for this current half term against next half term and current year against last year, to see how much impact we have had.
Uniform and standards
As ever, please find the link to our uniform and behaviour expectations here:
We continue to have the highest expectations for our pupils and we are humbly proud when visitors to the school make comments on the smartness of our pupils’ uniform and their politeness.
Dates for Your Diary:
12th - 16th February 2018 - Half Term
22nd February 2018 - Y8 Parents Evening 3:45 - 6pm
22nd February 2018 - Y9 Options Information for Parents 6:30pm
1st March 2018 - SIXTH FORM OPEN EVENING
8th March 2018 - Y9 Parents Evening 3:45 - 6pm
22nd March 2018 - Y7 Parents Evening 3:45 - 6pm
26th March - 8th April 2018 - EASTER/SPRING BREAK
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/