Sixth form building 2000 x 1500

Principal's Blog

Principal's Blog


7 January 2022

Posted on: 6th Jan 2022

MTHPrincipal's Blog

M.P.Thomas, BSc(Hons), PGCE (Cantab)





Progress Evenings
Thursday 20 January - Sixth Form
Thursday 17 February - Year 11
Thursday 17 March - Year 7
Thursday 31 March - Year 8
Thursday 28 April - Year 9
Thursday 19 May - Year 10 

These will be held virtually from 4:30-7pm. Please note on these days students will be dismissed at 2:30pm.

Testing - thank you!

This week, we successfully tested almost 800 students.  It has been a monumental effort and I'd like to thank Mr Lineham (Director of Resources) and Mrs Chant (Welfare Officer) for making it happen.  Thank you also to the parents and carers who gave consent and made it possible to test around two thirds of eligible students.  Your support is much appreciated. 

The conduct of these students as they received their tests was outstanding - well done to them all!

Request for assistance

I would like to thank the vast majority of students who are working with us to keep the school functioning effectively. We are asking students to be outside at breaktime, to wear masks in the building and to remove coats inside the building. There are good reasons for all of these:

Remaining outside at breaktime allows students to get fresh air and reduces the likelihood of covid transmission to adults who are here to teach and help them.

Wearing masks also does this.  Omicron is chiefly spread by respiration and wearing a mask significantly reduces the likelihood of infecting others.  

Removing coats inside the building helps us with safeguarding: it means we can quickly visually scan large indoor areas to see students in uniform and ensure that nobody is present who shouldn't be. It also allows us to maintain our high expectations of personal presentation.  

Most students do these things without question because they understand what it means to be part of a community; this allows us to focus our efforts on teaching and learning.  A small minority repeatedly refuse to follow reasonable requests and instead choose to challenge staff.  This is very draining for colleagues who would much rather focus on the positives.  

I would be very grateful if all parents would have a conversation with their children to ensure that they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it.  In the end, we are working hard to keep the school open and to maintain a pleasant atmosphere for everyone.  Your support in upholding these standards, and ensuring that your child respects adult authority at the school, is very much appreciated. 

Year 11 Mock Examinations 
Thank you for all your support with Year 11 mocks - the students have been very well-behaved and hard working so far. Please could you remind them that they need to be at their exam venue at 8.30am precisely ready to get in and start at 8.45am. 

We will be providing an early lunch for Y11 students when they have an exam in the afternoon so that they can start on time. The students will start their lunch break at 12.40pm and the canteen will open at 12.45pm.

When students have to miss exams due to self-isolation for Covid 19, then do let us know and we will organise for them to complete the papers at an alternate time. 

If you could also remind students to wrap up warm as there is a walk to the exam venue and it may be raining. They also need to make sure they are in the correct winter uniform, and have the correct equipment for their exam. 

Academy Council
At the end of last term we said farewell to Christopher Honeyman-Brown, who had been our Academy Council Chair for the past six and a half years.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Christopher for all his hard work and dedication to improving the outcomes for our students. This term we welcome David McPhail as our Interim Academy Council Chair. My team and I are looking forward to working with him. You can find out more information about our Academy Council members here

New Fitzalan Link Road
I have now received a reply from WSCC highways department following the safety concerns we raised following the opening of the new link road. A copy of the WSCC letter can be accessed here

Opportunities to get into teaching
Teaching is a rewarding career where not only do you teach a subject in which you have a passion for, you also get the opportunity to work with fantastic students and colleagues. We work in partnership with the South Downs SCITT and the University of Brighton to support the training and development of new teachers. If you are interested in exploring a career in teaching, a flyer advertising their information evening on Thursday 20 January can be accessed here.

Co-curricular Clubs
I am delighted that co-curricular after school clubs are still permitted to continue in line with the latest DfE guidance. They are such a fantastic opportunity for our young people to try new activities and get the very most enjoyment out of secondary school. We are again offering a wide variety of activities that are free and available for all of our students. The latest offering can be found on our website and is displayed in all tutor rooms for students to see. The latest DfE guidance also states that parents are welcome to attend sporting fixtures but should maintain social distancing.

International Trips
As I’m sure you can appreciate, this is an ever changing landscape that we are monitoring on a daily basis. Each trip has been fully risk assessed by the academies Educational Visit Co-ordinator, the Academy Council and West Sussex County Council. The latest guidance permits these activities to continue and we will judge their viability on a case by case basis as we move through the year. I would like to reassure parents/carers that the safety of our students and staff will be at the forefront of our decision making.

During the Christmas break several large murals depicting local scenes and landmarks were installed in the atrium area. They look very impressive and we hope the students are enjoying them too.   

Correspondence to nursing homes
Mrs Waite-Jones and students across this academy have been writing and exchanging gifts with nursing homes across the UK for sometime now. Please see below a note of thanks received from one of the residents. Well done to everyone involved. Your kindness is making a big difference to lots of people.    

Nursing home thank you

Dates to remember
Thursday 20 Jan          Year 12 & 13 Progress Evening - virtual 
Thursday 17 Feb          Year 11 Progress Evening - virtual
Mon 21 - Fri 25 Feb      Half term


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