I hope you are all well and managing to stay warm in these wintery conditions.
As you know this week we have relaxed the rules on face coverings in classrooms and over the course of next week working with Public Health England to agree decisions about face coverings in communal areas. We then hope that over the next month or so we can re-introduce in person assemblies and our in person morning welcome.
This week it has been a real pleasure to take school leaders from three different schools around John of Gaunt to see our practice. It is wonderful to know that our reputation continues to grow and that we are leading the field in so many areas.
Discussions this week have continued with Year 9 students about their option choices for next year. Please remember the deadline for this is Friday 28th January. Year 11 and Post 16 students are now preparing for their second mock period. We have been so impressed with how hard they are working. This week, on Thursday 27th January there is no P6 for Year 11 but an opportunity for them to come to Wingfield Hall and purchase revision guides and other material for their exams. Cash payments will be accepted on the day as will payments in advance on Parent Pay.
As always, I hope you are able to have a relaxing and warm weekend!
As a school we take all forms of bullying behaviour and harassment seriously. We are working with staff and students to ensure that our practises are the best that they can be to meet the needs of our students. This week we have shared with students an assembly around the topic of harassment and bul...
Join us in this project to help inform the development of day opportunities for young people with SEND and improve transition arrangements.
Open to all parents of children and young people with SEND (Even if the young person is over 25).
Last night I took a team from Year 7 & 8 to a netball fixture at Matravers against them and Kingdown. This was the first fixture of 2022, and it was great to see so many girls back playing competitive sport.
Players of the match were decided by the rest of the team.
Year 7: Freya C & Isla B
Year 8: Sienna K & Grace A
We look forward to our next match on Wednesday 9th against St Laurence and Matravers.
Year 7 Reward Points
Year 7 continue to collect an impressive number of reward points on a daily basis for their effort, achievements and positive contributions. As a Year group we have almost 25000 and the tutor group in the lead is 7B with 3265.
Sym Edwards (219), Izzy O’Grady (206) and Darcy Bush (192) top the Y7 leaderboard.
Another 78 students have achieved Bronze Level (100 points) as listed below.
We are a super proud Year Team. Keep up the good work!
We've also had over 40 students sign up and attend training for the Year 7 boys football team. This is fantastic numbers & congratulations if you make the A or B team for the first match. If you haven't, please know that training is still on and there are plenty of matches for you to get involved with.
The next match is Wednesday 26th at home v Clarendon & St.Augustine's.
News from The Year 11 Team
We are delighted that so many of our students are arriving to school on time & engaging in our tutor time programme. We are also pleased to see the majority of our year group attending their P6 sessions every day.
Our Year 11 students & their Parents/Carers have an opportunity to pop into Wingfield Hall on Thurs 27th Jan between 3pm & 4pm to buy any revision guides they may still need & to talk to staff from English, Maths & Science, if they have any subject specific questions.
We would also like to take this opportunity to wish our students lots of luck in their final set of mock exams which run from 31st Jan to 11th Feb.
The Year 11 Team
Last weekend 38 students attempted the sometimes brutal challenge of the 32-mile Imber Range Path over two days. Forced to carry their sleeping bags, roll-mats, tents, stoves and spare food; the heavier packs made this a much more physical challenge than many of their previous hikes. The weekend began at Upton Scudamore barn, and students traversed the often icy track around up past Westbury White Horse and Bratton surrounded by glorious sunshine hitting the morning mist (accompanied by the sound of skylarks and corn buntings). The pace was an impressive 4km an hour and this was brilliantly maintained throughout the day as the group powered past the frosted fields around Gore Cross and Tilshead. The group arrived at the designated camping spot in Chitterne well ahead of schedule and managed to use their fading daylight to get their tents up and cook themselves some dinner. 18 miles had been completed leaving 14 more for Sunday.
Showers overnight led to some wet tents and equipment in the morning, and the bitter cold and tiredness from the previous day combined to deter a few students from continuing. However, a record number faced up to their second day and pushed their aching limbs out onto the Imber Range Path for another (even tougher) day - up over the hill forts near Heytesbury and Warminster (Cotley Hill, Middle Hill, Scratchbury Hill, Battlesbury Hill) before the huge final climb up past the golf-course and back to the minibus at Upton Scudamore Barn. The 45-mile team even added some additional miles on by continuing past the finish to get to the White Horse.
Staff were immensely proud of all the students who attempted this, and they should all feel extremely proud of their achievements, particularly those who were able to complete it. Thanks as usual to volunteers Iain Richards, Bill Smith and staff Mr. Lord, Mrs Acheson and Mrs Brooks for their help too. An additional and hugely grateful thank you to Lady Sarah Gooch for the use of her paddock and amenities in Chitterne.
Please check the image gallery for more photos.
We are aware that it can sometimes be difficult for our female students to access feminine hygiene products.
As a school we would like to support all of our female students. Please be aware that any student who requires these can come to the medical room entrance hallway where they can access a range of items free of charge, both in ‘emergency’ situations and for any students who need these on an ongoing basis.
These are free of charge and there will be no need to ask for them. If any student wants to discuss any issues relating to this they can of course speak with their pastoral lead or our pastoral lead for health and well-being who is based in the medical room.
The things I wish my parents had known…about online sexual harassment (Children's Commissioner)
As a school we take all forms of bullying behaviour and harassment seriously. We are working with staff and students to ensure that our practises are the best that they can be to meet the needs of our students. This week we have shared with students an assembly around the topic of harassment and bullying behaviour, what it is and how they can report it, either as a witness or as a victim.
The Children's Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza DBE, has recently published a guidance document for parents helping to support them to understand online sexual harassment. It is a sensitive topic, and not one all parents feel comfortable discussing with their children.
The commissioner's team brought together a group of 16 - 21-year-olds and asked them talk about what they think parents should know, and what they should say to their children when talking about sexualised bullying and the pressures of growing up online.
Key advice from the young adults in the focus groups included:
Start conversations early, before your child gets a phone or social media account. Keep the conversation going over time, adapting to your child.
Young people want their parents to learn about new technology and trends, including risky behaviours and dangerous spaces online.
Create a safe and trusting home environment. Young people told us the home environment is key, they want to share things with their parents but don’t always feel able.
Parents are welcome to speak to school staff of they have any concerns however you may find reading the full leaflet produced by the Children’s Commissioner useful, and you can access it by clicking on this link:
On Thursday 3rd February we have invited Dr Dominique Thompson to speak to parents on how best to help build your child's confidence and resilience - so they can become a strong, happy and independent adult.
This presentation is FREE and will be taking place for us online from 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Dr Thompson is an award-winning GP, young people’s mental health expert, TEDx speaker, author and educator, with over 20 years of clinical experience caring for students, including as a police and expedition doctor, and as Director of Service at the University of Bristol Students’ Health Service. It was for this work that she was named Bristol Healthcare Professional of the Year 2017. Dominique is the author of the Student Wellbeing Series of books, and has co-written a book for parents of teenagers ‘How to Grow a Grown Up’, with the aim of developing an independent and resilient younger generation.
The talk is aimed at John of Gaunt parents of students from years 7 to 13 and will cover:
· An overview of the pressures and problems facing this generation of young people - why are they increasingly stressed, anxious or suffering from mental health issues
· What exactly parents can do to help their teens and young adults become healthily independent, navigate challenges and flourish in preparation for adult life
· Top tips for addressing new challenges such as social media, tech use, sexting and study drug use, as well as traditional worries like alcohol and parties
· Ways to recognise the signs of mental health distress and what to do about it, particularly dealing with problems from a distance.
We are anticipating this to be a popular event as Dominique has spoken to John of Gaunt parents previously, and she has always been well received. The event will be a live broadcast on Microsoft Teams and the link is below: