Heads Letter - St Gregorys Catholic Comprehensive School

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Heads Letter - St Gregorys Catholic Comprehensive School

    Reynolds Lane, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9XL

    01892 527444 Fax: 01892 546621


    APRIL 2007

Dear Parents/Guardians

I hope that your Easter holiday was a joyful celebration. We

    will be reflecting on the Easter message and our role in

    transformation in this week‘s assemblies.

Spiritual Life

    The school followed the season of Lent with its usual mix of

    reverence and generosity this year. Services of various kinds

    were offered including extra voluntary Masses; class Masses,

    Stations of the Cross and the sacrament of reconciliation. The

    uptake of, and participation in these services was very good and

    helped in making this holy time, a season to remember. In the

    final week of the term, students led us in reflection on the

    promises we had made and we brought reminders of our promises

    to the altar.

School Events

    The Art Exhibition exhibiting Year 11 & 13 exam work is on 25


    June this year. Parents of all Art students will shortly be

    receiving their invitation to this event. In addition, on

    thWednesday 27 June there will be a joint meeting of the Parents‘

    Groups this term, rather than individual meetings. All parents

    are warmly invited to come to the school where Mr Teckkam,

    Subject Leader of Art & Design, will be talking to parents. This

    will also be an opportunity for parents to see the Art work on


display from the A Level students. All parents are very welcome,

    even if you do not come regularly to the Parents‘ Group Meetings.

We now start our very busy Summer Term, with National

    Examinations for years 9, 11, 12 and 13 students.

Many students were in school over the Easter holiday to work in

    small groups or individually with teachers. I am sure you will join

    me in thanking the staff for giving their time in the holiday

    period to provide revision and catch-up classes.

This term we see the end of courses for KS4 and KS5 and Year

    11s will be completing their courses shortly: their practical

    examinations begin in May; they will be leaving for study leave on

    Friday 25th May; the Year 11 Ball is on the 25th June. Many of

    our Year 11 students will be returning to our sixth form and they

    will be given further details shortly about their induction in

    September. Year 13 who are leaving either to go onto university,

    take a gap year, or to employment will be completing their courses.

    The students will have a Leavers‘ Mass on the 23rd May and will

    leave the school after that. The Year 13 Leavers Ball will take

    place that evening. GNVQ students in Year 12 also complete

    their courses at the same time.

To all our students who are leaving us this term: my sincere

    thanks for the contribution which you have made, and the support

    your families have given to the school, our good wishes go to you

    all for the future. I hope that you will keep in touch with the


Public Examinations are an important time for students and it is

    essential that students attend all public exam sessions this is

    for SATs, GCSE‘s, AS, A2 and AVCE exams students must be

    present for all papers of the exams for which they have been entered. Students have also been given information about the

    requirements for public examinations, i.e. prompt attendance,


what they are allowed to bring and must bring in for the exam and

    particular prohibitions about communication and having mobile

    phones in the exam rooms. Sanctions are strictly imposed by the

    exam boards and we, as a registered centre, also take seriously

    our responsibilities to ensure that exams will be conducted fairly

    and under strict conditions. A letter has been distributed to

    Year 11 parents please check you have received your copy.

Year 10 students also have exams in the week beginning 30th April:

    a letter has been distributed to students. Please check if you

    have not received a copy.

    Mr. Marsh, Examinations Secretary, spoke to Year 11 and Year 10

    students on Monday about the exam regulations. We ask for your

    support in ensuring your daughter/son is well prepared for

    her/his exams and has all the correct equipment. It is important

    to keep a timetable of the exams to hand: once students are on

    study leave, it is easy to forget an exam commitment. Students

    can use existing bus passes to travel, even at different times of


Year 11 students will be made aware about Education Maintenance

    Allowances to support students going into post-16 education.

    Information packs about these allowances are available from the

    school office. Depending on your income your daughter or son

    could be eligible and I would urge you to find out more. Further

    information from Mrs Carter, Attendance Secretary, about the

    Education Maintenance Allowance - please contact her through

    the school office on extension 141.

    Visit the website: ; HYPERLINK ""

    ;? for more information.

Year 12 Futures Week 2007:

    thndMonday 18 June Friday 22 June.

    In preparation for A2 studies in Year 13 and applications for

    University/College or employment, the students have on return

    after their AS exams, an exciting five days of activities. All


students are expected to attend Futures Week which will

    commence on Monday 18th June at 9.00 a.m. The normal Year 12

    timetable will be suspended for five days, students will be

    thstarting their A2 studies in the following week 25 June. Again

    all students are expected to attend the beginning of their A2


    Previous year‘s events have all been successful and gained very

    positive feedback from the students. The aims of the ―week‖ are

    to give all students

    ? Insight into a range of issues and topics related to possible

    career and higher education paths

    ? Knowledge about a variety of ways of working, thinking and


    ? Understanding of what is expected and/or needed in the

    ―world of work‖

    ? Skills in problem solving, creative thinking, team working and


    ? Awareness of their own strengths and areas for personal

    and career development.

Summer Terms’ Dress Code

    In the warmer weather, we allow students to remove jumpers

    during the day, and students do not need to wear jumpers on

    journeys to and from school. They must have their jumpers with

    them, to put on if the weather becomes colder. Shirts and

    blouses must be kept tucked in and tidy and boys are still

    required to wear ties. The school does not have a separate

    summer dress requirement but short-sleeved shirts and blouses

    are acceptable.

Some students are not dressed as tidily as we would like: in some

    cases, very short skirts and continued use of make-up impairs the

    image of a hard-working school community.


We are all aware of the pressure on young people to conform to

    stereo-types, however, school dress is exempt from this pressure: one of its benefits. We do not allow therefore, any extremes of

    fashion. This includes those articles of dress which declare

    adherence to a particular group or gang, such as sparkly jewellery, hoodies, chains, body-piercings, tattoos, etc. The symbols are

    many and varied and it is impossible to list them all due to their frequently changing nature. Suffice it to say that we do not wish to see these symbols of dress in school. They can lead to divisive and aggressive behaviour.

School bags should be of a sensible size certainly big enough to

    carry school books without being damaged. Small handbags and

    designer carrier bags are not appropriate.


    Aggression continues to be widespread among young people in the

    abuse of the internet, especially in improper usage of sites such as

    bebo and myspace. There are on-going situations of text and

    electronic bullying in and out of school. Mobile phones, including those with cameras are not allowed in lessons or around school, to prevent this type of bullying taking place, and are only to be used in emergencies. Please check what your child is reading and writing on their or your computer and be aware that young people are generally much more e-aware than older people! Please speak to us of you have information or concerns about this issue.

School Security and Access

    Some parents are still driving onto the school site, or using the mouth at the entrance to the school to drop off and/or collect

    their children at the beginning and end of the day. Please can I once again ask those few parents who still insist on doing this, to avoid using Reynolds Lane and to make arrangements to collect

    your children from either the St. John‘s Road area or the public car park in Yew Tree Road.


Thank you for your co-operation in NOT driving onto the site,

    unless of course you are visiting the school, for example to meet

    a member of staff.

Parent Survey

    As part of our ongoing self-evaluation, we are in the process of

    seeking views of stakeholders about the school. With this letter

    you should also have received a survey for you as parents. Please

    complete and return the survey within two weeks (there is a

    collection point for returned surveys outside the school office).

    We need to know what you think the school does well and where

    we need to improve. Students and staff will be completing

    surveys, too. From the information received, governors and staff

    will be able to plan for future improvements.

Yours sincerely

    Ms. R. Olivier - Head teacher


    Music Team News Huge congratulations to all the performers after ―the best Starlight ever!‖ Over 50 musicians performed a vast variety of

    musical genres; from Funk to Folk, Mozart to Motown.

    Senior students also took the opportunity to perform some of

    their own compositions, to a very high standard.

    The 300 strong audiences were hugely appreciative of the talent

    at St Gregory‘s and the hard work and dedication put in by the

    students to make the concert such a success!

    Mrs R. Coulter Subject Leader

    English Team News Can two wrongs ever make a right? ‘The Tempest’

    The Box Clever Company visited St. Gregory‘s Thursday 8th

    March to perform Shakespeare‘s ‗The Tempest‘. A story of

    revenge, forgiveness and salvation, The Boxed Tempest has an

    innovative and dynamic style, along with the seamless merging of

    original text and modern- day speech. This wonderful rendition of

    ‗The Tempest‘ was performed to support SATs studies for Year 9 in such a professional way that all the students were totally

    engrossed and engaged throughout the whole performance.

    Mr C. McGaughey Subject Leader

Mathematics in Action at Imperial College London

    On Monday 5th March Mr Draper, Miss Demetriou, Helen

    Robinson and 44 year 10 and 11 students went on a trip to London

    to enjoy a day of mathematics.

    Four presenters shared their enthusiasm for mathematics

    through stimulating, varied and entertaining topics.

    Dr Simon Singh demonstrated the diverse ways that

    mathematical thinking can solve problems.

    Professor Chris Budd showed us how mathematics is at the root

    of radio, TV, DVDs, and mobile phones.

    Dr Hugh Hunt explained why you cannot bounce a ball under a

    table, why a falling cat always lands on its feet and why a

    boomerang always returns.


    Andrew Jeffrey, The Mathemagician, showed us the magic behind mathematics.

    At the end of the day staff and students felt amazed, challenged and entertained.

    Maths in Motion Club Term 4 Race Result

    Track - Silverstone

    1st place Jack Tobin 7EPD1

    2nd place Jack Mottau 7CC3

    3rd place Geoffrey Holland 7CPD4

Maths in Motion club meet every Friday lunchtime

    In SC4 at 12.40pm Year 7, 8 & 9 welcome

    Race every half term / Prizes given

    NEXT TRACK - Monza, Italy

Fairtrade Community Art Project

    A group of talented students from Years 7, 8 and 9 recently worked on a Community Art Project organised by the Tunbridge Wells Fairtrade group. The students produced large papier maché eggs which were then painted and decorated in a variety of very personalised and creative ways. The eggs were then hung on trees to create a huge Art installation outside the Victoria Centre in the Calverley Precinct, Tunbridge Wells. The overall effect was a visually stunning display with each tree decorated in a different colour of the spectrum. Tree dressing is an ancient tradition in many parts of the British Isles, where objects were hung on trees near to holy wells or other curative sites by those who felt that they had been cured. The Fairtrade group considered this as an appropriate art form as not only is Tunbridge Wells the home of curative waters but the general theme of healing fits well with the Fairtrade campaign healing

    the damage done by Western Trade practices. By creating this artwork the Fairtrade group hope to draw the public‘s attention

    to the plight of thousands of children who are used as slave labour in the production of cocoa for the chocolate industry.


Chocolate on sale in British shops may be produced using child

    slave labour despite the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill, which

    thbecame law in the UK 200 years ago on 25 March 1807.

    The students who participated in this event were:

    Ashley Hull, Grace Norris, Mica Rivers and Christine Abriam in

    Year 7. Bethany Clarke, Katie Jakes, Hollie O‘Callaghan, Daisy

    Ratcliffe, Rosie Ratcliffe and Henry Todman in Year 8.

    Amy Baigent, Rudolf Basit, Hannah Wylie, Rosetta Mondeh and

    Jessica Grainger in Year 9.

    Mr. P. Teckkam, Subject Leader, Art

Report of the Lent Raffle

    At this time last year we organised a St Gregory‘s Lent Raffle and

    raised ?145.00 towards developing educational facilities in Uganda.

I was very encouraged by the enthusiasm of some students to repeat

    the event this year, so, with Mrs Rebbitt‘s approval, launched our second St Gregory‘s Lent Raffle. The result was even more impressive than last

    year. We raised the staggering total of ?305.10, a new Lent Raffle

    record. Mrs Coulter did the honours and here are the winners:

    st1 prize: T. Beard (ticket 1389) - ticket sold by Cyrus Beard nd2 prize: S. Terrell (ticket 471) - ticket sold by Edward Terrell rd3 prize: T. Fitzsimmons (ticket 3034) - ticket sold by Emma Fitzsimmons

Congratulations to the winners and ticket sellers, who also won prizes!

    This was, above all, a team effort within our St Gregory‘s Community. I

    would like to thank Mrs Kirby, Miss Randall and Mr van Tonder for their

    help with the ticket distribution. The end result is a fine example of the

    value of Christian Charity towards our fellow human beings. Very well

    done everyone!

    Mr S. Fifield Organiser, Lent Raffle

Student News - Strictly Come Dancing!

    Paige Harsant 8NE5 and Catherine Brownhill 11CC5 have been

    dancing as a doubles partnership for only one month and have

    already won two 1st place trophies in their Freestyle category.


Freestyle consists of Rock & Roll, Street dancing and Disco. Paige

    has been dancing for 2 years at the CC Danceworks in

    Hildenborough and is in the under 14 starter group. To date Paige

    has won 14 trophies and Catherine has won 56 Trophies.

    Catherine has been dancing for 2? years at the same dancing

    school and is in the under 16 champ age group. Catherine‘s

    ambition is to become a dance teacher. The girls often have trips

    to Selsey and Camber Sands to enjoy their dancing and to

    compete in various competitions throughout the weekend. Paige

    and Catherine have been dancing as a doubles partnership for only

    one month and have already won two 1st place trophies in their

    Freestyle category. Freestyle consists of Rock & Roll, Street

    dancing and Disco. Paige has been dancing for 2 years at the CC

    Danceworks in Hildenborough and is in the under 14 starter group.

    To date Paige has won 14 trophies and Catherine has won 56

    Trophies. Catherine has been dancing for 2? years at the same

    dancing school and is in the under 16 champ age group. Catherine‘s

    ambition is to become a dance teacher. The girls often have trips

    to Selsey and Camber Sands to enjoy their dancing and to

    compete in various competitions throughout the weekend.

    Student News

    ? Congratulations to Catherine Symons in Year 11ESU6 who

    competed in March in the English Schools Cross Country

    Championships at Leeds.

    ? Callum Hampson 8CPD1 has been selected to play for the

    Surrey Elite football team. The team has been entered to

    play in the Gothia World Youth Cup Tournament which will

    take place in Sweden between 16

    th 20th July.

    The stadium in Gothenburg host the opening ceremony in

    front of an audience of up to 45,000 people and is

    broadcast to 42 countries around the world. Callum will

    compete against the best footballers from around the world.

    There will be teams from 125 countries worldwide.


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