Dear Parent, Guardians and Friends

On Monday, we welcomed Father Richard from St Pauls Church, John Cornish, Chair of Arborfield British Legion and Chris Hall their poppy appeal organiser to our Remembrance Day service. Father Richard led the congregation in an opening prayer and shared his reflections of Remembrance. He reminded us that there were three core reasons to remember. Firstly, that the community made an agreement with those who went to war on or behalf of us and we have a responsibility to remember. Secondly, that remembrance reminds us that the things we value and treasure and define ourselves by might have to be defended and stood up for and finally that we often learn who we are through stories, which led to Father Richard telling us about the life of Charles Rideout. Charles was born in 1889, the eldest of three boys and three girls. By 1911 he was working as a harness maker at Mr Evans’ Equine Supplies at 19 Peach Street. He was a keen cricketer and footballer, a member of Wokingham Town Band and a bellringer in St Paul’s Church. Charles volunteered very early in the war and went to France with the 8th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. As he left he said to his sisters: “Look after mum and dad, because I won’t be back.” Charles was killed in action on the 25th of September 1915 during the Battle of Loos at the age of 25. John Cornish read an extract from the poem For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon, with Natasha Lelliott, a sixth form cadet. Alice Burrows played the Last Post beautifully; this erie and evocative sound reminding us of the generations of the fallen and the whole school observed two minutes silence. Thank you to our guests from Wade, The Holt Association and the Royal British Legion for joining Year 7 and of course, Father Richard. It was good to have some of our students and staff proudly wearing their scout, guide and cadet uniforms. Finally, thank you to Mrs Smith who organised the service.

Mr Furlong’s assemblies prepared us well for Remembrance Day last week. He reminded us of the values that the soldiers fought to defend and uphold. The values of Individual liberty, freedoms and tolerance. Mr Furlong shared the message that we should all think deeper about what the soldiers stood for and to uphold this every day in the way we live out our lives and uphold the values they stood for. Thank you to Mr Furlong for the well prepared assembly and reflections.

On a lighter note, last Friday I judged the upcycling house competition run by the Technology Department. Students and staff had to find an item at the end of its life and then upcycle it into a useful product. The most creative products were a seat made out of a tree trunk and broken fence, a skirt and shirt sewn together to make a dress, a couple of old jeans transformed into funky skirts and a beautiful rag rug made out of old tea cloths. The winners were Broderers followed by Weavers and Spinners who were joint runners up. Thanks to everyone who took part and to Mrs Williams who organised the competition.

The Year 7 cross country team won the Reading and District Cross Country League and the Year 8/9 team came 3rd last week – well done and thanks to Miss Cardy for coaching the teams!

Year 13 have finished their PPEs (mocks) and next week they will be going through their papers working out areas for improvement as well as feeling good about areas they did well in. All good preparation for the summer exams. Alongside this Year 13 are now receiving university offers through UCAS – exciting times. Finally, good luck to Year 11 who have three maths PPE papers next week – we wish you well with your revision – it is worth it to feel calm and prepared as well as making feedback more meaningful. Good luck!

All the best

Anne Kennedy