Dear Parent, Guardians and Friends

We have a few school trips setting off this week.  We wish Year 9 well on the Battlefield trip with the students and staff departing at 2.45am on Friday morning….(school trips always seem to start and/or finish in the middle of the night) they return on Sunday.  The Year 12 and13 Spanish linguists leave for Seville on Monday and return on Friday.  The next blog will give highlights of the trips.  Thanks to the staff organising these trips, and accompanying the students; we hope staff and students have a lovely time.

The Year 12 Biology students attended a day trip to the Conservation conference at Marwell Zoo on Monday as an introduction to the biodiversity aspect of their specification. Mrs Whitehouse wrote

They were able to learn about the role of a zoo in conservation and in particular Marwell zoo’s role in saving the Scimitar Horned oryx, an organism previously classified as being extinct in the wild, which has now been downgraded on the red lists to critically endangered, due to a successful reintroduction programme.  They were able to discuss reasons why organisms can become vulnerable and the difficulties that can be encountered when trying to survey a species. The snow leopard was used as a case study as Marwell are part of an international survey to try and discover how many are actually left in the wild. This required 12 different countries cooperation and demonstrated how different subjects can come together to find solutions. 

The students were then able to complete questions on endangered species around the zoo focusing on adaptations and threats to biodiversity. Some of us were lucky enough to have a close encounter with the elusive 2 toed sloth, Santos, in the tropical house and a student with ambitions to study zoology was able to hone her field drawing skills. It was a really informative day and the students are well prepared for their new module. 

This week the Student Leadership chaired the school council with guidance from Mrs White, our extra-curricular, charity and student voice coordinator.  The school council process takes 5 weeks, one week for forms to come up with agenda items, the student leadership team then decide on the key common agenda items across all 40 forms.  The following week, forms discuss the agenda items in registration and the two school council prefects from each form take a summary of their discussions to Year council which is the week after.  This is attended by the Head of Year, who writes the minutes and is chaired by a member of the student leadership team.  Finally, on Monday we held the whole school council, where two representatives from each year group attend, along with the student leadership team and Mrs White.  The agenda items this time included, as always, thoughts about the food on offer in the café, encouraging more recycling at break and lunch, how to teach students to tell the time using analogue clocks, suggestions for activities week and moving the prayer room to a bigger venue.  We discussed all the points at our weekly senior leadership team meeting and recorded the actions.  The last part of the process is for the student leadership team to make a video of our feedback and for the students to watch  in registration the week after half term.  The next round of school council is after Easter.  We are very proud of how democratic it is and that it is run by our sixth form student leadership team.

A couple of weeks ago, Mrs White took some students to the Youth Member of Parliament elections, where Maya Guelbert was competing against other schools to become the next Youth MP of Wokingham. We are pleased to announce that Maya won and is now the next Youth MP. We are wishing her luck in her new role. 

Moving on to sporting fixtures, we have had a very successful week in the PE department, with the U13 girls winning their first game of the Football league and the U13 girls Indoor Athletics team coming 2nd in their competition.  We have also had success in the U15 Indoor Cricket match against Piggott on Tuesday! Mr Mosley and Mrs White were so proud of the team, who were winning on 91-90 with the final ball left to play. We bowled them out on their final ball, winning the game! Amazing!  All four Year 7 Netball teams won their games. The U16 Handball team also had a great match, winning their games too! On Wednesday the U13 Hockey team also had a great few games and did so well tactically as a team.

The PE department also had the Year 10 Sports Leaders  assessments. The Sports leaders have been working so hard for their assessments over the last term, and it was so lovely to see how confident they were in leading the Year 7 students.s. 

The PE department are delighted with the success of our teams this week. We have had great participation at clubs and in fixtures. Thank you for encouraging your daughters to take part and thank you to the PE staff for their encouragement and enthusiasm.

It is non-uniform day on Friday; the £2 contribution will go to for Alexander Devine,  a children’s hospice service. Alexander Devine provides an environment of growth and support, as well as a place of safety for everyone to express their emotions. With the funds raised from the non-uniform day, we can help to ensure that children with life-threatening conditions and their families get the specialist care and vital support they need, along with making important memories.

It is half term next week, Year 13 have PPEs to revise for and Year 11 will be preparing for PPEs too but there is always time to take a break and do something different.  For all other year groups, we really do encourage students to have new experiences during the holidays.  Here are a few suggestions

  • gardening – cleaning the patio, planting summer bulbs, cleaning out the shed or garage, tackling the weeding, sorting out the garden furniture or make a balcony window box or prepare a pot with bulbs
  • make the family meal including going to the shop to buy the ingredients.
  • learning something new – knitting, art, crocheting …lots of clips on you tube. You might need a visit to Hobbycraft!
  • learn how to clean a toilet, bathroom, use the washing machine or ironing – seriously!
  • visit the Ashmolean museum in Oxford (the train ride is through beautiful countryside), or Reading Museum, the museum of Rural Life in Reading
  • take a trip to London – visit the National Portrait Gallery, walk along the Regents canal, walk through Regent’s Park and up Primrose Hill…the views of London are great on a clear day. Take a clipper boat down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich….the views are amazing. It is exhilarating and not very expensive.  See all the famous sites….Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower of London…. I don’t think anyone tires of looking at such historic buildings. 
  • walk along the Thames from the Waterside Centre to Sonning and back
  • walk along the Thames in Henley


Wishing you all a great half term

Anne Kennedy