Headteacher Blog - 18 December

Posted on: 17th Dec

We are almost at the end of term and indeed the end of 2020, a year unlike no other. I would like to begin by saying a huge thank you to my hard working and resilient staff who have maintained the highest possible standards during these difficult times, and to our students who have coped admirably with all the changes we have had to put in place.

I would also like to say a special thank you to those staff who are leaving us this term. First is Dr Howard, who joined us in 2013 and has been a ‘rock’ for the Computer Science and IT Department ever since. It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to her and we wish her the best of luck in her new career. We also say goodbye to Mrs Dellowe and Mrs Jones, thank you for your service. Last by no means least, after nearly 20 years with the school, Lisa Hill, our School Business Manager is also leaving us. Since she started in 2001 she has been instrumental in supporting the school in its development and success. She has shown huge determination and resilience and remained firmly focused on providing the very best environment for both staff and students alike. Her projects have included putting a roof over the swimming pool, the school astro turf, Hubble, Walcott Hall, Café 6 and more recently securing a grant to refurbish Design Arts. We will all miss her and wish her all the best for the future.

For those of you who have children sitting GCSE or A Level exams next year, you may have seen the announcement from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson earlier this month. In essence, the Government recognises the challenges faced by students this year. As a result, students will be given advance notice of some topic areas ahead of exams, grades will be more generous and steps will be taken to ensure every student receives a grade, even if they miss a paper due to self-isolation or illness. We will of course keep you informed of any new developments after we return in the New Year, but in the meantime please read the letter below, which provides more detailed information on the package of exceptional measures to support our students.

2021-Examinations-letter.pdfOur students have excelled themselves in the last few weeks of term, and I would like to congratulate our Year 7s who have recently completed ‘Time to Talk’s Climb for Counselling’ challenge. Working in tutor groups, the students were set the challenge of covering the equivalent distance of climbing Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s tallest mountain. They completely smashed their target, collectively taking over 417,000 steps. Well done to George I, Edward B and Freya M who climbed the furthest distance, and to Aldworth who were the winning House. The students raised £300.00 for Time to Talk, a local charity that provides mental health and emotional wellbeing support for young people aged 11-25.

Congratulations to Year 10 student Cara H who has been using her spare time to make period boxes for those who cannot afford, or do not have access to, the sanitary products they need each month. She has produced nearly 100 boxes and in addition received donations of an incredible £711 in just two weeks.

Head of Year 10, Mrs Wilding said “I really am so impressed with what Cara has been doing and even more amazed with the money she has raised  – what a fantastic job!” Well done Cara, what a fantastic initiative and thank you for helping raise awareness of the All Yours project.

I also wanted to share with you the work of Year 10 student Alex R with his poem ‘Before you were mine’ which he wrote as part of his extended GCSE Literature learning. Alex’s class were asked to interview a parent and write in the style of poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Alex’s poem is a touching tribute to his father with sophisticated use of appropriate poetic techniques and a complex crafting of ideas. It is a truly impressive piece of work.

Alex-poem.pdfEarlier in the term, we were forced to cancel our annual sponsored walk across the Ridgeway and instead asked students to undertake a personal challenge at home. The monies have now been counted and an incredible £7,000 raised. It is so inspiring to see you demonstrating our values of creativity, courage and resilience. Thank you so much to all those who took part.

Last week we were delighted to open our new Food Technology classroom, the culmination of a project that began last summer with the reroofing of the building that houses our Art, Technology and Food Technology faculties. Thanks to grants from West Berkshire Council and the Wolfson Foundation, we have extended and renovated the Food Tech classroom, fitting new extraction systems and added new sink and storage areas alongside the cookers which were replaced last year. We have also added a moveable hob and sink for students with disabilities or in wheelchairs to access equipment safely and fitted new lighting and flooring. We now have a state-of-the-art facility which all students across the school can use and enjoy.

Finally, thank you to Toni Kent, Compton’s very own Stand Up, for performing for Year 13 A Level Media and BTEC classes on the theme of representation and social mobility.   From her home in Compton, Toni took us on her journey from growing up on a council estate to working for Microsoft.  Not only did she entertain us with her wit and candour, she ended her performance by rapping in the style of her favourite teen artists.

Toni offered students an insightful perspective on representations of gender, class and ethnicity via a Covid secure remote setting.  Despite technological challenges and the serious message regarding representation Toni was still able to energise the room and make us laugh, whilst raising awareness of social and cultural attitudes and the way we label and view social groups. The teachers particularly look forward to seeing another performance ‘after the watershed’ whether it’s remote or live.

Thank you for your continued support over the term – we have had so many lovely messages and they have really meant a lot to my staff, helping to motivate them through some challenging times. I wish you and your families a safe, happy and relaxed Christmas break. We look forward to welcoming the students back in the New Year.

Mr Prosser



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