Headteacher Blog - 30 April

Posted on: 30th Apr

It has been lovely welcoming all of the students back to school, and I hope you and your families had a relaxing Easter break. I am proud at how our students continue to help keep each other safe by following the school’s Covid protocols, particularly wearing face coverings in lessons without complaints, which I appreciate can be difficult. We continue to follow The Department of Education’s Covid guidelines, and will make you aware of any changes as and when they happen.

Our Year 11 and 13 students are continuing to work hard on their final assessments, and I would like to remind parents to read the recent communications sent via SchoolComms about end of year arrangements, including the dates that our students must continue to attend school as normal.

Last week we held another one of our virtual parents’ evenings for Year 7, which ran extremely smoothly. Once again we had very positive comments from parents about the evening and it is something that we seriously need to consider continuing with once we eventually return to more normal times. 

We are planning to run transition days for those currently in Year 6 at local primary schools who will be joining us in September. The dates for these are the Wednesday, 7 & Thursday, 8 July. As usual, we were hugely oversubscribed for places this year, and we are really looking forward to meeting our new students and preparing them for life at The Downs!  We have also had a significant number of applications for Sixth Form places in September, receiving over 200 applications which includes students already with us and those from other state and independent schools. All these students will be provided with a programme of learning to help prepare them for Sixth Form study, which will be launched on the Sixth Form induction days. The dates for these are Thursday, 24 & Friday, 25 June.

The new Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has this week launched The Big Ask, the largest ever consultation with children aged 4 to 17 in England. It aims to find out children’s concerns and aspirations about the future, so that children can be put at the heart of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus outbreak. Our students will be completing these short surveys during lessons. If you wish to find out more information, you can visit the ‘Big Ask’ website.

Our Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award training day took place last week, with 40 Year 10 and 30 Year 11 students taking part. Activities included navigation training, route planning and food and stove safety. As usual our students performed brilliantly, demonstrating our values, in particular, responsibility, creativity and resilience.  Our Silver D of E students are currently preparing for a three-day expedition, whilst our Bronze students will soon undertake a two-day walking expedition. We look forward to hearing how they get on.

Looking ahead to our Cross Curricular week at the end of June, we are planning on running ‘The Colour Run’, an event that was due to take place in March 2020 but was cancelled due to Covid. The fundraiser, where students run a route on the school playing fields whist being dowsed in coloured powder was a much-anticipated event last year, and we look forward to it finally – all being well - going ahead. Letters containing further information will follow, but it will be a great opportunity to have some fun after such a difficult year.

Finally, I wanted to make parents aware that we are now offering some our facilities for hire, including the swimming pool, astro turf pitch, grass pitches and the main hall during evenings, weekends and school holidays. For further information, please visit the 'Facilities for hire' page on our website or contact the lettings team at lettings@thedownsschool.org

I hope you have a restful and enjoyable bank holiday weekend.

Mr Prosser






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