Headteacher Blog - 2 July

Posted on: 2nd Jul

It has been another busy couple of weeks at school, with our CREARCI values clearly being demonstrated on a daily basis.  As I write this, our students are outside on the field taking part in field events for sports day, with most of the track events to follow on Friday. Due to Covid restrictions we are running the event in year group bubbles rather than as a whole school event, but it is fantastic to have the opportunity to run it after we were forced to cancel last year’s competition. For most students it is one of the most enjoyable events on the school calendar and really brings out the competitive spirit as our Houses go head-to head to be crowned overall winners.

The field also played host this week to our fundraising event, The Colour Run. We had over 230 students take part from across Years 7-10, and it was a fantastic event with a great atmosphere. This is the first fundraising event we have been able to run since Covid, and it was wonderful to see the smiling faces of our students as they ran the course in their year group bubbles, although not so much so as they ran towards me with the coloured powder!  The students clearly enjoyed the event, with many of them completely covered from head to toe. A huge thank you to parents and carers for collecting them afterwards, and we look forward to announcing the amount raised shortly, which will support school-based projects.

Our PDP (Personal Development Programme) and Cross Curricular days have also taken place this week, with each subject area focusing their activity on a topic that can be aligned with one or several of the school values which are Creativity, Responsibility, Equality, Ambition, Resilience, Courage, and Integrity.  Activities this year included historical treasure hunts in History lessons, building balloon powered cars in Maths, looking at how our values are mirrored in the business world in Business Studies and African samba drumming in Music.

Congratulations to several of our Year 10 GCSE Design Technology students who have won awards in the National School Starpack Design competition. The awards were created to introduce young people to the design process and provide them with an early introduction to STEM industries. The following students were shortlisted within the competition: Jess C, Matthew G, Matthew S, Grace P, Oscar C, Jade R and Harry R. All received some very complimentary comments from industry-based judges. Matthew S also won a bronze award and Grace, and Oscar were Highly Commended for their projects. To read more, please click here

We had to be equally as creative with our Sixth Form induction days last week. We knew that many of our new Sixth Form students had not yet had an opportunity to visit the school or meet any members of staff, so organised for students from schools other than The Downs to come into school for socially-distanced tours, in their school bubbles, followed by presentations from Mr Hogan (Head of Sixth Form) and Mr Wilson (Deputy Headteacher). On the following day we ran a series of induction lessons via Teams, attended by all our prospective students, that were used to prepare students for the exciting new courses they will be starting in September.

At the end of last week, we also welcomed many of our Year 11 students back into school for a drink’s reception and buffet. The extension of the Covid 19 protective measures had resulted in the cancellation of the Year 11 prom at its original venue, however we really wanted to be able to celebrate and reward the successes and tenacity of his year group. School staff worked behind the scenes to put together a ‘mini reception.’ Students arrived at school in style in their prom outfits and in a selection of stylish vehicles - including a limousine - before walking the red carpet and then enjoying a buffet and non-alcoholic cocktails in the decorated courtyard area. We realise that the reception was not able to replace all the excitement of the prom but, we hope, it provided the next best thing under the circumstances.

A couple of quick reminders about forthcoming events, our Parent Forum takes place on July 7 and the subject is ‘Understanding how we report to parents at KS3’. If you are interested in attending, please email Mrs Anderson at danderson16@thedownsschool.org and she will forward you the event link. If you play golf, please keep Saturday, September 18 free which is when we will be hosting our fundraising event ‘The Downs Open’. Taking place at The Donnington Valley Hotel golf course, participants will play a round which will be followed by a silent auction. Details will be sent out shortly and we would love you to join us at what looks set to be a great event.

Finally, a thank you to those of you who sent in your unwanted clothes for our Bags2School collection. We were delighted to receive just over £200.00 in return for your donations which totalled over 500Kg!

I have felt truly inspired these last couple of weeks by the way my staff have worked so hard to overcome the challenges brought about by the government’s decision not to ease the restrictions. It would have much easier to cancel all the events, but instead, they have shown courage, resilience and creativity to ensure that students still had those excellent experiences.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Mr Prosser






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