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Headteacher Blog - 26 NovemberPosted on: 26th Nov
Last night we held our annual Sixth Form Open Evening. It was a hugely successful evening, where we were able to safely welcome not only our current year 11 students and their families, but also it was lovely to see many new students’ and their families from other schools in the area. I am incredibly proud of our Sixth Form, the partnership between staff, students and parents is excellent, we provide the right environment to be able to support our students to realise their full potential and achieve their personal goals, and we have a proven record of academic success. Almost 600 students and their families registered to attend the event and where students were able to visit the many different subject areas and speak with the teachers. For anyone who couldn’t attend the evening, we have Open Mornings starting next week. Please click here to find out more and book your place.
With the recent changes in the weather, I wanted to remind parents, that unfortunately the cold doesn’t kill off COVID, rather it has the potential to accelerate transmission as people get together indoors. Local evidence continues to show a rise in COVID infections across West Berkshire, including in schools. This re-enforces the fact that we still need to have our COVID control measures within school and I thank you for your support with this.
At the end of last week, we emailed our Year 7, 8 and 9 parents a link to a page on our website which details what their children are learning this academic year and how their learning journey progresses from Year 7 – 9. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit the page, here is the link Key Stage 3 Curriculum - The Downs School. We would advise all parents to visit the ‘Learning’ tab of the website which details what your child will be studying as the year progresses. You will also find information about our curriculum and how subjects map learning across the year. These documents are updated on a yearly cycle and will help you understand what your son or daughter will be expected to learn in a ‘normal’ school year. Due to the pandemic, some planning will have been adapted to take account of lockdown, however, the overarching aims of coverage will remain the same. If you have any questions about what your child may be studying, please contact their subject teacher in the first instance, who will be able to provide you with further information.
Congratulations to our A Level Maths students who took part in the Senior Maths Challenge earlier this month. Fifty-five students took part in the 90 minute online national competition, which is held annually. This year was our largest ever entry and gave our A Level students problems which encourage mathematical reasoning, precision of thought, and fluency in using basic mathematical techniques to solve interesting problems. The problems on the Senior Mathematical Challenge are designed to make students think. Most are accessible, yet still challenge those with more experience. We have in the past had several students qualify for the next levels of the challenge, the Senior Kangaroo and the Mathematical Olympiad, and we hope to have results in the next few days along with news of any qualifiers.
With the most recent House Matches culminating on Wednesday of this week, please see below the top three results for the rugby and football games, alongside the recent cross-country results. Well done to all those who took part.
Rugby and Football
|Year 7||Chiltern||Lowbury||Beechwood & Perborough|
|Year 8||Ridgeway||Ilsley||Beechwood & Aldworth|
|Year 9||Lowbury||Aldworth||Chiltern & Perborough|
|Year 9||Lowbury||Aldworth||Ilsley, Beechwood & Ridgeway|
|Year 7 boys||Perborough||Ridgeway||Ilsley|
|Year 7 girls||Perborough||Chiltern||Lowbury|
|Year 8 boys||Chiltern||Lowbury||Ilsley|
|Year 8 girls||Ilsley||Chiltern||Perborough|
|Year 9 boys||Chiltern||Lowbury||Ridgeway|
|Year 9 girls||Ridgeway||Chiltern||Perborough|
|Year 10/11 boys||Ridgeway||Aldworth||Lowbury|
|Year 10/11 girls||Perborough||Ridgeway||Beechwood|
The cross-country Junior Trophy winners were Perborough, with Chiltern 2nd and Ilsley 3rd. Ridgeway were the winners of the Senior Trophy with Chiltern 2nd and Aldworth 3rd. Congratulations also to all our football teams who have been taking on local schools in matches this term. Years 8 and 9 are in the plays offs for 3rd/4th place, whilst are Year 7s and 10s are in the play offs for 5th/6th place.
Over in Sixth Form, some of our Year 13 Oxbridge applicants have been participating in an event hosted by Bradfield College giving students the opportunity to meet with like-minded peers and discuss subject-specific content, led by subject experts. The forums provide an opportunity to chat about the subject the student is applying for with pupils with similar interests from different schools. We are also delighted, that all our students who wish to study Veterinary Medicine at university next year have been invited to at least one Veterinary Medicine interview. We wish them every success.
Last month I told you about the successes of some of our students who had taken part in the National Windsurfing Championships. I am delighted to tell you that three of those talented sportsmen; Ned BT, Freddie T and Charlie H have been selected for the Regional Training Group – South Windsurfer Winter 2021/22 and their fellow student Imogen J has been selected for the Regional Training Group – South Feva Winter 2021/22. Selection for this Royal Yachting Association activity recognises these students’ potential to progress within British Youth Sailing, with the aim of progressing to UK Youth Squads. We wish them all the best.
Finally, thank you for helping us raise £1802.50 with our non-uniform day for Children in Need. Our pottery painting event last weekend was a huge success also very well supported with everyone getting into the festive spirit. The feedback was that everyone enjoyed the event and there was a great community feel. We hope to look at organising activities like this in the future.
Looking ahead to next week, our Year 11 students begin their mock exams. I would also like to remind our Year 10 parents that the booking system for the forthcoming online Year 10 parents evening is now live. For more information, please see the ‘letters home’ area of the website.
I hope you and your families have a good weekend.