Headteacher’s Newsletter 19th Sept 2019

Good Afternoon VES Parents

This week has had a heavy emphasis on our students and their engagement with school through our various approaches to developing their leadership skills.

As many of you will know, our youngsters have been busy writing and perfecting their speeches to their classmates as they try to be successful in their quest to be voted Student Representative. Each class will have a boy and a girl as representatives, chosen by a secret class ballot. The representatives will make our student councils and they will have regular meetings with myself and their Heads of Section. This will be an opportunity to pass on their views and concerns and also to start to understand the various factors that can influence decisions in school. I have always encouraged and enjoyed this approach – and students always rise to the challenge in increasingly impressive ways.

If you have helped your child or children prepare to run for office, many thanks. It is good to see so many wanting to put themselves forward and reflect on why they have the character and attributes to lead-  as so many of them clearly do. One of the jobs of the student councils will be to take a leading role in our sustainability project for the year. The vote is closed, and the results are in. Hundreds of students, parents and staff voted, and it was very close in the end.

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So, we will be having a focus this year on reducing our use of plastic both in school and at home. I am hoping families can start to look at their plastic use and I hope we can prompt discussions at home around the dinner table. In this way we continue to deepen the bond between home and school, we can all come together as a community, celebrate our successes and, of course, do our bit for this beautiful planet we call home. The students will be getting chance to bring their ideas forward soon.

Our Sixth Form students have also been preparing their submissions for Prefects and Head Boy and Girl. I remain impressed by the drive many of them have shown – including preparations to organise junior students for the Emirates Literature Festival, proposals for a school newspaper and offers of help in various other areas of school. 

Soon we will be revealing our impressive extra-curricular activities options for students, due to commence when the weather cools in October. It is so great to see our staff willingly give their spare time to help students engage in a variety of extra-curricular activities – once again showing our commitment to supporting the development of the whole child and our determination to build their engagement with school.

We value your support in all of this. I have had parents tell me they think it is important that we should just be focusing on lessons. I agree and disagree at the same time. I agree we must pour our focus into what goes on in the classroom – it is the most important thing. This week I have been talking to students and staff about prompt, dynamic, starts to classes and reducing disruptions caused by forgetfulness and requests to leave the room for inconsequential reasons. Eradicating this is of course a key objective. The lesson must be disruption free – and again I urge parents to check that uniforms, haircuts and appearance are conforming to our expectations of a business-like atmosphere.

However, for all we demand engagement and focus, we must also build it. There is no better way than getting our young people to connect with the school and its community through leadership, extra-curricular activities and community wide projects to help them take ownership of their future. Building this positivity, is essential in ensuring their mindset is right, we develop them as confident and independent young people, and ultimately it will only help them in their academic studies. Thanks for your support in all of this – I am enjoying meeting and talking with so many of you and I hope that I continue to receive offers to join the VPA. The details have been attached once again for you to review and I hope, like your children, you can enthusiastically put yourself forward.

Have a lovely, restful, weekend.

Keith Sykes

Headteacher