Headteacher’s Newsletter 5th Sept 2019

Good Afternoon

This will be the first of what I intend to be a weekly letter to parents.

Well, the first week of term proper has come to its conclusion. I am sure, like you, this brings a certain sense of relief. I’d like to say thank you to the many parents I have met who have kindly offered such a warm welcome to Victoria.

For you, the new school year signals a return to routine – something we all know that our children need and, in fact, enjoy. The holidays are always nice, but often fail to engage our kids in the same way school does – especially the mind. I know my own two children, who like me have started their new school this week, were very much ready for it. However, I am delighted, as I know you are, that they are coming to such an excellent school.

Once again in 2019 we have posted outstanding academic results with 91% of all our GCSE grades at 4/C or higher (UK Average 70%), 62% of all our grades are 7/A or higher (UK Average 22%) and an enormous 19% of all grades were 9/A*+. One of our outstanding students achieved 7 grade 9s. This would place them well inside the top 1% of UK students.

We will be making more of a noise about our successes in the coming weeks. I know that humility is a great virtue, and pride often comes directly before a fall – but we must also balance that and acknowledge the work of our students and the whole school community – including you parents.

The first week always brings some teething problems in terms of timetables, groups, induction of new students, uniform, transport, routines etc. The students have been very understanding and mature in most cases and assisted us in ironing out the wrinkles that all schools have in the first week. For that I have thanked them all in assembly. Next week we now must kick into a higher gear. Staff will be extra vigilant around uniform, punctuality and all of the other structures that help our community run smoothly. The focus and spotlight will also be on what is going on in classrooms.

For that I thank you in advance for checking planners, nagging about preparing school bags and completing homework and ensuring all aspects of appearance are correct and in place – including leather shoes, jewelry, make up and official uniform. I have started to explain the reasons and values of school uniform to the students this week and it is a message I will return to many times. Our rules and regulations don’t exist simply to make life difficult for the students to follow and the staff to implement, they all have good reasons behind them.

Next week I will also be putting forward a plan to renew the Victoria Parents Association. I believe that a constructive arrangement with parents is essential for the community. Being a parent is difficult and stressful, I understand that only too well. Part of my job is to ensure we have effective communication through productive channels that allow parents to be informed and also to effect change. Modern technology, especially WhatsApp, has accelerated the ageless concept of “Village Gossip” to stratospheric levels. However, just like gossip, it often serves no purpose above agitation, increasing stress and promoting and deepening misunderstanding. For effective communication to take place – communication that can affect the kind of developments we all want to see, I will be introducing a new structure to the VPA and I look forward to a healthy collaboration. 

Soon I will also be sending a survey to parents and students to try and gather some views about school and also to look at how we would like to move forward as a community (there is that word again!) in terms of improving our sustainability. I am sure that we, as parents, are aware of our responsibilities to the next generation.

I also look forward to getting to know more parents via our introductory meetings next week. Victoria is a gloriously diverse community of countless nationalities and backgrounds. Within that diversity lies our strength. I have always been a firm believer that we all, as humanity, have more that unites us than divides us. I look forward to us working harmoniously in the best interests of the whole community – which will then serve us all well as individuals.

Have a lovely end to the week and a great weekend.

Keith Sykes