Headteacher's end of term newsletter - December 2020
Dear Parents, Carers and Students
I would like to start this newsletter by paying tribute to the amazing staff team at TWGSB. Every one of them has worked tirelessly on what has definitely felt like the frontline since our return in September. We have often found ourselves in the ‘we can’t please anyone’ camp but we have tried at all times to ensure our community is as safe as possible within the guidelines we have been given.
Staff have worked under the heightened risk of COVID-19 and many have sacrificed seeing their own family because they may individually be of an increased risk. I would like to celebrate their leadership, resilience and commitment to TWGSB. Your continued messages of support show us that the vast majority of you agree with that sentiment and to you we would like to say thank you.
There have been a number of highlights this term, many of which will be detailed further below. Watching the inter house cross-country competition was a great moment. The boys showed great determination and a ‘have a go’ approach. Everyone was cheered on by their peers with such enthusiasm and community spirit! There were some fantastic performances; we certainly have a plethora of talented athletes across all year groups.
The opening of the new Maths and Computing block will make an incredible difference to our school community. The building is state-of-the-art and the standard of finish is superb; I’m sure both students and staff will enjoy working in there. We cannot wait to show you around when times are less complex.
The new Sports Hall will be finished by the 23rd December. However, we will have to wait until mid-January before we can use it due to a delay in utilities’ commissioning. The size of this building is vast and the flexibility it will provide the school is most welcome.
We are delighted to announce that planning permission has been granted for the new Sixth Form Centre and the TODAY. TOMORROW. TOGETHER. campaign continues so that we can make it a reality.
The single element that makes all these efforts worthwhile is the students. We would like to say thank you to our wonderful student body. We appreciate that this has also been a challenging term for you but, as always, you have stepped up and displayed 'All Round Excellence'.
2021 will bring many fantastic opportunities for all at TWGSB. Please do look after each other and have a very safe and happy Christmas. Your messages of support have kept us all going. Thank you!
MATHS AND ICT CENTRE - The new building was officially handed over by Baxall and KCC this term and we were excited to receive the keys and cut the ribbon to the cheers of a passing group of Year 7 students!
The new facility looks amazing and is such a welcome addition to our Tunbridge Wells campus with Chair of Governors, Philip Drew, reflecting 'This fabulous new building is testament to what is achievable when good people work constructively together to make things happen for our children's futures. This has been a real team effort involving our school, KCC and contractor Baxalls. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed.'
Students will be working in the new classrooms from January and, while we can’t invite you to look around at the moment, we hope you enjoy the images below and on the website gallery.
Congratulations to the 134 Year 13 students who have successfully completed the rather gruelling UCAS Application process. The Year 13 tutors have worked tirelessly to support our students and it is much appreciated. Offers are coming in daily and bringing much needed joy to our young academics. Students have been receiving great offers from prestigious Universities such as Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Leeds, Loughborough, Exeter, Edinburgh, UEA, Liverpool and Sheffield to name but a few. 72 students have all five offers so far which is awe inspiring. This year we are not seeing the dreaded unconditional offers which were a mixed blessing in the past.
Royal Holloway complimented us on the very high-quality Personal Statements they have received. 12 students have achieved Cambridge/Medic interviews, all conducted online which was quite a daunting process, we all wish them every success. Several students are opting for the Apprenticeship route which tends to go into full swing in the New Year and we look forward to their successes too.
It is a pleasure to be able to congratulate our students who have shown such resilience and determination during the Covid Crisis - we salute them all.
Senior Prefects Charity Collections
The foodbank collection and non-uniform day to raise food and funds for those in need this Christmas were a great success. The school response to the Nourish Foodbank donation completely surpassed our expectations and as a result many boxes and bags of food were taken to the collection point to be delivered to families in crisis at Christmas. On receipt of the boxes, Nourish reported "THANK YOU. This is incredible!"
Non–uniform day raised funds for Young Minds, a charity which strives to ensure no young person feels alone with their mental health, and gets the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what. Thank you for supporting this important service. If you would like to donate, please click here.
The ‘Positive Pathway’ system is now in full operation and Ms Simpson was delighted to reward the first six boys to achieve 100 points with their letter of achievement and gold badge. Many congratulations to Adam Year 10, Henry Year 10, Jonathan Year 7, Mark Year 9, Peace Year 8 and Stirling Year 10. The rest of the school is certainly also rising to the challenge and we’re so pleased to see:
We can’t deny that the last eight months have been extremely challenging and although we seem to be turning a corner many of us are suffering from anxiety and worry about what the future holds.
As a school we are committed to ensuring that our students feel fully supported throughout their school career. We want to create a positive ethos within the school allowing each student to be able to discuss their feelings and emotions freely and in order to do this we are aiming to achieve the Well–being in Schools award. We have already put together a team of teaching and support staff to begin this journey and more information about this will be sent out in the New Year.
There are lots of amazing free resources, websites and tips on offer if you would like to support your child’s mental well–being or simply to include possible meditation and relaxation techniques in your family’s daily routine. Mrs Rose
Childline: some great activities for young people including meditation, yoga and mindfulness
Outside The Box: a resource for children aged 8–12 but tasks can be adapted for younger or older children
Duke of Edinburgh Award
Year 10 students were introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh Award this term and given the chance to sign up to the Bronze Award. We normally have upwards of 70 students taking part each year and it would be fantastic if we could match that again this year. A Parentmail letter was sent to parents of Year 10 boys and we hope you will encourage students to take part.
Year 12 students have been offered the opportunity to take part in either the Silver or Gold Award.
We had a really positive response to our PTA fund–raising calendar competition and received many beautiful, high quality entries. We were amazed by the artwork submitted and have been able to make use of much of it in the final design. The work of around 100 students is featured, so well done to those students whose work was selected. An example is given below and you can see the 2021 calendar and those who were shortlisted on the Art page on the website. Ms Kublik
This term the A level graphics students have been working on American Diner designs and A level DT have been carving and laminating wooden boxes. Their innovative creations are shared here.
Year 10 have been busy preparing Yule Logs, as Taylor and Sam illustrate below.
Quantum Theatre’s visited us at the end of November with ‘A Christmas Carol’ production which brought the Year 10 studies to life. We hope you enjoy the following review by Daniel in 10F.
I thought it was impressive how the actors retold the story including essential quotations and key details, allowing us to further expand our understanding of the story and context. In addition to this, the actors made the play engaging and enjoyable and it was surprising how well the limited number of actors managed to capture and project the complex story with many contrasting characters. The actors kept the play easy to keep track of and avoided confusion through the smart and obvious changes in character, often using something as simple as a coloured scarf; this is impressive as there are many characters that could easily be confused with each other. The characters’ feelings were highlighted through the actors’ use of expressions, which helped the audience understand the subtle feelings and emotions of the characters. An example of this is through the tales of past Christmas’ where they would place the older Scrooge in place of the younger one, to further explore his feelings of these shadows of things that have been; this made the audience empathise with older Scrooge and understand his pain when he realised how he had changed for the worse.
CROSS–COUNTRY: Well done to all students in years 7 - 9 who took part in the inter–house Cross-Country championship. This was a fantastic event with over 700 competitors across six races. Mr Millar and all the PE staff took much time in preparing the course complete with barriers, tape, public address system and finishing funnel. This made for an exciting, professional event that was enjoyed by all who took part.
The event promoted the idea of 'being the best you could be' and also brought an awareness of the physical, social and mental benefits of running. All Students who took part were exhilarated at the end of the event and will testify that the run gave them a 'great feeling' for the rest of the day.
An incredible 99% of students completed the course, with many in training for next year’s event. A cross–country club will start in term 3 for students who want to continue running.
Congratulations to all who took part. Final placings and of each event are shown below:
FOOTBALL AND TABLE TENNIS: During the final week of term all KS3 students embarked on their second instalment of inter-house sport. On two fresh, sunny early winter mornings it gladdened the heart to see the bright display of house colours, proudly worn by all contestants in the house football and table tennis tournaments. There were fabulous performances all round; showing fine leadership and initiative, coping with significant player withdrawals through the wretched COVID–19 virus on the mornings of each competition.
During these challenging times, there was a palpable sense of much needed fun and relaxation. The students should be proud of the sportsmanship, organisation and skill on display. With marks for sportsmanship, warm–up and quality of play students displayed excellent behaviour throughout.
In addition to the house scores, students were nominated using the schools RED categories of Respect Excellence and Determination. The RED stars for each tournament were awarded with students gaining 5 personal house points to their overall score.
*The cancelled Year 7 competition will be arranged for the new year.
Well done to everyone involved. Have a restful and enjoyable Christmas. PE Team
Tuesday, 5th January – Friday 15th January: Year 13
Monday 18th January – Friday 29th January: Year 11
Due to the need to increase space between students for social distancing, for some exams we have had to enlist the support of the local community for additional hall space. The Army Reserve Centre staff have generously offered us the use of their hall for some of our busiest GCSE mock exams.
Please check that your child is prepared with the correct equipment (pens, pencils, ruler, calculator, rubber, clear plastic pencil case etc.) and we wish our students all the very best ahead of these exams. The Exams Team
This term students in Year 7 were given the opportunity to take part in the level three Bikeability Award. All students who took part in the practical awareness training were awarded a badge and certificate and are now more confident and proficient when cycling on the road. As this course has been such a success we hope to be able to offer this opportunity to more students in the New Year.
The school collection for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal raised £397.22 towards their vital welfare and benevolent work. Thank you.
Last but definitely NOT least. Doris has continued to work her magic in the classroom and out. As well as being busy here at TWGSB, she has inspired children at Southborough Primary School to create stories and art work. Closer to my own home, as Doris lives with us, my daughter wrote a poem about her which she sent in to Blue Peter. As a result she earned her self a Blue Peter Badge and Doris got a special mention in the letter! Mrs Rose.
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