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Head’s Corner – Newsletter April 2008

April 4th, 2008

As I write my eleventh Head’s Corner, the sun is shining the weather is mild and Spring is officially here. As we look forward to the benefits of what will hopefully be seasonable weather during the coming months for many of our students this of course means the onset of the formal examination season. Our Year 11 students have managed to meet the rigours of coursework deadlines and are now busy attending revision classes and taking practice papers in their preparations for the GCSE and other KS4 examinations next term. Of course, Year 9 students are busy preparing for their KS3 tests in May. Over a third of the year group are regularly attending our Zone 9 revision sessions which are taking place on Tuesday evenings. On behalf of the staff and governors, I would like to wish all of our students who will be revising and preparing during the Easter holidays and beyond, all the very best for their forthcoming examinations and tests. GCSE results will be published to students on Thursday 21st August. Families will be receiving more details about this nearer the time. At this point I would like to remind parents of the availability of ‘SAM Learning’. We have bought into this interactive learning tool which is accessible to all students and is designed ultimately to enhance their performance in examinations. Please follow the link www.samlearning.com to have a look at ‘SAM Learning’ for yourself and do encourage your child to use this valuable resource as much as possible. Research has shown that students who regularly use ‘SAM Learning’ can improve their GCSE result significantly. For example, in a study, students with over 10 task hours use of SAM Learning achieved 4.6 per cent more 5+ A* – C GCSE grades than expected based on prior attainment. The value added gain was equivalent to one quarter of a GCSE grade per subject.

School Population

We have recently received our admission numbers for the Year 7 intake for September 2008 and I am delighted to be able to report to readers that due to the increasing success and popularity of the school we will now be full at KS3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) from September for the first time for many years. We take nothing for granted at Harrow Way and continue to work extremely hard with our students and with our primary schools to secure and expand the confidence and trust of our existing and future families.

Specialist School

We are currently busily preparing to hit the ground running with our newly awarded Specialist Status in Mathematics and Computing in September 2008. Over the ensuing months and years, visitors to Harrow Way will see significant changes around the school as we make additional provision, not just in the Specialist subject areas but throughout the school in order to raise standards still further. Our Director of Specialism is Mr Tony Parsons, Assistant Headteacher. It is his role to ensure that everything related to our Specialist Status goes according to plan and that we therefore meet the Government’s expectations when it comes time to go through the re-designation process in three year’s time.

Staff

This term we have said goodbye to Mrs M Donovan, Mrs C Wood, and Mrs M Veale from the teaching staff and Mrs S Young and Mrs P Cook from the support staff. We are extremely busy at the moment holding interviews to replace these members of staff and to also bring additional staff into the school for September to cater for our continually increasing numbers. I will be reporting full details of our new appointments in my next Head’s Corner at the end of the Summer term.

Premises

We are continuing with our rolling programme of improvements to the premises. As mentioned in my last Head’s Corner the installation of the fencing along the northern boundary of the site is now complete, which adds to the safety and security for students and the school. Our newly refurbished Food Technology Room is also nearing completion and will be ready for use in April. Considerable rooming changes and upgrades, including the installation of new technology, will be taking place before September in preparation for Specialism and I will again bring you more details of these in the next issue of this publication.

School Procedures

I have written an end of term letter to all our parents regarding amendments to and reinforcement of basic school procedures with regard to uniform. We continue to receive many favourable comments from members of the community and visitors to the school about how smart our students now look. Readers will appreciate that it is a never-ending job for school managers to ensure that the correct dress code is properly adhered to, and standards can very quickly slip if we don’t keep on top of it all! The full letter is available on our highly acclaimed website at www.harrowway.hants.sch.uk . A visit to the site will reveal a great deal of information about current and recent activities, including, for example, our recent production of “Oh, What a Lovely War”. Please follow the links to explore the site and to read the above mentioned letter dated 2nd April 2008 which has just been sent to parents.

May I take this opportunity to wish all readers a happy and peaceful Spring Break.

Charlie Currie – Headteacher

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