Christmas Message

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Dear Parents and Carers,

I write to you all at the end of a busy, but hugely productive term. I know that staff have worked incredibly hard this term, and I think that we’ve put in place an awful lot of groundwork for the year ahead. We’ve been focusing on improving all aspects of the school, but have really concentrated on some of the aspects of teaching and learning that we know make the biggest different to students’ learning. In particular we have looked at marking, feedback and assessment – and all departments have updated their marking and assessment policies. These have been shared with students and are up around the school. The key question I want every student to be able to answer is “Do you know what to do (and how to do it) to improve in this subject?” It’s a question you could easily ask and check as well at home – I want every student to be able to consistently answer this for every subject. Research suggests that this may be the single biggest factor in improving the amount of progress a student makes – and so we have made getting this to a really high standard a priority.

We’ve also been working on how to ensure all students feel welcomed and accepted at school. Our community is increasingly diverse, vibrant and exciting. We want to ensure that we continually celebrate and promote our common culture of acceptance, tolerance and inclusivity to every member of our community. To help us do this, we have been working with the local authority and community champions to evaluate our equalities provision. They helped us to identify some brilliant practice where we lead the way locally (and even nationally) and also the next steps to work on. I’ll write to you next year about how we will be approaching this.

There are a small number of changes in staffing from January to let you know about. We bid a fond farewell to Mr Silvey in Science, Ms Purser in Humanities and Ms Buckle in Student Support, who leave us for pastures new. We also thank Ms O’Malley in Geography who finishes her time with us. Ms Cornwell, our Assistant SENCo, is also leaving, although we will continue to work with her through her outreach work direct with students. Finally, we have a change in the leadership team, with Ms Cornall stepping down from her role as Assistant Headteacher. She has, over a number of years, led on a number of areas of the school, and we thank her for her work. She stays with us as a teacher. This change means that Ms King, our Deputy Headteacher, will take over leadership of Blatch6, our Sixth Form provision.

Friends at Blatch (FAB), our PTA, have been successful in being nominated as one of the three charity organisations for Waitrose fundraising in January. This is fantastic, and a great opportunity. In the Hove branch of Waitrose you will be able to place a green token in the charity box. This leads directly to funding for FAB, who will use the money to support opportunities or facilities for students in school. If you are shopping at Waitrose, please ask for a green token and donate it to FAB!

So finally, a word or two on the upcoming holiday. From all staff at Blatchington Mill, we wish you an incredibly happy holiday. This time with families is incredibly precious for us all. I hope that you are all able to find the time and space to rest and to celebrate. I know that unfortunately it isn’t a time that is easy for everyone, and for some people this holiday can be a difficult time. We have tried to help students understand that it is important to care for those less fortunate than ourselves, and have once again run our Christmas foodbank appeal. By all making small donations, we have amassed over 50 huge boxes of food – enough for hundreds of families in need over the festive season. Thank you if you donated. Through this we aim to contribute something directly to our local community, a community that we are proud to shape, and to serve.

Merry Christmas.

Mr Harrold