I have been delighted with the attitude shown by the students on their return to school. The school uniform has been first class and they have all shown a very positive attitude to the slight change in the school day that has been introduced. Students now have a short first break of 15 minutes at 10.40 and a slightly extended lunchtime break at 12.45. This timetable change means 100 minutes a week extra learning per student which equates to 7 additional hours per month which can only be a positive step for our students.
Food is not available in our new first break, although I am happy for students to come to school with a snack for that time if they wish. Second break is now managed into sittings by school year and we are also organising the queue with barriers to deter any queue jumping. We are looking forward to these initiatives having a positive effect on the lunchtime experience, so would encourage all students to take advantage of the healthy lunches on offer.
A key focus for me this term will be enrichment. I want to see all of our students taking advantage of the extensive range of extracurricular activities available during lunchtime and after school. We will be challenging all students to participate in at least one extracurricular activity per week. Activities range from the artistic to the academic and sporting. We believe we deliver something for everyone so would encourage that participation.
Also on the subject of extracurricular provision, please note that the Oak Tree Cafe is open before school for breakfast from 7.45am. We have also opened up a number of classrooms in school from 3.30pm to 5pm for homework. The Library is available for all years, the IT suite in the Gilpin Building for Key Stage 3 and the IT suite in Palewell Building for Key Stage 4.
Year 9 have their Parents’ Evening on Thursday 19 January from 4.30pm in Park Hall. As we all know, this is an important time for our Year 9 students as they make their all important choices so we would encourage all parents and students to attend. Students have all received their appointment sheets and are required to make their appointments directly with their class teachers.
We apologise that there is an extra Borough wide INSET training day for staff, which means the school will be closed to students on Monday, 20 February following the half term. Students will start back on Tuesday, 21 February.
I would like to inform families that we are trialling an in-house reward system to ensure students who get it right on a daily basis are rewarded for their efforts. As a consequence, the use of vivos to reward students for the rest of the academic year has been suspended as the new rewards are introduced.
We will also be launching GCSE pod for all our Key Stage 4 students later on this term to ensure that they are able to revise at all times on the key topics required for their examinations. Please do encourage students to engage with this online platform. It has proved very successful in my previous schools so I am very positive about the impact it will have.
Finally, I am very keen to run a “Planning Event” for families where I will share the school development plan and facilitate a session where the views of our parents can be taken on board. There is no doubt, after my first full term, that Richmond Park Academy has a very engaged parent body. This is a great strength and I want to make sure that I take advantage of that enthusiasm and commitment as we move forward. With that in mind, please put Wednesday 22 March in your diaries. A “meet and greet” will start the session at 5.30pm with the planning session taking place between 6pm and 7.30pm. Please confirm your availability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your on-going support. I look forward to a productive and positive Spring term.