December Newsletter

As we reach the end of what has been a very busy term at Caedmon College Whitby, it is a pleasure to reflect on some of the highlights of the last 4 months and to look forward to the spring term.  I have really enjoyed my first term here as Principal at CCW, getting to know the students and all of the staff who work so hard on their behalf. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at various events since September, and I’m looking forward to introducing myself to many more of you as the year progresses. I hope you enjoy reading about some of the highlights of the term. There are so many different things that happen on a weekly basis that, inevitably, there will be things that I will have missed out or not had the space to mention.  I would recommend that you follow us on social media; our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed are all updated on a daily basis with details about all the events that happen around College.

Federation

By now you should have received copies of the consultation documents that the governors of Eskdale School and Caedmon College have published, regarding their proposals to form a federation between the two schools. I would encourage you to read these proposals carefully and if you have any questions or comments please send them to me c/o Mrs Sally Nedley, our Clerk of Governors. I would emphasise that federation is not merger.  If accepted these proposals would see two legally separate schools, with two headteachers, separate budgets and separate uniforms working together on behalf of all of the young people in secondary education in Whitby.

The consultation lasts until 4pm on Friday 1 February and you are most welcome to attend either or both of the meetings that we have organised:  at Eskdale School on Monday 14 January at 6pm and at our Normanby Site on Wednesday 16 January, also at 6pm. As a key component of these proposals is established, a shared Sixth Form Centre on the Scoresby Site, with Years 7 and 8 moving to the Normanby Site from September 2019, we will also be organising meetings for key year groups who would be affected if the proposals are accepted; namely the current years 12, 11, 7 and local Year 6 pupils, who may have preferenced Caedmon College. More details about the dates of these meetings will follow in January.

Sixth Form news

It’s been an incredibly busy term for Year 13 and the sixth form team. Many of our students have been applying to university and have received incredible support within College with their final course and university, as well as with the application process itself. To date, over 50 students have applied to universities as geographical spread as York, Edinburgh, Durham, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, King’s College London, Lincoln, Plymouth and Cardiff. Once again our students are applying to study a diverse range of subjects: from aerospace engineering and pilot studies, veterinary science, physics, geography, primary education through to nursing to name just a few. Several of them have already been for interviews and/or received offers from the universities they have applied to.

Our careers advice and UCAS support is very much part of our sixth form wrap-around care, and it’s so satisfying to see our young people taking the next step into an exciting future. It’s not just about university of course; other students are pursuing routes into apprenticeship and employment. Over the coming months, no matter what their plans are for life beyond the sixth form, all of our students will be working hard to make sure their offers become reality.

Fundraising

The Sixth Form kicked off our fundraising activities this year with their ‘Bad Hair Day’ in October in aid of St. Catherine’s Hospice in Whitby. Mrs Brown and her team of Year 12/13 students raised nearly £400 towards this fantastic cause, having lots of fun along the way.  Mrs Wood and her student leaders in Years 7 & 8 organised a sponsored event to raise funds towards purchasing a defibrillator for the Scoresby Site. The whole school got involved in the annual ‘Children in Need’ fundraising efforts last month, with well over £1000 being raised through a series of events throughout the day, including a fantastic lunchtime Talent Show on the Normanby site organised by Ms Ruberry and her Year 9 form. At time of writing, Mrs Gordon is organising the delivery of well over 40 boxes of food that students have all ages have donated to support the work of the Salvation Army in the local area at Christmas.  Thank you for your generosity with all of these appeals.

Our student leadership team are already well on with plans for our ‘Children in Need’ fundraising next month, as well as supporting the Salvation Army with the work that they do in the run-up and across the Christmas period. Mrs Wood and her student leaders in Years 7 & 8 will also be organising a sponsored event to raise funds towards purchasing a defibrillator for the Scoresby site.  Thank you in advance for your generosity in supporting these events.

Uniform

Thank you for your continuing efforts in helping us ensure that your son/daughter complies with the College’s uniform requirements. When dressed properly, our students look very smart. The full uniform guidelines are available on our website. Can I remind you that our expectations about trousers are very simple: they should be black and tailored. A simple way of determining if a pair of trousers is tailored or not is to look for a waistline button and a zip to ‘do up’; leggings will not have these! Under no circumstances are black jeans, jeans style trousers or chinos acceptable. Students arriving in College without the correct uniform will be asked to change into the small amount of clean, laundered spare uniform that we have, or will be isolated until a parent or other family member is able to come into College with the correct uniform. Your help with this issue is greatly appreciated. Dealing with uniform non-compliance can be quite time-consuming; time that we would be much rather spend supporting all of our students with their studies.

Attendance

Thank you for your help in ensuring that your son / daughter maintains good attendance at College. Although attendance is good at CCW, it could be better. All students should be aiming to achieve at least 96% attendance during the course of an academic year. This is the norm in secondary schools across the nation. On the basis that ‘if you’re not in school, you’ll not be learning’, I’d be putting students at College at a disadvantage against others around the country when it comes to sitting GCSE and A-level examinations, if I didn’t prioritise regular attendance at school. All of us are poorly from time to time, and I have always exercised my discretion as a parent in judging whether my children have been fit to attend school. Many of us will contract a winter cold, but should still be able to attend school in all but the most acute symptoms. I would also ask that all medical and dental appointments be made after school or during school holidays.  Failing that, in all but the most serious cases involving a hospital visit, students usually should not require a full day off school

Parentpay

The majority of families use our online payment system, ParentPay, to ensure that their children have the means to pay for food from our canteen areas. I would encourage you, if you’ve not already joined, to consider using this online system. I know from experience that this is a much easier way of providing your children with money for their school meals, as well as giving you the confidence of knowing exactly what your money is being spent on.

Summer examination arrangements

When we return in January, students in Years 11 and 13 will continue to focus on completing their GCSE and A-level courses, before beginning structured revision programmes in preparation for their final examinations in May and June.  All of these students need to be aware that Wednesday 26 June as been set aside by the examination boards as the national contingency day. All GCSE and A Level students need to be available that day in case any of the examinations need to re-arranged due to unforeseen circumstances. No one in Year 11 or Year 13 should be arranging holidays until after that date. If you need any clarification, please contact our exams officer, Mrs Barnes.

Administering medicines

Can I remind you to contact us a College if your son or daughter needs to take medicines during the day. Our office staff regularly get requests for paracetamol from students.  We can only do this at break or lunchtime and only with the express permission from parents. Thank you for your continuing help with this matter.

Staffing news

As we finish for Christmas, we are saying goodbye to some members of staff. Ms Green joined us as a learning mentor last summer and is leaving to take up an opportunity in industry. Mr Wood, one of our IT technicians, joined us 11 years ago and in that time has worked on both sites, but particularly Scoresby in recent years. He is taking up the opportunity to work for a company that provides IT support to schools across the whole of North Yorkshire. Mrs Ross, one of our advanced teaching assistants is being seconded to our ‘Outreach’ alternative provision from January for the rest of the academic year in the first instance. We wish all three of them ‘good luck’ in their new ventures and thank them for their contribution to College life.

One of our English teachers, Ms Thompson, recently gave birth to a baby boy – Sebastian. Both are doing well and we look forward to Sebastian being shown off around College in the New Year. We have recently welcomed back two long-serving and very experienced colleagues, Ms Malone and Mr Bentley, to help us cover this maternity leave in the English department and to provide additional support in Physics and Electronics in the coming months leading up to GCSE and A-level exams.

KS3 news

After a highly successful transition week in July, our Year 7 students have had a fantastic first term with us at Caedmon College.  The highlight of their first few weeks with us had to be the overnight camping trip to Commondale organised by Mr Graham, Mrs Wood and our team of Year 7 coaches.  I visited the first group of students who ventured out, on my way home one evening and was amazed by just how well they had all taken to camping life and by the cooperative way in which they were working with one another.  This spirit of independence and their pride in being CCW students was definitely on display at our Year 6 Open Evening a few weeks later when so many of them, along with our Year 8 students, acting as such fine hosts and ambassadors for the school.

Year 7 students were inspired early in the term by guest speaker Stuart Myers from ’World At Your Feet Solutions’. He kicked off their ‘Who Are We?’ theme by sharing his incredible life story with them. He linked the importance of having a growth mind-set to his own personal story of growing up without any arms. To this day, Stuart is living his life to the full, even with the absence of two of his limbs. Our Year 7’s were amazed to see and hear just how ‘normal’ he has managed to make his life e.g. playing sport, becoming a father, driving a car etc. He was the perfect candidate to launch the theme and one that students will not forget.

Building on our global connections, our Year 8 students had the pleasure of welcoming students and staff from St Hilda’s College, Buenos Aires, Argentina, who visited Caedmon to experience a day in the life of a British school student as part of their UK tour. It was great to see students from two continents communicating so comfortably and clearly enjoying each other’s company, realising just how much they have in common.

Our KS3 house competitions have been in full swing all term, with students from both year groups participating in a variety of sporting and creative challenges.  One of the more unusual events this term has been our ‘Book Mark Design Competition’. The standard of entries was incredibly high, with all entrants closely following the criteria within the template supplied, and including positive reading slogans.  Hopefully, this will become a new tradition and annual event!

Ten students from Year 7 took over the running of The Captain Cook Memorial Museum for a day in late November.  They rose to the challenge and working with students from Eskdale School, took on the job of guided tours, manning the reception desk, educating the students from Airy Hill Primary School, and writing reports that you may have seen in the Whitby Gazette. The whole day flew by in a blur of visitors and Cook facts, the feedback was hugely positive about their confidence and knowledge of one of Whitby’s most important people! Other students in Years 7, 8 and 9 have just completed our own in-school ‘Takeover Challenge’, shadowing members of our admin, site and catering teams for the day.

End of term arrangements

School closes for Christmas on Friday 21 December at 1pm. Bus companies have been contacted and school transport will be arriving at this earlier time.  Students who use the Esk Valley train will be allowed to leave in time to make the lunchtime train. We are having a ‘Christmas Jumper/Wear something festive’ day, with voluntary contributions of £1 going towards our on-going fundraising for St Catherine’s Hospice. Aside from the earlier finish, it is a normal school day and we are expecting all students to attend.

And finally …

Thank you for all of the support you continue to give us in College. It is a real privilege to work with such a talented and vibrant group of students. On behalf of all of the staff and governors of Caedmon College Whitby, can I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2019.

Simon Riley
Principal

18 December 2018

 

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