Message from Mrs O’Neill

News from Mrs O'Neill

Happy new year!

I hope you all had a restful break over the Christmas period and have settled into the new year.  Pupils have come back to school refreshed, aided by some very cold temperatures! Uniform standards have been exceptional this week so a big thank you for supporting us.  I fully appreciate how tempting it is as a teenager to want to push the boundaries following a break, but a consistent approach really does help. 

You may have seen over the past few weeks the national drive to improve attendance in schools.  We had a huge push at the end of last term which was really successful and following parental feedback on how we can foster good attendance we will be broadening our attendance rewards.  Costa vouchers and chocolates clearly seemed to do the trick.  

When analysing attendance and punctuality statistics, the impact that a couple of days’ absence or ‘just being 10 minutes late to school’ can have is quite significant.  If your child is 10 minutes late to school every day, they lose 6 full days of learning time throughout the school year. This is 6 days of missed opportunities for your child and 6 days where they will be behind on their workload.  If your child’s attendance is 95%, which does not sound low, they will actually have missed out on the equivalent of 9 days of school, approximately 50 lessons.  Over a period of 5 years this would equate to a quarter of a year.  The impact of this is huge.  On their return to lessons, they will be playing catch up.  For pupils who are anxious about attending school, the reality is often that not attending school will exacerbate it and a prolonged period of absence may heighten their anxiety about attending in future.  We have robust pastoral systems in place to support all attendance challenges so please get in touch with us if you need any help with getting your child to attend. 

Yesterday we had Y9 parents’ evening.  Thank you to all parents/carers who made appointments; ‘turn out’ was really good.  A questionnaire will be sent out later today to all Y9 parents.  A reminder that all respondents are put into a draw for a £10 Costa voucher.  We seem to be doing our bit to keep Costa in business!

We have a number of parent/carer events this term and it would be great to see as many of you as possible.  On Wednesday 7th February we are holding an options evening for parents/carers of pupils in Y8.  It will provide an opportunity to get an understanding of what option subjects are available, talk to key staff and there will be a presentation with option details as well.  Details will be sent out nearer to the time.

Following on from the successful ‘tea, toast and talk’ that we held in the last week of the autumn term, we will be having another event on Wednesday 14th February from 8:00-9:15am.  Please do pop in, even if it is just for 15 minutes to grab a drink and a pastry and to chat with other parents. It is a nice way to start your day. 

Things start to ramp up for year 11 from now until the exam period.  Attendance is critical and pupils must make sure that they arrive to lessons on time.  Please keep checking BfL grades on Insight.  If your child is getting 8s it means that they are arriving late to lessons, missing out on retrieval activities at the start of the lesson and disrupting the learning of their peers.  Active participation is key to success; a BfL 3 can indicate that your child is not applying themselves fully in the lesson.  There will be lots of additional support offered to pupils and from Monday we are opening a silent study room every lunchtime for Y11 pupils to do some independent study.  Please do encourage your child to make the most of all opportunities offered.  Continue to check your emails as staff are sending out revision materials to parents/carers so that you can work with your child.  For example, geography have sent out a Padlet with links to revision materials.  This is something that RE also do for the Y10 exams.  As well as form time being used for independent study, staff are also working with pupils in intervention sessions.

I would like to extend a thank you to the Maclean family for their donation of £500 in memory of their husband/father, Allan, who sadly passed away last year.  Some of you will know Mrs Maclean as she was a teacher at Pikemere Primary School and their children, Catriona and Greg, both attended Alsager School.  We have decided to use the donation to present an award to a pupil in KS3, KS4 and KS5 who have shown kindness and support and embraced The Alsager Way.  The Allan Maclean award will be presented in the summer term.

If you would like to make a donation towards an award, please do get in touch. 

Please continue to share your child’s successes out of school with me.  It is always a pleasure to speak to them about their hobbies and pastimes. 

As always, thank you for your continued support and whatever your plans, have a lovely weekend.

“Cheers to a new year, and another chance for us to get it right.” (Oprah Winfrey)

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