Monday, 18 July 2016

Head's Blog Monday 18 July 2016

As I write it's a lovely sunny day so I hope that the boys and staff at Alton Towers are having the same weather and making the most of it. I also hope we get the same for the next seven weeks! Good weather means it's easier to encourage students to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. One thing they might be doing outside is Pokemon Go. Just in case parents are feeling as baffled as I am about this new craze here is a link to some information about the app and some advice about how to keep your sons safe:

It's also worth my while re-iterating the College policy on mobile phones: when a student brings a phone into the College the phone must be switched off and out of site. I am afraid this means no Pokemon hunting at school even at break time and lunch time.

Councillor Ian Bowyer Leader, Plymouth City Council  and Judith Harwood Assistant Director (Learning and Communities) have asked me to pass on a letter about penalty notices and term time holidays. I have placed it on the College website here:

The letter explains the impact of the recent Isle of Wight court judgement and Plymouth CC's response. Parents will see that the letter makes reference to an OFSTED expectation that attendance is 95%. I don't think schools or parents should be making decisions to make OFSTED happy but rather to ensure a good education for students. My own view on attendance is that students should aim for 100% attendance, not 95%, and only be absent when it is absolutely necessary. (I am not talking here about approved sporting activities which obviously have an educational benefit which I am happy to authorise). That is why I only approve absence from school for holidays during term time for exceptional circumstances and even then not if attendance is already a cause for concern.

I would also like to bring you up to date with some changes in responsibility in the College for September. Next year we will be operating with a smaller leadership team as follows:

Deputy Headteacher: Mr A Davies
Assistant Headteacher (Teaching and Learning): Dr A Summers
Assistant Headteacher (Pastoral Care): Mr R Ramage

In terms of subject leadership there will be 5 Curriculum Directors:

Director of Maths and Computing: Mr P Scott
Director of English and Languages: Mr P Trimmer
Director of Science and Technology: Mrs F Walton
Director of Humanities (RE, Geography, History and Social Sciences): Miss R Blackshaw
Director of Performance (PE, Music, Art, Drama): Mr P Greenway

Each curriculum Director will be assisted by a second in each area.

Second in Maths and Computing: Ms V Taylor
Second in English and Languages: Ms V Phillips
Second in Science and Technology: Mrs S Lee
Second in Humanities (RE, Geography, History and Social Sciences): Ms C Redfern
Second in Performance (PE, Music, Art, Drama): Mrs J Wills

Parents will know that Mr D Ousey has already taken over as SENCO.

In terms of pastoral care, Year Leaders will be as follows:

Sixth Form: Mr S Tew
Year 10 and 11: Mrs L McLoughlin
Year 8 and 9: Mr R James
Year 7: Mrs K Swann

Joining subjects together in wider "Directorates" will give the 5 leaders bigger teams of teachers to work with which will enable us to continue to improve the College. The arrangements for pastoral care make permanent the joining together of year groups we have tried this year.

The prayer theme for this week is "Praise" and boys will be using this prayer with their Tutors.

Happy moments,
Praise God
Difficult moments,
Seek God.
Quiet moments,
Worship God
Painful moments,
Trust God.
Every moment,
Thank God.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Head's Blog: Friday 8th July

As I write this entry, we are just coming to the end of Curriculum Enrichment Week. I will write more about the activities in my next post but if you want to get a flavour of everything that was on offer, have a look at the College's Facebook page: 

and scroll down. You will have to do a lot of scrolling to get to the end of the activities on offer.

I would like to bring you up to date with some things that happened last week. On Friday a group of our students were involved with 

The students were all invited to lay flowers and all behaved impeccably throughout the service which was very poignant. Callum Coot was interviewed by Spotlight and the Evening Herald reporter Alex Wood who is a past student. For those remaining in College, Mr Edwards produced a powerpoint presentation for Tutors to use during Tutor time

This week I want to say something about members of staff who are leaving St Boniface's and those who will be joining us this year. Mr Fenwick and Mr Stevens will both be moving on next academic year. Both Mr Fenwick and Mr Stevens have made a real contribution to the PE team as well as helping out in other subjects such as English and geography

Mr Lord is taking up a new post at King Edward Community College in Totnes and we wish him well for the future. As well as being a really important member of the science team, Mr Lord has always made a big contribution to the extra-curricular life of the College. As I type the blog his is driving back from surfing as part of curriculum enrichment week.

Mr Chambers is moving to Colyton Grammar School. Parents whose sons have been taught by Mr Chambers especially for GCSE and A level will know how much time and care Mr Chambers has taken in providing as stimulating learning environment and detailed feedback to students.

Mr Claricoates is also leaving us. Everyone will know of the hard work he has done guiding and enthusing students with their Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Mr Cahill's time with us has come to an end and he is returning to Ivybridge Community College. Mr Cahill has made a big difference to the College while leading on teaching and learning. He has also become well-liked both by staff and students. We have all been impressed with Mr Cahill's passion for good teaching, his endless energy and enthusiasm and willingness to turn his hand to anything that needs to be done whether it is planning a programme of staff development, driving a minibus to Portsmouth at 4 am, fixing noticeboards to walls, simply fixing go karts or anything in between. I am very grateful to the Principal of Ivybridge CC, Mr Haring for "lending" Mr Cahill to us and we all wish Mr Cahill well in the future.

Mr MacCormick is moving on to become Vice-Principal at Holyrood Academy in Chard. During Mr MacCormick's time here he has demonstrated great knowledge and understanding but, much more importantly, a great ability to get the best out of any boy in the College he has been working with. It is really good to see Mr MacCormick taking this next step in his career and I look forward to hearing news of his next promotion in the near future to headteacher.

Mr Baines is leaving to start a new career. Working with Mr Baines I have always been struck by his broad range of knowledge around also sorts of different areas whether it be mathematics, engineering, health and safety regulations or computer networking to name but a few. This has certainly been useful to me personally and the College in general. Someone who knows so much about so much will certainly be successful in his new venture.

Finally Mr Edwards is retiring after 35 years' service to the College. Simply for being with us for so long Mr Edwards has earned an immense amount of gratitude but everyone who has come across him will know that he is an exceptional teacher, combining a burning passion for history with immense respect for and dedication to every student in every class he teaches. I wish him a long and happy retirement. It is certainly what he deserves.

Saying goodbye to members of staff is the sad part of this blog. The happy part is letting you know about who is joining us in September. We have Ms Walton who will become Director of Science and Technology. Ms Walton is currently 2nd in the Science Department at the Ursuline Convent in Kent. Miss Stockmans will be teaching Drama and Music, Miss Archer will be teaching English, Mr Rocca and Mr Elliot-Smith will be teaching PE and Mr Savage will be teaching Technology. We are very much looking forward to them joining us.

Next year there will also be a number of role changes within the staff but I will explain about those in my next blog.

Year 7 News

Miss McFarland, Mrs Kendall and I had the amazing opportunity to attend Holy Cross Primary School’s Summer Fair on Friday 24 th June. The fair ran from 3pm to 6pm, and we were very grateful of the 3 students who we took with us from St Boniface’s; Benedict Cresswell, Oscar Dawson and George Bond (Year 9)...there aren’t many students who would have given up their own time on a Friday evening!

The boys were a huge asset to the College, not only were they helpful towards St Boniface staff, they were polite, friendly and welcoming to the parents, staff and students who attended the fair. As a reward they were given some money to go and spend on the other
stalls at the fair…I think most of this went on sweets and hot dogs!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all 3 students and the staff who joined me on this evening, for their support throughout this evening.

Curriculum Enrichment Week has crept up incredibly quickly this year, I am sure everybody a fantastic, enjoyable and of course safe week on the activity they have chosen. Miss Redfern, Mrs Printy, Mrs Bishop, Mr McKenna and I have been delving into Devon next week, enjoying activities such as going to the zoo, ice skating, bowling, boat trips, a tour around the Heritage Centre, a treasure hunt etc. Thank goodness the weather has not been too bad. 

Kind Regards,

Mrs Swann