The school is in the midst of exam season. Our Year 11 students are almost half way through their GCSE exams and Years 9 and 10 are sitting internal end of year exams. Our GCSE students have been wonderfully positive about the levels of support and care they have received from all staff and I feel the majority have worked hard and deserve to do well. There is still so much to do for them and every ounce of effort will make a difference. I told them this just before they left for the Spring bank holiday!
As you know I am hugely committed to the notion of broadening horizons for our young people. Indeed, it is rare that I say no to a request that is about providing our students with new and unique experiences beyond school. We continue to facilitate a growing number of trips and activities and in recent weeks this has included visits to RAF Linton, universities, poetry and music days and the Hay Literature Festival. We rewarded a growing number of students for their wonderful contributions to school and the community by taking them to Lightwater Valley. Music, Sport and the Arts are thriving with increasing numbers involved. I am thrilled with the opportunities being provided for our students by a group of staff who are totally dedicated to them.
Reading continues to dominate much of our work. Our Year 8 girls went to Wales on Thursday attending the Hay Literature Festival until Saturday. The reason for this was that we were offered a very rare and special opportunity to take ten Year 8 girls to this event for two nights. We were the only school in the region to be invited and the trip involved them meeting and working with well-known authors including David Walliams. The girls worked alongside a group of girls from other schools and in doing so developed new friendships with like-minded students from across the country. I have little doubt that these exchanges enrich the lives of those pupils involved, create new experiences and understanding using access to culture as a powerful and transformational tool. I am so grateful to Ms. Berry and PC Tony Hooson for taking the girls and to Mrs. Morgan for the organisation of such a fantastic experience.
We have also been busy with our staff and we welcome Mr. Butler to the Science team. He is a very talented teacher and we are lucky to have him. I hope he will be very happy here in the years ahead. We also have Ms. Campbell and Ms. Sutton joining the English and Support teams in June which is great for our growing school. There are plans for others to join us in September and I will let you know more about that in the weeks ahead.
Finally, we are busy preparing for our new Year 7 students to arrive in September. The local authority has asked us to provide a significant number of additional places next year such is the growing reputation and popularity of our school. We are expecting approximately 145 students and this is a significant measure in terms of the bright future we are facing as a school community. Ms Berry, Ms Mosby and Ms Armitage have been busy visiting our feeder Primary schools to talk to staff and students and ensure they are being well prepared for the move to upper school in a few months. We have also planned a welcome evening and welcome day in July which will be really exciting events we hope.