Letter from the head teacherPosted: 15/12/11
14th December 2011
Having started the term on a high with our year 11 and 13 students achieving the best set of examination results in living memory, it has been an incredibly busy few months as the school continues to make solid progress. As we all know, the exam results are only part of the purpose of schooling; but it was so gratifying to see all the hard work put in by students and staff pay off with an outstanding set of grades across the age groups.
Our A Level results were simply outstanding, with one in three results achieved being A*/A graded and 79% of results being awarded at A*/C. The A*/A grade return was the highest in all Hounslow secondary schools. We were also delighted that 84 out of 93 students obtained University placements, in what turned out to be a very difficult year for this, many achieving their first choice universities. This has resulted in the highest number of applications ever received by the deadline for Sixth form places for next year.
I must also pass my belated public thanks and congratulations to the staff team, who also worked tirelessly to turn potential into reality.
The first term up to the Christmas break has been a good one. The vast majority of our students made a purposeful return to the autumn term, and their attitude, behaviour and application has been exceptional across the year groups.
The launch of our new Behaviour for Learning Policy and the introduction of VIVO Rewards has been well received. We will be tweaking aspects of this as it beds in; but feedback from staff and students has shown that students are responding positively to the new structures.
As you may be aware from the Parents News, last month we were proud to be one of a small number of schools across the country to receive RSA (Royal Society of the Encouragement of Arts) accreditation for our Opening Minds curriculum. This competency based curriculum is so important to the type of learning that we are developing at Chiswick; the skills and attributes learnt at this stage should enable us to develop independent, critical thinkers who are aware of their own learning styles as they come through the school.
Our Art department also received an award this term when they were jointly awarded the Jubilee Cup with BAM Construction at the Partnership Challenge celebration held at Eton College. It was fantastic to see our students’ work win such public acclaim. The construction site near Gunnersbury station is due to complete next month and the artwork will be displayed in our student restaurant in the New Year.
Last month also saw the Headteacher from our partner school in Zambia (Chamboli High), visit Chiswick Community School for a week. This was Mr Shipopa’s first time out of Africa and we learned so much from each other over the course of the week. This is the start of a three year project where we are raising funds to allow staff and students from each school to carry out study visits, thus bonding the two schools even closer together. I would like to pass my thanks to both Grove Park and Cavendish Primary schools who hosted Mr Shipopa during his stay.
As you are aware we are a fast improving school, wishing to achieve the very best for our students, so it will come as no surprise to you that we are seeking to make further improvements in a number of areas; I will attempt to briefly outline some:
- Whilst we are now not getting a new school anytime soon, we have carried out a series of improvements over the summer break including a complete refit of the girls and boys toilets and changing facilities in the sports hall and the
- introduction of a disabled toilet. We have converted a DT room into an Apple Mac suite, which can now be used by a range of subjects across the curriculum. We have also completely restructured staff reprographics and IT facilities to streamline the preparation of good lessons.
- Plans are well developed to convert two little used squash courts in the community Sports Hall into a fully equipped fitness suite. We will be starting work on this within the next couple of weeks and expect to open for student and limited public use in late February.
- We have not given up hope of improving our existing buildings and are currently carrying out feasibility studies to look at various options on the school site; once these are complete we will take them to the DfE and will attempt to convince the powers that be that there is little risk in investing in a school as dynamic and forward thinking as Chiswick!
Finally, earlier this week the governing body agreed to move to Academy status with a projected conversion date of March 1st. We have consulted widely on this issue and the view was taken that this move constitutes the best way forward for Chiswick students over the coming years. We will remain an independent, outward looking school and I will be working behind the scenes to make the conversion process as seamless as possible.
All that remains is for me to wish you a peaceful break. Please ensure that your sons / daughters take the opportunity to relax and refresh themselves, as the hard work starts all over again in January,
Below are some of the key dates for next term to help you plan ahead. Please note that we return to school after the holiday with a start time one hour later than normal.
Last of term (16th December)
Following our tradition at Chiswick there will be some lessons and celebration assemblies during the morning and students will then be dismissed at the following times:
Year 11:- 11:30 am
Year 10:- 11:30 am
Year 09:- 11:45 am
Year 08:- 11:45 am
Year 07:- 12:40 pm
Spring Term 2012
Tuesday 3rd January: students return (* note school starts one hour later with registration at 09:45 and lessons begin at 10:00 am)
Easter Holidays: 2nd – 13th April inclusive