- Our School
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you had an enjoyable Easter break and are enjoying the signs of Spring emerging at last. I am writing to update you on some of the things which have been happening at Homewood, to flag up some forthcoming events and to ask for your continued support as we work together to make our school the very best it can be for our young people.
Many of you will be aware that one of our ex-students, Sam Cox, aka Mr Doodle, is pursuing a very successful career as a professional artist. He has gained a wide variety of professional commissions both in the UK and abroad and is currently preparing for his largest exhibition yet which will take place in Seoul, South Korea next month. Despite his incredibly busy schedule, he has very generously given of his time over the Easter break to complete a film/media mural in the corridor in the Da Vinci Arts College building. It is a superb piece of work and our students will enjoy identifying the film references he has hidden amongst his doodles. I hope you will take the opportunity to look at this next time you visit the school.
I want to thank you very much for your support this year with ensuring that students are meeting expectations with regard to uniform, punctuality, use of phones and positive attitudes to learning. The students are all looking very smart and they are arriving punctually for school in the mornings. Thank you also for supporting the new lunch study sessions we have set up for students who have been off-task during a lesson. These sessions have proved very successful in ensuring that lessons can be properly focused on learning without distraction and students and staff have responded well to the new system.
To help us keep the school running as smoothly and safely as possible, I need to ask for your support in a couple of areas:
We are currently awaiting feedback from Ashford Borough Council regarding planning permission for a brand new all-weather pitch to replace the Redgra area at the bottom of the school site. We hope to be able to start installation in the summer, with a view to having the pitch ready to use by October. It will provide a high quality playing surface for our students to use while they are in school but it will also benefit the wider community as it will be available for hire outside school hours. We are very excited about the opportunities this new facility will bring to our school and local community.
The Tenterden Schools Trust is now over a year old – we are really enjoying working so closely with the primary schools in the town and we are seeing benefits already for staff and students. We are likely to be expanding over the next six months with several of our local schools expressing an interest in being part of the Trust. We will keep you informed as discussions proceed. One of the tangible benefits of being a part of a Multi-Academy Trust is the opportunity it brings for drawing additional funding into the schools. So far this year we have been successful in gaining two capital grants from the Department for Education, one for the all-weather pitch and the other to replace the roof of one of our buildings. We have been awarded a grant to support the expansion of our Trust and we will also benefit from funds from the government’s school development fund which is providing an additional maths teacher for us next year. With school budgets exceptionally tight in the current climate, finding access to additional funding streams is very important for us. We are very pleased that despite significant funding constraints we have not reduced our curriculum offer at all and are still able to offer our students the full range of subjects and qualifications throughout the school, including the 6th form.
As we enter the examination season once again, I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and determination of our students. Many of the examinations are completely new in structure and in the way they are graded and the bar is being raised all the time so it is a challenging time to be taking GCSEs and A-levels. The vast majority of our students are rising to that challenge. They are showing resilience and perseverance and they are determined to do well. They are ably supported by their teachers who give unstintingly of their time and energies to prepare the best possible lessons and to provide additional support outside lesson time when it is needed. As parents, I know you are doing all you can to support them and I hope you have found the guidance we have provided on the web-site to be useful. As well as expecting them to be undertaking regular and effective revision, it is really important that we all encourage the students into good patterns of eating, sleeping and relaxing. If you have any concerns at all about how your son or daughter is coping with this time of preparation, please contact your College Office. There is a lot of support available at the school and we will do all we can to help them through this demanding period.
I really hope our students get the exam results they genuinely deserve and I look forward to sharing that news with you in the summer.
Sally J Lees