Principal’s End of Term Letter – July 2018
So we come to the end of another academic year and what a busy and successful year it has been. Thank you for all the support you have given us during the year, whether that has been attending and supporting events at school, liaising with teachers and College staff or simply encouraging your son or daughter with their work and school activities. We appreciate your input and are grateful for your support.
The examination season passed off very smoothly. We were very impressed by the resilience shown by our Year 11 students who were experiencing the new style GCSEs for the first time and had a very high number of examination papers to sit. It has been great to be able to celebrate with them over the last few weeks, with their final Celebration Assembly in school and just last week at the Year 11 Prom. Our Year 13 students also showed great focus and determination throughout their exams and I very much hope they all achieve the results they deserve when it comes to results days in August. I wish all our leavers the very best for the future and thank them for the unique contribution they have each made to their school in the time they have been with us. We are very proud of them all.
End of year events
End of year events are always a highlight. So far we have enjoyed three wonderful Sports Days – Discovery College, Key Stage 4 Colleges and our Nursery School all held their Sports Days on the school field in perfect conditions for setting lots of new school records. The level of competition was very high and the final results close, but in the end it was Redgrave Team in the KS3 competition and World College in the KS4 competition who came through as overall winners.
We have also enjoyed a spectacular run of performances of “Ghost – The Musical” which was a huge success. Excellent student performances, a great mix of dance, drama and music and some very complex technological effects made it a night to remember for all who attended and a fantastic experience for all involved.
Our now legendary annual Graphics Exhibition expanded this year to include all the Art specialisms – Ceramics, Textiles, Photography and Fine Art as well as Graphics. The result was truly amazing – an exhibition of the highest quality A-level work, professionally exhibited and providing a spectacular showcase of our students’ work.
Our new Wellbeing Centre is now established, providing a supportive environment and a range of events to develop student wellbeing. Last week, our new Sensory Garden was officially opened, with support from Headstart and Longacres Garden Centre. Students designed the space and provided the artwork to decorate the area, making it a pleasant outdoor space for students to relax and unwind.
On Friday 13 July, we held the first of what is to become an annual Careers Fair, this year focusing on careers relating to the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), when a large number of representatives from businesses and organisations set up exhibits for all our students to experience during the course of the day. There was a real buzz all day and it was a great chance for our students to find out about a whole range careers, apprenticeships and job opportunities which they may not have even realised were available to them.
Later this week we will be celebrating our students’ success in our two Junior Prize-giving events – certificates and trophies will be awarded to students under the three categories of Learning, Respect and Belonging. Parents of prize-winners will have been invited to attend and I look forward to seeing you there.
We will finish the year with our traditional Party in the Park on the afternoon of the last day of term, Tuesday 24 July.
Our STEM club has been very successful this year, winning the South East Water competition and doing very well in the Bright Sparks competition a few weeks later. Once again, our Cheerleading Team have had a great year, winning the National Championships for the second year running. Our Homewood Young Farmers were also successful in retaining the prestigious first place in the Young Farmer competition at the Kent County Show this year having won it last year. There were some excellent individual and team performances in the District Sports competitions and once again a large number of students have successfully completed their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Special mention for the Gold DofE students who carried out their practice expedition in freezing temperatures and thick snow in February and then completed their final expedition in soaring 30 degree temperatures in July. Fantastic achievement.
There have been so many individual and team successes to celebrate – our students are excelling across so many spheres. We are always delighted to hear of achievements in and out of school and would encourage you to let us know when your son/daughter achieves success so that we can share in congratulating them on their achievements.
It is also great to hear from our ex-students as they complete their University or College courses and come back to let us know how they have got on. We always love to hear from our alumni and we are delighted to see how well they are doing.
The new term starts on Wednesday 29 August for all students except our new Year 12 students whose first day is 5th September (they have a Registration Day on 4th September).
The Year 7 teaching groups will be shuffled as they move into Year 8. The Discovery College team will let you know via letter if your child is moving ability band.
We start with full school uniform, including blazers and we encourage you to ensure that your son/daughter has the correct uniform.
Uniform checks will begin on the first day of term. The school shop is open during the school holidays at the following times:
Uniform Shop Open – 8.30 – 4.30pm
Wednesday 25th July
Thursday 26th July
Friday 27th July
Monday 30th July
Tuesday 31st July
Wednesday 1st August
Thursday 2nd August
Friday 3rd August CLOSED
Monday 6th August
Tuesday 7th August
Wednesday 8th August
Thursday 9th August CLOSED
Friday 10th August
Monday 13th August – Friday 17th August CLOSED
Monday 20th August
Tuesday 21st August CLOSED
Wednesday 22nd August
Thursday 23rd August
Friday 24th August
Monday 27th August CLOSED
Tuesday 28th August
Wednesday 29th August CLOSED
Thursday 30th August
Friday 31st August CLOSED
Saturday 1st September 9.00 -1.00pm
The Uniform Shop will close daily from 12 until 12.30pm and is running strictly by appointment, last minute appointments are available by calling ext. 207 during opening hours.
If your child is a new Year 7 student and you would like to collect their Chromebook you can do so on the following dates: Wednesday 8th August, Tuesday 14th August, Monday 20th August or Thursday 23rd August 9.30 – 3.30pm. There is no need to book an appointment during these hours, handouts will be deployed from the Media Centre. Parents will need to bring a copy of the direct debit confirmation to collect their child’s device.
It is also very important that students come to school with the required equipment for lessons – pens, pencils, calculator and ruler are a minimum requirement.
A couple of requests
Please check the term dates for 2018-19 on the web-site before booking holidays for next year. As you know, we do not authorise holidays during term time and penalty notices are issued if holidays are taken. Whilst we fully understand the pressures when booking affordable holidays, we do have holiday weeks in October and February when other schools are not on holiday which we would encourage you to use. It is so detrimental to students to miss lessons and it is well documented that this has a direct impact on final outcomes for students. So please support us on this when booking your holidays.
There is one more area where I would like to request your active support. When students are travelling to and from school, they are representing Homewood and their attitude and behaviour impacts directly on the opinion people form of their school. In the vast majority of cases, our students are excellent ambassadors for their school and we get lots of lovely messages from members of the public impressed by the way our students conduct themselves. However, this year we have had a number of concerns expressed about the behaviour of a small minority of students on some of the school buses. This is unacceptable and causes a real problem for other students and for fellow passengers on the bus. I would be most grateful if you could impress upon your son/daughter the importance of behaving thoughtfully and respectfully on the way to and from school. We will let you know if your son/daughter is identified as behaving inappropriately and we would appreciate it if you could reinforce the message from home. We would like to ensure that students have a safe and comfortable journey to and from school and that members of the public are not given a poor impression of the school due to the behaviour of a very small number of students. Thank you for your support.
Homewood has supported Sixth Form students (Years 12 and 13) with a £50 bursary towards their 16+ passes with KCC for some years now. This will continue in 2018/19.
We are delighted to also support our new Year 7 students in 2018/19 with a £50 bursary towards the Kent Freedom Pass (or equivalent bus pass). Details are with the Discovery Office if you have not yet applied for this bursary.
I hope you and your families enjoy a happy and refreshing summer break and I look forward to seeing all our students again in August.
S J Lees