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Headteacher Blog - Spring 2023

Dear all,


Welcome to the latest edition of the RFSS Blog! We are approaching Easter, which heralds the fact that we are now two-thirds of the way through the academic year. 

In some senses, the most challenging part of the academic year is behind us; shorter days and dark nights are replaced with longer days and brighter evenings, and this time of year often leaves us feeling reflective about what has gone before, but also fills us with hope about what is to come. 

As always, our students have been working extremely hard since the previous Blog, ably supported by our excellent staff. There has been lots going on behind the scenes to prepare for the timetable turn after Easter, with Year 9 students beginning their GCSE studies, and Year 11 and Year 13 students preparing for external examinations. We wish them all luck in their future endeavours. 

Enjoy reading this latest edition, whilst sampling the experiences that make our school such a special place. 

Mr Green

Acting Headteacher


Celebrating Success

Each Friday, I meet with students who have been selected for the quality of their work or contribution to lessons. This term the following students received certificates for their efforts. Well done everyone!

Art

Year 7

Dorrit D and Zachary L

Year 8

Jessica T and Dylan F

Year 9

Lexi-Jade G and Eugene A

Year 10

Kamilla B and Elif D

Year 11

Nicola K and Oliver A

Year 12

Lucy B and Luke P

Yera 13

Amy P

RE

Year 7

Teodor S and Frederick D

Year 8

Ketsia A and Aariz F

Year 9

Jannat H and Freya M

Year 10

Finley C and Tobby O

Year 13

Eva T and Abigail A

Mathematics

Year 7

Archie M and Katie H

Year 8

Dylan F and Miley P

Year 9

Mia R and Jannat H

Year 10

Josh T and Elissia S

Year 11

Courtney R and Brooke F

Year 12

Alfie L and Dream M

Year 13

Brandon H

English

Year 7

Fred D and George A

Year 8

Jack C and Haiden S

Year 9

Robbie C and Dominik T

Year 10

Tobby O and Lilly B

Year 11

Jacob W and Corey C

Year 12

Milana R and Olivia H

Year 13

Rowan B and Cyrus S

Science

Year 7

Jack A and Oscar C

Year 8

Blador C and Miley P

Year 9

Taylor M and Jannat H

Year 10

Ella T and Brooke H

Year 11

Amelie M and Alana-May G

Year 12

Henrique A and Abbie R

Geography

Year 7

Lucas W and Ellie P

Year 8

Gabriel S and Joel H

Year 9

Katy W and Kayden B

Year 10

Tyler M and Adam J

Year 11

Riley S and Ana I

Year 12

Liam T and Emily G

Year 13

Iwan H and Jack P

History

Year 7

Ellie P and Florence B

Year 8

Skylar T and Sophie H

Year 9

Sienna M and Desmond A

Year 10

Koby F and Hannah P

Year 11

Noah L and Amna A

Year 12

Bethan G and Esme M

Year 13

Cyrus S and Eva P

PE

Year 7

Lacey A and Lucas M

Year 8

Joel H and Blador C

Year 9

Mazen K and Kajetan K

Year 10

Lucy C

Year 11

Katie K and Amna A

Year 12

Chloe W and Liam T

Year 13

Eva P and Freddie T

MFL

Year 7

Frederick D and Julia B

Year 8

Richard N and Alexandra G

Year 9

Lilian O and Eshaal I

Year 10

Louis K and Fanni R

Year 11

Kotryna Z and Richard F

Year 12

Jose L and Kinga S


Round Up from the Heads of Year


Year 7

It has been another hugely successful term for the students in Year 7 here at Rugby Free Secondary School. As their Head of Year, it has been a delight to witness their growth and to see them become more confident in their surroundings. Things are no longer brand new to these pupils and the routines and expectations are really becoming embedded in their day-to-day experiences. 

Successes have been seen in every subject and a week never goes by without a teacher sending me examples of the fantastic work that has been produced. Some of the independent work that has been completed at home has been truly astonishing and shows a real dedication to their learning from many students. I am also delighted to see so many of the year take advantage of the extra-curricular opportunities we have on offer here, from the many sports teams, to Lego robotics and everything in between. The more the students embrace these chances, the more their education will be benefit and they will grow as individuals.

But perhaps the proudest moments I can recall from this term are the multiple occasions when pupils have embodied our core values. We strive to ensure all our students show Kindness, Respect, Collaboration, Resilience, Curiosity and Endeavour and seeing this year group working together with support and teamwork is truly fantastic. Our standards are high, and I am incredibly keen for the students to have a well-earned rest over Easter, ready to return and continue meeting our expectations in the Summer Term. We congratulate them all on another successful term as part of the Rugby Free family.

Mr Doherty - Head of Year 7


Year 8

Year 8 have had another incredibly successful term. It has been a pleasure to see the year group mature this term and continue to immerse themselves in school life.

Following the Year 8 information evening, it has been wonderful to see so many Year 8 students utilizing some of the discussed strategies. I’ve seen some fantastic home learning and engagement in online platforms such as Hegarty and Seneca. I hope this continues over the next term as the students endeavour to succeed in their end of year exams.

I continue to be immensely proud of the year group’s engagement with extra-curricular opportunities. We’ve seen our students enrich their knowledge, practice new skills and embody our school values. I’ve been particularly impressed by the resilience of some of our girls on the football team and the fantastic engagement in KS3 textiles club. The Year 8s have continued to take on responsibility through our Office Runner programme and seeing some of our quieter students grow in confidence through this role has been a pleasure to see.

I am really looking forward to our Awards Assembly on Friday and would like to extend my congratulations to all students who have received an award. I hope your families are as proud of your successes as I am. To those of your who were hoping to win an award, I look forward to seeing you strive for success next term and hope that I see your names on the certificates at the end of the academic year.

I implore you all to reflect on what has been a very busy term and think about how you can ensure that you have an incredibly successful summer term. I hope you are all able to have a restful Easter break and return ready to push yourselves even further for the last term of Year 8.  Have a lovely Easter break.

Miss Wright - Head of Year 8


Year 9

It has been such a positive Half Term for Year 9, with all eyes on preparation for options commencing after Easter. I was really pleased with how responsive students were and their proactivity in responding to their options forms and handing them in on time. It made the whole process so much smoother, with every student in Year 9 either getting all of their first choices, or at least their reserve in most cases.

We have seen yet more success with our sporting teams and have been over to Birmingham to watch some professional badminton, a trip that students relished and behaved impeccably.

Next Half Term brings with it a new challenge, with the step up to GCSE. I wish all of Year 9 all the very best of luck with this challenge and look forward to working with both students and parents as the next term progresses. Thank you

Mr Hallmark - Head of Year 9


Year 10

Year 10 have continued to make progress in arguably one of the toughest years of their school lives. Students have been taking steps towards getting the best GCSE results they can. This is evident from the conversations had with parents and students and in particular high levels of engagement and behaviour in lessons.

With an eye to the future, year 10 students have also taken opportunities provided to start exploring what life will look like once they finish year 11. We have had a number of events focused on careers, such as, a visiting apprenticeship information service coming into school and working with students to continued use of the online careers platform UniFrog. In addition, students are also taking opportunities to explore what further education will look like. They have been making positive steps ensuring they are offered their preferred placements by attending revision sessions and extracurricular clubs, thus extending their knowledge. Year 10 students have also made the most of the newly implemented house system which is giving students in our school opportunities to compete, collaborate, shine and perhaps discover a new passion or grow an existing one. Many of our Year 10s this past term have been selected to represent the school in a number of teams ranging from the Maths Challenge Select Team to the Year 10 sports teams. Here students have competed at a good level and continue to improve whilst attaining success on the way. Something that we as a staff body hope to continue to see.

On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Year 10 students, parents and carers for their input and continued support while we are on this mission to ensure all year 10 students are happy and reach their potential.

Mr Rupal - Head of Year 10


Year 11

Year 11 have had a fantastic start to 2023. They've started the year with an incredible amount of focus and hard work, which I know will pay off when they get their results in August. The year group have recently sat their third set of PPEs, which they have handled with a great level of maturity and resilience. This has given students the opportunity to practice their revision strategies, embed their key knowledge and practice sitting tests in exam conditions for the final time.

It is clear to see how much students have prepared for their recent exams, inside and outside of school, from seeing their focused attitude in lessons, their commitment to doing their best in their exams and their general mindset around school, as the date for the summer exams draws closer.

Over the next few weeks, students will be receiving feedback from their most recent set of PPEs in lessons. These lessons will be incredibly useful for students, where they can identify their areas of strength and weaknesses. This will allow them to effectively plan and structure their revision in the lead up to the summer exams, to close any gaps in their knowledge. Students will receive their updated predicted grades and PPE results, on Friday 28th April.

Over the next half term, it's really important for students to stay focused, continue to work hard in lessons and attend interventions where possible. However, it's also really important for students to take care of themselves, during this time, ensuring they are getting enough sleep, eating well, having time away from screens and speaking to friends/family/their teachers if they need additional support.

There are so many exciting things for students to look forward to, including conversations about their next steps and the Year 11 prom. I know the year group are getting very excited about prom, as more and more students are showing me the prom dresses that they've purchased and can't wait to wear! The prom will take place on Friday 30th June; it is going to be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all of the students' hard work over the past 5 years!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents/carers for their ongoing support throughout the year, and for the next half term. I'm aware that it can be a stressful time for our students (and parents/carers!) and the support that students get, inside and outside of school, plays a huge part on our students' success.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter break.

Miss Probert - Head of Year 11


Year 12

The second term of Year 12 has flown by and we have started discussions with Year 12 beginning to think about their transition towards Year 13. A number of our students continue to work with a range of providers on outreach programmes. These programmes offer students the chance to have reduced offers from top end universities with challenging entry requirements.

In January 2023 students who study vocational qualifications completed their first set of external examinations. They received their outcomes for these on 16th March. We were generally pleased with these outcomes. All students will have the opportunity to re-sit these units in the summer examination series. Whether a resit is necessary will be explored through conversations with their teacher. 

Students studying linear academic subjects completed their first series of mock examinations and received feedback, advice and guidance for improvement. The focus in these subjects will now switch towards preparation for their second set of mocks in June 2023 in order to help inform predicted grades and outcomes. 

Our second set of enrichment options including Latin, Cooking Club, Recreational Sport and support for students who wish to attend Russell Group. We also had a number of Year 12 students represent us in the British Physics Olympiad, where a number of students achieved their silver or bronze award. 

Within tutor time, students have been introduced to a range of new PSHE topics including job starting salaries and deductions, considering living arrangements beyond age 18, weekly food budgets, luxury items and their costs, as well as the cost and process of learning to drive. We hope that these conversations will assist students with being ready for adult life. 

Year 12 have also visited the UK University and Apprenticeship Fair. This ensured that every student has received the chance to meet a variety of apprenticeship providers and universities in person. Alongside this, Tutors have had personalised bespoke conversations with tutees about their career aspirations and planning for life beyond Rugby Free Secondary School. If this is an application to university, then students have been encouraged and supported to start reading about subjects beyond the curriculum, in order to help them to prepare to write their UCAS personal statements. This is also supported by the online career’s platform Unifrog. 

Lots of Year 12 have been involved in leadership opportunities, whether this be in the form of a Senior Prefect, a lower school reading buddy or part of the Change Your Mind student-led volunteering programme. 

We want to congratulate all Year 12 students for a second successful term with us, and we wish them a restful Easter holiday.

Mr Chadwick - Director of Learning for Sixth Form

Mrs Pillay - Assistant Director of Learning for Sixth Form


Year 13

It has been another really exciting term for Year 13 as we move ever closer to the moment when the students will leave RFSS and progress onto new challenges and experiences. Last term we shared that students had been completing their UCAS applications and I am delighted to be able to share that every student who applied to university has now received at least one offer. A small number of students have chosen to take a different path, either by doing an apprenticeship or progressing straight into their careers, and it is excellent to see students working out the best route for their futures. 

In preparation for the move that most students will be making to university, in February a visitor from Loughborough University came to speak to students and their parents about the process of applying for student finance. Since then, students have been taking active steps to prepare themselves for independent living by exploring personal finances and life skills during their tutor times. 

The past few weeks have seen our Year 13s working exceptionally hard on their PPEs. While working in real exam conditions, the students conducted themselves beautifully, and we are looking forward to seeing some great results, to go along with the brilliant vocational results that students achieved on 16th March.  

As the pressure to succeed in exams builds, the Sixth Form team have been working hard with a group of Boundary Leapers students. We are looking forward to continuing to work with students in a collaborative manner as they embark upon their final preparations before the summer exams. 

As always, our Year 13s continue to be excellent role models for younger students, particularly as House Captains, Senior Prefects, and working with the Change Your Mind project. We would like to thank them for their endeavours, and wish them a productive and restful Easter break.

Mr Chadwick - Director of Learning for Sixth Form

Mrs Pillay - Assistant Director of Learning for Sixth Form



House Update

The house leadership board in January 2023:

  • Pankhurst - 600 points

  • Ali - 475 points

  • Turing - 475 points

  • Attenborough - 375 points 

Students and staff had great fun creating the House Christmas video Competition, well done to Ali House who won this competition. A huge thanks to all staff and students who had donated to the Christmas hamper appeal, we were overwhelmed with the generosity from staff, students, parents and carers and the hampers went a long way to help families within the RFSS community. Well done to Pankhurst House who won this competition.









The House Bake Off went down a storm during the last week of term and the money raised will go towards the chosen house charities. Well done to Turing House for raising the most money - £63.












We ended the Christmas term with an inter-house Dodgeball competition in which Turing House showed great team work and came first.










This term the Houses have been tasked with choosing a charity that they would like to raise money for. They have come up with ideas for fundraising events that they could hold during the summer term. These are the chosen House charities.









We have ended the term with a Year 7 and 8 Maths house challenge and our interhouse sports badminton competition. We're looking forward to our final term in which we will be hosting house charity days, many more competitions and our first House Sports Day.


We want to say a huge thank you to you all for your enthusiasm and excitement in getting involved. New House leadership scores will be revealed after Easter.

Miss Cassidy, Mr Goodwin, Miss Vella and Miss Cowperthwaite - Heads of Houses


Set For Life


Community is part of our Set for Life curriculum and is our commitment to ensuring students have the opportunity to develop their social skills through working collaboratively and celebrate of similarities and uniqueness!


'Change Your Mind' Initiative

A group of Sixth Form students delivered uplifting workshops to schools across Rugby as part of the national 'Change Your Mind' initiative. Motivated by the current children's mental health crisis, the team created some excellent workshops, for 10-11year olds, on topics like relationships and transition to secondary school.


They had a very enthusiastic welcome from their audiences and were given five-star reviews by the primary school children.












Health and Wellbeing is also part of our Set for Life curriculum and is our commitment to ensuring students are given lots of opportunities to take part in activities which will promote health and physical fitness and mental wellbeing.


Duke of Edinburgh Award

Our Year 9 and Year 10 Duke of Edinburgh's Award students have made a fantastic start towards their Bronze and Silver Award.


Students have attended 2 training days in school, where they have planned their practice and qualifying expedition routes. They've also undertaken first aid training and practiced putting up their tents and using the Trangia's. Students have also participated in an outdoor training day, where they have practiced their map and compass reading skills, ready for their upcoming practice expedition.


It's important that students continue to work towards completing their Skills, Physical and Volunteering sections, and upload their signed assessor report cards onto their eDofE account, when their section is complete. Students must have all 3 sections completed and their evidence uploaded and approved, before their qualifying expedition. Please see below a reminder of the upcoming practice and qualifying expeditions, for both Awards:


Bronze Award

· Practice expedition - Friday 7th & Saturday 8th July 2023

· Qualifying expedition - Friday 8th & Saturday 9th September 2023

Silver Award

· Practice expedition - Friday 9th(pm), Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th June 2023

· Qualifying expedition - Friday 14th, Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th July 2023


Sports Fixtures

RFSS have had a really positive Spring term, it is great to see so many students dedicated to attending sports clubs at both after school and lunch times! Since January we have participated in a variety of sporting fixtures including both boys' and girls' football, year 7 netball, girls' football, and rugby. Among these fixtures we have had some great successes, including the Year 7 netball team making it to the final round of the tournament (this will take place next half term) as well as the U15 Rugby team who won their Rugby game against AVS last week. A special shout out goes to our National U15 Boys Handball team who travelled all the way to Kettering this week to compete in the Handball National Schools tournament - although the result did not go our way, it was great to see our students representing us so well, and showing great sportsmanship outside of Rugby town.


We would also like to bring your attention to our Girls Footballers at RFSS. Selected students have been selected to take part in the FA Youths Trust - Barclays Game On programme this half term. The girls have been engaging with a variety of workshops and working hard together to create a culture for Girls football at RFSS! It is great to see them taking on roles to promote girls football at our school, and as a result, our girls football after school club attendance is rising - long may this continue!



The PE department wish all students a pleasant Easter break, and look forward to diving into our traditional summer sports when we return such as Rounders, Softball, Cricket, Athletics and Tennis.



Employability is the third part of our Set for Life curriculum and is our commitment to ensuring students have opportunities to meet with employers, explore career opportunities and develop skills needed for the future.


This term students have been focusing on their 12 competencies and soft skills that help them interact with others in a harmonious manner. These include aiming high, remaining positive, having a vision beyond RFSS and being a good listener and team player.


To support students with having a vision beyond RFSS, Year 12 visited the UK University & Apprenticeship Search fair today at Edgbaston Stadium. This gave Year 12 an opportunity to network with external providers for advice and guidance. We have also held our internal Careers Fair for Year 7 to 13, where students had the opportunity to meet with local providers to think about academic entry requirements for specific careers students may have an interest in.

In February we also welcomed the WCG apprenticeship bus. Apprenticeships being showcased ranged from plumbing and engineering to horticulture and animal care. There was also demonstrations of power tools and motor vehicle experts partially stripping engines for prospective apprentices to inspect.










Year 11 and 10 students have also been continuing to have independent careers advice and guidance interviews with Prospects. Our students from year 11 that have been involved in the Groundwork program to build stronger, healthier communities and greater prospects for local people have all successfully completed their yearly reviews and been signed off successfully by the charity.



Independent Living is part of our Set for Life curriculum and this term we have ensured students know how to keep themselves safe both in school and as they go out into the wider community.



Children's Mental Health Week

Throughout this term and particularly during Children’s Mental Health Week, students learnt how to take steps to look after their own mental health and support their peers.


RFSS supported the charity ‘Young Minds’ throughout Children’s Mental Health Week.




New Staff

We will be welcoming the following new staff in April who will make a fantastic addition to our team. Joining us are:

Staff Name

Position

Mr Eadon​

Deputy Headteacher

Mr D’Arcy

Head of PE

Miss Woodhouse

Teacher of Science

Mr Beasley

Classroom Teacher

Miss Whittle

SEMH Mentor

Miss Markham

Inclusion Team

Miss Bowley

Inclusion Team

Miss Groocock

​Attendance Support

Finally, may I take this opportunity to say a huge ‘thank you’ for your support this term, and wish you a very Happy Easter. We will welcome all students back to school on Tuesday 18th April 2023 - doors open at 8.35am.


Kind Regards,

Mr Iain Green

Acting Headteacher



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