Welcome to the latest edition of the RFSS Blog! As we start to think about our Summer plans, I wanted to reflect on what a brilliant final term that we’ve had here at RFSS. I am so proud of the work we have undertaken over the course of the last 14 weeks, and I’m already looking forward to the new academic year.
It is impossible to talk about everything that we have done and achieved in the Summer term, as we have all experienced so much, from trips, visits and events, Sports Days and awards evenings. I have been so pleased to see our students’ cultural and academic capital developed once more, and it has been amazing to see so many areas of the school working together in unison.
On a personal note, I wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ for all of your support since February. It has been an honour, a pleasure and privilege to lead this school over the past few months, and I’ve been pleased to have met so many of you in different capacities. We are looking forward to some rest and relaxation, before hitting the ground running in September. For some key amendments and information, please read my Summer letter.
One key thing that I do want to bring to your attention is our intention to become a ‘Nut Free’ school from September 2023, as we move into line with other schools in the local area. I am sure that everyone understands the reason why, and hope that you support this.
I wish you all the very best of Summers, and I look forward to seeing you soon!
Round Up from the Heads of Year
It has been an exciting end to this school year for Year 7, full of achievements and successes. The students have seen a real step up in expectations and workloads now that they are not brand new to the school, and the vast majority have risen to the challenges spectacularly. As a Head of Year, I am often sent examples of the work produced in all subjects and I am constantly delighted to see the standard of work that our pupils create. It has been a pleasure to watch the confidence of the whole year group grow as they perfect the routines of RFSS.
I am really pleased that so many of our students are willing to get involved in the wider-school activities. We have a lot of students who are involved in the school teams and even more who attend regular extra-curricular clubs and activities. This was evident with how many applications we received from the students hoping to be a Transition Leader. It is fantastic to see so many students wanting to give back to their school and to support the younger pupils coming through. Although we were unable to select them all, we were incredibly proud of everyone who applied for the position.
Perhaps the biggest highlight for me as their Head of Year has been taking the whole cohort on a school trip to the 'Festival on the Close' at Rugby School. Not only was the behaviour absolutely impeccable, but so many of the students grasped the wonderful opportunities to try new things, with both hands. I was blown away to see so many pupils attempt diverse activities such as 'Brain Dissections', 'Maypole Dancing' and 'Green Screen Presenting'. They were all a credit to our school and represented everything that we do so well at RFSS. Whilst I will not continue as their Head of Year next year, I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved together, and these memories will stay with me for a long time. I hope you all now have a wonderful, well-earned break over the Summer Holidays.
Mr Doherty - Head of Year 7
As we reach the end of another unforgettable academic year, it’s time to reflect on the amazing journey Year 8 have been on. Throughout the year, this remarkable group of students have shown unparalleled enthusiasm, resilience and growth.
As always, I’ve been extremely proud of the Year 8’s academic achievements this year. They have fearlessly tackled more challenging topics, expanded their knowledge and faced challenges head on. I am truly excited to celebrate this in our final awards of the year on the last day of term.
It has been amazing to witness the incredible involvement of Year 8 students in various extracurricular opportunities throughout the year. Their enthusiastic participation in events and competitions for their house has been nothing short of inspiring. I am immensely proud of the students who took the initiative to run stalls during the charity afternoon for their house. They showcased their creativity, teamwork, and dedication to making a difference.
Additionally, Year 8’s brilliance shone on our recent STEM day, where a number of students tackled the challenge of building aircraft. Their problem-solving skills, ingenuity, and collaborative spirit were remarkable, leaving no doubt about their potential as future innovators and scientists. Year 8’s engagement in extracurricular activities has not only enriched their own experiences but has also brought immense pride and joy to the entire school community.
Working closely with this year group for the past two years has been an absolute pleasure. Witnessing their growth, development, and achievements has been truly remarkable. Their determination, resilience and eagerness to learn have always both inspired me and made me proud to be their Head of Year. As the time to part ways approaches, it fills me with a sense of sadness. However, I am confident that they are well-prepared for the next chapter of their academic endeavours, and I look forward to seeing their future successes.
To the Year 8s – I cannot wait to see the fantastic things you achieve over the next 3 years at Rugby Free Secondary School. I would like to thank you for being such a fantastic year group for me to oversee. I will definitely miss you making me laugh on a daily basis. I hope you all have a wonderful summer break and return in September ready and recharged for the exciting year that is Year 9!
Miss Wright - Head of Year 8
As the academic year comes to a close, it’s time to look back and celebrate the growth and progress our Year 9s have made. It has been an eventful year, with students choosing their GCSE options and thinking about their futures after school.
As the year draws to a close, I want to express my pride in Year 9 as a year group, and I want to thank all of the students, as well as parents, for embracing our culture as a school and for all the support you have given me over the last two years as Head of Year. As students, you have worked so hard and have placed so much trust in me, and the rest of our Pastoral Team.
Remember, your journey as a student at Rugby Free doesn't end here, it's merely the beginning of an enormous two years as you enter your GCSEs. I hope you continue to learn, and support each other over these next two years.
I can honestly say, being your Head of Year for the last two years has been nothing short of a pleasure, and I will miss each and every one of you. We have had laughter, tears, and everything in between; and I wouldn't change any of it.
I have learnt so much from all of you, and I hope you learned a little, too.
But for now, I must leave you in the more-than-capable hands of Mr. Doherty, as you embark on Year 10. If you have anything you would like support with, students or parents alike, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Good luck to you all, and have a lovely summer. Take care.
Mr Hallmark - Head of Year 9
As we reach the end of the year, I am super proud of the progress Year 10 have made in arguably one of their toughest years in their school lives. Students have, this term, been preparing for life in Year 11 with a number of interventions and lessons focused on exams. Year 10 have also completed their first set of PPE’s (Pre Public Examinations). This has been a huge success and has provided students with a first hand experience of the processes of examination, as well as an understanding of the feelings and emotions they may have during this time.
With an eye to the future, Year 10 students have continued to take opportunities provided to them and have successfully participated in a number of school trips and some have been selected in a very competitive field to take part in work experience placements provided by Warwick University.
Engagement in lessons and with extra-curricular clubs has also been on the increase amongst Year 10 students. They have taken opportunities to further their education in these sessions and many have participated in a range of sporting fixtures, ranging from town athletics competitions to regional cricket competitions. The Year 10 cricket team have had a very successful year, competing at a very high level. Enjoyably, a number of students have been helping coach some of the younger students in this sport, showing a great sense of community.
Year 10 students have also continued to make the most of the newly implemented house system which is giving them opportunities to compete, collaborate, shine and perhaps discover a new passion or grow an existing one. Although, a member of Turin House, I will take this opportunity to say well done to everyone in Pankhurst House, who came first in the house competition.
On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students, parents and carers for their input and continued support. My first year here has been very enjoyable and this is down to the entire school community. Year 10, you have been amazing and despite not being your Head of Year next year, I will always make myself available if you need anything.
Mr Rupal - Head of Year 10
What a year it has been! I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the last 5 years of hard work, particularly the last few months of Year 11. You have been a pleasure to work with and you will be missed by all of your teachers. The way you have handled yourselves during your exams has been incredibly impressive.
You have made some fantastic memories together over the past 5 years and it has been an honour to have been your Head of Year for your final year at RFSS. I want to wish all of you the best of luck for the future. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you again in September and I know others have got exciting plans elsewhere, but I know you will all go on to do amazing things. I hope you all had as much fun at the Year 11 prom as I did. Thank you for all being so brilliant; The Arnold House staff were singing your praises at the end of the evening, explaining how polite and respectful you had been all night. What a brilliant way to end a fantastic 5 years at RFSS.
Good luck with your results, please take care of yourselves and enjoy your well-deserved summer break, you have certainly earnt it!
Miss Probert - Head of Year 11
The third and final term for Year 12 has flown by. During this term we launched the UCAS application process with Year 12, as those who wish to, start to think about their university applications for September 2023. Year 12 also successfully completed their final set of Year 12 mock examinations. After these pre-public exams, students will have received feedback, advice and guidance for improvement as they look to consolidate their knowledge gathered throughout Year 12. Students also successfully completed transition interviews to progress into Year 13.
Year 12 have also received advice and guidance with regards to making the most of their work experiences placements in July 2023. We look forward to hearing about students’ experiences when they return in September. Some placements we have are The Army, The Rugby Advertisers, Warwickshire Fire Service and Children and Family Centres.
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.
This term we rewarded Year 12 for excellent attendance with our end of year rewards trip to Alton Towers. Well done to everyone who was eligible for this trip. Lots of Year 12 have been involved in leadership opportunities, this term this included a whole school Pride event, where we celebrated students’ differences.
We want to congratulate all Year 12 students for a successful first year in Sixth Form, and we wish them a restful summer holiday.
Mr Chadwick - Director of Learning for Sixth Form
Mr Edwards - Assistant Director of Learning for Sixth Form
Mrs Pillay - Assistant Director of Learning for Sixth Form
What a term it has been for our Year 13 students. On returning to school after the Easter holidays, it was clear to see that the students had shifted up a gear in terms of their focus and attitude to learning. The library, study zone and independent study centre were consistently full of students working hard to put the final touches on coursework, or to embed all that essential knowledge for their exams.
With all students having now made their choices for their university places, apprenticeships or work placements next year, the motivation to succeed has been palpable. From when the exams started in May, to when they completed mid-June, all Year 13 students conducted themselves impeccably. They made the most of the booster sessions and exam briefings that staff put on for them, and overcame any nerves to ensure they performed to the best of their ability in their exams.
We were very excited to host our first Year 13 prom on 14th July, and we are so pleased that the student prom committee took such an active role in the organisation of the event. Given all the hard work that they have put in, we knew that this would be a suitably fantastic celebration of the students’ time in Sixth Form.
The leavers celebrations really began though with our Leavers’ Assembly on 30th June, as staff and Trust members came together to give the students a warm send off. This was a momentous occasion for the school, as this year group were the pioneers who began in 2016 as the first cohort of RFSS students. We hope that they enjoyed the video and awards prepared for them for this assembly, and the memories of their school days that were shared.
We are so proud of this Year 13 group and everything that they have achieved in their time at the school. We are looking forward to their results day on 17th August when we anticipate celebrating some excellent exam results with them. We wish them the very best in the future lives, and hope that they will keep in touch and let us know about all the exciting adventures they have.
Mr Chadwick - Director of Learning for Sixth Form
Mr Edwards - Assistant Director of Learning for Sixth Form
Mrs Pillay - Assistant Director of Learning for Sixth Form
Pankhurst House claimed victory in the RFSS House Cup, securing an impressive 1300 points!
Turing House, led by Ali, secured the second position with 1125 points, and Attenborough House secured the third position with 950 points.
During our first ever House Sports Day, Turing House achieved a historic win, with Pankhurst House securing the second spot, followed by Ali House in third and Attenborough House in fourth place.
Earlier this half term we held our inaugural House charity day, which was a huge success, as we raised over £700 for our House charities. The day witnessed fantastic participation from students and staff, engaging in activities like bake sales, sponge the teacher, penalty shootouts, and even teacher leg waxing!
The achievements of our houses in this first year have been extraordinary, and we are immensely proud of all the students and staff who participated in the house events and competitions. As we look forward to the next year, we have exciting plans and new competitions in store, promising even more memorable moments to come!
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 celebrating similarities and uniqueness!
Art Celebration Evening
On Tuesday 11th July we held our annual Arts Celebration Evening at school showcasing the work of our students in the Arts subjects.
The event was held in the school study zone where parents were invited to look at displays of GCSE and A Level Art work, as well as displays of work from Design Technology Resistant Materials, Textiles and Music Technology. The work displayed was of an outstanding quality and really showcased the talents of our students.
Whilst parents were viewing the displays they were treated to both Music and Drama performances. These included performances by the school Orchestra and Choir as well as some excellent solo performances from students in Years 8, 9 and 12.
The Year 7 Drama group recreated their recent performance of Romeo and Juliet, which they performed in the Rugby School Festival on the Close. They gave us an energetic and humorous performance, including a whole cast Dance number at the end.
The event was a great success and demonstrated the diversity of Arts subjects taught at RFSS as well as highlighting the considerable talents of our students.
Geography Trip to Carding Mill Valley
The Geography department took the Year 12 Geographers to Carding Mill Valley, in the beautiful Shropshire hills, to carry out part of their physical fieldwork.
The group walked up the National Trust trail, following the river to the top, where we stopped and enjoyed the beautiful views as well as the waterfall.
Students were carrying out various techniques, which are part of their coursework. These included river velocity, measuring it using a dog biscuit, discharge, slope angles and bedload.
It was a really enjoyable day, but limited by the lack of water in the river, which made the fieldwork more challenging.
The drive home was made much more enjoyable, with the class singing to new and old music/tunes, thanks to our minibus DJ.
We were lucky to have 7 members of Anya Court Care Home come to visit us and complete sessions on working in care, with a focus on supporting and working with people who have Dementia.
Students asked some fab questions and there was a lot of interest about how to volunteer and how would a person get into this line of work.
The brilliant staff also showed us how to take a holistic approach with care supporting their residents in every aspect of their life and by using the Tree of Life as a way to plan brilliant activities.
Highly Sprung Performance Company
Year 9, 12 and 13 students participated and performed in the UK's only Physical Fellowship Festival at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.
Students worked with a visiting artist from Highly Sprung over two days to create a physical theatre performance based upon the theme of Freedom. Our performance focused on our planet and the impact human beings have upon it. This experience stretched our student's resilience to be able to work with other students across other year groups and to create a piece of theatre in a style they have never attempted before.
Students experienced workshops at the Belgrade Theatre from established drama and dance schools, a photography movement workshop led by Infuse Dance and a master class from Highly Sprung Performance company themselves.
Our students then performed to a sell-out audience and watched an amazing production by Highly Sprung called 'Enigma' focusing on the story of Alan Turing. Our students should be immensely proud of themselves and for representing our school and values in such a positive way.
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 10 students have been fantastic this year, with their dedication and commitment to participating in the bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh award.
Students experienced a wide variety of challenges on their expedition, including the very hot, and at times, very rainy weather! You showed excellent resilience and endeavour during a challenging 2-3 days. Your behaviour and attitude throughout the training and expeditions has been fantastic, you have all been a credit to the school.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind students, to get their physical, skills and volunteering sections signed off over the summer holidays (if they haven’t done so already). Please check your edofe account to ensure all 3 sections have been approved - certificates will be handed out in the first couple of weeks in September and you don’t want to miss out!
DofE Bronze Practice Expedition
DofE Silver Qualifying Expedition
Well done to the Year 7 and Year 10 girls rounders teams who finished the season undefeated!
This term saw the emergence of a KS3 boys cricket team for the first time! We were delighted that training sessions were packed with students both experienced and new to the sport, but all eager to learn. We look forward to this developing in the future. At regional level the students performed really well with a number of excellent performances from students in Year 7 and Year 8.
The KS4 cricket team represented the school and themselves with distinction, winning all their games! This success also saw students participate at the county finals in Birmingham. Here they excelled against opposition who boasted county players amongst their ranks, winning one game and narrowly losing by 4 runs in the other.
We were delighted to see net sessions well attended, with the added bonus of a number of club cricket playing staff supporting and passing on their expertise!
This half term we welcomed 700 primary school students to RFSS for a cricket festival. This was impeccably led by our inspirational Year 9 leaders. All the primary schools commented on their enthusiasm, maturity and professionalism!
Special mention to Chloe B for representing East Warwickshire in the Discus! This was despite having never competed before. A combination of natural talent, hard work and excellent PE teaching!
An incredible achievement with Ethan C who has been chosen to represent his country! He earnt his British gymnastics silver medal and England call-up! His success has earned him an opportunity to represent England at Under 16 level.
30 Year 10 sports leaders travelled to Harris to lead a Year 5 athletics festival. They were superb and proved to be role models to younger pupils!
A fantastic sports day was held on Tuesday 18th July. The day was really positive, students representing their houses competitively, but also supporting each other and taking part with the right spirit. Well done to all involved, the students can be very proud of themselves. Turing emerged victorious!
We look forward to welcoming students back in September and furthering our extra-curricular provision.
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 many of our students have been focusing on their exams however we have managed to squeeze in some exciting careers events and further develop employability skills. We are also busy preparing for next year and putting together a stable careers programme to engage our pupils in employability skills and confidence in their career choices.
As the spring term ended, the careers team were busy hosting our annual Careers Fair! 20 employers, universities and trainee providers from the Midlands area and beyond came to RFSS to talk to our pupils about post-16 and post-18 study options and career pathways. The event was a great success and our pupils did us proud with how they engaged with all our guests.
In supporting our pupils to have meaningful encounters with employers, employees and workplaces, our Year 12 pupils have been on work experience this week. They have worked hard to find a placement and we are looking forward to hearing all about their week.
Towards the end of July, six Year 10 pupils attended the Warwick University STEM work experience week, they were six of thirty pupils selected from across the Midlands! The week was centered on STEM and they all had an opportunity to present their projects at the end of the week. It was also a great opportunity for these pupils to experience a higher education setting and engage with employers in the STEM sector. The staff at Warwick University were so impressed with our pupils and have commented on how resilient and exceptional they were. A big shout out to Caitlyn W, Elif D, Emine D, Joel B, Martim S and Nicole N for their resilience and hard-working attitude.
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.
At RFSS we take the education regarding safety in the community very seriously and as such our students have received the following external sessions alongside their Tutor Programme and PSHE sessions:
Warwickshire Police Knife Crime event: Years 7 and 10
PC Matt Birch from Warwickshire Police delivered a workshop on knife crime and how to keep yourself safe
Loudmouth ‘Working for Marcus’ - Year 9
This is a ‘theatre in education’ programme that raises awareness of CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) through the exploration of grooming, online safety and consent
Prison Me, No Way - Year 9
The ‘No Way Trust’ provides real-life learning experiences for children and young people between 8 and 18, to help reduce risky behaviour and prevent them from becoming involved in crime.
The Riot Act Show - Year 9
The Riot Act show - performance is funded by Warwickshire County Council as part of the Road Safety Education programme that has been developed since last September
WRSP New Rider Webinar - All post 16 students
This webinar was presented by Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership and was aimed at those considering and new to riding 125CC or under
The Student Voice - Safeguarding Poll sent to Year 7 and 8
A poll was conducted on student’s feelings within school and the feedback has informed our decision making moving forwards
The Student Voice - All years
RFSS continue to use The Student Voice as a platform where students can inform us of any concerns they have both within school and within the surrounding areas and at home. This will also be re-launched in September 2023 with some exciting new changes!
We will be welcoming the following new staff in September who will make a fantastic addition to our team. Joining us are:
Business and ICT Teacher
Assistant Head of Year
Strategic Lead for Inclusion
Assistant DoL – English Teacher
SEMH Intervention Mentor
Learning Support Assistant
KS3 Lead Science Teacher
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Specialist SEND Teacher
We will welcome Year 7 students into school on Tuesday 5th September 2023 and all other year groups on Wednesday 6th September 2023. See you there!
Mr Iain Green