Chair of Governors Update
Chair’s Update January 2020
Happy New Year to you all. The first half of this academic year is already nearly over and, as always, much has been happening.
Last term was very busy with visiting speakers, sporting fixtures, drama productions and a plethora of other events and activities. I had thought that it would be hard to top last year’s production of “Les Misérables”, but the students pulled it off in style with “One Man, Two Guvnors”, which was an excellent and very funny production. Immense credit must go to the Drama team for the additional work they put in to have two casts, so that more students could be involved. Equally, the Rotary Concert in November once again show cased the musical talents of many of our students and was an excellent evening’s entertainment. The Music Department work particularly hard in the Autumn term with this concert, the drama production and several carol concerts. For those of you who have seen Cantare, the College choir, perform, I am sure you will not be surprised that they won the Devon Schools Choir competition this year and performed in Exeter Cathedral as part of the CLIC for Christmas concert. For all of these events I am always struck by the enthusiasm and sheer joy that the students get from taking part and the positive experience that comes from being part of a team.
We have also had cause to celebrate a number of sporting successes in recent months. Our tennis teams continue to do well and this year we have also had notable successes in badminton, particularly for our U13 and U15 squad, rugby, netball, cricket, trampolining, athletics – pretty much any sport you can name we have teams taking part in. I must also congratulate Elisha and Malackey Freeman who have both been selected for the England Team for Baton Twirling and who will be taking part in the world championships in April.
Last term alone the sports department had over 70 different sporting fixtures. We are very fortunate to have so many staff in the PE department who commit a great deal of time to support all the additional sporting opportunities that the College provides.
It isn’t just in sport where our students excel. In November, Megha Bose and Adriana Zeamaneagra Castro represented the College at the Rotary Young Chef Competition and Adriana also took part in the Exeter Cookery School for Springboard competition. Adriana came second in both competitions. There were also numerous trips for a large number of students during the term; from theatre visits to geography field trips to visits to Bristol and Exeter University for curriculum based activities, the College prides itself on trying to provide such opportunities for everyone at some point during the year. Last term two members of staff, Lucy Oakes-Ash and Laurie Dugdale set up an ECO group within the College, which has been very well attended by students, all of whom are keen to see what they can do within the College and the wider community to save energy, improve recycling and generally take action on the issues with the environment and climate change.
At this time of year GCSEs, BTECs and A levels start to loom very large for our Year 11 and Year 13 students, all of whom have taken mock exams in recent weeks. Past experience has shown that having the opportunity to sit exams in the same conditions that they will experience in the summer, really helps to prepare our students well.
We have tried hard in recent years to ensure that there are lots of communication channels available at the College, so that you are well informed about what we are doing and able to get in touch easily if you want to do so. Each term there is a Parent Forum where the Principal and his senior team, alongside a number of governors welcome the opportunity to discuss what is happening in College and get feedback from parent and carers. Please contact Julie Proctor on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about these sessions. Parents’ evenings for all year groups take place throughout the year and this is your opportunity to meet your children’s teachers and discuss their progress. There is always a Governors’ table at these evenings, usually in the main hall, and there is no need to book an appointment with us, just come and find us if you want a chat or to discuss anything.
Plans to redevelop the lower part of the Green Close site are now well underway and we expect work on site to commence around Easter time. We are also extremely pleased that we finally have the go ahead for the second phase of the Maths block development on our Gipsy Lane site. This is likely to begin in the summer too – both have been long awaited so it will be good to see the work actually get underway.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you about our alumni group set up through Future First. We are very keen to make contact with former pupils as this helps our current students broaden their horizons and helps them to imagine a world beyond their own. Former students, having grown up in the same community and sat in the same classrooms are ideal volunteers to be such role models and interaction between the two can boost young people’s confidence and motivation, helping to transform their life chances. At the Rotary Concert we had three short film clips from previous students which were truly inspiring, as was the speech from Daniel Burman at our Post 16 celebration of achievement evening in December. If you were a former pupil please do stay in touch with us by going to www.futurefirst.org.uk.
Chair of Governors