Letter from Headteacher


Dear Parents and Carers, 22nd May 2017

This is my last letter of this half term, and I wanted to start by thanking you for engaging with us and working closely to support your children. We are working hard at parental engagement, and I have appointed one of our Associate Leadership Team, Mrs Vinall to work on this over the coming months, particularly focused on involving parents more and more in learning. If you have any thoughts or feedback about this please do contact Mrs Vinall on CVinall@castlemanor.org.uk

This week has seen Year 11 and 13 written exams start in earnest and also the start of end of year exams for all other year groups. I have been so impressed with the way students have been working. As a school we do not operate a system of study leave as we believe that students prepare best in lesson with their expert teachers. This has been working very well, and I have had lots of positive feedback from students this week about their preparation sessions prior to exams.

I have to share with you some news that Mr Ramsey and Miss Read are both leaving us at half term. They have shared this with the children that they teach, but I wanted to share this with you. We congratulate both of them on their new roles at other schools, developing the next steps in their careers. Both have been with us since they first started teaching, and we are very grateful for everything they have done for our students and school. Their lessons will be taken on by existing teaching staff in the school after half term to aid a smooth end of the term. We are pleased to also let you know that Mr Bonas has been appointed as Achievement Leader for our incoming new Year 7 students and lead on their transition, also looking after Hamlet House. Mr Sims will take on Helions House and be Achievement Leader for our current Year 7. Mr Course will take Year 8 and 9 through to Year 9 and 10 in September and Miss Cianciola will work with the current Year 10 and take them through to Year 11.

You are likely to have seen in the press that there was an incident close to Clements Primary school last week where a young boy was approached by a stranger. Links to the story are in local press and can be seen here http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/all-about/haverhill and I wanted to remind you to talk with your children about how to respond if anything like this were to happen to them. I have asked our tutors to talk to children about keeping safe, ensuring that parents know where they are, and making sure they report anything concerning to yourselves, us or the police.

I really enjoyed the Community Market at the weekend where lots of our students, led by Mrs Baldwin, were out in force running market stalls as a social enterprise activity. Congratulations to all those involved.

We have seen big improvements in attendance this year in school, but we still have too many students whose attendance is less than 90%, meaning they have had an equivalent of 1 day per fortnight off school this year. Children missing learning certainly impacts on their progress and the way they attain. It is really important that you communicate with us if a child is absent, and allow us to work with you to try to reduce absence. When we don’t hear from families we have protocol to follow to ensure that young people are safe and accounted for, so your prompt and genuine communication is much appreciated. We also do unfortunately see children put in very difficult positions where holidays have been taken and parents have telephoned in sick instead of telling us of a holiday. Most of the time we are already aware due to feedback from other children, but this does not help us to build honest and open relationships so please do communicate with us openly so that we can work well together.

Wishing you a good half term break when it arrives, as always please do contact me on VWhitcombe@castlemanor.org.uk if you have any matters you would like to discuss with me.

Yours sincerely,

Vanessa Whitcombe



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