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News from Mr Taylor

9th November 2018

I make no apology for the fact that this week has seen a greater focus on the Upper School and Sixth Form; specifically setting a “Widely Important Goal” for Y13 in terms of their academic achievements this coming Summer, shared at an assembly on Monday and seeing students taking part in the Senior Maths Challenge.

Following last week’s Destinations Evening, the school opened up for prospective sixth form students. This event was well attended, with good numbers from both our school and interested students from a wide range of schools in the area, including schools in Norwich and within our wider local community, both Norfolk and Suffolk based. The application process in now well underway.

I am very proud of the way our school community has approached the commemoration of the Centenary of the Armistice. It says a great deal about our school values!

2nd November 2018

The half term break was welcomed by all and has hopefully helped to prepare us for the marathon of a half term leading up to the Christmas break.

All of a sudden, this week, staff and students have had to acclimatise themselves as to how to deal with the inclement weather; wet break and lunch in a busy school is always a challenge and all have risen to this well, clearly demonstrating a real sense of community, maturity and mutual respect.

A highlight of the week has been the ‘Destinations Day’ for Y11, with many outside providers on site as well as an excellent session being led by a number of our Sixth Form students talking about the Post-16 offer at our school. This they did phenomenally well, talking about how things felt so very different in Sixth Form compared to the main school and also sharing their sense of pride in their school. In doing so they demonstrated their communication and presentation skills. I was impressed and grateful to both them and members of the Sixth Form Team who worked on this too. I sincerely hope that once again, in September 2019, we will have a record number of students joining us for Post-16 study.

Looking ahead, this Friday sees the first annual Armistice Assemblies being delivered, forming part of our traditional commemoration, but this year being all the more poignant as we mark 100 years since the end of WW1. As well as assemblies and our whole school minute of silence, to be held on Monday 12th, we are also holding a one-off event titled “Centenary Reflection” (music, drama, art, readings, etc) on the same day, starting at 6:30pm. All are invited: students, staff, parents and the wider community.

19th October 2018

A big thank you  to parents for the amazing support of your children and by extension the work we do at school, as demonstrated through the brilliant numbers attending events at school; Year 7 Meet the Tutors, Year 8 Information Evening, Year 11 and Sixth Form Music Recital Evening and the Year 7 PSHEE (online safety event) to name but a few. We really appreciate this.

In other news, it has been a pleasure to see an increase in student leadership across the school; attending events, taking visitors on tours and generally talking about their school knowledgeably and with a real sense of pride.

I hope that the good weather continues for us all as we have half term week to re-charge batteries!

12th October 2018

So… the results are in, following the two-week phone ban I am proud to say that our Y10/11 opted, in the vast majority, for a change to mobile phone usage. The winning option being allow, in their social area, the use of phones at break time only; a chance to catch-up with key messages etc. Lunchtimes will remain phone free and as a consequence, we continue to see greater social interaction; students talking to one another and playing traditional games, it’s a sight to behold!

Following last week’s amazing Open Evening, we have continued to welcome large numbers of parents and visitors into our school; Open Morning and Pathways Evening for Y10/Y11 on Tuesday and a very well attended Meet the Tutors Evening for parents of Y7 on Thursday. Our Arts Day on Wednesday brought 75 students and a number of staff into the school from our partner primary schools, with Y6 students developing and sharing their creative talents. I am grateful to attendees of all these events for their very up-beat comments, also referencing and positive and purposeful environment experienced; such great feedback on our students, your children!

The week ahead looks equally busy and we look forward to welcoming parents of Y7 and Y8 on Thursday for the two advertised events as well as an open invitation to the A Level and Y11 Recital Evening on Monday.

5th October 2018

The Y10/11 temporary mobile phone ban during social times has produced some interesting break and lunchtimes; card and board games aplenty and genuine face-to-face conversations! As we came towards the end of the two-week ban school arranged a ballot offering students a number of options to ascertain students’ views. One of the options was to return to the situation prior to the ban. We are looking forward to hearing the result of this genuine student consultation!

The second phase of us showcasing our school to prospective Y7s for September 2019 went really well on Wednesday; over 20 families came in for a look round, seeing the school in action, following Open Evening last week. It was lovely to hear comments at the end of the tour regarding the calm, orderly atmosphere parents experienced, how focused the learning looked and how brilliant our student tour guides were phenomenal ambassadors. The second of these ‘open school’ events is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Our programme of bespoke support for students and families began this week with the Sixth Form Information Evening for parents of Y12 students. This was pleasingly well-supported by parents who through presentations, were made aware of the potential challenges students face in the ‘step-up’ from Y11 to Sixth Form and also suggestions across a wide range of areas regarding how parents can get involved and support. The next event if for Y7 students next week, with an opportunity for parents to ‘Meet the Tutor’.

28th September 2018

WOW!

What a completely phenomenal evening! The school looked amazing, activities and displays were imaginative and engaging! Our students were an absolute credit to themselves and to us, sharing with visitors, their enthusiasm and buy-in to our school; ethos, values and engaging/wide-ranging offer. Visitors responded well to all that they experienced and we received some fantastic feedback.

Our guesstimate is that we had over 700 visitors and approximately 320 families.

21st September 2018

The start of this week saw a record being broken at SJLHS, an important record! We managed to shave 45 seconds  off the whole school emergency evacuation process, no mean feat, since the school is the largest it has ever been in terms of both student and staff population.

I have toured the school this week to both monitor learning and to show visitors and prospective student round. I was moved by what we saw to send the following round to staff and students:-

“I was extremely proud to be Headteacher of our school today. As I toured the  school with a prospective parent and her daughter, everywhere I went we saw outstanding learning focus, positive attitudes and great behaviour; a wonderful experience for all involved! The parent rightly commented on how nice it was to see teachers being able to teach.” Readers of this Newsletter should be proud too!

It has been pleasing to note the large number of students who have been staying after 3:15, for what we are calling period 4 - an hour for extra-curricular and enrichment. A wide variety of activities are available as can be found on the website. I would encourage any student who has not signed up to at least activity to do so as soon as possible.

Much to look forward to in the week ahead, not least our Open Evening on Thursday, where we look forward to showcasing our school to prospective students for September 2019 - can you believe it!

14th September 2018

I would like, in the first newsletter of the 2018/19 academic year, to start by congratulating last year’s Y11 & Y13 and the school staff who supported them. They achieved some great results this summer. They should be proud of their achievements and school wishes them all the best on the next phase of their learning journey; university, apprenticeship, college, Sixth Form.

We start term, as a school full to capacity; testament to the Sir John Leman offer and the ethos and culture which enables us to make incremental improvements. We are delighted that greater numbers than ever have opted to join our Sixth Form, with more than 25% of the Y12 cohort joining from a number of schools locally.

As I have attended assemblies and welcomed students to school in the morning this week, it has been a pleasure to note how impressive they look as a student body in full uniform. I would like to thank parents and carers for helping to achieve this. I am certain that this, along with our straightforward and consistently applied behaviour policy and the positive relationships between staff and students has ensured a very calm and purposeful start to the term. By period 3 on Monday, no one would have been aware that ‘the machine had been on pause’ for six weeks, but I know that staff and students alike have benefitted immensely from that significant break.

I am very positive and ambitious for the future and would like to thank parents, the wider community and all those who help support the work of  the school; your contributions are invaluable.

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