Message from the HEad
End of academic year message from Headteacher Chiquita Henson.
As the term draws to a close I would like to thank all members of our learning community for their tremendous support and inspiration during what has been another very busy but extremely positive year for Cirencester Deer Park School. It was a delight to join our pupils and staff at our Party in the Park, on the afternoon of Friday 21 July, which this year took place in the Main Hall and featured our young songwriters, winners of our Young Singer of the Year Competition, pupils and staff bands. It is a lovely way to draw the academic year to a close. Special thanks go to our Expressive Arts team too for the time they put into planning and coordinating the programme.
Over the summer our Reception area is being refurbished for September 2017 and, excitingly, work begins on our new extension which will provide eight new classrooms for September 2018! Our English Faculty have moved into temporary accommodation for the year and look forward to returning to a new suite of classrooms. Furthermore, after 16 years of school and community use, we are replacing our astroturf pitches. This will significantly improve the sports facilities we use daily and share with local clubs. Should you need to contact us during the holiday, the switchboard will be operating normally. Owing to the new building’s proximity to the bus turning circle we are removing all parking from the cobbled area except for visitors and there will be restricted access to the front field for pupils.
I am especially grateful to all who responded to the Ofsted surveys in May which led the Lead Inspector to conclude we have ‘created an ethos that pupils, parents and staff all subscribe to enthusiastically.’ I am immensely proud of all we have achieved together and I am privileged to work with such a great team! I am grateful also to parents who reflect on their children’s time with us and take the time to share their gratitude.
Recent parent comments we have received include:
"We just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers who have supported our daughter during her time at Deer Park School. She has had a wonderful time in your care and we are so very grateful for all your hard work and dedication. We couldn’t have wished for a better school or better teachers - thank you so much!"
"Thank you for another excellent year of learning and broader opportunities for my daughter. She continues to grow and flourish at Deer Park and is extremely happy at school. I cannot believe she is entering her final year with you, but you have equipped her with life skills and academic qualifications to move on to College with huge confidence. Deer Park continues to be an outstanding school in my opinion."
We started the academic year 2016-17 by celebrating our 50th anniversary as a comprehensive school. It was a joy to welcome former pupils, parents and staff to our commemorative evening, and, while we sadly say goodbye to some long serving colleagues, we are preparing to start a new chapter in the school’s history as we move towards becoming a founding member of a new collaborative and local multi-academy trust.
This year, among others who we will be saying goodbye to, four key members of staff leave Cirencester Deer Park School after more than a century of excellent service to the school between them. They will be sorely missed and we are grateful to them for their loyalty, flexibility and commitment over time. Frank Perkins, originally appointed in 1977 by the comprehensive school’s first Headteacher, Marjorie Davis, just before she retired, has worked at the school for forty years as a teacher of wood and metal work, a pastoral leader, assistant Head of Design and, more recently, as our Facilities Manager. Keren Davis, will be retiring from teaching in the autumn after thirty-one years in our Languages Faculty, but we are delighted she will be returning in November for a few hours each week to provide support to the team and our pupils as our Language Assistante! Vito Anzalone, started his teaching career at Deer Park in 1989. He is an outstanding practitioner and was recognised as an Advanced Skills Teacher. His lessons are spellbinding and he has inspired hundreds of pupils and equipped them with skills and confidence they will undoubtedly use throughout their lives, as well as in their careers. Fiona Moss, relatively junior with just seventeen years of service, is also moving on. She is going to Churchdown School where she will take up the position of Head of Languages. She too was an Advanced Skills teacher and has been a member of our pastoral team.
As we break up for the long summer holiday, I remind you of the importance of reading and keeping our brains active over the holiday. Read about Summer Homework...
Parents are reminded that we have revised our Uniform Dos and Don’ts and, following over 12 months’ notice the pencil skirt will no longer be an acceptable item of school clothing from Tuesday 5 September. All girls, across all year groups, will now have the option of either the black stitch down pleat skirt or the black kick pleat skirt available from D&J Sports or Trutex Direct. Alternatively, girls can wear one of the two prescribed trouser styles. Furthermore, owing to the plethora of designs, colours and bold logos, hoodies will no longer be acceptable in school. Pupils are reminded that they should wear their navy blue school jumpers over their school shirts in cooler weather and a plain outside coat. We are grateful to parents for your co-operation in this as it will help us focus our conversations more on learning and less on uniform transgressions.
It is important that all pupils attend school and develop the resilience they will need in their future places of learning and work. We, therefore, expect all pupils to aim for 100% attendance. Angela Reynolds, our Attendance and Support Officer, with tutors and our Year Leaders, will continue to rigorously follow up any absences. Please note, I will not authorise holidays in term time. As our Ofsted report confirms and national research shows, those who attend school regularly achieve significantly better outcomes than those whose attendance dips below 95%.
We wish our pupils and their families an enjoyable holiday. Our new term starts for pupils on Tuesday 5 September 2017 and, owing to the way in which we roll our timetable forward in June, learning starts immediately. We look forward to welcoming them back refreshed, fully equipped, appropriately attired and, as ever, ready and eager to learn!