Our Class of 2021
Last week in school for Year 11
On Thursday 27 May 2021 after a formal year group photograph, barbeque, ice creams and an assembly, we said goodbye, but not farewell, to our Class of 2021. They are all expected to stay connected with us and engage in online bridging activities from Tuesday 8 June that will support their transition to their next place of learning.
As a priority, all pupils in Year 11 should make contact with their 6th form or training providers and actively engage in their induction plans.
We have recommended a minimum of three hours learning a day and, to support this, we have signposted a wealth of opportunities, including participating in The Cotswold Challenge, online work experience and online courses. Pupils can access this important resource by logging onto RM Unify from Tuesday 8 June. Pupils will also have the opportunity to attend weekly tutor sessions in MS Teams on Wednesday mornings (8:50-9:05) with their tutors.
Our annual leavers’ events are key milestones in our pupils’ time with us and, this year, we were determined to keep up the tradition, albeit a little different.
Following the completion of two rounds of Year 11 assessments, we were able to re-schedule our Year 11 mock interviews. These took place on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 May and our pupils definitely did themselves and us proud. Having prepared CVs on Monday 24 May, pupils responded to their interviewers’ questions and responded positively to the feedback. They were given tips about how to present themselves and how to exemplify the softer skills like those acquired through our sports leadership programme or in their engagement in extra-curricular activities.
Our thanks to the volunteer interviewers from the local community, including from Cirencester College, Cirencester Rotary and Nailworth Rotary Clubs. They were impressed by our young people: ‘All of the young people I have seen today have been a credit to themselves. They have been able to articulate themselves well.’ ‘It is impressive the mature way in which they have coped with lockdown learning. They must have been very independent young people.’ ‘What a lovely and impressive bunch.’
Assistant Head Miss Brace commented: 'It has been so lovely to be able to do the Mock Interviews with Year 11. They have done us and themselves proud over the last two days. All of our interviewers have commented on how well they have articulated themselves and how reflective they are about their journey so far. I am very grateful to our volunteers, many of whom come back year after year, but especially this year in these uncertain times that they could support us in this important event.'
We also rescheduled the official year group photograph. This could not happen when originally planned in April owing to the COVID-19 safety measures, but a relaxation of the restrictions from Monday 17 May enabled us to put it back into our calendar and incorporating it into their leavers’ day added a new dimension. It was an excellent way to start the morning.
At midday on Thursday 27 May, our ‘Class of 2021’ gathered on the front field in brilliant sunshine and began shirt signing. This was good humoured. Pupils and staff mingled together before enjoying a burger or hot dog. These were served up by Mr Bellamy, in chef’s whites, and members of our site team, Mr Grant and Mr Hyam. As a reward for getting through an especially challenging year, pupils were also treated to an ice cream in a cone with a flake!
After an hour outside, pupils were invited into the sports hall for their final leavers' assembly. The next time they will formally come together as a group will be our annual Celebration of Achievement in November, all being well, but many joined pastoral and senior staff for a special day out on Friday 28 May!
'It’s been over 15 months since pupils and staff have been able to gather together in any capacity beyond one teacher and one class. Today, saying goodbye to our Year 11s after their five years at Deer Park was just the tonic we all needed. In a normal year, saying goodbye to your most senior year group pulls at the heart-strings, but seeing this year’s leavers come together to celebrate the time they have been together, and the bonds they have formed over the years with our staff did, I admit, make my bottom lip wobble. They are a wonderful bunch and the way they carried themselves today was proof of the pudding that the Class of 2021 will go onto achieve more than we all first thought was possible.' Mr Clutterbuck, Deputy Head
‘Thank you to everyone for helping us celebrate with our Year 11s. I am grateful to our site team for setting up and staffing the BBQ and to our team of tutors. Our pupils loved their farewells messages in our leavers’ assembly which included original videos and songs. Our pupils also enjoyed seeing our video of their Induction Day in 2016. A superb trip down memory lane!’ Simon Bellamy, Assistant Head
‘My Class of 2021 has been a fantastic year group. The turmoil of 3 lockdowns has not been easy but we have survived and now it is time to say Goodbye! Your leavers’ day has been filled with fun, laughs and memories for the future. It has been my pleasure being your Year Leader!' Mrs Stubbs, Year 11 Year Leader