Thursday 4 January
I trust you enjoyed a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas holiday with your families.
It was a great pleasure to welcome back the boys this morning for the start of a busy and exhilarating Spring Term. I congratulate Sebastian Gorlov upon his appointment as a School prefect and hope to make further promotions next term dependent upon individual consistency of behaviour and values. In my assembly today, I explained the origin of the month “January” and its derivation from the Roman god, Janus, who was symbolically pictured with two heads – one to look into the past and one to look into the future. As such, I highlighted the significance of New Year as an apposite time for reflection and ambition. I have challenged the boys to make up their own resolutions which will benefit not just themselves – but also other people. It will be interesting to hear some of their ideas next Wednesday, when they will also have an opportunity to guess mine, and you are warmly invited to help your son make a wise choice that might be in your interests, as well as their own!
In the end of term newsletter, I communicated our exciting announcement in respect of the next major Development Plan. Having invested well in excess of £1.6M in recent years, we are about to increase that sum to £2.5M with an ambitious project which will realise fully customised, teaching accommodation for our Senior boys.
We about to appoint contractors and have agreed an anticipated start date early in the Spring holiday. With spacious, well-equipped classrooms, a library, two offices, washrooms and a common room, the boys should directly benefit from these superb additional facilities in time for the start of the Autumn Term. For the record, the future Development programme also includes a new Sports Hall and Refectory as well as a significant extension of, and improvement to, Langlands and the main house. It is certainly a great time to be at Kingswood House as we plan for the future.
In staffing news, Miss Black has joined Kingswood House this term as Second in the Science Department and she will also pioneer a new Character & Values programme throughout the School in order to help each boy develop a growth mind-set, as well as important ‘soft skills’, that will serve them well in society. I am sure you will join me in wishing her a long and successful association with Kingswood House. On a related note, I am pleased to confirm four new co-ordinator roles which will cohesively underpin our commitment to learning beyond the classroom and offer the boys an array of fantastic opportunities: Mrs Carpenter will oversee the development of our Gifted & Talented provision; Miss G McSweeney will review our Trips and ensure that they are suitably balanced across the curriculum as well as incrementally ambitious each year; Mrs Lambert will take on responsibility for the organisation of a diverse and stimulating range of Clubs; Miss S McSweeney will manage subtle changes to the House System, Student Council and School Charities. Having discussed my thoughts on these matters with the relevant members of staff, I can assure you that they have some wonderful plans which will soon come to fruition and benefit each and every boy hugely.
I have also appointed Mrs Michelle Johns to the staff team this term as an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA); she brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in a newly created position which very much showcases Kingswood House as a forward-thinking, proactive School. The role of an ELSA offers an additional pastoral safeguard which demonstrably shows our boys’ well-being and mental health to be a major, collective priority for us all. Boys will be referred to the ELSA by form teachers, via the Divisional Heads, if they have a serious concern about a pupil. Upon permission from parents, a finite number of sessions will then be held in School at no additional cost. At the conclusion of these, Mrs Johns, in consultation with the form teacher and the Divisional Head, will communicate with parents to advise on the next step and whether an external specialist should be sought. I trust you will agree that this is an excellent initiative and one in keeping with the School’s supportive ethos.
There continues to be some pressure in respect of parking in and around the School, especially at pick up time. Please act with consideration for other drivers, pedestrians and especially our neighbours. When possible, parents should use the car park and drive around it clockwise at the start and end of the day. Naturally, it would be helpful if all parents were punctual and respectful of our procedures and shared values. I am meeting again with the traffic councillor, and hosting local residents later this month, in order to work in partnership with them and reduce incidents of congestion and delay.
As outlined in my letter to parents in September, I have made some reforms to the behaviour and sanctions policy. You are advised to read the updated version on the School website which supersedes its predecessor with immediate effect.
I should like to meet with all Year 5 parents during the course of the Spring Term and review their son’s all-round progress. Please kindly make an appointment at your earliest convenience with Mrs Harding, Headmaster’s PA, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01372 723590.
Mrs Watkins and her team have been working extremely hard on the school production of The Tales of Hamelin. Please do support the boys by bringing along family or friends to one of the evening performances on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 February at the Adrian Mann theatre, NESCOT. I wish all of the cast well and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours on stage in the not too distant future! The Ski Trip and Jersey Tour are both popular and exciting events for many of our boys later in February and March respectively whilst a Duke of Edinburgh expedition offers great team-building opportunities for our Seniors early in the Easter holiday. There is the hotly-anticipated KHA Quiz Night shortly after half term as well as the KHSA Sporting Dinner at the end of term with a mystery guest speaker to look forward to! In the meantime, there are three KHS Scholarship Mornings this term, open to both internal and external applicants, for entry to Years 5, 7 & 9 as well as parents’ evenings for Years 7, 8, 9 & 10 – the dates of which are all in the calendar. We are also hosting a GCSE Options Evening for Year 9 on Thursday 25 January as well as an inaugural Sixth Form Open Soirée for all Senior boys and parents on Friday 23 March. There is plenty happening – and a lot for the boys to look forward to!
I look forward to a productive term in which each boy achieves more than he thinks is possible.
Duncan A I Murphy
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