11 July 2014
It has always been important for schools to have good lines of communication with parents. Historically this has been by letters, such as this, and notes in book bags or within pupil planners. With the development of the internet and social media, other means of communicating have been opened. The Red House Facebook and Twitter streams are seen by many hundreds of parents, and also the wider community. Over 5,000 people viewed our Facebook announcement of the purchase of the land at Wynyard. It is a lovely way for grandparents and relatives further afield to keep up with what the children are doing in School and for all with an interest, to see photos of the children. Parents and visitors liking photos or posts and adding comments, add positively to this communication. We always take care not to give pupils’ full names in social media posts and would ask that you, for reasons of their safety, do not identify pupils shown when posting comments.
We will be developing our communication further by introducing a Headmaster’s blog. The first will be issued to coincide with the release of GCSE results on 21 August. Initially, this will go to all those parents whose email addresses we hold. You will, of course, be able to opt in or out of this communication should you wish.
Lastly, on the subject of communication, I would remind parents that the vast majority of letters and other paper based communications go out on Fridays. Copies of many of these are also posted on the School website, www.redhouseschool.co.uk.
The end of term sees the departure of two colleagues. Laura Edwards has worked in the Nursery since 2008. Over that time she has seen it expand and develop. We wish her all the very best in her new post. Mr David Frank has been Head of Chemistry for the past 28 years. He has contributed widely to the co-curricular life of the School: through running the annual ski trip, coaching extremely successful Top of the Bench chemistry teams and editing the ‘Leavers’ Book’. However, it is his outstanding GCSE results, year on year, that mark him out as an exceptional teacher. We wish him all the best in his retirement.
The change of caterers has now been completed. Wilson Vale has added new menus and choice for pupils, improved the quality of food and the way food is presented. Speaking to children over the past few weeks the changes appear to have met with approval. The menus for the following week are posted on the School website on Friday under the ‘Essentials’ tab.
Last Easter saw the introduction of our Holiday Club for children in the Nursery and Infant School. This was well attended and the School has therefore decided to make this a regular feature. The Holiday Club will be running during the first 4 weeks of the summer holiday and also on 1 and 2 of September. There are still some places available. If you are interested, please contact the Main School office on 01642 553370 or the Holiday Club mobile on 07599 930214. It is intended that, for the future, the Holiday Club will run during each of the holidays and half-term breaks.
The welfare and safety of pupils at the School is of utmost importance to us. At a recent conference of Heads of independent schools, I attended a talk given by Professor Tanya Bryon, who advises the government on children’s health. She spoke about mental health issues experienced by children, a topic on which there has been some recent press coverage. Sadly mental health issues affect a significant proportion of children and nationally the provision of help and support is lacking. Over the past few months we have engaged the services of Alliance Psychology, a local organisation whose core purpose is ‘to improve the emotional well-being and mental health of children and young people’. They will be providing courses for teaching and support staff and, where requested, counselling for pupils.
With the warmer weather younger boys have enjoyed wearing shorts. I should be grateful if parents, to maintain uniformity, would ensure that these are tailored and not of the Cargo variety with patch pockets.
Mr Vinay Bedi, Chair of School Council, in his Senior Prize Giving speech talked about the role of School Council. Red House School was set up by a group of parents with an interest in education and it is a feature of its governance that governors are, by and large, current parents. School Council provides the strategic direction for the School, the day to day management being left to myself and my team. They are also responsible for ensuring that the School complies with its statutory obligations. The Main Council meets twice a term and has three sub-committees with responsibility for: Health and Safety, Marketing and Education. In addition there is a Management Committee. As children move up and eventually leave the School there is inevitably a turnover of members. Currently there are vacancies and we are particularly keen to invite parents with children in the earlier years of the School to join the Council. If you would like to know more please either contact myself, or Mr Vinay Bedi, via the School office.
I wish you an enjoyable and pleasant summer. The new term commences on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.
A R W Taylor