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End of term letter: 2019

Dear Parents/Carers,

As we come to the end of my second year at the Academy I am really pleased with the position that we are now in and with the way in which the changes that have been instigated have started to embed. I’d like to thank you for your support over the year and let you know about some of the changes planned for next year.

We have become increasingly concerned recently regarding the way in which some of our students ride to and from school on their bicycles. Obviously we do not want to discourage our young people from healthy activity or from doing their bit for the environment, but there have been a few recent accidents or near misses reported to us and as a result I felt I needed to include this in this letter. From September 2019, we strongly encourage all parents/carers to supply students with a suitable safety helmet to wear to and from school whilst riding their bike. Additionally, no student will be allowed to ride their bike on site and will be required to dismount at the gate and walk it in to the bike sheds. We are often informed by other parents/carers or members of the public if there are concerns regarding the conduct of students riding to and from school. When that occurs we will inform the student and their parent/carer of the concerns and this may lead to a student being banned from bringing their bike on to the school site. Please can you take the time to talk to your child if they do ride to and from school, around road safety and wearing a helmet.

As is always the case at this time of year, we are saying goodbye to a number of staff and welcoming some new colleagues to the Academy. I would like to wish good luck and a big thank you for the staff listed below who are leaving us and joining other schools.

  • Ms Ashenden
  • Ms Haden
  • Mrs Cropley
  • Ms Tanner
  • Mr Golledge
  • Ms Collier
  • Ms Robinson

In addition to the above, Mrs Coles our Receptionist is retiring after 14 years at SBL. We would like to thank her for her contribution to the smooth day to day running of the Academy. Mr Rees has been at the Academy for 20 years and moves on to continue to work with schools as part of the West of England Careers Service. This is just one of the areas where he has influenced so many of our students past and present and we wish him the best of luck. Finally, Mr Downes who has served this community for 33 years as a teacher at SBL. He recently stood down from his post as coordinator of our Sixth Form so that he could enjoy his last year of teaching and has now finally made the decision to retire so that he can travel. We offer our thanks for his contribution particularly as a school governor and teacher and wish him the best of luck for his retirement. Many of you who have been associated with SBL for a number of years may have great memories of these teachers and they would like to thank you for your support. 

We look forward to welcoming the following staff who will be joining the Academy in September:

  • Mr Tiley, Maths
  • Ms Webb, Business Studies
  • Mr Davda, Science
  • Mr Pickering, Art
  • Mr Woodard, Technology
  • Ms Mullins, Art
  • Ms Thomson, MFL
  • Ms Munns, Technology
  • Mr Jones, Geography
  • Ms Klein, Photography
  • Mr Laverick, P.E

We are really pleased to be able to welcome these new staff to the team and I am sure you will get to know them over the coming months.

We ended the year with the election of our new Student Leadership Team. They went through an exhausting process where they canvased votes in assemblies and at break and lunchtimes from staff and students and sat through a formal interview with myself and Mr Jones, Assistant Principal. At the end of the process we were able to appoint three Student Principals and three Vice Principals. They will be supported by a team of Prefects and will meet on a regular basis to help us to provide for the needs of our students. They have already raised money through today’s non-uniform day which will be match-funded by the school to ensure that they are able to immediately take on some project work.

As a result of Student Voice we are able to improve some of the facilities in the school over the summer including the creation of a new toilet block to replace the old ones on the science corridor. This enables us to have more individual, unisex floor-to-ceiling cubicles. There are a number of other changes occurring including the relocation of Learning Support and some classroom moves which will include some redecoration and new furniture. We are being supported by WMAT to improve a number of our facilities and as a result of our Green Team we will be providing each student with a water bottle and have put four new water fountains across the site.

You may remember that OFSTED visited in February as part of their pilot programme for the new inspection framework. We will continue to implement the curriculum changes that we need to and ensure that our results continue to rise. Our drive to improve attendance has been particularly successful with us being the most improved secondary school in South Glos. In general, attendance is above the national average and I am really pleased with the progress we have made, however, we still have a major issue with holidays during term-time which by law I am not allowed to authorise except in exceptional circumstances. I would urge parents and carers to support the education of their child by ensuring they are attending school at every possible opportunity.

Term dates for the 2019-20 academic year are on the Academy website and can be found by following this link: https://www.sbllearning.org.uk/useful-information/#term-dates. Please take note of the different start dates in September for each year group.

Uniform information is up to date on our website, please consult this. Our expectations regarding shoes has not changed however, there are new skirts for KS3 students as previously consulted on.

Thank you for all your support this year, my staff and myself are really looking forward to working with you all next year and continuing with the improvements to the Academy. We hope you have an enjoyable and safe summer and look forward to welcoming our students back in September.

Yours faithfully,

Mr D Anderson