It’s been a very busy week, especially for our older students. As Year 11 have come to the end of their mocks, they are starting to look forward to post-16 options and it was great to see so many students at our Sixth Form Open Evening on Thursday. Students will receive their mock grades at the beginning of January and there will be a weeklong Futures programme to support students looking at a range of post-16 options.
The Sixth Form hosted five parliamentary candidates at a hustings event all morning on Thursday. Students really put the candidates through their paces asking very challenging and articulate questions following presentations from each of the parties. It was such a pleasure to see our young people so interested and engaged in the political debate and really thinking about the issues that matter to them. We were so pleased to have had this opportunity to help students develop their awareness of our political system as part of their wider personal development.
Thank you for all the wonderful comments we have received about the success of ‘Sister Act’. It really was a great production with so much student talent on display. The singing was exceptional and the casting was spot on with the performers really getting into their characters. The band were brilliant and did a great job of keeping pace with the performers. The stage crew ensured the transitions were slick and the set was amazing. Our tech team (professionals and students) created just the right atmosphere with sound and lighting and it all came together in an excellent show. Even more importantly, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and didn’t want it to come to an end. These opportunities are so important for the wider personal development of our students. They have learnt so much about teamwork and more and have pushed themselves outside of their comfort zone, demonstrating a huge amount of resilience. We are very proud of all the students and grateful to all the staff who supported.
We are very excited that the Sixth Form will be hosting election hustings on Thursday 28th November. We will have all five of the candidates for the NE Beds Constituency here at Stratton and our students will listen to a presentation from each of them, before planning their questions, which will feed into a full debate. Many of our students have been discussing the upcoming election and some are eligible to vote so this is a chance for them to hear from and pose questions to the candidates first hand. We are very grateful to Dr. Factor, who is a parent of one of our students, for offering us this opportunity and helping to make it happen.
We look forward to welcoming Year 11 students to our Sixth Form options and information evening on Thursday 28th November. There will be a talk in the Hall at 6:30pm and subject stands will be open from 6pm to 8pm for further information on specific courses. Stratton students will receive the prospectus and further information in due course and we warmly welcome students who are not currently at Stratton to come along and find out more on the evening.
We were so proud of all our students on Monday when the whole school gathered in the ‘quad’ for a two-minute silence of remembrance. As the school gathered, poems were read by Aliyah Lewis and James Buckley followed by Alex Robinson playing the last post on his trumpet to begin the silence. Our media department have produced a short video, which you can watch here https://youtu.be/6eE4QDwCGvU
The first performance of Sister Act on Thursday was a huge success and it will only get better. There is still time to buy tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances. Don’t miss out, it’s a great production and the students are just brilliant.
Staff and students are raising money all day on Friday for Children in Need. There are a number of events taking place around school and we hope that everyone will dig deep to support this campaign that delivers life changing projects for young people all over the UK.
The Year 11 mocks will be in full swing next week and we wish them the best of luck. This opportunity to revise and practice for the real exams is a very important part of preparing students to achieve their best and we know parents are reinforcing this message at home.
On Thursday next week, we are hosting our Year 10 subject parents’ evening. Parents of Year 10 students will have received an invitation to book their appointments on our electronic booking system and we look forward to seeing you all then.
Thank you to all parents who attended the core information events for Year 11 hosted by the Heads of English, maths and science last Thursday. If you were not able to attend, you will find the presentation on the website. We have received some very positive feedback and intend to run another event next year. The mocks are fast approaching and it is important that students prepare well for these exams so they are practising their revision techniques and gaining confidence in answering questions. Please support your child by encouraging them to set time aside for revision, providing a quiet place for them to work and even testing them on key facts and vocabulary.
On Monday morning 11/11, the whole school will gather outside for an act of remembrance. Alex Robinson will be playing The Last Post and we will observe a two minute silence. This is the first time the whole school will gather in this way and I am sure it will be a fitting tribute to those who sacrificed so much for us. Many of you will notice that we have again placed images and information of local soldiers around the town and I would like to thank the History department, especially Mr Macwhinnie, for all the work and planning that has gone into this. Mr Macwhinnie had this idea for the centenary of the 1918 Armistice last year and I am pleased that we are able to continue this.
Sister Act – we’re nearly there! Don’t miss the opportunity to support our amazing student performers and be entertained by a fabulous show. Performances are on Thursday 14th November 7pm, Friday 15th November 7pm and Saturday 16th November 3pm.
Tickets are on sale at: http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/strattonupperschool
I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as the permanent Principal of Stratton Upper School. After 18 months as Interim Headteacher, I have a good understanding of what is required to realize our vision that every member of our community is known, valued and supported to achieve in all areas at the highest level to become successful and confident lifelong learners.
A happy and successful school depends on fostering strong partnerships with parents, having mutual respect for all members of our community and providing opportunities for everyone to flourish. To support this we have again raised our expectations and communicated these through our Stratton Standards. I would like to thank all parents for their support in reinforcing these expectations including the new mobile phone policy, which has had a very positive impact on the school environment.
Parents make an important contribution to children’s achievements at school, and I want to develop the relationship between the school and parents for everyone’s benefit.
I will be holding a number of events over the next term, which will provide an opportunity to meet you and discuss the building of a successful partnership. These meetings will take place at different times, which I hope will enable most families to attend. If you prefer, you are also welcome to contact me by email.
You may be aware of The Stratton Standard, a magazine run by students, for students. I was thrilled to hear that Year 11 students are now working alongside Year 13 students to produce the magazine and I have really enjoyed reading the Halloween Special Edition published this week. Congratulations to new Year 11 contributors; Kaiden Gill, Zoe Burne, Elise Kept and Sophie Mowbray and the Year 13 students who have helped them in this Writing Mentor Program; Isobel Frost, Katie Smith, Beatrice Sousa, Grace Robinson and Anna Temple.
Finally, please do not forget to book your tickets for the much-anticipated production of Sister Act. Performances are on Thursday 14th November 7pm, Friday 15th November 7pm and Saturday 16th November 3pm.
As we approach the end of a very busy half term, staff and students alike are looking forward to a short break to recharge our batteries in readiness for what is the longest half term of the academic year and there is so much to look forward to.
Rehearsals are progressing well for our whole school production of …
which will take place on 14th – 16th November.
The students are working really hard on learning their lines and the very challenging harmonies for the songs and it is sounding fantastic. Students tried on their costumes for the first time in last week’s rehearsal and you will be able to see a sneak preview when the trailer is released next week.
In preparation for the Year 11 mocks there will be a Core subject Information Evening on Thursday 31st October from 6.00pm - 7.30pm. The Heads of English, maths and science will present information on revision strategies, finding and using revision materials as well as some general information about the exams themselves. We very much hope to see as many parents there as possible so please save the date in your diary. If you are not able to make it on the evening, we are also offering the opportunity to attend an information session during the day on Thursday 31st between 10am – 12.30pm, in the Library.
Period 6 sessions have started this week for Year 11 in all subjects. After the success of the English and maths Period 6 sessions both students and staff asked if all subjects could be included, If your child has not been invited to join the sessions, they are more than welcome to attend. Please see the school website for details.
I wish all our families an enjoyable half term break and we look forward to welcoming students back to school on Tuesday 29th October, which will be on a Week B timetable.
The Sixth Form were proud to support Mental Health Day on Thursday 10th October by wearing something yellow and creating origami cranes, which now decorate the common room. Our students are keen to raise awareness of mental health issues and urging others to be confident to talk about their feelings. Head Students have been encouraging everyone in the school community to demonstrate their care for each other by making positive statements and celebrating achievements.
While on the subject of charity, we were delighted that the final tally for Macmillan was just over £500, an amazing effort for a phenomenal cause.
There are a number of events in the final week before half term. Firstly, a reminder that Year 11 subject parents’ evening is on Thursday 17th October, and you can book to see your child’s teachers on the electronic booking system, details are in the letter that has already been sent to Year 11 parents.
The whole school is also looking forward to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) Careers Fair on Wednesday 16th October and all year groups will have an opportunity to visit during the day.
GCSE geography students are looking forward to their field trip to Sorrento, which goes out on Friday 18th October, and we know they are going to have an enjoyable and very interesting time.
After the excitement of last week, this week has been a quiet and purposeful one so it was a lovely surprise to be contacted by an ex-student who was one of the very first to start at Stratton exactly 69 years ago on 2nd October 1950. At that time, Stratton was a brand new Grammar and Technical School with just 4 classes, 112 pupils and 5 or 6 teachers.
The only building, which existed, became the technical block. Obviously much has changed since then but one of the great things about Stratton is its history and it’s always great to hear from former students about how the school has shaped their lives.
I am pleased to say the Whole School Council is well and truly up and running and one of their first projects is to raise funds for some new picnic benches for the school grounds. It’s lovely to witness their enthusiasm for improving the environment of the social spaces around school. I hope that as many staff, students and parents as possible will support them.
On another charity note, I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce that we raised over £458.26 for Macmillan Cancer Support last week in our biggest ever-coffee morning, which lasted 2 days. Students and staff were so generous that we were also able to donate a substantial amount of cakes to the Preen foodbank after school on Friday.
Further to my blog last week, congratulations to the overall winners of the STEM projects, Maisie Osborn, Holly Carles, Georgie Carles, Ellie Barker and Kiera Turner.
It has been a very busy week at Stratton. While the whole school was preparing for our Open Evening on Thursday, the Year 9s were working hard to finish off their STEM projects down in science. This culminated with project teams presenting posters on their research, design, testing and results on Tuesday morning. Winners and runners up were announced for the categories of a self-sustaining island, an efficient rocket and a flood proof house. There was real energy down in the Science Centre as students explained what they learnt though the project work and it was great to see so much passion for their chosen projects.
Last night’s Open Evening was a huge success and I would like to thank our dedicated staff for all the extra work that went into the evening. It was a pleasure to meet so many prospective students and their families and receive some really wonderful feedback about our school, students and staff. Students are always our greatest ambassadors and they deserve a huge thank you too. The Year 9 tour guides were a real credit, having been at the school less than 4 weeks. They demonstrated great resilience, especially towards the end of the evening when energy levels were flagging. Many other students helped in departments and the Head Students did a great job of meeting, greeting and directing. I would especially like to thank Amy Andrews in Year 9 and Finley Woodward in Year 13, both bravely speaking in public for the first time to share their experiences of Stratton to large audiences in the Hall.
If you missed the Open Evening or would like to see the school in action during the day, please contact the Office to make an appointment for a visit. We would be very proud to show you around on a normal working day.
Our Macmillan Coffee morning on Thursday was hugely successful. We asked all staff and students to contribute and, with a bit of health rivalry between the year groups, an astonishing number of cakes were brought in to school. Cakes were on offer during the Open Evening and will be on sale again during Friday break time. Next week we will be able to announce how much money was raised for the incredibly important cause.
Scholarship Success: I was delighted to be informed that two Stratton students have achieved outstanding results in The London Institute of Banking & Finance Level 3 qualifications. Dominic Vallier from The London Institute of Banking & Finance will attend the school to present scholarship certificates to Taylor Gilling, who performed in the top 1% of students and Charlotte Hancock, who achieved an A grade. We are very proud of Taylor’s and Charlotte’s success – congratulations to you both.
It is an exciting time in the run up to our annual Open Evening next Thursday 26th September. I am always amazed by the number of students who volunteer to help on the evening, especially the Year 9s who will have been at Stratton for just over 3 weeks when they take prospective students and their parents on a tour of our large site. They are already demonstrating many of the Stratton Standards.
At break time on Thursday 26th September, we will be holding our biggest ever coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Every tutor group will be involved and year groups will be located in different parts of the school selling their cakes. Years 12 and 13 are setting up a coffee shop in the Sixth Form Centre and will be selling hot drinks as well. Nothing will go to waste, any unsold cakes will be available to families during Open Evening in the Exhibition Hall so we are hoping to raise even more money for this amazing cause then. So please do encourage your children to get involved by donating cakes; there is talk of a competition between the year groups!