Update from the Head

This month’s update is full of information about activities at school this past term. As ever, you can get daily updates from school by following our social media platforms on Twitter or Facebook. Everyone works really hard to ensure that we keep you up to date with what is happening at school so do please take advantage of this.

£1.2m Science Facility Opens

You will recall that we were fortunate to receive funding of just over 1 million pounds last year which allowed us to complete a full refurbishment of our existing Science building with the addition of a further two 'superlabs'. This has

provided the school with state of art practical Science spaces that all students will benefit from for many years.

We were pleased to welcome Dr Michael McEllin and Alice McEllin to school on Wednesday to officially open the new science building.

Dr Michael McEllin who has been involved with the school for many years, both as a parent and subsequently a volunteer supporting science students in multiple activities. Alice attended Stroud High School between the years of 2009 -2016 and is currently studying a PhD at York University. We would especially like to thank Alice for taking the time away from her busy studies to be part of the afternoon.

We are extremely grateful to EG Carter & Co Limited, Roberts Limbrick Architects and Keith Lane, the schools consultant for their professional work during the past 9 months whilst the work was undertaken.

Parent Forum on Reports
As we approach the end of Term 4, you should receive the second data report of the academic year. As part of our review of the reporting schedule and structure, we have received contributions from parents and staff on how we can best communicate your daughter’s progress. The parent forum was well attended and provided useful feedback. There was a positive response to the changes that have been implemented this year. It was felt that the guidance notes which accompany the reports could provide greater clarity on how the school target is generated and how to interpret the attainment grading. We will take this on board and make relevant changes as we continue to review the reporting schedule.

International Partnership
I wrote to you all recently informing you about the Swiss students who will be joining the Sixth Form next year. We were fortunate to be visited by teachers and officials from Paju in South Korea, they had been visiting the UK to present at the prestigious IATEFL conference in Liverpool. As part of their presentation they spoke about the development of the exchange project between Stroud High School and Hanbit High. The partnership has created much interest over the past 2 years. Our students and staff will be completing their leg of the exchange when they visit South Korea in 6 weeks time. It promises to be a wonderful learning experience for everyone involved.

The voice of young women at the United Nations
I would like to begin by commending the 28 girls who recently attended the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Over a two week period all the students attended the Commission as representatives of NGOs focusing on how the UN is achieving global sustainability goals, in particular with reference to gender. It is important that our young people understand the challenges facing the world and through our work with the UN they come into contact with people, from across the world all trying to change lives. It is both a humbling and inspiring experience. I managed to see 10 of the girls give talks and spend one evening with all 28 students reflecting on their experiences in New York. It was amazing to think that over 20% of Year 12 were together trying to make a difference. You can see pictures and videos from the events on our social media accounts and you can hear directly from some of the girls through the coverage in the local newspaper.

Year 7 Making a Difference
Making a difference is something we want to ingrain within the students as soon as they join us. In Rewards Assembly this week I was delighted to hear the excellent work Y7 have undertaken this year. Year 7 have been incredibly busy working on their Year Challenge, ‘Making a Difference’ since the beginning of the Year. On Wednesday we were delighted to welcome our ex-student, Ashleigh Arendt, back to SHS to receive a cheque for £520 to support the charity ‘Rory’s Well’. This charity provides clean water and sustainable farming for nutrition and livelihood to rural communities in West Africa. The Year 7 students raised money by completing chores such as polishing the family shoes, gardening or cooking a meal for the family.

This fund raising is in addition to a fantastic effort from our Year 7 students since the beginning of the year, they should be congratulated on raising over £3000 for the charity LEPRA, helping to cure leprosy throughout the world; raising funds for the PSA to make a difference to our school community by supporting the film, pizza and quiz night, organising a book sale on World Book Day to raise funds for the PSA and dressing up to support the charity ‘Book Aid International’.

There is rarely a week that goes past without a group of Year 7 students asking to raise awareness of an issue or fund raise for an organisation, currently Grace Felton in 7S is organising a clothes swap to raise money for ‘War Child’. We wish her every success with this.

It has been another successful term on the sports field.All hockey teams have been undefeated since January including an astonishing victory for Year 8 who scored 23 goals in one match.

In the Gloucestershire County Finals the Archery team came 2nd, and the Year 8, Year 9 and Year 10 Handball teams have all qualified for the Regional Finals after Easter. The U14 football team finished 3rd (bronze medals) in the Level 3 school games.

Duke of Edinburgh
It is the time of year where students across the school are preparing for their expedition. Last weekend 65 Year 10 students set off on their practice silver expedition. They started at Uffingdon and walked over 42 km in 2 1/2 days. Well done to them for battling through the weather conditions from lovely sunshine on the Saturday to wind and rain on Sunday. In rewards assemblies this week the 120 bronze participants and 65 silver were reminded about the importance of completing all respective paperwork. Your support in helping with this over the coming weeks is very much appreciated. So far since September, we have seen:

Bronze - 71 Bronze Awards Completed

Silver - 43 Silver Awards Completed

Gold - 10 Gold Awards completed

We know lots more are nearly done so keep up the good work!

Stroud High OSCARS
The school show was a highlight of this term, with over one hundred students from Year 7-10 involved in the cast of our Roald Dahl Double Bill as well as students in Year 11-13 being involved behind the scenes in the production team. 'The Witches' featured a vast array of bewigged students disappearing into smoke, and 'Matilda the Musical' had the audience clapping along to all the well-known songs from the West End show. It was great to see how many of the younger students were involved with the older students as their role models - hopefully they will aspire to be in many more shows in their time at SHS to be awarded their OSCARS. The OSCARS are Outstanding Show Contribution Awards Recognising Success awarded by the Drama Department. A particular congratulations goes to Ruby Woods in Year 13 who has now gained her Platinum OSCARS, as in her time at school she has been involved in: 'The Wiz' in Year 8, 'Wyrd Sisters' in Year 10, House Drama in Year 10, 'Romeo and Juliet' in Year 11, and then went on to be Student Director of 'The Witches' this year in Year 13. We wish her all the best in her pursuit to go on and study...Drama, funnily enough!

Stunning Senior Concert
As always, the music department has been a hive of activity this term. Along with 3 nights of performances of the musical Matilda (mentioned above) the main event of the term has been the Senior Concert. This concert is always a popular event. It marked a musical farewell to a significant group of Year 13 musicians, who have contributed so much to our musical events throughout the years. There were many highlights, the senior choir moved the audience to tears with their performance of, ‘My love, my life’ from Mamma Mia. The wind ensemble provided an entertaining rendition of ‘Thriller’, including some choreography.

Our next event of the academic year will be the House Music Competition at the end of May when all KS3 students will be competing as tutor groups! Our final event of the year will be the summer concert on the 9th July. This concert will not only be an opportunity for us to celebrate both the musical achievements of our younger students but also an opportunity to perform the mini musical of, ‘Joseph’. In addition to all the wonderful concerts, students over in the music department have been extremely busy preparing and practising for their ABRSM and Trinity board exams.

Year 11 Race for Life
In the torrential rain we experienced yesterday afternoon, Year 11 and many of the staff turned out in force, in true Stroud High School spirit of fun, to run, walk and some even 3 legged, to take on the Race for Life, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. In a great effort of making a difference by collectively working together, a total of £700 of our £3000 has already been raised. I was so impressed by the spirit and attitude of everyone who ran. It really was cold and wet, yet the positive and enthusiastic approach made it a befitting event for supporting Cancer research. I would like to congratulate all the students, staff and their supporters for their hard work and enthusiasm – it was a great success

If you feel you could make a donation, please click here for our 'Just Giving' page.

Important Notice
Can we respectfully request that when you are dropping off or collecting your child that you please do not park in front of any driveways or access to the school site. The residents do need to have access at all times to their property. The school needs to follow the correct safeguarding regulations and all non-staff members on site must have signed into the school to ensure a safe environment for all students and staff.

As ever, should you have any questions or wish to book a time to come and talk about the school and your experiences do not hesitate to contact me on head@stroudhigh.gloucs.sch.uk.

Mark McShane