Dear Parent or Guardian
I am sure that you are very aware that the exam season is upon us. This is always a stressful period for students and staff, but has been magnified this year by the fact that none of us have had to prepare for exams since 2019. All of this is made worse by the more general impact of Covid on learning, mental health and personal development. The courage, respect and determination that students and staff have shown is a real reflection on the strength of the whole school community.
The early summer heat wave meant that we decided to move to ‘summer uniform’ a little earlier than usual. Tutors have explained what this means to students, but thought it would help to explain it to parents. The logic is simple, if it is warm you would expect to want to remove your blazer first and, if still warm, your tie. To summarise,
- Ties must always be worn to and from school (blazers are optional)
- Ties can be taken off in school as well with top buttons undone
- Blazers can never be worn without wearing a tie
- Shirts should always be tucked in
- Black shoes should be worn; trainers (even if black) are not allowed.
I have also had a few students say “but I’m outside of school” when challenged and have to remind them that the same rules continue to apply to uniform and behaviour on their journey to school in terms of uniform and behaviour. I would be grateful if you could reinforce this with your son so that in school conflicts can be avoided.
Year 11 exams
So far, examinations appear to have run smoothly, with students really benefiting from our new 'super learning sessions' focused on the area they are being examined on the next day. Having had such a huge proportion of their learning disrupted, we made the decision to keep Year 11 in school a little longer than has previously happened, which appears to be having a positive impact on students ability and confidence. After half term Year 11 students may still come into school to work silently in the library between exams, or to meet with their subject teachers in their usual lesson time. However, they must always attend school in uniform and should remember to be quiet and respectful as other students will be working in the library when they are there. We continue to wish them the very best of luck and remember, we are always here to help!
Road safety, Sainsbury's and keeping green!
Some of you will have seen me outside the front of the school in the mornings greeting our students as they turn up for school. In the main, students have become accustomed to crossing at the traffic lights rather than crossing outside the school gates. However, we have noticed that when students leave school they too often cross the road directly outside the gates, with the traffic and buses making it even more of a risk. You may be aware that we had a horrible accident where a student was knocked over outside the school within the last two years, so please can you remind your child to cross at the crossing before and after school. I would also encourage our students to cycle or walk to school wherever possible. It not only helps the environment but keeps them fit and healthy! Finally, please remember to use Central Avenue or Sainsbury's to drop off your children rather than directly outside the school where it adds to the risk.
I am also a regular visitor to Sainsbury's, supporting our boys and making sure Borden upholds its good reputation. I am proud to say that the vast majority of our students are impeccably behaved outside of school, being polite, reasonable and well presented. However, please can I ask you to remind your child that they represent Borden when in uniform, and this includes at Sainsbury's to and from school.
Planning for our new building
Our new build is still going ahead, but a mixture of logistics and paperwork has delayed things, worsened by a general shortage in building supplies. In terms of the works programme, the following appears to be the current timeframe,
- Archaeological investigations are commencing in July 2022
- UKPN (power) works will be undertaken in August 2022
- Building works to commence December 2022
When the building work finally starts, we will likely lose a significant part of the school field and are currently looking at how we can maximise the existing student social spaces, including providing more seating areas and possibly a covered area. We are also investigating the idea of providing lockers differently, outside of classrooms for those that need them, thereby freeing up more space in classrooms which were mostly built for a maximum of 20 rather than 30 students. I am in school during the half-term to look through our various sheds and storage containers to see if we can be more ruthless in what we keep, creating more space for students to sit, eat and play.
Student clubs and trips
We are back in business with clubs and trips post pandemic, with the ski trip organised for next year and other trips in the planning stages. We have also expanded our offer of clubs, with Warhammer, chess, DT and gardening clubs all relatively new additions to the usual sport and performing arts clubs that exist. We are always looking for volunteers however, so if you want to help out in any way and have some spare time, please do let us know!
A big goodbye
Coming full circle from my introduction, it is worth saying how good the atmosphere was on the day that Year 13 left last Friday. I saw a number of parents laughing as they dropped their children off in the morning seeing the wide variety of fancy dress costumes on display; everything from vikings, police officers and super heroes to 8 foot inflatable dinosaurs. Both students and staff really made an amazing effort and, together with bouncy castles and sumo suits, approached their goodbye with the Borden humour and good spirit we have come to expect. We wish both Year 13 and Year 11 the very best for their forthcoming exams, but particularly wish the very best to our year 13s who will be leaving us for good, ready to make the world a better place. Thank you all for being such an amazing group of individuals and do keep in touch!
I would like to thank you all for your continued support and wish everyone a safe and restful half term.