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.
Ashley Tomlin Headteacher
Some words from the trustees
I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as Chair of Trustees for Borden Grammar School. I was elected to the chair role just as our previous Head teacher left and then Covid arrived, so I apologise for not being in touch sooner.
I wanted to thank all students, parents and staff for the support and work that has been put into safe and effective learning carrying on at Borden during what has been a very difficult few years for all.
As we continue to navigate our way through life and the impact covid has had on everything I just wanted to share information about the trustees and trust board each term.
The Full trust board at Borden Grammar is made up of 12 trustees and 4 members. All undertake their roles in a voluntary capacity. Full details of their names and individual roles can be found in the trustee section of the school website
We have just welcomed our most recent parent trustee Nathan Wood to the board and look forward to working with him on his induction to this role.
The role of the trustees in all academies is to
develop a vision and strategy for the school
oversee the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
hold the school leader to account to ensure that every pupil has the best possible education
engage with pupils, staff, parents and the school community to understand their views of the school
We meet regularly throughout the year with staff and students to allow the trust board to fulfil these roles and our meeting schedule and work plan is also published on the trustees’ page of the school website for your information.
We very much look forward to having the chance to increase our engagement with parents, students and staff as we move into the next academic year, and we return to more face to face activities.
Each term we’ll also share with you via this newsletter visits and meetings trustees have undertaken in the previous term, so you are able to get a better picture of the work the Trustees are doing for the school and its community.
Following our most recent board skills audit we have highlighted that we would benefit from having an additional trustee with experience and knowledge of finance processes. I f you feel you would be a good fit for this role or know of someone in the local community that would be interested and suitable for this role please get in touch.
If you would like to contact me for further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Sarah Mendoza
Chair of Trustees
Sam's MEGA raffle raising funds for Ukraine
Sam Hall in Year 8 is currently raising money for Ukraine in the form of a raffle. He has already raised an incredible £2780 through selling tickets and will be drawing the winners to the vast array of prizes on offer on the 31st May at 7pm as a Facebook live. We would massively appreciate it if as many people as possible could get involved with this final push to help him raise as much money as possible.
For all the additional information or if you, or anyone you know would be interested in entering this raffle in support of Sam then please follow the link below:
We congratulate Sam on what is already an incredible achievement to a great cause and look forward to seeing what his final total reaches!
Some words from our Heads of Years
Year 8 have divided their time this term between reflecting on their own mental health and resilience, as well as making preparations for their first full set of end of year exams. Each form group has taken a turn at providing a weekly quiz for the year group to complete and form time has been devoted to learning how to revise effectively. Parents' Evening provided an opportunity for teachers to share student success and in many cases for parents to put a face to names only seen by e-mail up until this point. Our inter form competition remains very close as Year 8 students continue to impress their teachers with both their knowledge and organisation. Looking forward to Term 6, Year 8 exams will take place from Monday 6th June to Thursday 9th June and boys must bring a reading book/revision materials to school each day. The Year 8 Exam timetable has been shared with students on the Year 8 Google Classroom. Now that we have moved to summer uniform, boys must remember to bring their stationery and uniform card in their school bags, if not wearing a blazer.
Mrs. Edwards Head of Year 8
There have been lots of changes within the sixth form at Borden recently, including the last day for our Year 13 students. They had a wonderful day celebrating their time at Borden in a hilarious range of fancy dress and are now working hard preparing for their A Level exams. The new prefect team has been elected within Year 12 and we would like to congratulate Will Cotta for being appointed the new School Captain, as well as Max Eshelby and Joanne Washer being appointed as our new Vice School Captains. We have also elected another seven senior prefects: Toby Horton, Annabel Smith, William Bowker-Cattle, Toby Duncan, Connor Mitchell and Harrison Deevoy. Year 12 are also now working towards their end of year exams ready to start looking at making applications to universities, apprenticeships and other possibilities within further education or work next term. All of Year 12 will be attending a Higher education/progression exhibition after half term to introduce them to all the opportunities they have and inspire them to pursue different options. Overall, exciting time ahead for the sixth form.
Miss Andrews-Lucas Head of Year 12
Year 11 revision breakfast
Year 11 students took part in Maths revision breakfast session last Friday, just before their exam, whilst enjoying some pastries at the same time. This week it was repeated just before the English language exam and those students taking part engaged well.
Peer mentors are a voluntary group of students in Year 12 and 13 that are trained to deal with complex issues pupils in the school community may be facing. Our role involves being carefully and selectively matched with a pupil who needs and will benefit from our support; providing one on one sessions with the pupil every week. Within a session, we build a positive relationship with the mentee and try to resolve the issues they may be facing in order to provide them with the support they need. I was attracted into becoming a peer mentor due to my desire to help people in any way possible and the positive feedback I have received from my friends when trying to help them deal with issues they have faced; it is a way for me to utilise these skills for people who need help. Our training involved two days off timetable in the Pavilion, learning about the types of problems we may be faced with and what we could do to help the pupil in each situation to the best of our ability. This involved some general team building exercises which were designed to teach us how to interact with our mentees and make them feel welcomed and at ease, alongside a particular emphasis on bullying and how to support pupils if they are experiencing this. In addition to this, we were taught the importance of safeguarding and how to protect both the mentee and us. In addition to all of these, we had a separate session where the anti-bullying ambassadors came up with scenarios for us to practise our skills on and to give us an idea of what it would be like to have a mentee. All these sessions were hugely beneficial for us to develop the vital skills we need.
Peer mentoring has many benefits that are often overlooked, not just for the mentee but also the mentor themselves; the mentee has someone in the school that they can trust and build a positive relationship with who is there to support them and for them to speak to, and the mentor themselves are rewarded with the progress their mentee makes. Many mentees will be given to us who are shy, upset and scared of the prospect of talking to someone about their issues but when they open up, a weight is lifted off their shoulders and this, as a mentor, is a privilege to witness, knowing you have made a difference in their lives which is often incomprehensible. Being a peer mentor also gives you a sense of belonging within the school community and makes you feel like you are making a real difference to someone's life. In being a peer mentor, I have learnt that just being there for your mentee is enough sometimes and even if the issue they have is one you cannot fix, you should know that you are making a huge difference to them.
Joanne Washer Year 12 Peer Mentor
Mental health and wellbeing
We have been delighted to be working alongside the youth support organisation, 'Youth Resilience' who have come into school, every Wednesday, to support both sixth form and Year 11 with one-to-one sessions and also sessions on study skills and healthy exam preparation techniques. This partnership was forged on the back of a suggestion from one of the sixth form peer mentors who raised the issue of support for older students, whilst they also simultaneously help support the lower years through peer mentoring. The one-to-one sessions with 'Youth Resilience' have been met positively and we are looking to expand this provision further next year. 'Youth Resilience' will also be expanding their work with Borden after half term and will be launching a four week project, 'Tackling your Teens' to selected students in KS3 and Year 10, where the focus will be on strategies to develop resilience, healthy friendships, good sleep hygiene and organisation.
Mrs M Brooker DSL and Assistant Headteacher for KS4
Religious Studies Department
Year 7 have been continuing to explore Christianity; including The Great Commission, Pentecost, and how Christians put their beliefs into actions.
They have also been working hard on their ‘Stained Glass Window’ projects!
William R Jaiden S
Year 8 have started to explore Sikhi, they have looked at how it was founded by Guru Nanak, the role of the Khalsa in preserving the Sikhi faith and the significance of the langar in the gurdwara. Classes even looked at the largest langar in the world!
By the time this is published, Year 11 will have taken all the modules for their GCSE exams! Well done on all their hard work over the past two years, and enjoy a rest over the summer.
Year 10 sat their mocks at the start of Term 5, and will need to continue to work hard in Term 6 when they return after the break.
Mr Gillham has been training at Borden Grammar School for the past few months, and will be leaving at the end of June. He will be taking up a teaching position at Dartford Grammar School for Girls. He has brought great knowledge to the department, and we are sorry to see him leave, but wish him all the best for the future.
Lead teacher for Religious Studies
Attendance reminder to students and parents
At Borden we consider good attendance essential in order that students can reach their full potential. There are strong links between high attendance and good achievement. We will continue to actively promote this right to the end of the school year to enable students to have the best possible outcome.
Can you help us and the environment by supporting our second-time-around
We are keen to take our recycling further and start a second-time-around
uniform shop. This will enable parents and carers to donate items of Borden
uniform to the shop but more importantly to help the environment by buying
from the shop for a small donation.
Our second-time-around uniform shop gives families the opportunity to spend
their hard earned money on the essentials rather than on an expensive new
Donations can include: blazers, trousers, shirts, ties, jumpers, shoes, PE kit
and winter coats.
We please ask that all uniform items are washed before donating. Thank you.
News from the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors!
In term 4 a competition was set following an idea from the Anti-bullying ambassadors to design a poster to promote awareness around cyberbullying and/or what to do to support someone who is suffering abuse. Congratulations to our winners Oliver Churcher, George Hitchcock, Riyad Kibria, Victor Atedula, Harry Green, Dylan Cuckow and Jack Johnson. Their work will be displayed proudly around school. Extra congratulations to Jack Johnson whose poster was deemed the overall winner after judging by Heads of Year and Tutors. A £10 voucher was presented to him this week!