“Never underestimate the big importance of small things”
Students, staff and even visiting parents will already have heard me quoting this line from “The Midnight Library” which I read over the summer. Indeed, coming back after a long summer break means that it is sometimes difficult to see the positive, or indeed the bigger picture. This is largely because of the shock of getting back into work routines, increasingly dark mornings and early evenings, all accompanied by the prospect of a year of hard work ahead for all. Add to this the depressing state of affairs on the news and it is hard for everyone not to feel just a little glum.
However, this isn't true for Borden where we have seen a particularly positive start to this year. Some of the best exam results the school has seen and the most ‘normal’ post-pandemic start to the year the students have had in years has meant there is much to feel positive about. Preparation work for our new build starts over the half term break and begins in earnest in January. The school has more students than it has ever had, becoming even more popular in the 6th form. We are also doing our best to improve the main building with new S block windows, new quad roof and lighting, as well as a new outside canopy with benches where students can socialise at break times. Add to this some stunning “small things” that our students and staff have been involved in, ranging from 6th form students taking lower school assemblies to advertise their mental health first aid support to lower school students voluntarily running a bake sale during social times in aid of the Macmillan cancer charity. You will see more of these ‘small things’ detailed further on in this newsletter, all of which have a big impact, not only on those they help, but also on the ethos and culture of the school.
The Old Bordenians
Whilst the name doesn't sound terribly flattering, the Old Bordenians are a group of past students and staff who care deeply about the school. They go out of their way to offer what support they can through fundraising, for instance sponsoring one of our minibuses and maintaining our clocktower. Most recently, one of this group, Mark Sayer, came to donate 2 very special items. These are an original bugle from 1914 (named Alpha) and another from 1918 (named Omega). The idea is that one of our students will use these to play ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ at our remembrance ceremony on November the 11th. As we have done in recent years, this ceremony will take place at the front of the school and we will video it so that all of our community can be there in spirit.
Assessment and mindset
We occasionally have a request from parents to have individual grades for work sent home together with the audit grades for their child. Whilst we can see why this may seem useful, it actually has the potential to be both misleading and damaging. Individual marks for pieces of work will often vary widely in terms of outcomes and importance. The teacher will factor all of this in when making their professional judgement about the attainment level of a child. More importantly, it further creates a ‘performance’ rather than ‘mastery’ mindset, which research shows is often an underlying issue behind boys' underperformance. What this means is that boys are often focused on the outcome (winning/succeeding) rather than the improvement needed to get there. Where the outcome is poor, they will sometimes give up rather than try harder. This is why the “What went well” (WWW) and “even better if” (EBI) comments are more important. We sometimes need to have grades to know ‘where we are’, but we should be aiming for less and not more if we are to create the growth and mastery mindset needed for success. I would always recommend looking in your child’s books to see individual grades, but please do focus on their “WWW/EBI” and the progress they are making.
Cost of Living Crisis
We sent out a letter at the start of term with some details on how we may be able to support our community during the cost of living crisis. Whilst energy bills and inflation also impact on school budgets, we are keen to try and do what we can to help. We are therefore intending on developing our breakfast provision for all students and are negotiating with a company to be able to offer this free of charge; more on this in the near future. We have a stock of second hand uniform available and will be meeting with our suppliers to see if anything further can be done. We also have put aside a small hardship fund to help with uniform, trips and other essentials where families are really struggling. You can write to me at the school, in confidence, if this applies to you and if you feel you have more recently qualified for free school meals, then please email email@example.com to ask for more advice. On a more local level, the Swale foodbank is also experiencing all kinds of pressures and regularly needs donations. We will likely do a collection for this towards Christmas as we did last year, so please think about putting aside anything you are able to offer and we will write to you nearer the time to let you know how and when to donate.Finally, the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust has added some useful resources and advice in terms of emotional health and wellbeing and educational support.
Thank you for your continued support this half term and I look forward to seeing all our students return refreshed and ready for new challenges after the break.
Ashley Tomlin Headteacher
Some words from our Heads of Years
Year 7 have made a fantastic start to their BGS journey, they continue to impress us all weekly with their resilience and willingness to try new things. This month we have been celebrating black history month and during our form time sessions
each tutor has presented an inspirational black figure, within their specialism, to the year group. Next term we will train our next cohort of anti-bullying ambassadors and begin preparations for our christmas fair in December!
I'd like to give a massive shout out and congratulations to 7XTW, winners of the form competition for term 1. Every week they achieve an abundance of positive points from their teachers and are always fully equipped for the school day.
Well done year 7! Please enjoy your well earned half term break!
Head of Year 7
Year 9 have settled well into their new form groups and have made a positive start to the year. In Form Time, we have focused on topics such as European Day of Languages, Mental Health Week, International Day of Peace and Black History month. Congratulations to the newly-appointed form captains, who each presented compelling reasons for why they should be chosen. A number of our students represented the school on Open Evening as tour guides and were excellent ambassadors for the school as always. As we start to look forward to half term, we are beginning to prepare for the Options Exams - please look out for a copy of the Options Exam timetable and information about the content and nature of exams in the near future. These exams are only for Option subjects (Maths, English and Science will not be included in the exam timetable). French and Spanish speaking exams will take place before the exam window. For any students who find revising independently difficult, we will be launching an
after-school revision support group in the Library after half term - more details to follow.
Head of Year 9
Years 10 and 11 Cake sale for Macmillan Cancer support
Religious Studies Department
It's been wonderful to welcome the Year 7s to our community; they have been studying ‘Judaism’ – its origins with the Abrahamic Covenant, the story of Joseph and the Exodus from Egypt. Our year 8 have been investigating ‘Hinduism’ and looking at how Hindus view Brahman, concepts such as samsara and karma, as well as puja at home and in the Mandir. Year 9 students have been investigating ‘Who was Jesus’ including artwork, ‘The Turin Shroud’ and other sources of evidence for Jesus other than the Bible.
For those studying GCSE Religious Studies , it has been a positive start by Year 10 as they adapt to the rigours of GCSE – keep it up! For year 11, things have started to become even more focused as they prepare for their mocks when they return for Term 2.
Black History Month
All Key Stage 3 students, and all of our exam classes were set homework to mark ‘Black History Month’ celebrating contemporary religious pioneers who are shaping their respective faiths. If you enjoy movies, here are some to look out for over the holiday that you might enjoy watching;
Freeview BBC -iPlayer - ‘Belle’ (2013) Gugu Mbatha- Raw stars in the story of Britain’s first Black aristocrat. (Cert 12), ‘Fences’ (2016) Denzel Washington is a binman, who dreamed of being a baseball player. (Cert 12)
Sky Movies/Now TV - ‘King Richard’ (2021) Biopic focusing on Venus and Serena Williams' rise to superstardom (Cert 12), ‘Dreamgirls’ (2006) Three friends ride through fame, fortune and show business (Cert 12)
Netflix - ‘Karate Kid’ (2010) Remake of the classic 1980s cult movie with Jayden Smith (Cert PG), ‘Coach Carter’ (2005) Samuel L Jackson is a basketball coach who turns around young lives. (Cert 12)
Amazon Prime - ‘Tenet’ (2020) David Washington stars as a spy in a mind, and time, bending thriller. (Cert 12), ‘Selma’ (2015) Starring David Oyelowo as Dr Martin Luther King Jr. (Cert 12)
Disney+ - ‘Black Panther’ (2018) Get ready for ‘Wakanda Forever’ with this ground-breaking movie. (Cert 12), ‘Cool Runnings’ (1993) Classic comedy based on a true story of the Jamaican Bob-sled team. (Cert PG)
Finally, we wish everybody celebrating a ‘Happy Diwali’ on the 24th of October!
The Religious Studies Department
We have our art trips starting up again where we will be going to the Imperial war museum. We are also running a Year 11 photography competition with the theme being Autumn, staff are also being encouraged to take part. This will become a display covering all seasons with different year groups.
Head of Art and DT
New senior prefect team
It is a great pleasure of mine to introduce the new Senior Prefect team for the upcoming year!
As a team, we’re all honoured to be part of this group and we hope to provide an approachable body which can voice concerns, ideas or simply listen to any student that wants us to.
Borden is a school like no other. It has one thing that I feel is very hard to capture within a school - togetherness. At break times, no matter what year group, the corridors are always bustling with conversation, and I often joke about always seeing and talking to people I know when walking through them.
In a time like today, with COVID, cost of living and everything in between, it’s extremely important that there are people within our community to help those that need it the most. I’m proud to say a handful of our Prefects are pastorally trained as peer mentors, and I’m confident we can provide the first step to helping any student that reaches out to us.
We have a well-blended Senior Prefect team at Borden, each of us thriving off the other and bringing our own strengths.
We hope to speak to as many students as possible and immerse ourselves within the community.
Some of our students are 'the business'...
Congratulations to the sixty-two Year 10 students who have all made a tremendous start in Business Studies in Term 1, a term which has been extremely busy, highly productive and enlightening.
In just one term, Year 10 Business students have successfully undertaken comprehensive research on Disruptive Technology Brands such as Amazon, Netflix, Tesla, Apple, and Uber. Additionally, they also conducted extensive Research on the major players in the UK supermarket industry (in terms of market share): Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrison, Aldi and Lidl. They have also followed the success stories of several successful entrepreneurs such as Deborah Meaden, Sir Richard Branson, Sir James Dyson, Levi Roots, Jef Bezos, and Elon Musk. They also critically investigated start-up stories such as Innocent Smoothies, Hoverboard, and Codemasters.
As a result of this genuine interest in Business Studies, several students have been incorporating key matured business terminology seamlessly in their responses, which is amazing as Business Studies is a new subject for Year 10 students. Consequently, several students have achieved a significant number of recognition points, and positive telephone calls home. Some of the key terms used by our ‘high flyers’ in Year 10 include: economies of scale, franchises, unique selling point, reward and risk, and dynamic forces. Unsurprisingly, students have been scoring exceptional High Level marks in the long answer questions.
Many thanks to Mrs Searle, Ms Burgess and Mr Lindo for introducing this contemporary subject to the group of sixty-two! We look forward to their continued success in Term 2.
We were delighted to open our doors to welcome local families and their Year 5 and 6 sons, on Wednesday 5th October, for our Autumnal Open Evening. It is always a really important community event for Borden, and it made us extremely proud to see so many of our Year 8, 9 and 12 students volunteer to be guides for the evening. The feedback from visiting families was overwhelmingly positive and the guides did a fantastic job of being ambassadors for the school - displaying many of our core values such as respect, effort and kindness.
E-Safety and E-Scooters
We ran a parent event in school this term for year 7 and 8 parents, with an expert speaker offering guidance and advice to parents on online safety. Whilst this was not attended as well as we would have hoped, those that came felt that it was ‘eye opening’ for parents. Other than the more obvious social media sites, there are sites accessible to young people that actively encourage strangers to meet up. It is therefore vitally important that you monitor your child’s use of computers and seek support if you are unsure. We have some straightforward guides for parents on our safeguarding section of our website and I would certainly recommend a visit! Safeguarding guidance The NSPCC has this guide for parents: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/#guides
We understand many parents may wish to purchase e-scooters and occasionally a student has brought these into school. However, only approved rental e-scooters operating in government-led trial areas in the UK can legally be used by individuals over the age of 18 with a driver's licence. All other e-scooters currently remain illegal and cannot be used on the highway, in cycle lanes, on footpaths of any kind or in public spaces. Private e-scooters are only legal for use on private land, with the landowner’s permission. Therefore, it stands to reason that e-scooters should not be used to get to school and are certainly not permitted on the school site. For further detailed information regarding e-scooters please visit Powered Transporters
Year 13 Geography field trip
Plenty of clubs to join
Visit the clubs noticeboard to find out days and times of the many clubs running every week. Chess club, Dungeons and Dragons club, science club and those below to mention just a few.
Meet the Mental Health Ambassadors!
These Year 12 students have embarked on an incredible journey since joining our sixth form. Firstly by showing an interest in the importance of Mental Health Awareness in school, to embarking on a half day training course, followed by creating and presenting a week of assemblies to all year groups. Their determination to dismiss the stigma around mental health is commendable. Throughout the process they have faced their own fears around public speaking and despite this, have shone and presented themselves as positive role models for all. Wow what an amazing group of young people, well done.
Sixth Form Pastoral Assistant
Attendance and behaviour
For the vast majority, Borden is a place with positive behaviour and good attendance. However, students are sometimes ‘surprised’ when they are sanctioned for their uniform or behaviour to or from school. Please remind your child that they are representing the school as soon as they leave home in their school uniform and that school rules apply from that point onwards. We now have a covered area outside, but it is likely to get colder towards Christmas, so please do make sure they bring a coat; hoodies under blazers have never been allowed. Similarly, whilst we do understand that a family break is more expensive during the school holidays, the law and guidance for schools is very clear; holidays taken during term time will not be authorised. This is because attendance at school is fundamental to student success (see here for the link between outcomes and attendance expectations). You can find further information on attendance and behaviour guidance in our policies, to be found here. Borden Grammar School - Policies
A Level results day
GCSE results day
Secondhand uniform shop
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.
On Friday 23rd September, Year 13 Geography students finally got to complete their much anticipated coastal field trip to Herne Bay. The trip, delayed from July when the weather was too hot to go to the beach (not Mr. Williams' decision!) took place during what can only be described as tor...
A cake sale for Macmillan Cancer Support is taking place every day this week at break times in the quad and, if there are any left, at lunchtimes too. Year 10 and Year 11 are flying the flag for raising money for this very worthwhile cause by bringing in cakes to sell.
Students are welcome to bri...
Borden Grammar School celebrated the success of its A Level and GCSE students with its traditional Prize Evening. Headteacher Ashley Tomlin paid tribute to the exam success of students. In his speech the Headteacher told the successful students “You should be very proud.” In additi...