As we edge towards Christmas, our minds turn to 2023 and what this might mean for us all in such turbulent times. My final assembly for students reviewed many of the national issues and developments over the year. These ranged from political changes (and there have been quite a few of them) to human rights, scientific developments or those related to climate change. For many of our students at Borden, their focus in 2023 will understandably be on preparing for exams, and this is a task for which schools are well rehearsed. However, for others, worries may revolve around more basic matters i.e. family issues, financial security or their own wellbeing. The significant increase in a need for support is within the context of fewer and fewer services being offered outside our walls to support families, students and the school in general. I think what I am trying to say is that Christmas is fundamentally about thinking and caring about others and not about ‘outcomes’. At Borden, we may not always get it 100% right, but in the face of all the challenges being thrown at us, we really do try to care for the ‘whole student’ all year round.
Our students also care a lot for each other. We have peer mentors, mental health ambassadors, anti-bullying ambassadors, coaches, 6th formers running after school clubs and this doesn’t even include the daily acts of kindness that are so common around the school. You will also read about the amazing Christmas fair that took place this week raising a huge amount for charities. We also visited the foodbank in Sittingbourne today to deliver the many bags of items donated by our caring students and their families.
Of course students don’t always get it right, but most of the time they do embody our values. A recent exhibition of kindness and respect was also shown in their ‘Christmas wishes’ on the red tags we hang from our Christmas tree each year. Here are a few examples of what they wished for…
- Peace, Love and Positivity
- To end world hunger
- The war in Ukraine to end
- To spend time with my family and friends
- For people in charge to realise the - risks of global warming
- For everyone to have a roof over their heads
- To do better at school and put effort into everything I do
And below are some comments saying what they are grateful for,
- “I’m grateful for having understanding teachers and support”
- “I’m grateful for all the great memories I have with my nan”
- “I thank anyone who works in the NHS because they have helped a lot of people
in my family”
- “Thanks to all my teachers and my form tutor for making me feel welcome and
for helping me to progress so far this year.”
- “I am thankful for God in my life and all the blessings he has provided me.”
Equally, the “creativity” shown in some of the more amusing responses can be seen below,
- “Stop bullying and Santa will give you presents!”
- “Nothing, I’m a minimalist and need nothing to be happy.”
- “I wish everyone has a hot meal, just hot enough to burn your tongue and give
you a little kick.”
- “I wish that it would snow but not be cold”
- “I am thankful for Borden values that keep me going in the darkest of times. Thank you Santa Tomlin for this mesmerising gift” (I think that may be sarcasm?…)
As you read through this newsletter, I hope you will be impressed by the engagement, thoughtfulness, creativity and positivity of our students. Whilst I said that Christmas is about caring for others, it is also about hope. I think the kindness and creativity exhibited here should give us hope that our future is actually in pretty good hands.
I wish you all the best at Christmas and look forward to seeing our students safely return refreshed in 2023.
Ashley Tomlin Headteacher
Some words from our Heads of Years
Term 2 has been really busy for Year 7, we have trained our anti-bullying ambassadors, spoken about important themes such as peer pressure, celebrated Movember and prepared for our Christmas fair (more details below).
The boys have spent the last six weeks in form time creating a stall with activities and games as we strive to raise money for five charities, picked by each form. I hope that by the time you have read the newsletter you all enjoyed the evening and are as proud as I am of the year group. Year 7 will receive their first audit at the end of the term, and I am sure they will be pleased with their performance. I wish them all a very safe and enjoyable Christmas break and look forward to welcoming them back in the new year!
Head of Year 7
Year 8 have been busy this term learning about relationships, morals and friendships in personal development lessons. In form time and assemblies we have covered topics such as Movember, Remembrance and the cost of living crisis. A large number of boys have excelled themselves this year, with no behaviour points since the start of the year and lots of positive feedback at the Year 8 parents evening. Furthermore, in the school wide Sparx homework competition, Year 8 had the highest completion rate across all year groups with 8BOL being the highest ranked form in the school. Well done to all the boys who have worked hard this year, you deserve a good rest over the Christmas period.
Head of Year 8
The focus for Term 2 has been on the Options exams and Year 9 have acquitted themselves well, not only in terms of their preparation and revision, but also in their conduct in the exam sessions. It was wonderful to see so many students attending the revision sessions in the library, and I am confident that their hard work will be rewarded with excellent exam results. More recently students have been involved in music trips and events, as well as leading the way in collecting food for Swale Foodbank as part of our Reverse Advent Calendar.
During the last week of term, we will celebrate students demonstrating our Borden Values, as well as those with excellent attendance and a high number of achievement points. Looking forward into the New Year, we will be continuing the GCSE Options process with Options Evening and Year 9 Parents Evening - more information to follow at the start of term 3. I would like to add particular congratulations to the 9 students invited to go bowling on the last day of term as a reward for their excellent attendance, behaviour and effort in school, as well as to 9BL who earned themselves a non-uniform day in recognition of their achievements this term.
Wishing all of Year 9 and their families a healthy and restful Christmas and New Year.
Head of Year 9
Year 10 have made an excellent start to their GCSE courses this term, and I am very pleased to have awarded them so many certificates at the end of this term for achievements and progress in their courses. Following the recent audits, there will be some students invited to invention sessions in January to support their learning. While this may seem early when GCSE exams are still over a year away, by intervening now, we prevent any difficulties from escalating, and therefore I would urge you to support your son if they are invited to these sessions. Homework catch up sessions will also be continuing in the new year, with some new student invites sent out in January. If you feel your son would benefit from attending these sessions, please email email@example.com, and he can be added to the list.
Head of Year 10
This term, Year 11 have gained experience in preparing for and sitting mock exams in preparation for formal exams in the summer. Pupils have explored a range of revision methods and received support in managing their time. An emphasis has been put on using revision timetables with the ethos of completing revision in small chunks rather than cramming at the end. By doing this, pupils have been shown how stressful periods can be managed successfully and support with mental health provided throughout. At the end of the term, individual subject awards were received by a large number of pupils in relation to their academic attainment, level of progression as well as recognising their commitment and efforts to private study. We look forward to inviting parents to the school on Thursday 12th January for an information evening of how independent revision can be supported from home.
Head of Year 11
Last term was a busy one for myself and the Sixth Form prefect team.
Many of us attended the Sixth Form Open Evening, which was held for prospective A-Level students. Whilst some of us were speaking to parents, others were helping in their respective subject rooms, answering questions about the course, homework and everything in between.
Many of us were fortunate enough to watch some of England’s opening world cup football match in the school hall during our lunchtime. Never have I seen Borden’s community spirit more prominent than when Jude Bellingham scored our first goal of the tournament. Seeing pupils throughout the school, all celebrating together, was certainly an unforgettable experience, and I’d like to thank the senior leadership team for allowing us to do so.
As School Captain, I attended the termly Sixth Form council meeting. It was particularly interesting to hear from both the Year 12 and Year 13 members. We discussed current issues, future ideas and began creating a plan to implement these in the new year. By collating ideas from the Sixth Form council as well as other students and prefects, I feel we’ve compiled an agenda that will be able to benefit the entire school community as a whole.
We look forward to working on this agenda in the New Year, and wish everyone a Happy Christmas!
Last night was the first Christmas fair since 2019 and what an amazing fair it was! It really was a fun afternoon, we even had a parent who was challenging students at one of the games for a good 15 minutes. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that our Year 7 students raised almost £1200 for charity in just an hour and a half. Form group 7TH alone, raised nearly £350. The amazing total is going to be split amongst the following charities - Cancer Research Uk, Make a Wish, Ukrainian Fund and the Happy Pants Ranch Animal Sanctuary. Thank you to all those involved in making this happen and a very special thank you to Miss Irinoye, Head of Year 7 for all the endless organising that went in to this worthwhile event.
Year 7 have been learning about ‘Passover’ and designed their own ‘memorable meals’. There were many outstanding efforts.
They have also been learning about the Holocaust in World War II, and the impact on the Jewish community. Two sixth formers, Max Eshelby and James Hogben, visited Auschwitz this term as part of the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ scheme run by the ‘Holocaust Educational Trust’. They have been sharing their experiences with Year 7.
Year 8 have been continuing to explore Hinduism, specifically Rites of Passage, Festivals and the relationship between Science and Hinduism. They discovered that Hindus contributed to the world of mathematics with ‘0’ and the ‘Fibonacci Sequence’. Next term they will start to explore ‘Sikhism’.
A busy Term 2 as Year 9 completed their ‘Options Exams’. They had to draw on skills developed in the course so far- interpreting images of Jesus as well as looking at a Bible passage in depth! They have already started investigating Islam, and will continue to do so after the holiday.
Year 10 have recently concluded studying the ‘Beliefs’ part of the course, and will now move onto practices. Year 11, of course, had their mocks and after a short respite will embark on preparing for their second set of marks after the break. We are very proud of all those students who worked tirelessly to put themselves in the best possible position to succeed in the summer when the real exams happen!
December at Borden Grammar School is ‘Religious Times and Celebrations’ when we acknowledge and celebrate festivals and sacred times in various religions. Thank so much to the IT Department for designing the wonderful screen saver and logo, and to our librarian Mrs Hall who has not only decorated the library but provided some magnificent new books for the ‘Religion’ section in the library.
Mr Sherwood Farnfield
Head of Religious Studies
Borden Grammar are proud to have been
awarded the Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing.
The process involved a staged approach: assessing our current practices, planning initiatives for further development and evaluating our journey over the past two
years. A moderation panel from Kent Community Health NHS Trust (https://kentresiliencehub.org.uk/) then
considered evidence on how the school has embedded and the promotion of resilience and emotional wellbeing within all aspects of the school, including Borden’s curriculum, teaching and learning, student voice, staff development, identifying needs, targeted support, monitoring the impact of intervention, supporting parents and carers and the appropriate use of external services. We are extremely proud to receive this recognition of a whole school approach and commitment to developing resilience and improving emotional wellbeing for our students.
Update from Chair of Trustees, Mrs Sarah Mendoza
2022 has been a very successful year for Borden with fabulous exam results and a successful Ofsted inspection. Allowing us to showcase the hard work put in by students, staff and parents that make Borden a school allowing all to reach their potential, whilst retaining those characteristics of a supportive, safe place for students and staff alike that Ofsted highlighted. I wanted to thank all students, parents and staff for the support and work that has allowed all of this to take place.
As in my previous update the Trustees wanted to give you a snapshot of their work this term. The Full Trust Board (FTB) at Borden Grammar is made up of 12 trustees and 5 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 bordengrammar.kent.sch.uk/community/trustees-and-members
We have met as a full board to sign off the school accounts and review the auditors reports (both external and internal) of our current financial processes and accounts and I thank Lou Reynolds, Bursar, and her team for the fantastic work that has left the school in a good position to face the financial challenges ahead.
Our trustee with responsibilities for SEND (Special Educational Need and Disability) has been into school to meet with Mrs Zarzycki (Our SENDCo) to review the SEND provision in the school and assess it against a Kent wide rolling programme of monitoring, again with excellent outcomes.
Our trustee with responsibility for safeguarding has been into school to check the schools single central record to ensure Borden complies with our safeguarding responsibilities to keep all of our students safe.
We have had the opportunity to meet virtually with our Head of Years and hear their updates and plans for the terms ahead.
We meet regularly throughout the year with staff and students to allow the trust board to fulfil their roles outlined in the academies' handbook. Our meeting schedule and work plan is published on the trustees’ page of the school website for your information.
In the New Year the members of the trust are holding their AGM and Mr. Tomlin and myself will have the opportunity to update them on all of the school's successes since they last met.
The FTB will be holding an additional meeting in the New Year to look at Bordens’ strategic direction as our new build begins and the school expands.
The trustees wish the students, staff and the Borden Grammar community a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a successful 2023.
If you are interested in becoming a trustee or would like to contact me for further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Students have been working hard this term preparing for the Carol Service, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the weather conditions. However, we have been able to record the Carol Service virtually, including all student performances, so please visit the school website to view the achievements of the students.
Congratulations to all of the students that have taken part in the music and drama groups this term, we look forward to having a live performance next term!
Year 9 and 10 music students also took part in a school trip on Friday 9th December to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform an educational concert at the Royal Festival Hall. Students were able to hear pieces of music that they have studied or will study at GCSE performed live, which was a very valuable experience.
Head of Performing Arts
Art and Design Technology Department
Year 7 have been designing Christmas cards this year as homework - these were used as the school Christmas card and one from each form were printed.
In Design Technology we have been working on being more environmentally friendly. We have had the company 'Fluid Control Fabrications Limited' supply us with aluminium offcuts, so we have been using their industry waste to create phone holders with Year 7 students.
Year 10 were given the theme of Winter for their next photograph competition, with a view to have a display covering all the seasons.
Head of Art, Design Technology Co-ordinator
Mrs Brooker and Mrs Zarzycki were delighted to have 14 students from Year 12 put themselves forward to become the next new wave of Peer Mentors at Borden. All 14 students undertook two days of training and have successfully completed the course so will be available to support students with a range of issues, across all year groups, from the new year.
Mrs Brooker would also like to extend her thanks to the outgoing Year 13 Peer Mentors who have supported and helped over 35 students since their 'launch' in January. They have been enthusiastic, encouraging and incredibly committed to making a real difference to younger students who have needed guidance and advice from an older peer and Mrs Brooker wishes them the best of luck as they now focus their energies on their final A Levels examinations.
Congratulations to Ruben from Year 13 - the winner of Millwall Football Club's Falkland Islands commemorative badge design competition!
Ruben's design was selected amongst countless other fantastic entries and was on sale at The Lions' home - and Remembrance - fixture against Hull City on Saturday 5th November.
Alongside his badge, the champion explained his thoughts behind it by saying: "As I have put a lot of thought into my design, I am going to explain some of my thought processes behind certain design choices.
"Firstly, for the shape of the badge, I have taken inspiration from the Falkland Islands Coat of Arms. I have also incorporated the colours from the Falkland Islands conflict medal (Empire Blue, Sea Green and White) as required.
"However, this is not the only inspiration I have taken from the conflict medal. I have used the design of the medal, with the number 40 inside it to signify the 40th anniversary of the conflict, alongside the year in which it took place and this current year.
"In the middle of the design is the shape of the Falkland Islands territory, with its flag over it, giving the Falklands a key role in my design. Lastly, at the bottom, I have included the Millwall lion and Millwall FC in writing, alongside the poppy, to show remembrance."
Top work, Ruben!
Old computers put to good use
A huge thank you to Mr Okwok for recommending how we could put our old computers to good use. We donated these computers to pupils in Schools in Ati-Annang, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria and you can see from the photos how much of a difference such a simple thing can make.
How lucky were we? We had a visit from a local Sittingbourne business Knauf, where the Guest Speaker Mr Andrew Searle (Engineering Maintenance Manager) discussed in assembly to both year 12 and 13 students the impact of expectations in school and how these directly link to those of industry.
With many of our young people either looking for part-time work to support their studies now or once at University, this was a fantastic opportunity to share how when everyone works together, keeping the Vision and ethos in mind, success is more likely to occur.
Sixth Form Team
Physical Education Department
This term, pupils in Key Stage 3 PE have been accessing a range of aesthetic activities such as gymnastics and dance. Staff have been delighted with the dexterity and creativity within individual and group performances, with pupils able to explore key concepts of the PE curriculum, applied to non-team based sports. The focus on extracurricular football continued with all year groups continuing their journeys in the Kent Cup. Year 7 made it through to round 3, before losing 4-3 in extra time to local rivals Fulston Manor. Year 8 also made it through to the third round before being comprehensively beaten by a strong Wrotham school. Year 10 produced outstanding displays against Westlands and Towers school to set up a quarter final tie against Simon Langton in January. Year 9 and Year 11 have both progressed through to the latter rounds of their relevant cups after some excellent performances against Simon Langton and Westlands. Unfortunately, their fixtures versus Homewood School and Rainham Mark fell victim to the weather, so we look to rearrange for after Christmas. The 1st and 2nd XI football teams had a frustrating term within U19 leagues. A mixture of cancelled fixtures and inconsistent performances means that both teams secured a mid-table finish and look to push on again next season. Congratulations to all boys who have represented the school this term.
After Christmas, the focus shifts on to rugby and hockey within extra curricular clubs and fixtures. Games have been arranged for all year groups within both sports, and we are pleased to be able to offer clubs after school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please look out for the new clubs' poster showing details of what is on offer for pupils of all abilities and experience levels.
Head of Physical Education
What is Movember really all about?
Well, that was the question that the Year 13 form groups addressed in lower school assemblies during the month of November.
Each form created their own assembly resources and shared their understanding of the importance of being aware of men's mental and physical well-being.
Whilst a really difficult topic to openly discuss, the Year 13 students confidently explained the impact of testicular and prostate cancer and how to find additional support within the school and through wider reading.
A ceremony was held at the school at the 11th hour and 'The last Post' was played by Ben from Year 10 on an original bugle from 1914 that had been donated by Mark Sayer, an old Bordenian a few weeks earlier. The service was recorded and will be published shortly so that all of our...