It is no secret in my family that my favourite Christmas movie is ‘Groundhog Day’ where the character played by Bill Murray wakes every day, forced to relive the same day, and it seems to me to be an apt place to start. I can barely believe it is a year ago where we were all in a very similar position; Covid on the rise, students and staff isolating, contingency plans for exams, virtual assemblies, virtual staff meetings, masks in corridors and a general sense of the unknown following our Christmas break. At times this feels much like ‘Groundhog Day’.
Certainly the news of a new variant has reinforced our need to be vigilant, but I hope it is reassuring that we have tended to be ‘ahead of the curve’ in every national decision made. We will start next year testing again, but only once this time, so there is a much reduced ‘stagger’ of only one day to the start of term. We will plan for the worst, because it is better to be prepared, but we are certainly aiming to keep things as normal as possible in the new year.
That said, there is so much that is different this year. The school has been back to normal in terms of lessons and being out of bubbles. We have continued with our various school events, even expanding the Remembrance service this year.
Numerous sports fixtures have taken place, we now have music and drama clubs every night of the week, we have had numerous primary schools visit us this term both as part of Aim Higher but also to experience secondary science lessons, the 6th form team have planned numerous charity and Christmas events at the end of term and I can hear the joint Borden and Highsted school orchestra rehearsing ‘Skyfall’ as I write this newsletter.
We are now also in the process of planning to introduce the Duke of Edinburgh scheme next year and to reinforce the existing work of our amazing student ambassadors at each key stage. All of this, and a visit from Ofsted inspectors in the middle of the term. So maybe this isn’t really Groundhog day after all?...or is it? A spoiler alert; the key message behind ‘Groundhog Day’ is that we should use every day as an opportunity to make ourselves a better person and to make the world a better place. Thinking about the way the community of students, staff and parents have managed to pull together, keep everything going and develop the above positive experiences for students in the midst of the pandemic, I would say that Borden now feels more like we are at the very end of the movie than at the start.
Please enjoy the rest of this newsletter and have a very safe, restful and happy Christmas.
Heads of Years updates
A busy but incredibly successful term saw students in Year 7 receive their first ever set of audit grades at Borden. I myself pay special attention to the attitude to learning grades and was hugely impressed by the fabulous effort the boys had clearly put in - they really have been making the most of the opportunity this fabulous school provides. In November, I had the pleasure of training up our new Anti-bullying ambassadors and their presence and impact is already being felt about the school which is wonderful to see (more information below). Finally, our term ended with the form party (a prize awarded to the Year 7 form with the highest points total relating to achievement points, organisation, punctuality with the fewest behaviour points). I am delighted to tell you that 7RWW were our Term 2 winners. Congratulations to them and I hope all boys return in January ready to push themselves to make progress in these areas as we reset the points and start the Term 3 competition!
Mrs Frost Head of Year 7
Year 8 have spent Term 2 considering wider issues in society such as Remembrance Day and Movember. Our first charity effort, the Reverse Advent calendar, was to support Swale Foodbank and I would like to thank Year 8 for the amazing contributions received - I've got an office full of food! Our second form assembly from 8JCW/KC took place on the topic of Movember and men's health. There has been a strong focus on students being organised for school and Mrs. Edwards would like to thank all students for regularly coming to school smartly dressed, equipped for lessons and with homework completed punctually. The interform competition is currently being led by 8CH but the overall winner for Term 2 will be announced on Friday 17th December. Best wishes for a restful Christmas holiday to all Year 8 students and parents.
Mrs Edwards Head of Year 8
The majority of Year 9 students have now successfully completed their GCSE Options subject exams - congratulations to those students. I am aware that there are a small number of students who have yet to complete all of their exams due to unavoidable absence, but we will work with those students in January to get them up to date.
Next term will be busy and important for Year 9 in the lead up to the final GCSE Options Choices. On the 26th January, there will be an Options Evening to provide more information to Parents and students about the options process. This will be followed up by the Parents’ Evening on the 3rd February, which will provide an opportunity to speak to subject teachers and confirm that your son has made suitable options choices.
On the 7th February, students will be asked to complete and submit their final GCSE Options choices via google form. Throughout the term, we will hold informal meetings with some students to guide them through the options process and manage any difficulties that may arise.
In addition to the GCSE Options process, students (and their parents) have also been very generous with their donations through Reverse Advent to the Swale Foodbank. More on this below.
Miss Phillips Head of Year 9
Year 7 and 8 students enjoyed receiving their Anti-Bullying Training from Mrs Frost Head of Year 7. Students were awarded with badges at the end of the day by Mr Artingstoll, Assistant Headteacher. More photos from the day are available on our Website Gallery
Gardening Club putting down roots…
Terms 1 & 2 have been a productive time for the newly formed BGS Gardening club. With support from within the extended school community and the Old Bordenian’s Association, we have started to form what our space will look like for the future.
Thanks to the Woodland Trust, we have planted approx. 60 tree samplings, to make a large double hedge row and a small ‘woodland area’ for the future. We have also planted over 300 spring bulbs in the area to naturalise the area and provide some early colour for years to come – that is if the local wildlife would stop trying to dig them up! This has led us to achieving our Level One Certificate as a school with the RHS, which is only the start as we have submitted our evidence to hopefully achieve Level 2 soon.
On top of this, we have started to look at what our students’ interests are for the future, including houseplants and other areas around the school to ‘beautify’. There’s lots we could do, and have plans that include sustainability & composting, fruit and veg production, greenhouse projects etc.
Finally, can I say a massive THANK YOU to all of you who helped us raise an impressive 3008 points with the Morrisons Good to Grow Scheme. We have placed our order for seeds, tools and equipment and look forward to receiving those after Christmas.
Finally, I would extend the offer to all students who are interested in what we are doing for the future to make themselves known, as there are plenty of opportunities for all. Thanks must also go to those who have already made contact and asked how they can help from the wider community; all the support really does make a difference!
Mr Swaffer – Jswaffer@bordengrammar.kent.sch.uk
It has been a positive football season with pupils playing many games throughout Terms 1 and 2 as well as excellent participation to the clubs on offer. Year 10 progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Kent Cup after a tense penalty shoot-out win against Sandwich TC. All other year groups have now been eliminated from the cup competition but some notable performances from Years 8 and 9 should be commended. Once we return after the Christmas break the 2nd XI will conclude their league fixtures and Year 10 will play their cup quarter final however the focus sports will shift to Hockey and Rugby. The photo below is the 1st XI football team in the second round of the Kent Cup which they won 7-1 against St Johns, Gravesend. They now play Simon Langton in the next round in January.
Clubs for Years 7-11 will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school and fixtures will also run alongside these. We are delighted to have created strong links with Sittingbourne Rugby Club and Sittingbourne Hockey Club - pupils of all abilities and experience levels are encouraged to attend the clubs if they are interested, particularly as there will be access to specialist coaches from these local partnerships. Special congratulations are given to Hayden Gear in 11PJR who has been awarded with his Kent County Schools Athletics tie this term after representing the county in the English Schools Championships within the 800 metre event.
Mr Weller Head of Physical Education
Mr Stone Head of Science
Religious Studies the term!
Year 7 have been continuing to study Judaism, they’ve investigated the period of time known as ‘The Judges’, looked at the significance of David as well as designing their own ‘Passover’ meals. When students arrive back in January, they will be able to see some of the plates on display outside the RS rooms.
Year 7 also took a moment to focus on remembrance; memorialisation is effectively a religious process and they explored the origins of the tomb of the Unknown Warrior and reflected upon the meaning behind poppies.
Terence King (7SJH) drew a striking piece of artwork in his Religious Studies Book to commemorate Remembrance Day.
Year 8 have been exploring some huge topics in Hinduism; the caste system, the impact and role of Gandhi as well as rites of passage. All Year 8 students developed their IT skills further by creating a ‘Google Sites’ on Hindu Festivals. It was wonderful to see them creating these sites and deepening their knowledge of these ancient festivals
Well done to Year 9 on the completion of the Options Exams! They will of course receive the grades in next term. In the build up to the exam they studied the early years of Christianity and how it spread from a tiny faith to become the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Year 10 have been starting to exercise their written skills with practice GCSE questions, more have been promised in Term 3, so hopefully they will be ready in the New Year.
Congratulations to our Year 11 students on finishing their mocks! A great foundation for 2022 has been built. Of course, we wish all our students a relaxing holiday, but a special mention to them as they rest and recharge.
Mr Sherwood-Farnfield Lead teacher for Religious Studies
Psychology Department this term!
A big thank you to all of the Psychology students for their continued hard work and resilience this term. A special mention to the following students for their hard work and resilience in the most recent assessments. They all achieved top band results. Year 12: Jack Barling, Calista Wilson, Jacob Brookes, James Hogben and Alex Wilson. Year 13: Tom Fassenfelt, Billy Brown, Harry Ansley, Tiegan Purchase and Ted Vidyarthi.
Special thanks to Mrs Atkinson who joined the Psychology department this September. Mrs Atkinson has contributed so much to the department in the short time that she has been here.
Miss Morelli Head of Psychology
Year 11 Winter Poem Competition
Well done to our poem competition winners Noah and Archie who were inspired by the works of Thomas Hardy, Ted Hughes and Charles Dickens plus the BBC's 'Winterwatch'.
Mr Reynolds Head of English
Music and Drama
This has been a very busy term for both Music and Drama in school. While we have not been able to host any live performances, we have been preparing a variety of performances for our Virtual Christmas Showcase.
Students in both drama groups have been working on their improvisational and comedic skills this term. The year 9-11 drama group have also worked on creating a filmed Christmas production based on the poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’, which will be released as part of the Christmas Showcase. In only one short term, it is really brilliant to see what these students have been able to achieve. If your son is interested in joining one of these drama groups in the new year, please do encourage them to come along to a rehearsal and try it out. The Year 7 drama club rehearse on a Monday after school, 3.15-4.15. Year 9-11 drama club rehearse on a Thursday after school, 3.15-4.15.
In music groups, the orchestra have been busy preparing a range of Christmas carols as well as non-christmas music. This half term the orchestra have also welcomed a small group of musicians from Highsted, who have been joining them for rehearsals and it has been a great experience to share music making with another school. Both choir and orchestra will be featured in the Virtual Christmas Showcase which will be able to view on our website at 'News and Events' - latest news.
A very warm welcome back to the School newsletter from myself and the Prefects here at Borden. After the settling in of Term 1, Term 2 has been most productive for the Prefects. There has been plenty to be getting on with and the Prefects have done a sublime job at taking every task and running forward with it.
Amongst the term's agenda, was Form Prefects, with the team going into KS3 forms and discussing various topics with the younger years. The success of this program has allowed for a better community feel around the school, with better communication between those ‘elder statesman’ of the school and their junior counterparts. Discussing exam timetables, revision methods and advice for school life all came up and (hopefully!) provided invaluable knowledge to the younger students who are just starting their Borden life.
With Term 2 housing December, the Prefects were delighted to unveil Christmas Week. Amongst the confusion of national rules, the Prefects at Borden felt it was apt to bring a little extra joy to Borden and this was a chance for the school to participate in activities all with the aim of raising money for the charity, Crisis. Tuck shops, Christmas jumpers, Christmas music and quizzes were all part of Borden's 'Christmas week’. I really hope that everyone enjoyed the week and a big thank you to all those who participated.
I hope students are starting to notice an increase in society opportunities in the school community and I hope you all want to join the plethora of societies that are starting to become available to you. Please do contact a member of the Prefect team if you have a society idea, and hopefully we can try and make it happen!
With the next term fast approaching, I hope to bring the momentum that the Prefects are starting to gather into the new year successfully. I hope that everyone at Borden has a fantastic Christmas and all come back recharged ready to tackle the new year, with 2021 continuing the trend of confusing years I hope we can all Nitere porro!
Reverse Advent Calendar
This year, students in Year 8 and 9 have taken part in a ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’. Students have donated items of food or other essentials during December, which have been collected and donated to Swale Foodbank. Form Captains and deputies (pictured) brought the donations together, ready to pack them for delivery. The students have donated a range of goods from dried and tinned foods to essential toiletries. We hope that our contributions as a school community will make an improvement to the lives of others over the Christmas period.
Farewell to Borden!
We say a sad farewell to Mr Wyllie who leaves at the end of term to join family in Australia. He has worked at Borden since September 2019 and will be very much missed by not only the Art and DT team but by all of his Borden colleagues. We wish him all the very best!
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