It's strange to think that this time last year, the country was in lockdown and we were teaching our students remotely. It was only after Easter in 2021 that students tentatively came back to school, with Year 11 and 13 working hard to create the evidence needed to support the teacher's assessed grades. We are all very relieved to be in a situation where normality has largely returned to school life, fixtures have restarted, clubs have restarted, students are eating in the dining hall together, lessons are back to normal and adjusted exams are expected for the summer term.
That said, things aren't yet normal. Staff and student absence fluctuates dramatically, with staff absence having a significant impact on the running of the school. I thought it might help to know what we do when teachers are absent? Firstly, we turn to our Cover Supervisors we have as part of our full-time staff. If we run out of those colleagues, we contact agencies to source supply teachers. These are qualified teachers who do this very hard job for a living. We have had to use them more than we would normally, but at least we have not needed to teach any year groups remotely as has happened in many other schools. All of this, as you can imagine, is done before 8am in the morning by a member of the leadership team, but teachers in school have also pitched in to cover lessons and pick up duties, many using their non-contact time to help students experience school in as ‘normal’ a way as possible. I would like to publicly thank them and you for the support in keeping things going.
Whilst the school is very pleased with the Ofsted report, the mention of needing to have more clubs felt a little harsh, not only because the pandemic was still a real concern in November, but also because we actually have kept quite a number of clubs going despite this. However, it occurred to us that this may be our fault, as you may simply not know what we currently offer. I have therefore included a growing list of clubs in this newsletter, and please do encourage your child to take part.
On a more mundane note, please can I remind parents, to remind students, about some of our more basic rules. Whilst we do allow students to wear coats, the rule on not being permitted to wear a non school jumper or a “hoodie” under blazers has never changed. Students are required to keep a uniform card (that has rules on the reverse side) that will be signed where they are wearing incorrect uniform, and this includes to and from school. We have also recently had some concerns raised regarding student behaviour at Sainsburys, having had a long period of positive feedback. Please remind your child that they represent the school when travelling to and from home and should be on their best behaviour. Energy drinks, chewing gum and vapes (obviously) are banned items in school, whilst mobile phones will be confiscated if not used in social spaces at social times. I’m sorry if this seems like I am stating the obvious, but it has been a while since I have reminded parents, and I am fully aware that teenagers can be very persuasive that “they never knew” when they are sanctioned for such things. Thank you for your support in helping to get our young people into school on time. Students should be in school by 8.40 for an 8.45 start and there has certainly been a reduction in lateness this year.
So what next? Well, with a successful Ofsted and the recently agreed multi million pound new build to support our school expansion, there is plenty to feel positive about at Borden. That said, it is shocking to think that we are preparing students for A level exams that took their last formal exam in Year 6. Managing this process, amidst staff and student absence, remains a challenge. We have already expanded our mental health provision, but realise that this continues to be an ever growing problem for schools and society in general. So please keep in touch, talk to teachers, tutors, heads of year or senior staff if you are worried. As well, we will continue to try and offer a consistent experience and approach, whilst expanding our offer of the “extra stuff” that makes school a place in which students can feel happy. I wish you all a very safe and restful half term.
Some words from our School Captain
Hello and a warm welcome from myself and the Prefect Team, I hope everyone is doing well this term. Unlike past terms, the Prefect Team has been a little less active than before. This has been down to examination preparation and mocks, but nevertheless myself and the team have been doing our best to serve the Borden community. Hopefully next term form prefects will be back in action, especially with this part of the academic year being important for a lot of students at Borden. It was impressive to see students not in the Prefect Team, taking the initiative with sorting fundraising events lately, and it has made a difference, so thank you!
During this term, the newly founded Borden Debating Union has been running in the hall. It has shown to be a great success with debate topics like “Should Grammar Schools be a part of modern Britain” and “Should the NHS be privatised” all being debate topics that have sparked a keen interest amongst the debaters. The Borden Debating Union runs Thursday after school between 15:15 - 16:00 in the hall, we all hope to see more people joining soon!
Although this term's entry has been shorter, I hope you all understand that the Borden Prefect Team remains ever busy, and we’re always looking for ways to improve our school. Thank you for reading and have a good half term. I hope you’re ready to go for next term after a weeks rest!
Empowered Poetry Writing Competition
Congratulations to Jake Goggins from Year 9 whose poem was chosen for publication after taking part in the 'Empowered' poetry writing competition. He based his writing on his nut allergy. His work was also shared on a Parent Support group for children with allergies and the response was incredible. His poem has now been acknowledged by some leading allergy advocates, and he has been praised for raising awareness of the severity of nut allergies. Mrs Das, Jake's English teacher said "Jake has really flourished in English this year, and his poem for the empowered anthology was exceptional".
One Hundred and Eleven Years in the Making, Two Years of Waiting
The Old Bordenian Association (OBA) has been running since 1912 as a friendly association for ex-pupils and staff of the School. We are here to allow Old Bordenians to keep in touch with each other, promote sporting and social links and support the School’s activities. When a student leaves the School they are entitled to join and there is no membership fee – all we need is their contact information. There is a website and active mailing list for the OBA and news about the School. The highlight of the OBA calendar is the Annual Reunion and Dinner. After Covid restrictions preventing the 2020 and 2021 Dinners, this year, 111, we plan to make up for it! Held in the Old Hall of the School, the event attracts Old Bordenians of nearly every age. If you’ve not been back for a while you can take advantage of the School tour to see what has changed around the School and this year we’ll also be sharing more information on the new building and the School’s exciting future. We’ll be gathering on Saturday 19 March and the OBA would welcome any Old Bordenians or School staff to join us for the evening. Further details on the evening and how to book can be found here. Annual Reunion and Dinner
Learning Resource Centre News
Congratulations to the Year 7 and 8 students that achieved their Autumn Term Accelerated Reader Targets. Certificates and prizes were given out when we returned after the Christmas break, and it was really good to see so many boys reach and exceed their targets. Well Done! Good luck with your Easter Targets everyone.
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” - Kate DiCamillo
World Book Day 3rd March 2022
This year World Book Day and Harry Potter are both celebrating their 25th Birthday. On Tuesday 22nd February students will be given their WBD £1 book token, which can be used as part payment for a book at participating booksellers or be exchanged for one of the WBD books. On the voucher there are also details of a very special Harry Potter competition that students up to 18 can enter.
To celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March, we are arranging a number of activities throughout the day. In the past we have had teachers dressing up as their favourite book characters, but this year we would also like to open this up to our Year 7, 8 & 9 students (please note: school uniform must be worn if you are not taking part). Prizes will be awarded for Best Staff Book Character Costume, as voted for by students and there will be prizes for Student Book Character Costumes as well.
There will also be two competitions that the students can take part in during their breaks, “Guess the Teachers Book Character” and “Borden, A History” Quiz. Forms for these competitions can be collected from the library on the day.
Book Buzz Competition
Our Year 7 students have now received their Bookbuzz books which they selected before Christmas. In March the library will be holding a Competition for all
Year 7’s to Design a bookmark based on the book they received. The winning one will be printed and used as the 2022 Official Library bookmark.
“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” - Paul Sweeney
The Library is open Monday – Thursday 8.15 am to 4.15pm and Friday 8.15 am to 4pm. If you are seeking out a particular book please contact the library team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library Resource Centre Manager
The anti-bullying ambassadors met this term to discuss the importance of reporting concerns and encouraging others to do the same. There have been several examples of this of late which has allowed staff to 'nip in the bud' minor issues and stop them from growing. The ambassador role in the school really is invaluable, and we are so grateful to have them in our midst! The ambassadors are also keen to raise awareness of how best to report and be an upstander as opposed to a bystander in situations and so Term 4 will see them launch a competition to design some poster artwork which can be displayed around school. Further details coming soon, including how to enter!
Head of Year 7
This is the 17th year of Borden Chess Club run by Mr Chittenden. During the lockdown of 2020 the school Chess Club was exiled to online at Chess.com but has now returned for real-life matches in S12 after school on Tuesdays.
We currently have 34 players registered with the club with pupils from Years 7
to 12. There are a range of abilities with some pupils learning for the first time and being instructed by Mr Chittenden and by other pupils.
Matches can be played on a friendly basis or competitively for points on the Club chess ladder. Prizes for each year group will be awarded later in the year, including a personalised chess club key fob for each year winner.
It is hoped that the school will return to the UK Chess Challenge, a national schools competition from next year.
As you might expect, this time of year is a quiet growing period for us outdoors. However, we have been meeting regularly and working on expanding our 'Indoor Jungle' in S4. We have started propagating succulents to grow on for the future and will be starting to grow from seed indoors in the coming weeks, ready for our garden to thrive in the spring/summer.
The first sign of our bulbs have sprouted in the garden itself (ready for some spring colour) and we look forward to seeing signs that our trees have rooted well, with some growth in the warmer months. With the imminent arrival of our Morrisons 'good to grow' scheme success (thanks to all that donated your points), we are really looking forward to adding some colour and height to our garden over the rest of the year.
Extra Curricular Clubs
Every day: Homework club 3.15 - 4.15pm (library)
Y7 & Y8 Drama club, 3.15 - 4.15 (Drama Room, Miss Phillips & Mr Hernandez)
Y7 & Y8 Hockey Club, 3.15 - 4.15 (External coach in)
Orchestra, 3.15 - 4.15 (Miss Phillips, Drama room)
Y7 Science club, 3.15 - 4.15 (Lab 4 with Mrs Reid)
Y9, Y10 & Y11 Rugby club, 3.15 - 4.15
All Years Chess Club, 3.15 - 4.15 (Mr Chittenden, room S12)
Band Practice, 12.00 - 12.30, (Miss Phillips, Music Room)
Choir, 3.15 - 4.15 (Miss Phillips, Music Room)
Warhammer Club, 3.15/4.15 (Mr Phillips in Lab 3)
Gardening Club, 3.15 - 4.15, (Mr Swaffer, Room S4)
All Years Latin club, 3.15 - 4.15 (Mr Holley, Room 9)