Well, we made it, not only through the recent heatwave and for some of you an accompanying shortage of water, but also through our first full year back. It’s hard to imagine that this has been our first whole year at school since September 2018 to 2019, the first year of public examinations, and the first full year I have experienced as Borden’s headteacher. It’s easy to forget, but the list below include just a few things that we have experienced at Borden in the past year,
Asymptomatic testing centres, masks in classrooms and vaccinations
Remote learning/meetings/parents evenings/events
A very successful Ofsted in November (during the pandemic)
A new website and newsletter
A new isolation space and the expansion of restorative practice
Improvements to the existing site i.e. reception, quad roof, garden and much more planned.
Breakfast sessions with our GCSE students before exams and 'superlearning' sessions
Expansion consultations/agreement and new building planning permission granted and implementation of the new Borden test
Successful events i.e. Old Bordenians dinner, destinations events, Aim Higher primary club, sports day etc.
Successful charity fundraising, particularly for Ukraine
Expansion of peer mentoring and use of bodies such as Youth Resilience
Five Education Secretaries with one only lasting less than two days.
So what next? There are so many things we have in mind ranging from trips, visits, clubs and careers events, to projects on meta cognition and the house system. However, I have picked three major things to give you an in depth taster…
Expansion will continue to take up a lot of thinking and time. It appears that initial building works will start next term, but there remain some less obvious but related areas we need to work on. For instance, we really need more trustees for a growing school. Are you or might you know someone who is interested? You don’t need to have specific skills, although financial or strategic experience is always very useful. Maybe that sounds interesting to you? Or maybe you have some contacts that may want a discussion to find out more? Please email me at the school if this is the case as it is a vital part of making the school what it is. Meanwhile, we have also started improving areas of the current site, with a large canopy hopefully being put up over the summer break for students to sit and eat under and new windows in the S block.
Curriculum underpins teaching and learning. We have started the process of completely redesigning ours, building backwards from year 13, making sure we have exactly the right level of challenge and knowledge needed for our students, taught in a way that develops a strong skill based understanding through the most modern teaching methods. This is a huge enterprise and will ultimately take 2 or more years to complete during staff development days and twilight sessions. You might ask why we can’t just ‘buy it in’, often suggested by the government as an approach. Whilst ready-made curriculum design and lessons have their place, they are no substitute for the deep understanding and commitment gained in creating your own. This ultimately makes what is taught in the classroom much more effective.
Pastoral care and wellbeing was seen as a real positive in our recent Ofsted inspection, but there is always more to do. We are considering trialling some vertical tutoring next year to allow more peer work and to reinvigorate our house system. We are expanding our restoration programmes in our isolation and inclusion spaces. We are also carefully considering how we improve our careers guidance from years 7 to 11, particularly including guidance on some of the vocational pathways that are on offer Post 16 (see letter from the once Education Secretary here). Finally, we will be looking to further expand our support for young people through counselling and support services and have some specific work planned with students on areas such as resilience and Internet safety.
On this note, I would like to impress upon parents the importance of attendance. If you look on our website here (Expectations) you will see Borden based data that shows how attendance has a direct impact on student outcomes. The government has also brought in much stricter legislation and guidance to combat student absence and term time holidays which will result in faster escalation from us. Students should aim to have 97% attendance or better and anything below 90% is a serious concern because of the impact it will have on the child. Please contact us if you need help with this, but do everything you can to keep your child coming to school every day.
Overall, we have had some amazing achievements from quite a number of individual students this year. Students have competed at a national level in a variety of sports, have had their original designs patented and manufactured, and many have raising significant sums of money for charity. The students regularly make us very proud. Which had me thinking, what would I pick as the proudest three overall moments of the year?
Number 1 and Prize Giving would be an obvious place to start, but even more so the way our year 13 students handled themselves on their leaving day. They came in dressed in a vast array of fancy dress; they laughed, shook hands and said goodbye with caring and mature good humour. A particular moment? Seeing a student in a huge inflatable dinosaur suit struggle to walk along the Avenue of Remembrance without getting caught on all the trees, is still making me laugh just thinking about it.
Number 2 would be driving two full minibuses to deliver all the extraordinarily generous donations provided by students, parents and staff. It made me realise just how much of a community we are and how the worst moments can bring out the best in people.
Number 3 may not come as a surprise to you. It wasn’t just gaining the positive outcome from Ofsted that was obviously pleasing. It was more the way the boys spoke about their school with respect, pride and sometimes even love. Someone from the local authority said to me after our inspection that they had never seen the words “harmonious community” in a report before. They have now.
Goodbye and hello…
As is unfortunately always the case at this point of the year, we say our goodbyes to staff who are moving on or retiring.
Mrs Ward is also leaving us to do other things having been with us for 2 years and her dedication to her students in French has helped create many students' love of the language
Ms Katona has been a cleaner at the school for 3 years, particularly keeping us safe during the Covid period, moving on to becoming a science technician at another local school.
Mrs Frost is taking up a promotion to assistant headteacher at another Grammar School having been at Borden for 17 years. She will be sorely missed by the Modern Foreign Languages Department and the numerous students who have experienced her as their caring and supportive head of year 7.
Mr Chittenden, in charge of key stage 3 maths, is also retiring this year having been with us for 18 years and will also be hugely missed by students and staff alike. The chess club will never be the same again!
Mr Artingstoll, Assistant Headteacher, is retiring this year having been at Borden for 26 years. Students and staff will miss him enormously, particularly his use of ‘dad jokes’ to lighten any situation and make students smile.
Mr Hewitt is not really leaving us, but has retired full time from being our leading caretaker. He has worked at the school for 28 years and, like a stick of rock, may have Borden written throughout!
We wish all of these staff leaving us the very best of luck and will introduce all the new staff joining us early in September.
I sincerely hope that you all have a wonderful summer break. In particular, we wish all of our students who have taken their GCSEs or A levels the very best of luck over the summer and have our fingers well and truly crossed for their results. For students that are leaving us, taking their next steps in life, we wish them the very best of luck and ask that they please keep in touch. If it is your first family holiday in a while, please make the most of it as, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught us the importance of spending quality time with each other. I look forward to working with you all again in September and thank you again for your continued support.
Ashley Tomlin Headteacher
Key Stage 3 Drama
This term students have been studying puppetry, which has included the task of making their own puppets inspired by the graphic novel ‘The Arrival.’
The effort our students have put in has been wonderful, with all sorts of puppets being brought in: from Muppet-like creatures and dragons, to biomechanical birds. Pictured right is Xavi Appleby from Year 8 with his creation.
This was in addition to the very well thought out performances created for the puppets, which ranged from heartfelt and poignant, to abstract and hilarious. Well done all!
Geography Department Fieldwork
After what seems like an eternity, the Geography department was finally able to get back outside to complete fieldwork this term. On the 23rd and 28th of June, Year 10 Geography students spent two days carrying out fieldwork in Canterbury and Reculver as part of their GCSE studies. The Canterbury trip, organised by Mr Williams, saw students collecting a range of data to compare quality of life in contrasting locations in the city, as well as assessing the retail quality and success of the Whitefriars regeneration scheme.
The Reculver trip, organised by Mr Whiting, focused on the methods of coastal defence found in the area, assessing the success and justification for the defences. Both trips allowed students the opportunity to test theories and collect data which will be a key part of their GCSE UK paper next summer. Thanks to Mr Whiting and Mr Williams for organising the trips and also to Mrs Collinson, Mr Beeson, Mr Finch and Mr Weller for their help and support.
Some words from our Heads of Years
It has been such a busy and exciting term 6 in Year 7. The summer exams seem like an eternity ago, but I was incredibly impressed with how the boys conducted themselves in their first formal tests in the school and can see that their hard work has paid off with some fabulous results going home.
It was an absolute delight to welcome parents and carers from the five forms in this term to tour the school with their children. Many of you had not set foot inside the Borden Grammar doors before and so it was a wonderful community event - thank you for coming!
I imagine the Year 7s felt quite old when they saw the new Year 6s in for induction day earlier this month! It is hard to believe that their first year has come to an end. The boys wrote letters to their future selves in their very first week in Borden which they will be opening this week. I'm sure those letters will make them smile and at the same time feel proud of just how far they have come.
I was very proud to hand out so many end of year celebration certificates and achievement points to my Year 7s this week, well done to all those students.
On a personal note, whilst excited about the next stage in my career, I am really very sad to be leaving a school which has been so much more than a place of work to me. This is a wonderful community that genuinely cares for each and every member. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know your children as a Head of Year, supporting their development and sharing in their successes. My Head of MFL role has allowed me to oversee countless amazing trips and see so many boys and girls develop a love of language learning which will hopefully stay with them for a lifetime. Thank you to all parents and carers who have been so supportive of the school in my time here - I will treasure my Borden memories forever.
Head of Year 7
Year 8 have continued to impress their teachers throughout the summer term. Work was done in form time to help students understand how to revise and prepare for the end of year exams, which allowed students to showcase their skills across the curriculum and, they have identified areas for improvement in Year 9. Participation in Sports Day was enthusiastic and huge congratulations to 8CH who finished as Year 8 Sports Day champions. As Year 8 draws to a close, we look forward to new beginnings in Year 9 with new form groups, new form rooms and new tutors. Please look out for the KS3 equipment letter and make sure you return in September fully equipped and smartly dressed for Year 9. I look forward to seeing you all in September for the next stage of your Borden journey.
Head of Year 8
Term 6 saw Year 11 completing their GCSE examinations after two years of hard work through Years 10 and 11. During the exam period, superlearning and breakfast revision sessions were provided by staff to ensure the boys were well prepared going into their exams. The sessions were well attended, with most of the year group regularly participating in the breakfast revision sessions. Overall, throughout the exam period the boys conducted themselves maturely, and I look forward to seeing the results in the summer. After the exams finished, many of the boys returned to Borden for the sixth form taster sessions, as part of their transitions into the sixth form. We also had volunteers from Year 11 return to assist Year 6 boys in their transition day to familiarise themselves with Borden ahead of their start in September. The boys were a credit to themselves, and it was pleasing to see how mature they were escorting groups of younger students around the school to make them feel welcome. All of Year 11 deserve a good rest over the summer break, and we look forward to seeing many of them return for Sixth form in September.
Head of Year 11
Year 9s going into Year 10 English Literature
In September the English Literature GCSE course will start with the study of ‘Macbeth’. We ask that parents purchase a copy of the text so that students can take notes directly into these books. This will greatly help the students to prepare for work and revision. For those students in receipt of Free School Meals, the school will buy the books for them. There are lots of editions to choose from: two to recommend are Macbeth (Cambridge School Shakespeare) ISBN 1107615496 at £8.25 which has excellent notes and the almost equally good but inexpensive Collins Classroom Classics - Macbeth : GCSE 9-1 set text student edition ISBN 0008363604 at £2.50. Please ensure the boys have their books for the start of the new term.Many thanks
Head of English
This term pupils have been exploring the summer sports of Athletics, Tennis and Striking and fielding games within their core PE lessons. Pupils have adopted a fantastic attitude within these topics and demonstrated significant progress in their ability to vary skills in response to differing competitive scenarios. We have had fantastic representation to the Swale Schools District Athletics competitions held at The Sittingbourne School with many notable performances throughout. Special recognition goes to Toluwa Alhassan in year 8 for his district standard high jump score and Oliver Churcher in Year 7 for a strong performance in his middle distance race. Congratulations to Hayden Gear in Year 11 who has represented Kent at the British Schools Athletics Championships, held in Manchester; an achievement he should be immensely proud of. Also, well done to Alex Barnes, Louis Way, Ryan Fisher and Oscar Hockley from Year 9 who reached the National Final of the Schools FA competition for Under 14s, an incredible achievement.
Thank you to all staff and pupils for their outstanding efforts to make Sports Day 2022 a huge success. This year was the first year since 2019 that Sports Day was able to run as a whole school with the absence of covid restrictions. Pupils competed in hockey, handball and Athletics within A, B and C categories with an emphasis placed on participation rather than outcome. The effort, attitude, sportsmanship and sense of community demonstrated from all pupils cannot be praised enough. We are immensely proud of all pupils, with the vast majority (over 97% of pupils) participating in at least one activity throughout the day and really showing off Borden at its very best. Well done boys.
Pupils have also accessed opportunities to develop their cricketing skills in a range of scenarios. In term 5, over 60 pupils took up the opportunity to benefit from the help of qualified district cricket coach, Simon Harwood and accessed a soft ball cricket skills club. We would like to thank Simon for all of his fantastic work and the positive attitudes of the boys, who participated with a smile and a willingness to learn. Term 6 saw a shift of focus to competitive cricket and pupils attended the hard ball clubs that were on offer. These were benefited by the use of a new roll on cricket net and special thanks goes to the Kent Schools Cricket Association for their support in the form of a grant to subsidise the cost of the net. We look forward to continuing to develop cricket over the coming years. Pupils also participated in hard ball cricket fixtures against Harvey Grammar and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School with excellent performances from Jay Sharma (Y8) and Ned Cotta (Y7) to be noted. The 1st XI participated in the Kent Schools Cricket League and were unfortunate to lose narrowly in both games. Strong performances from Cameron Bruce (Y13) and Jude McBeath (Y11) should be noted, and we look forward to playing more fixtures next academic year.
Head of Physical Education
Second time around uniform scheme
Is your uniform a bit of a misfit?
Has your child outgrown it?
Do you no longer need it or do you need
Why not donate it back to school where it can help to reduce, re-use and recycle?
How do I donate second time around uniform?
All items MUST be washed at 60 degrees and be bagged up.
Please deliver your uniform donations to reception or send in with your child.
How do I buy second time around uniform?
Please email email@example.com providing your name, contact number and items you would like e.g. 2 x Medium Shirts and 1 x Medium PE sweatshirt.
If available, your items be bagged up ready for collection or given to your child to bring home. If we unfortunately do not have the items you require, we will contact you and let you know.
If you are able to make a monetary donation for any second time around uniform that you receive it would be most welcome.
Payments for purchasing can be made either by cheque which can be deposited in a named envelope through the letter box in the Finance Office, or via the BGS online payment system (SCOPAY). Should you not yet have access to Scopay, details of how to make online payments can be issued in personalised letters. If you require a new copy, please contact the Finance Manager, Mrs Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send an access letter out.
If cash payments are made, students must deliver payment in person to the Finance Office and a receipt will be issued. Cash payments can only be accepted at morning registration or morning break and MUST NOT be posted through the Finance Office letter box.
Uniform that is in the Lost Property and is unnamed and unclaimed by the end of the academic year will be considered second hand uniform.
Religious Studies news
In Religious Studies lessons this term, students have been using the movie ‘The Truman Show’ (1998) to explore a number of philosophical ideas. The movie is a wonderful example of how ‘ultimate questions’ can be examined through art and culture. In class, students used the movie to explore ideas such as ‘Plato’s Cave’, freewill and concepts of the afterlife. There was some magnificent and insightful contributions made by students in sessions. The RS Department hopes that over the summer, whether it’s in the books that they read or the music they listen to, students think about any possible religious or moral themes.
Year 8 have continued to study Sikhi. Topics include how Sikhs respond to global issues and the history of the turban. There is always a lot of interest in the ‘Five K’s’ – the articles of faith worn by Sikhs who are part of the Khalsa, and it’s fascinating to listen to the responses and reactions of the youngsters in class.
Buddhism has been examined through the lens of ‘Groundhog Day’ (1993) - a movie which works on so many levels, and has a very strong Buddhist message. Year 9 have also been engaged in meditation activities (perfect for a hot and sunny afternoon) as well as looking at the history of mandalas.
If you are interested in looking at resources that have been used throughout the year with Key Stage 3, then they are available on the Religious Studies Google Site.
Year 10 have finished their first year of GCSE, and over the summer have been set a few tasks to get them ready for Year 11. Well done to all those who have worked so hard, it’s a course that’s very rich in terms of knowledge and key terms – that effort will pay off in the long term!
Finally, thankyou from myself, Mrs Mahoney, Mr Sumner and Mr Gilham (PGCE) for supporting the RS Department this academic year. Whether it’s been encouraging homework to be completed, discussing religious issues at home or reminding them to pack their RS book for the morning, it is appreciated!
We wish all our students, and their families, a peaceful and restful summer
Mr Richard Sherwood-Farnfield Lead teacher for Religious Studies
Old Bordenians report on
"When I was a lad" ...
When I was at Borden, there was a charismatic sportsman named Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammed Ali. Aside from being a multiple World Champion, he was one of the first TV sports’ personalities. He had a fine sense of humour, a particular melodic intonation to his voice, and a rich Kentucky drawl. He was the epitome of persistence. The come-back kid. Stubborn refusal to be beaten.
I recall an interview with a TV sports commentator called Harry Carpenter. Harry asked Muhammed what was the secret of his success: he replied in his magnificent modulation, “I train an’ I train, until I cannot train no more …. and then … I train some more.” Wow, what a positive attitude.
Never give up, keep on plugging away, pick yourself up when you’re down, push yourself just beyond what you thought you could do – it’s amazing what you can achieve.
LPN Summer School
Each year Christ's College, Cambridge works in collaboration with Sidney Sussex and Murray Edwards Colleges to run an August summer school for Year 11 students. We are pleased to report that our Year 11 student Brennen Moran has been successful in being offered a place 'Physical Sciences' on the summer school.
Against such tough competition he has done incredibly well to have been offered this opportunity. Competition this year was again incredibly strong, with almost 400 applicants for 120 places. We hope he enjoys the experience and special thanks to Mrs Brooker who encouraged and supported students in the process of applying.
Year 9 student Frank Ripley, who has been boxing since he was eight, has invented a water bottle to help fighters drink on their own - and it'll get a showing at the Commonwealth Games. When Frank started boxing he would always struggle to hydrate himself when wearing his boxing gloves, with somebody else having to give him a drink. He wanted to drink by himself without removing his gloves and found there was nothing available to purchase to help this.
So Frank put pen to paper and drew what he thought would work, he also made a prototype out of an old sports bottle, added some zip ties and plenty of gorilla glue to make a handle. To start with It didn’t look great but the concept worked. Fast forward five years, multiple product tests, prototypes, patent and design protecting he came up with the end product, Fraqua. Named after a combination of Frank and aqua, the bottles are now being manufactured in the UK at a factory in Buckinghamshire.
The young entrepreneur has even sent out some bottles to Team Ghana, who are boxing in the Commonwealth Games this year. Fraqua is the first bottle in the world that you can pick up while wearing boxing gloves. It’s also the first ever water bottle to obtain such accreditation from the International Boxing Association (IBA) and get a license.
Frank has also received a letter from !0 Downing Street congratulating him on his success.
Gardening Club update
What a first year for the Gardening Club….
Whilst we haven’t done as much as we would have liked (there never seems to be enough time), we are starting to make visible changes all over the school site. This year we can list some of our achievements as:
Planting a range of UK natural trees, for both decorative and functional reasons as well as to encourage local wildlife
Created and planted our own ‘Produce’ beds (Including fruits, vegetables and herbs) – the benefit being, trying some new fruit and vegetables that students had never tried before
Introducing our members to plenty of new flower varieties, from spring bulbs to summer bloomers, and understanding the beauty of nature
Starting to change the landscape of the old cricket nets into a more natural area, including long grass meadows, flower beds and a feature mound for future years.
Started our own composting system for a more sustainable future
Introduced plenty of students to some indoor plants in Mr Swaffer’s room
Added plenty of life to the Quad, in the form of climbers, hanging baskets, flowers, aquatic plants as well as a lovely donated acer tree (that Mr Swaffer gladly picked up from one of our kind parents).
We have had a range of students from across the school get involved but none more so than from the younger years, who I am excited to see develop next year and welcome our new Year 7s, to whom they can share and impart their new-found knowledge in leading specific projects.
I would also like to thank the encouragement I have received from our community as a whole, but namely the School Council, The Old Bordenians and Parents collecting with the Morrisons scheme (which I hope will return next year), as all have contributed to helping our resources grow this year which is greatly welcome.
Whilst we are nowhere near where we want to be, and the limits are endless for where we want to take over, it is exciting to think how the Gardening club space will grow in the future, and how we hope to take over even more within the school.
Dungeons and dragons club
Calling all adventurers big and small, from September Borden Grammar will be hosting a weekly Dungeons and Dragons club. So if you want to be a rogue using stealth and dexterity to achieve your goals; or a holy paladin crusading in the name of good and order; or a warlock seeking the knowledge that lies hidden in the fabric of the multiverse; dungeons and dragons is the game for you.
The club aims to build a small community within the larger Borden community of like minded students who can learn from one another. Within the club you will learn the basic rules of the game, how to create your own character, and how to run a game for others.
All players are welcome whether they are complete beginners or a seasoned adventurer looking for a new challenge.
More information will follow in September.
This year saw a successful return of the warhammer club to school, with 18 students across Years 7-11 attending. The club gives the students an opportunity to learn about the game from existing players. They compare painting techniques and learn from what each other are doing. They form alliances with other students to increase the size of an army, and learn how to play the game. We have built a small cross year community within the club and look forward to hopefully seeing it grow next year.
Below are some of the models painted by students in the club.