Year 7 Bulletin – October 2015

Dear parents, Guardians and Carers,

Welcome to the second Year 7 Bulletin; I hope you find it informative and also feel that we are including you in your child’s experience in high school. Transition for Year 6 students to Year 7 is a huge step for them and equally for parents, guardians and carers. Crickhowell High School (CHS) welcomed 121 new students at the start of the term and I am pleased to report that on the whole, they have settled in quite well. CHS takes great pride in the fact that we offer a supportive, inclusive environment in which young people can thrive and who we get to know personally.

The aim of the newsletter is to keep you abreast of learning in the school, events that your child can get involved in, extra-curricular activities and future important dates which you need to be aware of. If there is anything you wish to see in future editions of Year 7 newsletters, which will be produced monthly, please do not hesitate to contact me. I want you to feel that the newsletter is as much your voice as it is for the school.

In order for your child to thrive well in school, they need to feel safe and happy in every aspect of their time in school. If at any time they inform you that they are upset or are finding the work they are doing is too difficult, please contact me immediately so that I am able to deal with their concerns and allay any fears that they may have. All subject teachers want your child to do well and will also be keen to hear of any difficulty they may have and will work with them in resolving any difficulties reported.


Important Dates for Year 7

  • Guidance Evening (Change of date) – Thursday 15th October
  • October Half Term – Monday 26th to Friday 30th October

Guidance Evening

We held our Open Evening on the 24th September which saw a high turnout of over 200 families visiting the school. Nearly 60 Year 7 students volunteered to be Guides to show visitors around and despite being new to the school themselves, they carried out their role with great aplomb and did themselves and the school proud. Mrs Parker received several messages from visitors praising the students on their manners and politeness. As Progress leader for Year 7, it made me feel very proud to hear such positive comments. I wish also, to thank the parents of the students who acted as Guides, for coming back out later in the evening to collect them.

Form Tutors and Form Structure

We have 4 tutors this year in Year 7, who are:

  • Mr O’Farrell – 7C
  • Mr Bowsher – 7D
  • Mr Matthews – 7H
  • Mrs Burbridge – 7P

The structure of the time students spend with their tutor is as follows:

  • Monday – Literacy Challenge
  • Tuesday – Year 7 assembly
  • Wednesday – Numeracy Challenge
  • Thursday – Planner signing and topic related to Theme of the Week
  • Friday – KS3 assembly taken by member of Leadership Team

The literacy and numeracy challenges are aimed at students of all abilities and are devised as a way of introducing students to the concepts of literacy and numeracy in their lessons. It would be appreciated that your child brings a book to school to read for the ‘Drop Everything And Read’ (DEAR) lesson which takes place every week. Students can bring in a book of their choice but you can access an up to date reading list on the school website.

Themes of the Week are covered in assemblies as well as tutorial time and the themes for October are as follows:

  • W/c 5/10/15 – Science & Technology: World Space Week
  • W/c 12/10/15 – Cyber bullying and the Law
  • W/c 19/10/15 – Black History Month


The date for Year 7 students to sit their CATS will take place this week.


CHS successfully achieve high levels of attendance which is 95%- 96% which is slightly above the Welsh Government target of 95%. Absence from school should be kept to a bare minimum and where possible, all medical and dental appointments should be made outside of school hours. All absences are authorised at the discretion of the school. It is surprising how just a few days absence from school impacts upon your child’s learning as evidenced by the following:

100% Attendance            0 Days of learning missed            Best chance of success

95% Attendance              2 weeks of learning missed         Will impact learning

90% Attendance              4 weeks learning missed              Severely impacts learning

85% Attendance               5 ½ weeks learning missed          Risk of prosecution

80% Attendance              7 ½ weeks of learning missed    Risk of prosecution and poor outcomes academically

Did you know that if a child’s attendance is 80%, it means they have missed:

  • 1 day EVERY week
  • 6 days EVERY half term
  • 12 days EVERY term
  • 36 days EVERY year
  • 180 days in 5 years

…that is nearly ONE WHOLE SCHOOL YEAR!

CHS are visited every fortnight by the Education Welfare Officer, Jacky Davis, who liaises with the school and monitors students’ attendance and track all levels of absences. Where a student’s absence falls below 80%, with no valid reason for the absences, the school will invite the parents or guardians to an Attendance Improvement Meeting (AIM) which the EWO will also attend. The purpose of the AIM is to ascertain the reason for low levels of attendance and look at solutions to improve regular attendance. If levels of attendance do not improve, the EWO will, in accordance with the local Authority guidelines, issue a Fixed Penalty Notice, which means a court appearance and a fine. We endeavour to work with parents very closely where their child is not attending regularly in order to prevent the situation resulted in prosecution.

If your child starts to experience difficulties in attending school, I would urge you to contact me in the first instance as the sooner any issues can be dealt with, the sooner we can resolve any difficulties.   We want to work with you in ensuring your child receives a high level of education and access all the opportunities available to them by attending on a regular basis.

Home-School communication

Your child’s planner is a crucial link between school and parents and guardians and allows teachers to inform you of any news or concerns within different subject areas. It would be appreciated if you could check your child’s planner on a regular basis and sign it weekly to confirm that you have read and reviewed the contents. Important information is often recorded in the planners and letters will be sent home for students who fail to have their planner signed three or more times within any term. Students are also expected not to deface their planner and keep them in good order.

Show My Home Work

As you are aware by now, your child is able to access homework that has been set via the Show My Home Work site which has proved to be very successful. It also allows parents to check on homework deadlines to ensure that students complete homework on time and within the timescale set. It is important that students keep their access code supplied to them, confidential, as each code is unique to each student. If your child has difficulty accessing their homework information, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can investigate the problem.

Homework Club

Students have the opportunity to access staff who can assist them with their homework in the Homework Club which runs every day between 1.30pm – 2pm in ICT1. Please encourage your child to make use of this as it is an invaluable opportunity for your child to be able to get support with any issues they may have understanding or completing their homework.

Special Visitors to Assembly

Year 7 received two visitors in assembly this term, Mr Charles & Mr Ward who are from the Gideon’s Society. All Year 7’s received a New Testament bible and were read a scripture followed by a prayer, led by Mr Ward. CHS are honoured that both Mr Charles and Mr Ward have been visiting the school for many years and it is possible that some of our current parents attended the school and received the same New Testament bible themselves!

Extra-curricular Activities

Year 7 students have a wealth of opportunities to engage in a vast number of activities that reflect the different interests of all students.

  • Choir – Every Thursday 1.30pm-2pm in the Music Room. All welcome
  • Orchestra – Every Friday lunchtime in the Music Room. All welcome
  • School Play – Rehearsals commence Tuesday 6th October 3pm-5.30pm. All welcome
  • Rock Challenge – Short interpretation of a theme through music and dance.
  • 5X60 Program – Sporting opportunities available at break, lunch times and after school. Activities include orienteering, basketball, table tennis, dance, horse riding, girls’ rugby and football, to name but a few. If your child expresses any interest in finding out more, please encourage them to speak to me or ask for Miss Nicola Jones, Community Sports Development Officer, who is in charge of organising the 5X60 program.
  • Musical Groups – Every Monday lunchtime. Students welcome who enjoy singing, dancing and acting. All welcome – willingness to attempt anything is encouraged!

Art Department News

Students have the opportunity to develop their creativity, via a rich and varied curriculum and work with an exciting range of different materials that include printmaking, clay, mask making and projects using wood, metals, electronics and plastics. A letter was recently sent home with all Year 7’s which outlined the difficulty in providing raw materials at a time when school budgets have been cut. A one-off voluntary contribution of £9.00 towards costs, which is equivalent to £1.00 per term, would greatly assist the department’s aims of providing students with the necessary material needed.

Behaviour Rewards System

All Key Stage 3 students have the opportunity to earn Behaviour Rewards and receive recognition for excellence across all the subjects based on the Olympic Values. The Olympic Values are:

  • Respect
  • Excellence
  • Friendship
  • Determination
  • Inspiration
  • Courage
  • Equality

Students represent the good name of the school and our expectations of good behaviour are very high and students will be rewarded where acts of good behaviour are evident. It is also an opportunity to reward students who display one of the Olympic Values and go out of their way to support and assist their peers in school. The end of school trips which take place in July, may seem a long way off, however, the good behaviour of students right the way through the academic year, will determine who is able to go on the trip.

Information on Social Media – Risks and Challenges

As well as being Progress Leader for Year 7, I am also the Student Support & Child Protection Officer. I deliver lessons within the PSE curriculum on social media safety, which covers cyber bullying, grooming, sexual exploitation, sexting and other risks and challenges young people face when using all social media platforms.

As has happened in previous years, I will be looking to organise a Parents Evening specifically on the risks presented to young people and what applications and sites young people use and the dangers associated with their usage. I would advise that parents attend without their children as we will be covering topics that I would prefer child people not to be present for. I would welcome you expressing your interest in attending in order for me to ascertain what your concerns are and tailor-make the evening based on your worries and concerns. You will be able to take away with you an excellent magazine provided free of charge on behalf of Vodafone which is full of excellent advice.


I hope that you have found the first Year 7 Bulletin of the year useful and answered some of your queries. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s attainment or general well-being, I can be contacted in school and if necessary, arrange a meeting in school to discuss your concerns.

Until next month’s Bulletin, I wish you all a happy and healthy October.

Mrs Phillips
Progress Leader for Year 7
Student Support & Child Protection Officer