A YEAR LIKE NO OTHER

2020 has been a year unlike any other, as we have faced together a worldwide pandemic that has changed our lives and work in ways we could never have imagined. While circumstances may have put distance between us, in a physical sense at least, these challenging last 12 months have seen our pupils, parents and teachers work together more closely than ever.

I would like to invite you to join me, the children and our staff in looking back at what we have achieved together in 2020, as I am sure it will fill you full of hope for a brighter 2021. Hopefully, your spirits will have already been lifted from viewing our latest Christmas Facebook posts showing our beautiful school Christmas Tree and decorations as well as the children enjoying their 12 Days of Christmas in wonderful costumes!

A FEAST OF CHRISTMAS MAGIC

Christmas, for me, has always been a magical time, but to be able to share in the Tower College Christmas festivities has made it even more so. I must confess to watery eyes watching the Pre-Prep and Lower School children perform their Nativity with such enthusiasm and dedication. The incredible efforts of Mrs Wright and her team in putting on this performance and in arranging the socially distanced Christmas Parties were well rewarded by the delight on the children’s faces.

“EVERY CHARITABLE ACT IS A STEPPING STONE TOWARDS HEAVEN.”  (Henry Ward Beecher)

If Mr Beecher has it right, then the Tower College parents and children have already made it to Saint Peter! The staggering amount of money raised for Willowbrook Hospice (well over £1200) and the gifts donated to Ravenhead Foyer leave me speechless. We are exceptionally proud of the pupils who took it upon themselves to make a difference; they really are true ambassadors of the school.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our long serving Reception teacher, Miss Norris. We wish Miss Norris the very best of a very well-earned retirement. Miss Norris says that she will miss the children dreadfully and will have to come back to visit. We will all miss you! Fortunately, we have managed to secure the services of an outstanding early years practitioner, Miss Ashwood, who has also previously worked with the Tower children. Miss Nugent and I had a very productive meeting with Miss Ashwood last week and we are more than confident that the children will be in the very best of hands.

HAPPY NEW ARRIVAL

Congratulations to Mr Craig Wells and Mrs Zoe Wells on their new arrival, Arthur, who has already caused quite a stir and many coos when he visited school this week! Arthur has already received many lovely presents, but today he received an extra-special one from Miss Oxley, who came into school to deliver it in person! Continuing the Tower College family tradition, Craig and Zoe are looking forward to him spending a great deal more time with us when he joins Tower Tots!

COMMUNICATION FINDS A NEW HOME

The Parents’ Forum is proving to be a very successful addition to the school’s communication channels. From my meeting with Mrs Parry this week, it’s clear that there are a number misconceptions from both the school’s and the parents’ points of view. It seems that some parents are apprehensive about bringing some matters directly to the school and welcomed the availability of Mrs Parry to air their concerns. The meeting was very productive and several solutions were proposed. The minutes of the meeting will be sent to the relevant parents after the Christmas break. I would like to thank Mrs Parry for the time and care she has given to this new and vital role.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

We have received some parental queries regarding the current absence of drama, music, dance, choir and other extra-curricular activities. Unfortunately, we have been unable to run these due to bubble restrictions limiting uptake in numbers to make the activities viable. We are looking to re-introduce our full suite of extra-curricular activities across the school as soon as we possibly can.

What a whirlwind of a term! I am so very proud of all the pupils in Pre-Prep and Lower School. They have achieved so much this term. A term where the world as they know it has continued to be turned upside down!

This term, we have introduced the roles of Head Boy, Head Girl, along with their deputies and our House Captains. They are all looking forward to carrying out the important jobs given to them. Well done to you all! You are sensible role models for all of Pre-Prep and Lower School to look up to – a fantastic achievement!

This term, as I have been walking through the corridors, I have seen some of the most enthusiastic learning taking place. The children have worked very hard this term and have enjoyed the lessons. The teachers have all worked so hard on to make their learning experience one to remember.

We have enjoyed our 12 Days of Christmas and hope you have seen our posts on Social Media and loved them as much as we did!

EYFS

Bluebird and Reception

In Bluebird and Reception, the children love to cut and stick. Every time I go into their classroom, I can see they have been working on their cutting skills and the sticking usually involves lots of glitter! They have been busy this week learning about the story of Jesus’ birth.

The children have enjoyed listening to the story of Jesus’ birth, the children then used their numbering skills to sequence the story in a sticking and gluing activity Miss Norris and Miss Nugent

Year 1 have been busy bees outside. Each week they have wrapped up warm, put their wellies on and taken their learning outdoors. I can see them from my office, and it has been a pleasure to see their enjoyment during these lessons.

In year one, we have been watching the seasons change and we have been getting outside as much as possible. We made natural bird feeders using pine ones, raisins and bird seeds. We hid these around the whole school. We even left apple cores out that we had finished from our snack. The next day, we went on a hunt and some of the bird feeders had been eaten and the apple cores were missing! From our classroom, we saw squirrels eating our bird feeders. Miss Porter

Year 2 have most recently written some wonderful letters to Father Christmas – not asking for presents for themselves, but for those who are less fortunate and asking him to take care of the world. It makes me proud to hear that the children are so kind, caring, and thoughtful for people they have not even met.

In their letters to Santa, the Lower School children were so thoughtful and selfless, with many asking for gifts for those less fortunate than themselves.  They asked for blankets for the homeless, food and water for children in Africa, more hand gel for the classroom and for coronavirus to stop. We are so lucky to teach such lovely, caring children in Tower College. Mrs Miles and Mrs Gibson

Year 3 have been promoting kindness in their classroom by taking note when someone shows an act of kindness. They write down the act of kindness and put it in the ‘kindness jar’. At the end of the week, the ‘kindness jar winner’ is announced.

It has been lovely to see all the children encourage each other to act kindly, be it holding open the door, tying a shoelace for someone or celebrating in the achievements of their friends. A beautiful sight to see all of the class embracing the compassion that Tower College is all about. Miss Deane

Year 4JM have been working alongside one of Santa’s elves to promote kindness around the classroom.

Year 4JM have been Kindness Elves for our Twelve Days of Christmas in Lower School. Each day, the children have written kind notes to eachother and placed them in a different child’s stocking for them to read on Christmas Day. During our ‘Christmas Kindness Countdown’, they have carried out lots and lots of kind tasks at home and at school. Well done Year 4JM!  Mrs Miles

Year 4AM have been busy learning all about the Vikings and I have heard them singing away too!

This term the children in Year 4AM have been learning lots about the Vikings including their daily life, achievements and beliefs. The children have been working hard in our history lessons by identifying the features of Viking longhouses. The children explored how the Vikings used different materials to build their homes. Using their knowledge, the children have carefully selected materials to produce fantastic Viking longhouse structures. It has been lovely to see the children enjoy studying the history topic of the ‘Vikings’ this term. Keep up the fantastic work Year 4AM!  Miss Midgley

Our New Pre-Prep and Lower School Teachers

Now a few words from our new teachers. They have all worked so very hard this term and have truly embraced the Tower College family – wonderful additions to our team!

My first term of teaching at Tower College has been a fantastic experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching Year 4AM and it has been truly rewarding to hear that the children are enjoying their learning. During my University teaching placements, it was clear that Tower College was a very welcoming school. It has been a joy to be part of such an inclusive and close-knit, family feel school. All the wonderful staff members continue to provide endless support to ensure I am developing effective teaching skills and confidence as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). Although I would never have imagined my teaching career to begin during these unusual times, the unique experiences have enabled me to develop and adapt to new teaching strategies such as online learning on Microsoft Teams. I am thrilled to have begun my teaching career at Tower College and I am excited for the upcoming times ahead in the classroom. Thank you to all the lovely children who continue to make me smile and enjoy my teaching career every single day. I am very proud of all the children in Year 4AM and the hard work and determination they have shown this Autumn Term. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Miss Midgley

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first term at Tower College and very much enjoyed working with such a kind and caring class. Their passion for learning is unending and we have enjoyed many lessons involving acting, writing letters to Sir David Attenborough and creating snow globes. The children have enjoyed adding marbles to our jar and have enjoyed the rewards. I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to work in such a supportive school and feel I have been welcomed into the Tower College family with open arms. I am very excited to return in the spring term to continue to shape young minds and grow as a teacher. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Miss Deane

My first term at Tower College has been thoroughly enjoyable and I have loved being back. It has been amazing to think that I was once the year 1 placement teacher at Tower College, but I have now taken over to be the actual year 1 class teacher. My class has been a delight and full of laughter. I have loved having them as my first class. The staff at Tower College have been so supportive and I cannot wait to continue working with everybody! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Miss Porter

I hope you enjoyed finding out what we have been doing since we returned in September. It has been testing times for all of us and I would like to thank all the staff for an excellent term of hard work and dedication. I would like to thank the pupils for coming into school each day with their wonderful smiles and passion for learning. And lastly, but not least, I would like to thank all the parents, carers and families for their support; it is greatly appreciated. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year. I leave you with something very special indeed …  Mrs Wright

New Staff Update

I have really enjoyed my first term at Tower College and have been fully welcomed into the TC family. The staff are incredibly supportive and all work together to do the best for the pupils. The pupils have already shown what make them so special; they have amazing talents and kind hearts. Their thirst for knowledge, passion for each subject and their individual abilities are part of the reason why they are a joy to teach. In my first term, I have been offered opportunities to support pupils further by becoming an academic mentor whereby I put forward pupils’ ideas for positive change through the organising of the school’s Pupil Voice. I am very much looking forward to the time when I can offer extra-curricular activities before, during and after school. We are looking to develop the House Sport calendar to increase the competitive element among the pupils. Hopefully, ISA Sports will start soon, so I will be looking for pupils to showcase our sporting talent. I am really looking forward to spending many years at Tower College as its future can only be a brilliant one.  Mr Southward

I have loved my first term at Tower College. I have enjoyed getting to know every pupil and staff member and I feel like I am really becoming a part of the school – and it has only been one term! We have learned about weird, wobbly waves with the year 8s and 11s; some shocking things about electricity with the year 7s and 9s; and used the force with the year 10s. On the maths side, the year 7s have likely learned something about probability, and the year 9s have got a good measure of units and scales. Teaching year 5 and 6 English is an absolute delight; the pupils are so bright and cheerful (there’s no terrible pun in that one). Thank you all for being so welcoming! Have a lovely Christmas. Mr Thorn

I have really enjoyed meeting all the staff and pupils here at Tower College, and I have had such a warm welcome from everybody! We have had lots of excitement in the Computing department, as one by one, I work through the most exciting areas of technological development. Middle school have particularly impressed me with their own attempts at Game Design (and the many tributes to Space-Glover!) and game development skills have never been as sought after in the UK as they are now. I am hoping to bring the exciting world of Enterprise Awards and 3D printing to some of you before the end of the school year, and I hope that your 3D design skills are up to scratch! Mr Glover

PHSE Update

Our new PHSE curriculum has been devised and implemented by Mrs Davies. She has ensured that the children will develop the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to keep themselves healthy, safe and prepared for life and work. As part of the PSHE syllabus this half term, the topics taught for each year group are as follows:

Year 11 Booster Sessions

We are delighted to produce our most up to date Booster sessions for the Year 11 pupils. This will begin on the first Tuesday (12th January) back after the Christmas break. We kindly request that you send in confirmation of the subjects that your child will attend. This can be on a piece of paper on the first day back. Please pick up your child from the main car park at 4:45 pm. If you are late and have not arrived we will put your child in twilight after 4.50pm where they can keep warm. Pupils will not be left on the car park unattended.

12 Days of Christmas – Update and Results

Tuesday 1st December – Christmas Around the World.
Mr Glover welcomed the Christmas activities with an assembly explaining each day. He then went on to explaining traditions from around the world. Did you know in Japan they have KFC on Christmas day?

Wednesday 2nd December – Christmas Short Story.
During the day’s English lessons, Years 5, 6 and 7 all took part in the short story competition. As always, our pupils went above and beyond and may have started writing their own novels. Mrs Christian was amazed by all who took part, and the winner of the Christmas Short Story Competition is Freya in 6P.

Thursday 3rd December – Christmas Craft Day.
In form time, pupils designed their own decoration to take home and put on their trees. The pupils showed how creative they all are and made a lot of incredible designs.

Friday 4th December
Hunt the Nativity Character. 15 characters including Santa and Rudolf were hidden around the school. While most where found quickly, Mrs Claus showed to be a challenge for all. The determination of Y5 and Y7 especially have resulted in 3 winners. Florence and Kyra (5M) and Lucy (7S).

Monday 7th December – he Stolen Christmas Presents!
Mr Southward woke up to find all his Christmas presents stolen from under his tree. With the first clue being chewed by his puppy Koby, Mr Southward had to look for extra clues around the house. With the help of the pupils, he discovered it was Mrs Griffiths! Congratulations to 6P, 8G and 11M on helping Mr Southward discover the truth.

Tuesday 8th December – Christmas Card Day.
In form groups, pupils wrote caring messaged to those who are currently in care homes within Rainhill. We understand it has been a tough year and some of the residents in these care homes will sadly not see any family members over Christmas. We wanted to spread small amount of joy during this time and be there for everyone during a difficult time. We have 150 cards to be sent out!

Wednesday 9th December – Santa Dash.
Mr Southward took year groups on a walk of the grounds, wearing festive hats and singing Christmas songs. While all enjoyed the feeling that Christmas is here.

Thursday 10th December – Christmas Art Competition.
Once again, the pupils of Tower College could show their sense of creativity. They were tasked to draw a Christmassy scene. The pupils produced an album of festive scenes. The winner was Tharujen (6P)

Friday 11th December – Penalty Shootout.
Form groups nominated 3 pupils to take penalties against Mr Wells. He believed no one would score a single goal and oh how wrong was he! Plenty of penalties flew past Mr Wells with 9K scoring 4 out of 6 to win the overall prize.

Monday 14th December – Christmas “Tree” Decoration Competition.
In forms, pupils worked together to decorate one form member, who wore a green jumper, like a Christmas tree. Year 10, with the help from Mr Taylor took this competition to another level.

Tuesday 15th December – Christmas Quiz.
Mr Glover delivered a festive quiz to the whole school, testing both staff and pupil’s knowledge of Christmas. The most interesting round by far was figuring out which baby picture is of which staff member. Remarkably 7S got a whopping 24/31 questions right, showing they really do know their teachers.

On Wednesday and Thursday after such a turbulent year, pupils spent the afternoons together in their form groups. They ended the term in positive spirits by having a Christmas film afternoon and form party. All of the winners will be rewarded with a box of miniature Heroes to enjoy.

Year 8 Options

Thank you to all of Y8. We have now compiled all of the data and can now start to build the option blocks to fit the majority of the pupils’ choices from the option run. The option blocks will be finalized and sent before the February half term. This is the point when pupils will make their final GCSE choices in the blocks from the data we have collected this term.

Final Words from Mr Wells

This term has been one of the toughest terms that I have ever been involved in during my teaching career. We have had pupils missing lessons through isolation, COVID positive results, stress/anxiety, confusion over the government rules, injuries to name a few. However, even with all of this we are still the united family that we started. I can not comment on how proud I am of the pupils, their maturity and resilience to the pandemic. They have had to cope with changes in lunch times, bubbles, restrictions to the grounds and deal with going back into their bubbles every lesson. There has been some teething problems but everyone has pulled together in true Tower College spirit and helped each other throughout. A big thank you to the staff, every lesson they clean every desk, chair and full door to ensure the safety of our pupils. I hope and pray for a more normal 2021 so we can get back to what we all enjoy. I wish you all the very best for 2021 and have a lovely Christmas break.

A word from Mr Barr

Under normal circumstances, meeting the requirements of the HSE and the DfE is a difficult enough task – under COVID-19 almost impossible! But we did it! The emphasis here is on the ‘we’ – Mr Morgan and Mr Barber have been remarkable in helping me to ensure that Tower College met all of its operational risk assessment targets. The domestic cleaning staff have also played their part in keeping the school as safe as possible. Mr Morgan has also made a splendid start to the painting of the new common room soon to be opening to our Year 11s. Mr Barber has worked tirelessly to maintain the grounds to the highest of standards. On behalf of the maintenance team, we wish you a very merry and safe Christmas.

A word from Ms McNamara

Without doubt, this term has broken the telephone calls-in record! With COVID-19 rife, parents, justifiably, have had a greater level of anxiety and rightly sought the advice of the school office. Angela and Beth have had to multitask at a whole new level and have managed some difficult situations admirably.

While Angela has been ensuring that our accounts are fully in order, Beth has been making very good friends with St. Helens Track and Trace! She now has encyclopaedic knowledge regarding self isolation and the procedures to follow in a variety of CoVID-19 related scenarios. Her record keeping was praised by the St. Helens Outbreak team.

Word is certainly spreading that Tower College is the place to be. This term we have safely shown 41 families around the school. We have conducted the Y7 Entrance Exam and extra assessments where needed. We have offered 10 places for our Y7 class next year. We hope to hold another Entrance Exam early in the new year. We have also conducted online assessments with 3 families from Hong Kong via Microsoft teams and offered places to all 5 children.

It’s been a busy one, but we have pulled together as a team and made it to the end of term. It’s been strange adjusting to the “new normal” but at least there’s never been a dull moment. From Angela, Beth and myself, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

COVID-19 CONSEQUENCES

COVID-19 has not only plunged the world into mortal fear but it has also devastated the world’s economy with many businesses either struggling to survive or folding completely. At the start of the outbreak, we immediately started planning for the worst possible scenarios. Thankfully, this has mitigated any financial threats to the school. I would like to reassure you that even though we have unfortunately lost some pupils from families whose businesses could not withstand the losses as a result of COVID-19, our foresight has protected us. I would also like to urge you to contact Ms McNamara if you are undergoing financial difficulties, as we may have a solution.

UNIFORM

Just a polite reminder that boys’ hair must be kept tidy. We have noticed that some boys now have rather questionable hairstyles. As the barber shops have reopened, please can this be addressed before the return school in January. 

Uniform – Tower College

LUNCHES

Thank you to those parents who completed the recent ‘Lunch Survey Form’. As a result of the survey’s findings, we have met with Holroyd Howe’s management team to discuss the necessary changes. We will be sending out a further survey asking for the children’s preferences so that the menu can be tailored to their choices.

To the staff – THANK YOU! You have shouldered a huge responsibility in providing continuous education for the pupils of Tower College in ways that might previously have been thought impossible. The summer term was difficult enough in having to teach through a computer screen, but this term’s COVID-19 restrictions have presented even more seemingly unworkable challenges. On every occasion, you have stepped up and always put the welfare and education of the children first. There have been times when your own personal circumstances have been difficult, but you put them aside and made sure our children always received your best. The delivery of our first series of online parents’ evenings is testament to your unswerving dedication and commitment to our school.

AND TO YOU, OUR PARENTS, THANK YOU!

Thank you for putting your trust in us to care for and educate your children who have been, without doubt, some of the best pupils I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Hopefully, you’ll agree that, throughout 2020, we’ve worked with you to provide your children with the safest, most enjoyable and most effective education possible. And, we look forward to doing the same in 2021.

I hope and wish everyone peace and happiness this Christmas.

Yours sincerely

A C Bingley (Ms)
Principal