A year ago, in the Christmas newsletter, I described the autumn term of 2020 as being a term like no other before. I think it’s fair to say that the autumn term of 2021 has been just as unusual and sadly Covid-19, once again, dominates our minds. And, although it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – specifically last Christmas, at least this time, we we are in a much better place. Yes, Covid is still with us, but with the introduction of the vaccines and wellbeing coping mechanisms, it seems that we have turned a significant corner. From the school’s perspective, I believe we are now controlling the virus rather than letting it control us!
This is entirely the result of the school having such resilient and buoyant pupils, a wonderfully supportive and patient parent body and an exceptional staff – each doing all that is humanly possible to keep the school functioning normally. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many committed and dedicated people who, despite the pandemic, have ensured Tower College has continued to thrive.
Before reading any further, I invite you to watch this unmissable video!
A New Vision
In September, I set out the school’s vision with the staff and pupils to ensure that our pupils achieve their aspirations and become well-rounded, confident and compassionate individuals who can live a fulfilled life and positively contribute to society. We also launched the school’s core values of Resilience, Integrity, Scholarship and Enrichment (rendering the apposite acronym of RISE), which underpin so much of our work.
Speech Day Success
I’m pleased to report that our pupils have accomplished a great deal this year in terms of their academic progress, commitment to studies, extra-curricular participation, sporting and musical successes and character development to name just a few. The school reward system is proving to be popular and motivating, and it has been lovely to present postcards and letters of congratulations to pupils to celebrate their success. Speech Day (with a revised format), the pinnacle of our achievement celebrations, was a resounding success and brought welcome plaudits from our pupils, parents, governors and staff.
Christmas Fayre Fancy Dress Winners – Not that I’m one to brag!
Inspection Report Confirms Right Path
I am extremely proud of the staff and children who responded magnificently to the unexpected ‘brought forward’ inspection at the height of Covid. I am so pleased that the inspection team acknowledged the great strides we are making in teaching & learning and enrichment. And, more than anything else, it affirms that we have the right strategy, the right culture and the right team to move the school forward and give the pupils an experience to envy. The report is here: Inspection Report 2021
Sunday Times Recognition
The ranking of 11 in the Sunday Times Top Schools Guide has to be the academic highlight of the term. It is a wonderful outcome after a period of significant change at the school. Our remarkable teaching staff, along with innovative approaches, enriched learning and extra-curricular experiences, has seen the school take on a whole new dimension.
I am very proud of our pupils’ excellent GCSE results and it’s pleasing to note that we have achieved the top grades in many subjects. There are so many wonderful success stories that lie beneath these statistics and the pupils, staff and parents worked so hard, often under seemingly insurmountable difficulties, to make it happen – it was a real team effort.
My greatest pleasure is knowing that all our pupils were able to access their chosen destinations and left Tower College fully understanding that their mission, as it is ours, is to work out how best they will contribute to making a positive difference in the world. I wish them all the best on their next adventure.
With heavy hearts, we had to succumb to the vagaries of Covid and cancel not only our invitations to parents to meet teachers and attend events such as the Christmas Fayre but also the annual Ski Trip. The staff and pupils were looking forward to showing off our outstanding school and the skiers were all but on the plane! Despite these setbacks, with considerable effort and inspiration, the staff conjured a magical last twelve days of the term, which I’m sure all the children enjoyed. My thanks to the staff involved in the organisation of The Christmas Fayre, the Christmas Nativity and the Carol Service.
Thank You, Mrs Millar!
This Christmas sees the departure of Mrs Millar. Adored by all, after 30 years of immaculate service, this lovely lady is finally hanging up her baking tray and retiring from the Tower College catering team. We wish her all the very best in her much-deserved retirement.
Deputy Principal and Assistant Principal Appointments
Congratulations to Mrs Wright who has been appointed Deputy Principal and to Ms Gregory (formerly Mrs Grocutt), Mrs Gibson, Mr Glover and Mr Taylor who have been appointed as Assistant Principals. I am so pleased with the growth of the newly appointed DP and APs and I am indebted to them for the role they played in our ISI Inspection. As a team, they are certainly greater than the sum of their parts and I look forward to working with them to improve all aspects of school life.
Mrs Wright - Deputy Principal
Ms Gregory - Head of Pupil Support and Welfare
Mrs Gibson - Head of Teaching & Learning (PP&LS)
Mr Glover - Head of Information and Communications
Mr Taylor - Head of Teaching & Learning (UM Schools)
Business as Usual in the Office and Maintenance Departments
Always busy, always fun, and always the doorbell or phone ringing! – this is the world of the TC office. Fortunately, there were fewer Covid cases this term and no bubbles to send home. Our October Open Day was a massive success, with many families signing up for taster days and then choosing Tower College for their children’s education. Recently, we have been inundated with Year 7 and Reception requests for places. Mr Glover has settled in nicely and comments: I’d like to say thank you to all the staff, parents and even pupils for making me feel so welcome. Tower College is clearly a very special place and it’s a pleasure to work here.
Our dedicated maintenance team of Mr Barr, Mr Barber and Mr Morgan have again worked tirelessly to maintain the high-level safety measures required by the Covid regulations. As well as this, they have somehow managed to refurbish a room for Tower Tots’ expansion, partitioned the Reception room, installed floodlights on the basketball court, painted and laid new flooring in various classrooms, conceived and implemented the new car park system. Thank you!
My special thanks go to Ms McNamara who organised the first-ever in-house Staff Party. A festive feast was served up by our former chef, James, and the entertainment was courtesy of the brilliant Rock Revolution, who not only provided high-quality music but the best Bongo Bingo you’ll find! We are indebted to one of our parents, Mr Annable, and to his vocalist, Mark, for giving us such an excellent night’s entertainment. If you’re thinking of hiring entertainment for an event, you’ll do well to find better. www.wearerockrevolution.co.uk
We are very proud of our involvement in charitable giving, and this was demonstrated wonderfully through this term’s fundraising for Willowbrook Hospice. The two quotes below say it all and epitomise our school community’s capacity to look beyond our own gates.
Hello everyone. I am Zoya and I am 11 years old. I started making clay charms a few months ago, inspired by my cousin who had started selling charms on Etsy. For me, it was just another hobby until I realised that, with a little courage, I could start my own clay business to raise money for charity. Firstly, I trialled the venture by selling on a small scale to my class. After receiving a wonderfully positive response from my class and with Ms Bingley’s encouragement, I was ready to go out to the whole school. I made many charms for our Christmas Fayre and raised money for WillowBrook Hospice. It’s been a great experience. The main reason behind all of this is that I wanted to help people in my own little way. It gives me pleasure when I see a smile on their faces. Working for a charity makes me feel happy and I would very much like to do this again in the future.Zoya (Year 6)
Thank you so much for the fundraising that Tower College has accomplished for Willowbrook Hospice and a special thank you to Zoya who selflessly decided to raise funds through her own enterprise. Willowbrook needs the support of their community as much as the community needs the Hospice. On average it costs just over £5m per year to continue to provide our level of care and service and the need for that level of care and service is increasing. As a charity, there is absolutely no charge for our services but it does cost us to provide it. Although we benefit with some funding from the NHS the majority of our income comes from the incredibly kind and continued charitable fundraising, so thank you to Tower College for your continued support.Beverley Neilson (Willowbrook Hospice)
None of us has a crystal ball to the future, but we hope that this virus has probably already done its worst. While the struggle against Covid has not ended, we have its measure. I am certainly looking forward to 2022, confident in our community’s strength to rise to any challenge. We are due to implement new projects and initiatives that will provide additional benefits to parents and pupils. These can be seen in the newsletter’s departmental reports below.
Before I pass you to our specific Christmas Newsletter Department Reports …To everyone who is part of our community, I would like to wish you a very happy and safe Christmas, and every best wish for 2022.
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