Newsletter – Christmas 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians

I do hope that you and the children are enjoying the Christmas break.

Before I begin, I would like to wish Mrs Griffiths all the very best on her maternity leave and hope that she enjoys this very special time. And, to Mrs Tina Barrowman, the very best of retirements. Mrs Barrowman, a much loved member of the domestic staff retired just before the end of this term. We will all miss you!

Almost Impossible!

Once again, I have found it a near impossible task to capture all that has happened in the last twelve weeks. Hopefully, you will have been regular visitors to our Facebook page which does go someway to showing the remarkable life at our school. The staff’s commitment, the children’s talent and dedication and the unfailing support of our parents have made me so proud on so many occasions.

Christmas Activities

Thankfully, mishap-free, I was able to attend my first Pre-Prep Nativity and the Lower and Middle Schools’ Carol Service. Both occasions were splendid affairs with the pupils excelling in every way. The children’s Christmas parties and Pre-Prep’s visit to Santa were great fun. Chef James, as always, served up memorable meals.

Charity and Fundraising

The generosity of the children and parents has been overwhelming. The money raised for Willowbrook Hospice, Red Nose Day (Children in Need) and non-uniform days totals (over) £1000. But, not even this can outdo the staggering contributions to the St Helens Foodbank on Harvest Festival Day. Thank you all so much for your support.

The Parent Council Christmas Party as well as being a huge success raised over £800 on the night. This will be placed in our Sports Hall Fund. Mrs Z Wells, our business manager, already has one very promising fully costed proposal and will be inviting at least three other companies to bid. She has also secured a provisional offer from a bank to meet almost all the costs.

Ski Trip 2019

As I write, the annual Ski Trip is well underway and judging by the ParentMails (to the Ski Trip parents) and the Facebook postings by Mr C Wells and Mrs Z Wells, the pupils are having the time of their lives. May I take this opportunity to thank Mr C Wells, Mrs Z Wells, Mrs Melling, Mr Barr and Miss H Nugent for giving the children an experience that they will never forget.

Lockerbie Year 7 and Year 8 Residential Weekend

In October, the Year 7 and 8 pupils attended a weekend residential camp in the picturesque town of Lockerbie in Scotland. The camp provided pupils with a variety of fun, challenging and educational activities, including abseiling, archery, crate stack, canoeing, high ropes, kayaking, mountain biking, rifle shooting, and zip-wire. They were rewarded with breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside. The camp was a wonderful chance to form new and lasting friendships. Thank you to Mrs Z Wells and Mr Barr for accompanying Mr C Wells and dedicating their time to the children of Tower College.

Stardom Beckons for Poppy

If I were to select one event from the past term that is beyond anybody’s wildest dreams, it would have to be Poppy’s invitation from Russell Watson to perform with him at his Christmas concert at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. If you haven’t already watched the video, please click on the video below and be amazed!

Cramner Award - Bible Reading Competition

The competition was fiercely contested with readings by pupils from Years 8-11, some of whom had had not spoken publicly before. Children read extracts, in accordance with Prayer Society rules, from Thomas Cranmer’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Sarah Gleaves, Year 8, won the Junior heat, with Iyanu, Year 8, in second place. Izabelle, Year 10 was awarded third place and Georgina, Year 8, was awarded a highly commended certificate. The standard of the Senior heat was very high and Bishop Geoff praised pupils for their fluency and engagement with the text.  Alex, Year 11, was awarded first place, with Rachel, Year 10, in second place and Jessica and Annabelle, both in Year 10 came joint third. Sarah and Alex will be talking part in the National Final in Worcester in February 2020. Tower College would like to extend their thanks to Bishop Geoff Pearson and to our competitors for making this wonderful event possible.

Uniform and Appearance

As some parents may be buying new uniform in preparation for the new term, I would like to give a gentle reminder that the uniform price list is on the school website along with the school’s uniform requirements. We have had excellent support from most parents in meeting these requirements. I realise that the Christmas break is a time to relax and perhaps for parents to allow our teenagers to have a little more freedom. Please can I ask, however, that any holiday piercings / nail varnish / extreme hair colouring are removed by the start of the spring term. Staff have also noticed that some of the boys’ hair styles are becoming ‘wild’. We have relaxed the rules surrounding boys’ hair but some boys are taking too much advantage of this. Uniform checks will take place in the first week of the new term.

Absent Pupils and Work Sent Home

If pupils are too ill to come in to school, we will no longer be sending work home. The exception to this is if it is a long term absence for such things as a broken bone.

Feedback and Concerns

Please ensure that you do come and speak to us if you have any concerns. Unfortunately, with social media being the force that it is, often misconceptions can quickly become rumours and worse. The staff are here to assist you and will answer any questions openly and honestly. Principal Drop-In Sessions are available every term-time Thursday.

Pupil Voice and Principal's Brunch

Middle and Upper Schools’ Pupil Voice has continued to be extremely successful.  The sessions have been well attended (at least 20 pupils at each meeting) and productive. The pupils have appreciated that we do listen to them – the new PE kit and water bottles being a prime example.

After the success of our October Open Day and Parents’ Evenings, we felt that the hard work of the pupils, who gave up a Saturday morning, should be rewarded. We have now instituted ‘Principal’s Brunch’ where the children are treated to a special banquet of delicacies  prepared by Chef James in the main school meeting room. The inaugural meeting was a delightful occasion with all attendees having a deservedly wonderful time. More PB’s to follow …

SEND Reorganisation & SEND Admissions

Most parents are now aware that we are unable to support children who have higher level SEN.  This has allowed Mrs Grocutt to restructure the department to ensure that targeted interventions are fully in place for lower level SEN pupils. Updated ISP’s have been drawn up and the improved communication in this area has been very reassuring to parents. Further intervention sessions are planned for  January.

New Middle Management Roles

I am proud to announce that we have introduced a new tier of management roles to enhance our current educational provision and provide parents with more comprehensive information. The positions were highly sought after, and it certainly was not an easy task deciding between the staff applicants.

Assessment and Tracking Co-ordinators
Mrs J Nugent and Mr M Taylor will be responsible for developing a new whole school assessment and tracking programme. They will liaise with all departments and look to how best communicate the pupil’s progress to parents. The school has recently purchased ‘Classroom Monitor’ which allows staff to record and track pupils online. There is also a parent portal which allows parents to see just their own child’s progress. Progress cards will be replaced by reports generated by the new system.

Behaviour Management Co-ordinator
Mrs A Melling will be responsible for finalising and implementing our new behaviour policy. She will liaise with staff, parents and pupils and look to develop new initiatives and systems for recording behaviour. Mrs Melling has already successfully deployed our House Points’ system which has been a huge success with the children.

Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator
Mrs J Nugent will be responsible for devising specific gifted and talented programmes for those pupils identified with exceptional talent. She will liaise with staff, children and parents to ensure that the children are given the best possible opportunity to fulfil their potential.

NQT Co-ordinator
Mrs K Gibson has successfully mentored new staff and students over the last couple of years. As an ISTIP trained professional, she is well placed to ensure that new staff and newly qualified teachers are fully supported.

Art Club

Miss Morris will be running an after-school Art Club starting in January.

This will take the form of a 6 week project based workshop geared towards a finished outcome. Parents will have the opportunity to work alongside their children in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Attendees will be introduced to new art styles and techniques where they can experiment and develop their talent. In the first instance, this is only be open to Middle School pupils and parents. Places are limited as the class size will be small. All abilities from beginners to advanced level are welcome. Come along if you would like to express your creativity and love of art! An application form will be available on the website in the new year.

Scholarships and Discounts

When You're an Addams

Prepare to be truly amazed and see if you can spot the location!

Tower College wishes all our families a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Yours sincerely

Ms A C Bingley

Principal

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