Dear Parents and Guardians
I do hope that you and the children are enjoying the summer break.
It is just not possible in this brief address to capture the wonderful life and curriculum of our school during this academic year. Our pupils, staff and parents have had many opportunities to experience a wide range of activities that have enabled rich, deep learning to occur. I cannot give enough thanks to everyone for their contribution to the Spirit of Tower College. Perhaps …
… Our Facebook page says it all …
It is with great pride that I can look back at the many achievements of our children and staff. Please do visit our Facebook page which shows the amazing depth of life at our school. Many of you have thanked our staff for giving up their time to offer such brilliant extra-curricular opportunities for our pupils, and I really cannot thank staff enough for the time and energy they devote to this, above and beyond the day job. We are constantly reviewing and looking to extend our additional curriculum offer and welcome your feedback. The list below is just a few of the articles that you can view on Facebook
- STEAM Projects in Physics
- Model United Nations
- Lower School Nature Club
- Pre-Prep Graduation Day
- Pre-Prep Weekly Awards
- Gala Day
- Pre-Prep Nature Lessons
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Sports Day
- GCSE Art 2019
What sets Tower College apart?
More than anything else, I am most proud of being a part of a school that places its values above all else. I think that our co-founders, Charles and Muriel Oxley, would be well pleased that though Tower College has had to change and move forward, it has not moved one iota away from the values that they set down in 1948. In preparation for my interview for Principal, I asked Miss Oxley to define Tower College’s core values. She simply told me to look no further than the words in the following hymn:
I am delighted to say that every day, without exception, I see these values reflected in the thoughts, words and actions of our children. For me, as well as encouraging high academic achievement, it is crucial that our children carry these values into their lives beyond Tower College – that they become responsible members of society who are always looking to make a positive contribution to whatever they are involved in. As the new Principal and custodian of these values, I will endeavour to ensure that these values always remain at the forefront of all that we do. If you would like to know a little more about the whys and wherefores of our co-founders and what sets Tower College apart, please read the article ‘A Tale of 4 Principals’.
GCSE Results Day – Thursday 22nd August at 10.00am (ParentMail sent)
I have been so impressed with the incredible amount of hard work that staff put into preparing our year 11 for their GCSE exams. And, the pupils worked equally as hard. I look forward to celebrating with Year 11 on their result’s day. Pupils can collect their results from 10.00am on Thursday 22nd August. I would like to wish all our Year 11 leavers all the very best on their journey. I believe that they have had the best of all possible starts here at Tower and I am sure that they will go on to achieve great things in the future.
Additional Year 7 Class
On Induction Day, we welcomed our new year 7 pupils and their parents into the school. Over the last three weeks, it seems as if Tower’s popularity is gaining; we have now had to add an additional class to the cohort. We look forward to all our new pupils joining us in September. A separate ParentMail will follow regarding this and will include the new class lists.
After successfully trialling a variety of procedures over the spring and summer terms, we have updated Admissions Policy. Once this has the governing body’s approval, we will post it on the school website. The significant changes are that prospective pupils must have completed successful ‘Taster Days’, have positive references from their previous school(s), and achieve a required level in the appropriate assessment for their age. If admittance is granted, it will be on a term’s trial basis.
As in previous years, our School Council has proved to be extremely popular and productive. It has been excellent forum for our children to share their thoughts, opinions and concerns and allows them to take an active part in the decisions that affect their learning and everyday school life. Previously, the Council has delivered assemblies on environmental matters directly concerning the school. They also conducted a lunchtime survey which resulted in Chef James altering the menu.
However, the Pupil Council is an elected representative body and does not always allow for a pupil’s individual access to senior teachers. From September, Mr C Wells and I are starting Thursday lunchtime sessions for Middle and Upper school pupils to be able to share their views in an informal way.
SEND Reorganisation & SEND Admissions
You may have heard in the news recently that the government has drastically cut funding for children with special educational needs. Unfortunately, this has had a detrimental impact on our finances and going forward, it means that the quality of education that we were previously able to provide for our 1-1 higher level SEND pupils is now unsustainable. After careful consideration and much discussion with our governing body, we are no longer able to accept children who require 1-1 support. Cases will now be considered on an individual basis and parents will be offered the option of funding the 1-1 support, should they wish to do so.
Positive Behaviour and Rewards Policy
Our new behaviour policy will be available on our website shortly. This policy has been revised to promote positive behaviour. Our new MIS system, Integris, will incorporate a parent portal that parents will be able to access in order to view their child’s behaviour and rewards.
House points will be the mainstay of our rewards’ system and these will be supported by individual teachers awarding subject postcards for exceptional work.
In the Lower School, Mr C Wells has recently been trialling a system that involves staff, on a weekly basis, informing him of pupils who have been well behaved or have produced some excellent work or have been a good friend etc. Mr C Wells telephones the parents to let them know of their child’s success. This has been very well received – so much so that all Heads of Department will be following suit in September.
On Saturday 7th September, we will have an Opening ceremony & Blessing of our Memory Garden at 11am in the school grounds, followed by a buffet lunch. Rev. Dr Alan Conant will conduct the blessing, accompanied by Curate Rev Lynne Jackson.
We have created a relaxing space where we will commemorate those of the Tower College Family that we have lost over the years, from our Founders and early governors, to more recent loses of staff, parents and children.
Planting that is significant for individuals will take place – Peace roses for Miss Oxley’s late parents, a Dancing Queen for Joanne Dixon (past pupil and mummy of three boys) and sunflowers for Amit Bhatarcharjee, a former Tower College pupil, who died in April.
Invitations will be sent out shortly. Relatives and friends will be welcome on the day and will also be able to visit the garden privately.
A Performance to Remember
Year 6, 7 and 8’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory captivated its audience. The pupils, led by Mrs Nugent, were a delight to watch as they took us on magical journey of Roald Dahl’s much-loved story. The parents who were lucky enough to have watched the performance gave high praise indeed. The video will soon be available to watch on the school website.
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.
One thorny issue has been pupils wearing unacceptable informal shoes. Many sports shops are branding items as shoes that aren’t actually shoes (and charging huge amounts in the process!), so please do make sure that you do buy formal shoes. Please can I also remind you that boys’ trousers must be formal too – no very tight styles. As I always say, uniform is the physical manifestation of a pupil’s attitude to school. Thank you in advance for working with us to ensure that our pupils get it right!
I understand that the summer holiday is a time to relax and perhaps for parents to allow our teenagers have a little more freedom. Please can I ask, however, that any summer piercings / nail varnish / extreme hair colourings are removed by the start of the autumn term.
Have you got what it takes to beat the buzzer?
Do you sing, dance, do impressions, perform magic or have a highly trained dog that you can parade on stage? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above or if you have any other talent that you think the world is missing out on, then our autumn term’s Tower’s Got Talent competition is perfect vehicle for you to showcase your star quality. The competition will be open to pupils, staff and parents (family acts especially welcome). We will confirm the date of this unmissable event and send out the competition details in the first week back at school.
We often take for granted our beautifully well-kept grounds, that school is always a safe, clean and secure place to be, that our food is so well prepared, that the there is always someone on the end of the phone willing to sort out parents’ concerns and queries and a host of other important functions without which the school would simply fall apart. I am, of course, talking about our wonderful ancillary staff and on behalf of us all, I would like to thank Ms McNamara, our Registrar and Accounts Manager; Mrs Z Wells, our new dynamic business manager; Mr Barr, Mr Barber and Mr Silva from maintenance; Mrs Mercer in the uniform office; Mrs Murphy, Mrs Thompson and Mrs Potter in the school office; Mr Critchley and his team from Holroyd-Howe and lastly but not least our cleaning ladies. We couldn’t survive without you!
To those members of staff who are leaving us, I would like thank you for your contribution to life at Tower College and wish you well for the future: Mr Tim Bryning, Mrs Carol Burrows, Mrs Amanda Chaparro, Mrs Margaret Condliffe, Mr Andrew Lynch, Mrs Helena Hanlon and Mr David Hunter.
New Staff starting September 2019
I am delighted to announce that Mr M Taylor, Miss H Nugent and Miss S Perry will be joining our teaching staff at the start of term. Given our rigorous recruitment process, I am sure that we have appointed three quality teachers who will serve the school well.
Mr Taylor qualified with a BA (Hons) in Geography (2:1) from Manchester University and has recently acquired his PGDE from ‘Teach First’ whilst teaching in Doncaster. He will be teaching Geography in Middle and Upper School and English in the Middle School.
Miss Perry is a newly qualified Spanish teacher with a BA (Hons) in French and Spanish (2:1) from Stirling University and a PGCE in MFL (Spanish with French) from Liverpool Hope University. Miss Perry will be teaching Spanish across the school.
Miss Nugent graduated from Manchester Metropolitan in 2017 with a 1:1 BA (Hons) Early Years and Childhood Studies which focused on child development from ages 0-8, considering factors that affect children’s lives and how well known theories can be used to support children in their everyday lives, particularly to support development through education. Miss Nugent has recently completed a Post Graduate Certificate (Masters level) with Early Years Teacher’s Status at the University of Chester, which also covered KS1/2 and the continuum of learning between the curriculums. Miss Nugent will be the new Year 3 class teacher.
It is worth noting that the references from current employers were amongst the best that I have ever seen in my whole teaching career.
Our Bright Future
Tower College is about to start a new chapter in its evolution. The Senior Management Team has spent a great deal of time this year discerning our priorities. To help with this, I have canvassed the opinions of staff, pupils and parents. If we are to maintain or better still promote our standing, then a carefully considered strategic development plan is a must. Although this process is always ongoing, I have approved the following seven strategic priorities and will implement them as soon as possible.
- To improve the quality of Tower’s buildings and facilities to ensure that staff and pupils continue to have contemporary and quality teaching and learning facilities.
- To review our current curriculum to ensure that we continue to offer a rich, diverse and appropriate curriculum is offered to our pupils and that current and prospective parents can access their child’s curriculum.
- To continue our Learning Enhancement Programme ensuring continuity of support for all pupils and that they are appropriately guided in their learning process.
- To ensure that our Christian ethos remains strong and no matter how much we evolve, the values that our co-founders set down in 1948 underpin all that we do.
- To continue our laudable approach to the pastoral care and wellbeing of our pupils.
- To further explore innovative programs that will support optimum learning outcomes for our pupils in all subjects
- To offer a parent portal which parents can access to view their child’s behaviour and assessment data. This, hopefully, will give parents a real-time and deeper insight into their child’s progress.
And finally, a huge thank-you to YOU. A great deal of what we do in school cannot be achieved without your co-operation and backing. I think that Gala Day proved beyond any doubt that we do have a very successful partnership with our parents.
Ms A C Bingley (Principal)