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Head Teacher Parent/Carer Update January 2019

Published on 31st January 2019

Dear Parents / Carers

I hope you are well and just wanted to update you on some of the many positive things that have been happening at school, some concerns and also the new building.

Year 11 Students

I hope most of you were able to attend the evening in spite of the weather. As you will be aware the first set of mocks have been completed. Many of your children are making good progress which is wonderful. I am still concerned that some are distracted by mobile technology whilst revising or whilst trying to get to sleep. Please may I ask that you check this situation? Year 11 is a demanding year for your child. I am impressed with how so many demonstrate a clear and obvious desire to be successful. Their second set of mocks commences 25 March 2019. That’s approximately in 5 school working weeks. I hope they prove useful to all our Year 11 students.

Design Day and Year 9

It was an absolutely fantastic educational event with all Year 9 students truly immersed in design challenges with many companies represented: Rolls Royce, Annie’s Burger Shack, Juga-Nuat, Triumph, Pelham Architects, McLaren, Dell, Poppy Blow, Cod’s Scallops, Rockets, Nottingham Trent University and Kitronik.

In addition, the representatives of those companies spoke effusively about our students. This is wonderful for our school and highlights future career aspirations. As you may be aware technical level practical skills are in high demand in terms of employability. Our Year 9 students were a credit to their parents, carers and the school. I would like to thank all staff involved and Mr Mellors for coordinating the event.

Keeping Children Safe

I recently attended a Secondary Heads Meeting chaired by John Dexter, Education Director and also present Chief Constable Craig Guilford. There was a measured discussion about the concerns surrounding knife and drug related incidents within our City and the potential impact on schools. In order to keep our children safe and having discussed the situation with governors we will be randomly searching children in their classrooms. To that end it is important to remind students that mobile phones should not be brought into school.

Sadly it has come to my attention that a new craze of ‘vaping’ is now occurring in Nottingham. In order to improve all our awareness I include a picture of the pen below:

These most certainly are not e-cigarettes. They are illegal to anyone under the age of 18 and thus come under the jurisdiction of the school’s drug policy as quoted in a previous letter. It would appear that they are readily available and some of our own students have become thus entangled. It is believed that they contain cannabis derivatives and potentially a cocktail of other illegal substances.  There is clear evidence that this could have a near fatal impact on the functioning of the heart. Please be aware that any scent may be masked by fruit juice also being present. I have shared these concerns in assemblies to our students and to all staff.

I would like to thank the children and parents who have kept the school informed where they have concerns regarding any drug related incidents. Although only impacting on a minority of our young children it is only by maintaining vigilance that young people can be protected. The need for vigilance from parents and carers is a vital part of that process. Similarly, at school we will continue to work and with the Chief Constable and Education Director to ensure that best practice is modelled at Fernwood.

Update on the New Build

I am pleased to inform you that the demolition work is complete and that construction of the new building should commence on the 4 February 2019. In addition, an expanded car park for staff is nearly completed. At Fernwood Academy we still pay the car parking levy to ease congestion for our neighbours.

The PE department are running some lunch time clubs. I am indebted to them for operating with reduced resources and giving so freely of their time. The issue of the timings of the school day are discussed regularly with staff and is still under review. A split lunch is however inevitable. There is and will not be the space available to house 1500 students at the same time in the canteen.

Mr Irons, the Chair of Governors and I conducted a learning walk and were most impressed by the engagement and attitudes of the young people whom we saw and the learning that was taking place. The behaviour of your children during this building work continues to be exemplary.

Hagg Farm and Year 7

All staff reported upon the exemplary behaviour and the enjoyment experienced at Hagg Farm. Many of the students looked quite tired when they returned! Given the amount of walking, the weather and the activities involved I was not surprised. I am going to take the opportunity to thank staff for giving so freely of their time to support this. The hours that staff put in to ensuring its success is much appreciated and several parents have commented to that affect.

Dates of Upcoming Events

  • 5 February – Year 9 Options Evening
  • 12 February – PTA
  • 28 February – Year 11 Revision Evening
  • 12 March – Year 10 Parents’ Evening

Kind regards and a very belated happy New Year!

Mr P Burke

Head Teacher – Mr P Burke
The Fernwood School, Goodwood Road, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2FT
0115 9286 326 |
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