Head Master's Newsletter - Weekly Message
Friday 5 July
After a week which has included trips, sports day, and the Sixth Form Induction, we have arrived at our ‘Farewell to Smith Street’ weekend and the final days in our current school. Thank you to all of you who are attending one or more of the events, to the many girls who are assisting with tours, performing, or playing our alumnae at netball. It will, I know be a glorious celebration of the best of King’s, which will stand us in good stead for our closing events on Wednesday.
Amongst the uploads today is further information about ‘Bring Your Own Device’. I do appreciate that for some families, this is a new investment; however, I hope that the brochure outlining some of the ways the devices will be used, will both reassure and inspire you. Also included is a guide to downloading the parent iSAMS app, which we hope you will find helpful.
We are greatly looking forward to Speech Day and the Upper Sixth Graduation on Monday. Sadly, our guest speaker, Jo Hobbs, CEO of the British Youth Council, is no longer able to join us. I am delighted that at such short notice, Clare Sawdon has agreed to step in. Mrs Sawdon is well-known to our community as a former pupil and a Foundation Governor. She is also a long-standing magistrate, former chief of the District Council, and most recently, High Sheriff, 2018-2019. This year’s focus was always to to be public service and encouragement for the girls to take an active role in their communities. Mrs Sawdon is a great ambassador for such action; I know her speech will be both inspiring and highly relevant.
Whilst I will be writing to you for a final time next Wednesday once we have broke up for the summer break, I would like to thank you for the trust you put in us, day by day, in the education of your daughters. I have no doubt that our move to the Foundation site will be transformational - but the things that make our school so special will come with us, and, I believe, grow even stronger in our new home. Please do visit our Twitter account over the summer period to follow the final stages of our move.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 28 June
The end of term is now just around the corner. Final preparations are underway for our celebration weekend and the final day at King’s. I spoke in assembly this morning about the arrangements for Monday 8th to Wednesday 10th July, details of which have been uploaded onto your portal page. Further details about the start of next term, also shared with the girls, will be sent to you next week.
Last week ended with the superb KS3 production of ‘Bugsy Malone’. Many congratulations to the cast and crew, and the teaching and support staff, for such memorable performances. Rehearsals are now underway for next term’s joint musical with Warwick School, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.
This week has been as busy as ever, with a great deal of the girls’ excellent art being displayed at St Mary’s - please do visit the exhibition, which includes pieces from many local schools, if you can. We were delighted that our girls received so many of the prizes, which were awarded on Monday.
Associated Board music exams have also been taking place, alongside the Year 7 Instrumental Programme Concert, showcasing the scheme introduced this year which sees all Year 7s learn new instruments. Thank you once again to KHAPS for generously providing funding for many of these.
We were also delighted to run our first Roman Barn Study Day, where girls from across the school studied artefacts from the archeological dig undertaken in Autumn Term 2017, and also worked with the artist Liz Middleton, devising a permanent memorial which will mark the Roman inhabitation of the site. We were also joined by trustees of The King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, who are generously supporting this project.
Other events have included two Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions (Silver and Gold), Diana Award anti-bullying training, and the Year 10 Parents’ Evening, which always provides a great opportunity for both praise and reflection ahead of the final GCSE year. Many thanks, too, to those families hosting our German exchange students this week.
Tomorrow, KHAPS are holding the summer secondhand uniform sale, which starts at 10am, with Monday being the main BYOD collection day for those who have purchased devices through the school scheme (as previously published, the collection day for current Year 11s is Thursday 4th July). The BYOD programme is a particularly important and exciting development; I look forward to sharing with you a brochure outlining the types of activities the devices will facilitate, over the next few days.
Next week also sees the Lower Sixth Drama Devised Pieces, a trip to the RSC in Stratford to see ‘Measure for Measure’, both on Monday, and a Rock, Pop and Jazz Concert on Tuesday afternoon. We also very much look forward to welcoming Year 11 and a significant number of new girls to Sixth Form Induction, which begins on Wednesday; please also keep your collective fingers crossed that the weather holds for Field Day, also on Wednesday!
Finally, as the reality of leaving Smith Street and moving to our new school becomes ever more real, I would like to thank you for the support you have shown at what is a critically important time for us all. Good endings are as important as good beginnings, and whilst I am sure that the final days of term will be filled with emotion, there is equally great excitement at what is to come, and the extraordinary opportunities our new home will bring.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 21 June
The final public exams took place this week, and I hope that all those in Year 11 and Upper Sixth can now enjoy a very well-deserved break before the events for them at the end of term.
It has been a busy week, with trips including the A level biology field trip to Slapton Ley, and the annual Art Exhibition at St Mary’s. We have also held scholarship workshops for Winter and Summer Sports for Year 5 girls, the Year 10 Sixth Form taster day, where we welcomed a record number of girls from local schools and, this morning, we hosted a lovely breakfast and house activity for the Year 6 girls from Prep who are joining us next term.
Last night saw the first of three productions of the KS3 production, ‘Bugsy Malone’. The reviews have been superb and I look forward to seeing many of you there tonight, when the Mayor of Warwick is also attending.
Next week sees Associated Board music exams, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Silver and Gold expeditions, and a study day led by Mr Grier on the Roman barn, discovered when the new school was being built.
In addition, on Tuesday, we look forward to the Year 10 Parents’ Evening, and on Wednesday, the culmination of our new Year 7 music scheme with a demonstration to parents at 4.30pm.
Next Friday in an extended assembly, I will be talking to the girls about the final day of term - the final events in this school and our first assembly on the new site. I will also be outlining practical points about our first few days in the new buildings, along with events we have planned so that everyone can get to know our new home as quickly as possible. All this information will be sent to you too, as well as details of the events at the start of term for parents.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 14 June
Public exams are now drawing to a close, and our pupils in Year 11 and Upper Sixth can look forward to a period of rest and relaxation. We look forward to seeing them again towards the end of term, and celebrating their successes with them in August.
It has been a typically active week at school, including the Geography GCSE field trip to North Wales, a UKCAT training day for medics, the annual UCAS day for the Lower Sixth, a Pastoral Forum talk led by Emma Gleadhill, and the Maths Presentation Evening, featuring pupils from across the Foundation.
Wednesday evening saw our KS3 Concert, and I would like to pay tribute to the girls and their teachers for such an uplifting concert. It is tremendously exciting to see music-making thriving across all disciplines and genres, with so many girls taking part, sharing and developing their musical passions.
This weekend sees a number of events, including a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bronze expedition, an Inspire trip to Cambridge, and the CCF overnight exercise.
A particular highlight next week is the KS3 production of ‘Bugsy Malone’. The girls are working incredibly hard to stage another stunning production; I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Finally, thank you to those of you who are taking part in the ‘Farewell to Smith Street’ weekend, and can I encourage all of you to consider subscribing to the new school history - it will be a remarkable publication.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 7 June
Whilst we are still sending all the very best of luck to girls in Year 11 and Upper Sixth as they continue with GCSEs and A Levels, the rest of the school is now out of exam mode, with feedback starting to be given following the school exams before half-term. I know the girls will reflect carefully on their achievements to date, and work hard to ensure that they maximise their potential in the coming weeks and months.
The final half-term of the year has begun in typical King’s fashion: with purpose, energy, and already many successes. On Tuesday, our inspectorate, ISI, undertook a ‘material change’ Inspection, in light of our forthcoming move. As well as checking compliance on areas such as safeguarding and health and safety, the Reporting Inspector also visited the new school. I am pleased to say that not only were we judged to be compliant, but he was also extremely complementary about the new buildings - in fact, he was ‘blown away’ by them. Having been on site once again yesterday, it is looking very impressive. I am only sorry that we cannot share it with you until September.
Last night, I was very pleased to be able to support ‘Team Imperium’, the joint King’s and Warwick School Young Enterprise team, in the West Midlands Regional Finals held at HSBC in Birmingham. Their product – Stress Less - was extremely impressive, as was their presentation, and I am delighted that they were named as runners-up, the highest accolade one of our teams has won for many years.
In Sport, there has been Equestrian successes and several girls have qualified to compete in the NSEA Dressage Plate at Keysoe in November.
This week has also seen the Year 9 Bushcraft trip,, Year 5 Scholarship workshops, and a Year 5 Inspire Debating Day. Later today we look forward to welcoming
Dr. Paula Byrne for this term’s Inspire Lecture.
Next week sees a number of important events. PSHE Day on Tuesday includes workshops on Self Esteem, Friendships, and Internet Safety. The day concludes with our final Pastoral Forum of the year: ‘Frenemies and how to manage them’, led by Emma Gleadhill. All parents are strongly encouraged to attend. On Wednesday, Lower Sixth have their UCAS Day, following on from the Higher Education Evening, where they begin the process of writing their Personal Statements and considering their options beyond King’s.
Finally, a pack of information was sent home with the girls yesterday, which highlights a number of important forthcoming events: the ‘Farewell to Smith Street’ weekend, the Gala Ball in November (please save the date: Saturday 30 November 2019), and the publication of the new school history. Please do sign-up to be a subscriber - it really is a wonderful publication. Please do all you can to support our ‘closing events’, further details of which may be found here.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 24 May
It has been an unusually quiet week, with public exams continuing for Year 11 and Upper Sixth, and our internal exams for all other year groups.
There are a number of events over the half-term week, including a trip to Nice, for years 9-12. I know the girls will make the most of this opportunity and be great ambassadors for the school; thank you to my colleagues in the Modern Languages Department for leading it.
The first week after the break sees the Year 9 Bushcraft activity, a bonding experience as the girls move from KS3 to KS4 and begin their GCSE journey.
The work on our new school is continuing apace, with more items from the current Smith Street site being decanted over the coming weeks. The final day of term will be both commemorative and celebratory, as we mark 140 years of King’s in Landor House and hold our first assembly on the Myton Road campus.
Thank you to those who have already signed up for events on our final weekend here.
Amongst the attachments today is a letter about Speech Day. I am delighted that our guest of honour this year is Jo Hobbs, CEO of the British Youth Council.
Mrs Parkinson-Mills has also sent a further communication about the BYOD programme. This is major, and transformational, development, and I would like to to thank you for your support in ensuring its success next term.
It just remains for me to wish you all a happy half-term break, and I look forward to welcoming the girls back on Monday 3rd June, refreshed and revitalised for the final weeks of the academic year.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 17 May 2019
The school is very much now in ‘exam mode’, with preparations well underway for the internal Years 7-10 exams next week.
There have, however, still been a number of important events over the past week, including a Musical Horizons Piano Concert and a careers talk from an Avondale Veterinarian.
This term is inevitably a series of ‘lasts’ as we prepare to leave this site. A further step on that journey was the final OId Girls’ Association Committee Meeting, which we marked with a celebratory supper, on Wednesday.
Many congratulations to our many sports women who have competed for the school so far this term. It has been a fabulous start to the summer season over the past week. Lucia Cassidy won the County Combined Events individual title for the Minor girls with the team taking silver. Lucia and Eva Healy then combined at the 108th Midlands School Girl Tournament on Saturday to finish runners up, and Bella Tomlinson and Holly Jaques won the second pair division. Recent athletics fixtures have been especially strong. The Track and Field cup first round was held this week with both the Inter and Junior teams competing. The Inter team finished a credible 4th place but it was the Juniors who stole the show. Amassing a phenomenal 358 points, the highest ever of any King's team, they were crowned County champions. This weekend will see a continuation of the first cricket season for King's as we host our first festival for the U14 age group and our equestrian team competing at Allenshill. Good luck to everyone.
Thank you to all those who have already signed-up to events taking place over our anniversary weekend on 6th-7th July. In highlighting the Gala Concert, which is taking place in St Mary’s, I hope many of you will decide to dust-down your instruments and vocal chords and take part in what will the culmination of our festivities. Further details may be found by following this link.
Finally, I wish all our pupils the very best in their exams, public or internal, sure in the knowledge that all their hard work and industry will be suitably rewarded.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 10 May 2019
Many congratulations goes to our Young Enterprise teams, run collaboratively with Warwick School, Fresco and Imperium, who were award winners at the regional presentation evening at Coventry University earlier this week. Fresco were awarded a trophy for the company exhibiting the best sustainability for their use of recycled bottles from Ghana as part of their jewellery collection, and Imperium were the overall winners, going through to the West Midlands round.
On Wednesday, we took some 60 girls and boys from Year 5 in local primary schools to Cambridge, the culmination of the ‘Young Scholars’ programme which we run in collaboration with Clare College, Cambridge. The equivalent trip for Year 10 girls in local schools takes place later this month.
We have continued to welcome speakers to school, with a careers talk led by Aimee Wester on the University Air Squadron, and Hobbs Society Lunch with former pupil, Sally Shorthose. Ms Shorthose is a partner at the law firm Bird and Bird and has been advising businesses on Brexit. We were delighted too that Juliette Wallace, also an alumna, and destined for opera stardom, came to work with our Year 10 musicians.
Tomorrow, we are holding a ‘Double Decade Day’, welcoming former pupils from the 70s and 80s. As well as supporting this event through leading tours, this weekend girls are also involved in a bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award practice expedition, and girls in 9K are fundraising by taking part in a 5K inflatable obstacle race.
The summer sporting calendar is well underway, and I am delighted that there are now a full series of cricket fixtures for girls across the school; I look forward to seeing the fruits of a greater focus on this sport. Thank you also to parents who met yesterday to help plan the new equine sports programme.
I hope that you have received the recent e-newsletter highlighting our special weekend at the start of July, when we say ‘Farewell to Smith Street’. I do hope that everyone in our school community will take an active part, enjoying the art exhibition and presentations, recording memories, and taking part in the gala concert at St Mary’s. The following website link will take you to further details about the many events: www.landorassociation.co.uk/calendar/. I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Finally, last week we wished Year 11 well as they started their period of study leave, and today, it is the turn of the Upper Sixth to begin their final preparations for A level. Their spark and personality as a year group have shone through the traditional rag week, including a splendid concert last night. We wish them all the very best, and look forward to celebrating their successes in August.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 3 May 2019
It is a great pleasure to be writing to you at the end of our 140th birthday week. From our Victorian Day on Monday to the Service to commemorate our Founders and Benefactors earlier today, and the birthday lunch currently underway as I write, we have made the most of the opportunities to celebrate what makes our school so special, to reflect on our past and to look forward with confidence to a very bright future.
The week has been busy with a range of other events too. We welcomed Megan Nannfeldt, a specialist brain injury nurse, to deliver a careers talk, and girls in Year 10 from local state schools to a Politics in Action workshop as part of our Clare College Young Scholars programme.
Last night saw a truly spectacular Summer Concert, featuring our major ensembles as well as our senior girls in Upper Sixth. Thank you to the girls for sharing your skills and expertise so joyously, and to our music staff - and indeed parents - in supporting them to perform at such a very high standard.
I am delighted that our U14 Waterpolo team were so successful this week, coming fourth in the National Finals. It seems especially fitting that our Sports Awards Evening takes place tonight, where we celebrate the myriad achievements of our girls this year.
The public exam season is well underway, with this week seeing both GCSE and A level exams. Today, we wish all our Year 11s the very best as they go on Study Leave. As you would expect, support for the girls continues throughout this period but we know too how important it is for the girls to be able to have a solid period for consolidation and revision. They are a tremendous year group and I know will work as hard as they can to achieve their personal bests in their exams.
Next week is the final week before the Upper Sixth also go on Study Leave, with a particular highlight being the Leavers’ Concert on Thursday evening.
This email can only scratch the surface on recent highlights, and I encourage you to follow the school on Twitter or Facebook, where there are regular postings, including about the events at the end of term as we celebrate the Smith Street site and prepare to move to our new school.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 26 April 2019
A warm welcome to our new-look Friday email. We hope that you find it easy to navigate, and that it includes a greater range of useful information.
The Easter break saw a number of trips, including a study visit to Costa Rica, a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Silver Expedition, and the National Concert Band Festival, where the Foundation bands were spectacularly successful.
As you would expect, term is off to a flying start. A highlight of the past few days has been the Landor Association Networking Evening for those in the medical profession, which took place last night. Thank you to parents, alumnae, and friends of the school for leading the event and to all those who attended.
Work on the new school has been progressing well and over the coming weeks we will be sending out a range of information about the practicalities of the move. Pupils from King’s and Warwick will shortly begin work on a shared Code of Conduct which will help frame our relationship when we are together on the Myton Road Campus.
Monday sees our 140th birthday. This will be celebrated with a Victorian Day, and a new school birthday cake, the recipe being created by Lucy Wallace. The end of the week sees our Founders and Benefactors’ Service, and a range of anniversary events for the girls.
In amongst the flurry of activity as we say goodbye to Smith Street and prepare to join Warwick Preparatory School and Warwick School, we should not lose sight of the fact that Project One Campus is a development of national importance, at its heart offering girls world-class, bespoke facilities, and facilitating meaningful collaboration across the 3-18 age range, whilst remaining true to our identities as individual schools. This is such an exciting time for all of us in the Foundation; thank you for the tremendous support we have received as we embark on the final stages of this unique journey.
Mr R Nicholson