Friday, 19 May 2017

19 May 2017

A huge congratulations to Leona Howard and Ruby Collins who were the proud recipients of Amazon Gift Vouchers this week as a result of their amazing entries into the logo competition run by the local Capturing the Spirit organisation.  Students were invited to create a logo that captured what it means to live in Paulsgrove and both girls came up with wonderful ideas.  It was a close competition, but Ruby's was eventually judged the best and is now used on all the organisations’ leaflets and letters.  Remember, you can drop in to Capturing the Spirit to see the amazing work they do at 147 Allaway Avenue, or click here for their latest newsletter.

Last week, I gave you a glimpse into the experiences of the 24 Year 9 students who went on the Cumbria trip, courtesy of our SGN sponsors. It was a fantastic learning experience and one parent commented about her son, "he seems about three years older as a result". I am pleased to report that since that post, 4 of our students have been offered scholarships by the Outward Bound Trust because of their superb attitude on the trip, their commitment to the environment and aptitude for adventurous activities. The scholarship provides over 50% of the funding for a three week adventure in the summer of 2018. Well done indeed to Lauren Turner, Nadia Abu-Khalaf, Robbie Neil and Jack Weir.


I was thrilled to learn this week that former student, Keiran O'Toole, had been awarded the Youth Civic Award for his commitment to the local community. Keiran is a graduate of the National Citizenship Service, has been part of the team restoring Hilsea Lido, has raised loads of money for local charities and has set up his own social enterprise to combat bullying, and he is only 17! It is a fantastic achievement and richly deserved. Well done, Keiran!

Written GCSE examinations started in all earnest this week with Biology, Chemistry, Spanish and ICT all testing what the students have studied so far.  These are stressful times for our Year 11 students who are very aware that examinations are now harder than they have ever been and so important for helping them get on to the courses and apprenticeships they have dreamed of.  If you are in Year 11, or a parent of a Year 11 student, please don't forget that there are many revision materials on our website as well as top-tips to help you manage the exam stress. 

Ten lucky Year 8 and 9 students visited Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday of this week to take part in the Teentech event.  The students gained real experience of cutting edge developments in the technology, science and engineering sectors and spent valuable time with professionals from these sectors.  The next step is for the group to develop a prototype and have engineers evaluate their ideas - it should be interesting to see what they come up with.

Our Onboard sailors finished their 6-session programme this week and successfully completed their RYA Stage 1 introduction to sailing.  Impressively, they were able to sail a triangular course by Tuesday afternoon as a result of the skills they have learned and the way they worked together.  The instruction team down at Portchester Sailing Club have been really impressed with the attitude of the students, as the certificate demonstrates, and I know a number of them are hoping to take part again in the future.  Thanks go to Mr Webb for organising the trip.

Thank you to all the parents of Year 8 students who made it into parents evening on Wednesday despite the torrential rain. We can't maximise your child's progress and personal development without your help, and so it is fantastic when you are able to come along and talk with us face-to-face about how your child is doing in all of their lessons. It was a really positive evening with a lot of well received feedback and the opportunity to discuss possible option choices for next year. Please don't forget that option forms must be returned by the 5th June and they can also be found on our website.

Friday, 12 May 2017

12 May 2017

Greetings from Howtown in Cumbria where Miss Long and I have spent the last week with 24 Year 9 students on an adventurous challenge organised by the Outward Bound Trust and part-sponsored by SGN as part of their communities programme.

The week started at 4am on a slightly grim Monday morning and after 8 hours in the minibus, we arrived at Howtown which is located on the beautiful Lake Ullswater. The scenery is breathtaking as we are surrounded by the Lake District mountains and, being on the water's edge, students have really appreciated how wonderful it is, especially as the sun has shone all week.

Once we had collected our kit and sorted out our rooms - watching some of them try and put a duvet cover on was amusing - the first activity was the infamous jog and dip and the chance to jump in the icy waters of the lake. 

Having dealt with this brain freeze, anything was possible and the students have risen to challenge after challenge over the last five days, proving to themselves that they can achieve so much more than they realised. This has increased their self-confidence and improved their levels of resilience and determination - qualities that are so important in life.

They have struggled to overcome their fears of heights and water, climbed up waterfalls, camped wild in the mountains with no tent, walked up massive hills (despite their blistered feet) while carrying heavy backpacks and learned to work as a team with others they may not normally talk to. As one student said, " I have learned so much about myself and what I can achieve."

I hope the photos below will give you a glimpse of their experience. I will post more on the Successes page of the website in due course.

My thanks to all the parents who made it possible for their child to attend, to Miss Long for her hard work in making it happen and to SGN for their support and sending Stef and Richard as ambassadors who made such an excellent contribution to the week.

Getting ready for the gorge walk

Choosing food for the expedition
Briefing for the climb up Hollin How

Do we really have to walk that far?

Those packs look heavy!
Are we there yet???

Trying to sort out a bivouac shelter
Hurrah, success!

Food in a bag - after 4 hours of walking, it
tasted better than it looks!

Cooking dinner - the temperature dropped
to zero the night we camped

The campsite at Angle Tarn with some red deer
and a fox who stole our litter bag for company
A typical view

Marshmallows around the campfire on the last night

Friday, 5 May 2017

5 May 2017

My son's first cricket match, the first BBQ of the year and pouring rain - all the ingredients of a typical English bank holiday weekend! None the less, an extra day off is always welcome and I hope you enjoyed the break if you were able to.

We have had some great careers events in the last week. Sixteen Year 10 girls spent last Friday morning with an excellent motivational speaker from the Girls Network.  Jovana talked to the girls about her own difficult upbringing in care and how she had to struggle to make her life a success but had done so in spite of the hardships she faced.  She really made the girls think about the opportunities there are for them and the attitude they need to take advantage of them.  Her message was a reminder that things don't come to you in life, you have to go out and make life work for yourself, and anyone can do this if they have the right mindset.


A different group of Year 10 students spent the day at Portsmouth University this week on a taster event as a prelude to the three day residential they will be attending in July. The students focused on how to study smarter, not harder and contributed to the making of a video that outlines the benefits of their mentoring programme.  There has been a long tradition of King Richard School students going on to university and we will continue to do as much as we can to encourage our students to open their eyes to the benefits of higher education.

With this in mind, Portsmouth University also ran an event this week for Year 7 students called Freshers Day. The activities were designed to explain to our youngest students how university works and to get them excited about the possibilities on offerHarvey Newman said, "I learned about the different levels in universities and learned that it's not so difficult to get there."

Year 8 students were set a research task for History homework to investigate new vocabulary and definitions relating to a unit on medieval health and society. Their efforts were superb. Left to right in the photo below is: Asmita Madden, Mia McGowan, Brandon Davis, Demi Lorch, Shane May, Megan Hannah and Tayer Hartley.

Year 11 students have been completing their final Art exam this week.  Two days of intense effort and concentration led to some amazing work as these examples demonstrate.  Well done to everyone involved.

Our latest group of Onboard sailors began their six week sailing programme at Portchester Sailing Club this week under the guidance of 'Captain Webb'.  Ellie Trevarthen, amongst others, found that the sea was a bit colder than she imagined when capsizing unexpectedly but still came up smiling!  The course is an excellent introduction to the joy of sailing and, in testing their resilience and teamwork, teaches the children so much else besides.

Twenty four Year 9 students are just about to test their character fully when they set out for Cumbria on Monday morning.  They will endure a week of adventurous activities, including an overnight camping expedition in the Cumbrian mountains, situated adjacent to Ullswater.  They will be tested to their limits and find out about hidden strengths they did not know they had as well as having great fun on the way. I will be going with them and, as we don't return until midnight on Friday, there will be no blog next week.  The photo below was taken on last year’s Cumbrian trip and indicates just how much fun we all had.

We were pleased to welcome colleagues from the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) this week who have offered our students some lunch time taster sessions and individual coaching over the next few weeks.  The children joined in enthusiastically and it is always good to see young people trying new things.  I hope that some may decide to take the sport further.  Thank you to Mr Bixley (himself a keen tennis player) for organising this opportunity.

Friday, 28 April 2017

28 April 2017

"While the Easter holidays were a time of relaxation for many of our students, Year 11s were very busy with revision for their exams starting soon. We were thrilled with the levels of attendance at the revision events in the first week of the holiday which were some of the highest we have ever seen.  Year 11 students are impressing their teachers at the moment with their dedication and commitment and it is crucial that we all get behind them.  There is still time to make a difference, but there is no time to waste.  Good attendance at school, focus in class and regular study at home are the keys to success.  Next week our Art exams take place and we wish all students taking part the best of luck."

I was very proud of our Year 7 and 8 footballers who demonstrated great enthusiasm, determination and resilience in the cup final this week against Mayfield. They are the first King Richard School finalists for several years but came up against very strong opponents. Mayfield are an exceptional team who have been unbeaten for two years, beating most sides this year by an average of 10-0, so it was no surprise that our team, made up of several Year 7 players playing a year above themselves, succumbed to the power of such talented opposition. As Brandon Davis said, "they were such a good team with so many good players, it was always going to be a difficult challenge for us.” The players have learned from the experience and were well deserving of their runners-up medal.

I was delighted to see so many of our junior mathematicians taking part in the nationwide Maths challenge on Thursday of this week.  In total, 80 students participated which is a large number, and Mr McFarlane, who organised it, was thrilled by their levels of application and effort.  We look forward to hearing how well they have done and whether we will have any bronze, silver or gold award winners.

Our Council of Porstmouth Students representatives visited Mary Rose School this week as part of a conference organised by UNLOC.  Some of the topics debated included ideas around anti-bullying, mental health and wellbeing, integrating the LGBTQ community and life skills.  They also had an opportunity to meet Portsmouth Lord Mayor Cllr David Fuller who addressed the students about student voice and the importance of education.  The News published an article about the day and it can be read here.

The students have been talking a lot about the proposed changes to the school day for September 2017.  Mostly, they are in favour, but please remember that it is a consultation and there is a chance for you to contribute your views on the proposals we are making.  If you wish to contribute, please write to Mr Tucker at  If you missed the newsletter before the Easter holiday, you can read it again here.

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting Maureen Bye who attended the school (Paulsgrove Secondary Modern for Girls) between 1952 and 1955 when the school first opened.  She told me about the uniform (grey blazer with mustard yellow edging) and the school logo Sincerity and showed me the book she won in the 1954 prize giving ceremony.  It was wonderful to talk with her about what she remembered of the school.

There are some great details in the latest Capturing the Spirit newsletter (which you can read here) including some memories from former students of their times at King Richard School (or Paulsgrove Secondary Modern as it once was).  If you have any photos or memorabilia you are willing to share, the project organisers at 147 Allaway Avenue would love to hear from you.  Below are some photos that have been shared with us:


Our work with Digital Dinos will begin this month and so there will be more information coming for you to access from our Facebook page. Please do keep an eye on what we post and I do hope that you will find it helpful.

Friday, 7 April 2017

7 April 2017

"It is too hard, I could never do that".  This was the typical comment from Year 11 students when challenged to improve their results by seven grades in seven weeks as part of our Magnificent Seven initiative. However, on Tuesday of this week we celebrated the four students who had indeed done this and the three who come incredibly close.  A huge well done to Zac Smith, Taylor Shires, Kaci Shiers and Ashely Proctor who shared the prize money and to Summer Jones, Maxine Perkins and Max Swatton who received a voucher for coming so close.

We have relaunched the initiative and students are, once again, encouraged to improve seven grades in the seven weeks left over until May half term.

Well done also to our Year 8 team who presented their hate crime campaign ideas so skillfully and professionally to an intimidating panel of judges consisting of local councillors, community workers and representatives from Hampshire Constabulary as part of an event to eliminate hate crime.  Dylan and Reece Willis, Bradley Wright and Taylan Yildirim made a big impression on the judges with their thoughtful ideas to make a film to promote LGBT rights.  They were up against Year 9 and 10 students from other local schools and although they weren’t outright winners, they were Highly Commended and joint Runners-Up.  Judges commented on the maturity and insight shown in their presentation and their ability to communicate hate crime as having local, national and global impacts. You can see their presentation, read their speeches and watch their video here. 

Bethany Ayling and Josh Grimshaw showed off in their History lesson this week what they have learned about medieval castles and how they developed.  Using plasticine, they created models to show the changes from Motte and Bailey castles after the Norman Conquest through to the much stronger square, stone keep and curtain walled castles like Portchester and the Tower Of London.   Well done both.

“Thank you so much. I definitely want to come to this school.”  This was the resounding message from the wonderful Year 5 students from Medina Primary School who visited our Science department this week as part of their science week activities.  They took part in a number of experiments looking at chemical reactions and understanding how scientists observe and measure reactions and the impact of heat on different substances.  They especially loved the 'whoosh' bottle! Some of the lab coats were a bit big, but a good time was had by all and we hope to see them back soon.

Well done also this week to the Dare 2 Dance company (which is based at the school) who went to the regional qualifiers of the British Street Dance Competition last Sunday and did incredibly well. They won 15 trophies and qualified in solos, pairs, team and electric boogie categories to now compete in the British championships in May - a fantastic achievement which was matched by our own student, Molly Boateng, who also qualified although with a different dance company.

It is the end of term today and I wish you a restful and relaxing Easter holiday.  I have posted a letter along with the termly reports to all parents today, but if you prefer on line communication, you can read my end of term letter here.

School starts again promptly at 8:30 on the 24th of April.  Please ensure any uniform discrepancies are resolved over the holiday.