Welcome back

Welcome back after the summer break, and in particular welcome to our new Year 7 students and their families.

I didn’t write last week for a number of reasons, the brevity of the week, the teething issues with the new IT system, but mainly (as I explained to the students in assembly) that I was still playing catch up having just been discharged from Jury Service.

As ever in recent years, we return to a school that has seen significant investment and development as we seek to constantly improve our facilities to make them better for both current and future students. This year, we had a major upgrade of the IT servers, several other PC’s around school were replaced as well (in the end around 70, although only about half are out at the moment), another temporary build to add capacity whilst the main build is under way, a new canopied dining area, an additional service point for food, a new kitchen area to prepare students meals and, of course, a new catering company running that kitchen.

The catering company, Atalian World, works with schools across the country including locally in Chadwell Heath, and we were convinced through the tender process that they offered the right balance of fresh food (I appreciate that comes at a price premium sometimes), variety, customer service, modernity and experience. Whilst early days, and the IT issues last week notwithstanding, the students have been very positive and appreciated the offering. I would implore parents to recognise that by massively increasing choice on offer, it doesn’t mean that all students take that choice, so please check (and discuss) how your children are spending your money! The company will be running sessions with the students to gather feedback, and also be available at most Parents’ and Open Evenings to talk to parents and carers.

You can’t have failed to notice that significant work is [eventually] underway at the front of school; Barnes Construction (who won the tender through the Local Authority) have established their compound and started dismantling the old car park. I spoke to someone in the summer that said it was land being sold off for housing, I promise you that it isn’t! The building will house 16 rooms (including 1 workshop, 3 labs, 1 activity studio), and I will ensure our accommodation is fit for purpose. Barnes have been excellent to work with so, as have the architects (Jacobs), and I look forward to watching the works taking place over the year.

Many thanks for the excellent turnout at the Year 11 Raising Standards evening last night; it was great to see (and then chat to) so many parents and students that want the best outcomes for the students. This summer’s results were much improved, and arguably the best ever at the school, but I am sure the current crop can go one stage further.

Have a lovely weekend…and don’t forget to save the date for Friday 8 November for the school’s fireworks night (organised by the Friends of Marshalls Park).

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