Dear Parents,

Autumn Term 2018 has been a very productive term and I wish to thank all our pupils and staff for their contributions to the success of this term.  Parents, we also appreciate your cooperation and assistance in ensuring your children are able to take part in the many activities on offer. Each year I know I say similar things about the busyness of St Edward’s, but I cannot apologise for this.  Our business is to create as many opportunities both inside and outside of the curriculum for your sons and daughters so that receive the best experiences possible.  This term, and particularly the second half of term has gone in a flash.  It is only when you consider all the things that have taken place that you fully appreciate the extent of the opportunities open to all our pupils.

As you know St Edward’s is a very strong community and the values we instil in our young people are very evident in the characters of our pupils.  This is what makes our Sixth Formers so impressive and the manner in which they have involved themselves in supporting the younger pupils has been superb.  House Captains have really kept the House spirit alive, Charity Prefects have been active in promoting fundraising and in making us aware of things we can do as a school.  Head Boy and Girl have also proved their leadership qualities in leading School Council and involving themselves in school life.  A number of our Prefects and Sixth Form pupils have led whole school assemblies this term more than I can recall in recent years and they have been delivering some important messages to the School.  They are positive role models and I am sure they will have inspired others in younger years.

Fr Pat continues to be absent, but he is gradually making a recovery since his accident and we hope he will be back with us before too long.  We are grateful to Fr Mark from Sacred Hearts Parish who has helped us out during Fr Pat’s absence.

Of course this half term was made even busier with the arrival of the Independent School Inspection (ISI) team who conducted a Compliance Inspection.  I am not allowed to divulge any details until the report is published in January, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who were able to contribute to the parental questionnaire.  We were pleased with the number of parents who completed this and with the overall outcomes.

The Autumn Term usually lends itself to musical opportunities and this term has been no exception.  Our Choir had a very busy weekend which consisted of the Joy of Christmas at Cheltenham Town Hall followed the next day with a trip to London and singing in the Scratch Youth Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall.  Last week we had the wonderful Carol Service at Tewkesbury Abbey.  As usual we received so many compliments from parents and visitors to the Abbey about the quality of the singing and of the readers who led the Service.  We were very proud of our pupils.  Musicians played for the Pre-Prep nativity again, which was a great experience for them.  On Wednesday, we were treated to live Christmas music played during a very tasty Christmas lunch in the Canopy, served by members of SMT whilst the St Edward’s German Christmas Market, organised by Mrs Chatburn, sold gifts and cakes in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  The annual Globe Trotters Quiz organised by the Geography Department took place during lunchtime on Thursday and Key Stage 3 ‘Xmas Factor’ provided an energetic start to the last day of term.

The Drama Department are well into rehearsals for the whole school production of ‘Comedy of Errors’ and we have that to look forward to at the end of January; I strongly recommend you come along and bring friends and family, whether or not your child is a member of the huge cast.  Mr Strachan and Ms Bowen in particular need to be commended for their work in bringing this all together.  The English and Drama Departments have also managed to squeeze in a number of theatre trips which have been well-received.

It was a pleasure to welcome many of you to our Advent Service today and I hope you enjoyed the customary rendition of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ led by our very own Santa Claus.  The Staff Choir chose to perform ‘The Christmas Song’ in the closing stages of our final gathering to let the pupils know they don’t necessarily have the monopoly on talent (but perhaps they do!)

For Public Examination candidates, the holiday period provides a good opportunity to consolidate their learning and undertake some structured revision in preparation for what is bound to be a few demanding months ahead.  Year 11 have completed their mock examinations and the results of these should bring into sharp focus work that needs to be done.  It is important that they continue to build on the momentum.  We strongly recommend a focus on past examination questions to develop examination technique and understanding.  A number of Year 11 pupils are taking their GCSE Mathematics examinations as early entries in January and so must ensure they work hard in preparation for this.

In the early part of the Spring Term we have two very important Information Evenings for Parents.  The Sixth Form Information Evening for Year 11 on Thursday 7 February 2019   and the GCSE Options Evening for Year 9 pupils on Wednesday 13 February 2019.

Charity Prefects have been very busy organising and promoting charities for us to support this term.  The Sixth Form also elected to do their own fundraising for Open Door and some went along to see first-hand the work of the charity in Cheltenham.  The CCF were active supporters of the British Legion in selling poppies and also in representing the School in the Remembrance Parade in town as well as the special First World War commemorative weekend at the Racecourse, at which they met HRH Princess Royal.  Their term has also been productive with training weekends and also hosting Lt Col Brian Jeffrey CO 21 Signals Regiment a few weeks ago.  The new Year 9 recruits are bringing energy and enthusiasm to the contingent.

As many parents are likely to be shopping online in the next few weeks, I would like to ask you to consider using the easy fundraising app and link it to ‘St Edward’s School Senior and Sixth Form, Cheltenham’.  If you go through this site for your online shopping you can raise money for the School every time you make a purchase.  It is very easy to use and you can access most online shopping sites from this.

We are saying farewell tomorrow to Miss Annalouise McQuilkin, who has been standing in as Director of Marketing this term whilst we waited for our new Director of Marketing, Mrs Fran Knight to take up post.  Fran will take up post at the start of the Spring Term and we look forward to welcoming her to our school community.  We also have Mrs Mary Drew starting in the Main Office as an administrative assistant next term and I am sure many of you will soon get to know these two ladies when you visit School.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy and holy Christmas and look forward to seeing you at the many school events in the Spring Term.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Pat Clayfield