Headteacher- Mr CurrieAlthough we have been enduring a coda of very cold weather, the otherwise mild winter is now almost behind us, the clocks have gone forward and spring is, officially at least, here.  So as I write my eighth ‘Head’s Corner’ we look forward to light evenings, warming sunshine and, for a few months at least, reduced fuel bills! 

School life is just as cyclic, of course, and once again the examination season is almost upon us.  Year 11 students are, as many parents will testify (!), under increasing pressure at the moment to meet coursework deadlines, attend all manner of revision classes and otherwise prepare fully for the GCSE and other KS4 examinations which take place during the summer term.  Year 9 students too are preparing for their Key Stage 3 Tests in May.  On behalf of the staff and governors, I would like to wish all of our students who will be revising and preparing during the Easter holidays and beyond, all the very best for their forthcoming examinations and tests.  GCSE results will be published to students on Thursday 23 August.  Families will be receiving more details about this nearer the time.

On the subject of students and their learning I would like to remind parents of the availability of ‘SAM Learning’.  We have bought into this interactive learning tool which is accessible to all students and is designed ultimately to enhance their performance in examinations.  Please follow the link www.samlearning.com to have a look at ‘SAM Learning’ for yourself and do encourage your child to use this valuable resource as much as possible.  Research has shown that students who regularly use ‘SAM Learning’ can improve their GCSE result significantly. For example, in a  study, students with over 10 task hours use of SAM Learning achieved 4.6 per cent more 5+ Avada.zip – C GCSE grades than expected based on prior attainment. The value added gain was equivalent to one quarter of a GCSE grade per subject.

The Harrow Way Eagle new format
Readers may recall from the last Head’s Corner that this and future contributions will be published in the form of a newsletter, the main purpose of which is to draw parents’ attention to key dates and events, with the full Harrow Way Eagle published only on our website.  We are delighted with the way our website is continually developing and this is largely due to the good offices of Giles Davis, Ashley May, Dan Gardner, Andrew Woods and Laura Cook.  I am also grateful to all those who provide copy to be published. 

School Population
As Harrow Way Community School becomes more successful and popular, it is fantastic to be able to report that we are now oversubscribed for our Year 7 intake for September 2007.  I am delighted by the confidence and trust that the families of Andover are placing in our school community and this is a clear indication of the increasing standing of Harrow Way School within the local community.  We are certainly not complacent, however, and I know that you don’t have to be ill to get better!  We continue with our programme of developments and improvements, therefore, and I will continue to work with staff, students, governors and all members of our school community as we hold fast to our mission statement of ‘Learning for Life, Success for All’. 

‘Specialist School’ and ‘Artsmark Gold’ Applications
Assistant Headteacher Tony Parsons, lead writer of our Specialist School Application, and his team are continuing to work assiduously towards our goal of becoming a Mathematics and Computing Specialist School. 

In addition, we expect to hear in May whether we have been successful in our quest to be awarded the Artsmark Gold Standard.  This award is conferred by the Arts Council of Great Britain to those institutions who have sustained very high quality support of and provision for the Arts.  Hopefully, therefore, we will be able to publish the result of our Artsmark Gold Application in time for the next Head’s Corner!

This term we have said goodbye to Mrs Nicola Worsley, our Student Receptionist, who has moved with her family to Germany.  Mrs Worsley was a huge asset to our staff and extremely popular with the students she served.  We are very sorry to see her go and wish Mrs Worsley and her family all the very best for the future.  In her place we are delighted to welcome Mrs Sara Preece as our new Student Receptionist.  Mrs Preece was up against some very tough competition for this post and I am confident that she too will be a huge success in this important role.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Ian Woodcock for his services, who has left us after a short time to return to industry.  We are also very sorry to say goodbye at the end of this term to both Mrs Jan Morgan and Mrs Beth Wright from the Learning Support Department.  They have both given exemplary service to the school and our students and I know I speak for all of us in saying a huge ‘thank you and good luck’ for the future.  In September we will also be joined by Mrs Hilary Delaney in the post of Head of Religious Education and Citizenship.  Mrs Delaney and her family will be making the move from their current home in Luton, and we look forward to welcoming her. 

As student numbers increase we are continuing with our programme of school improvements to create additional classroom and other spaces, as well as refurbishing and upgrading existing facilities.  In the next Head’s Corner article in July I will be able to give full details of the works which will be taking place during the summer holidays and beyond. 

Parking on school premises is increasingly at a premium.  In addition, we have spent a considerable sum recently on safety measures for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic entering and leaving school.  This has been under the government’s ‘Safer Routes to School’ project.  I would please ask parents dropping off and collecting students to do so where possible off the premises.  This reduces congestion on site where there is obviously already a great deal of activity in a relatively very small space at the beginning and end of the school day, particularly with regard to school buses. 

Work Experience
The school is moving increasingly towards personalised timetables tailored to the needs of individual students.  Increasing numbers of students now participate in extended work placements directly appropriate to their courses and it has therefore been appropriate to review the arrangements for work experience generally.  As a result of these discussions, we have decided that we will no longer send whole year groups on work experience at the same time.  This is because for the majority of students, particularly those who will be progressing to further or higher education, work experience taken at a time which disrupts their studies during Year 10 has become increasingly inappropriate.  For such students there will be opportunities, for example after their year 11 examinations, when those genuinely interested can arrange and complete their work experience.  In cases where work experience is more appropriate as an integral part of Key Stage 4 studies, individual arrangements will continue to be made and students will be given every support in arranging their placements.

Harrow Way Community School Association (HWCSA)
This term we have successfully re-launched our School Association with a small but innovative and committed group of parents together with Mrs Peggy Belsey, Assistant Headteacher.  HWCSA is open to all parents, staff and friends of the school.  Its main purpose is to promote fundraising but exists also to serve the school in other ways; helping out with a range of school activities, for example, and working with the Student Council.  HWCSA really wants to engage parents/carers in school and community activities in order to promote learning and social experience.

Forthcoming activities of the HWCSA include a ‘Bingo and Fish and Chips Evening’ to be held at school on Friday 27 April at 7.30 pm, at which I have somehow been embroiled to be the caller for the evening.  Please visit the HWCSA category on the school website to download a copy of the letter and reply slip inviting you to the Family Prize Bingo Night.  These letters will be distributed to all students at the beginning of the summer term.  HWCSA also has a Quiz Night planned for the evening of Friday 8 June at 7.30 pm. 

We are always looking for new members and if you are interested please contact the Chairman, John Loftus on john.loftus@motorola.com or Secretary, Jo Bacon, on candjbacon@btinternet.com, or Mrs Belsey at school on 01264 364533.

Student Council
Another important re-launch this term has been Student Council, under the leadership of Mrs Peggy Belsey and our Head Girl Victoria Allmark and Head Boy Scott Taylor.  Student Council exists to give students a real voice in terms of school organisation and development.  A series of Council meetings have been taking place throughout this term and I have been extremely impressed by the mature, interesting, insightful and useful level of debate amongst our students.  Well, I would not expect anything less of course.  Student Council is a real opportunity for students to influence school developments.  Most recently, members of Council have been engaged in the appointment process of new staff including Student Receptionist (Mrs Sara Preece) and Head of Religious Education and Citizenship (Mrs Hilary Delaney).  I am very grateful to all elected students who give their time and commitment to the work of School Council.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a happy and peaceful Easter.

Mr C E Currie – Headteacher – March 2007