I hope everyone – parents, pupils, friends, staff – all had a restful half-term and are looking forward to the advent of yet another beautiful South Lakes springtime. The grounds are already starting to look a little more green and our many rare and precious Himalayan rhododendrons and azaleas are beginning to bud. Many thanks to Frau Mackey and her industrious group of pupil-gardeners who have worked hard to keep the front gardens looking good over the winter and thanks to Alan Carr and Carl Barclay who have dealt with the curse of the never-ending piles of leaves with a never-ending patience. Frau Mackey has also supervised the creation of raised beds by the adventure playground which will be used by the Primary school to grow their own vegetables.
As I write, the contractors are arriving with the new fencing which we applied for last year. It may not be the most aesthetic thing in the world, to have our listed site ringed in as if we were prisoners, but I am sure you all appreciate that an open-site with two main roads just yards from play areas was not the safest environment for our children. The fencing is green and a large proportion of its length will be hidden amongst the trees; I sincerely hope that its impact will be as minimal as possible. Can I also plead for patience as we adjust to new measures for entry and exit to and from the site during the school day? There will undoubtedly be some teething problems for pupils and parents accessing the site outside of the usual 8am to 8.45am and 3.15pm to 4pm times; your comments and ideas as to how to improve the new procedures will be gratefully received.
As part of improving safety around the site, many thanks to you all for being so understanding about walking around the gravel path to the Primary playground rather than walking in front of Chetwynde House. This is a very pleasant part of the school with our magnificent Technology Block – The Cath Rigg Centre – on show and I hope that those of you who might not have walked around this area before are impressed. We must never forget that these facilities are used by all pupils from Reception through to Sixth Form. Having access to senior-quality DT and IT suites is one of the many reasons we have such a flourishing and competitive Primary department here at Chetwynde.
Can I draw your attention to an appeal I have made by Home Contact? We have two patios along the gravel path walk and it would be lovely to make these areas as colourful and welcoming as possible. If you have any decorative planters or large tubs that you do not need in your own gardens, we would love to have them here so that we can fill them with flowers, shrubs and small trees.
The library – new to school this September – is proving even more of a success than we had hoped. Every break and lunchtime it is filled with pupils playing chess, reading, drawing, helping the staff with the books. Sometimes, I walk in and there is a group of Reception children all sitting silent on the beanbags as they listen to a story, sometimes it’s Year 10s with their heads bent over the chessboard, sometimes a small group of A level History students hotly (yet quietly) debating some weighty topic. It’s a beautiful environment and everything we could have hoped for. Many thanks to the English staff in particular who give up their breaks and lunchtimes to man the desk (is ‘to lady the desk’ grammatical??) for no other reward than the pleasure of being in there.
Our Rewards scheme in the seniors is as popular as ever with this term seeing an afternoon off timetable watching a film and Fun Fridays and Cakey Breakey in the library with staff as the rewards on offer for the high achievers in good behaviour and participation. Years 7 to 10 can now work towards winning a place on the Brockhole trip at Easter. The Year 11s are working towards their Prom Points and are already excited about gowns, tuxedos and glamorous cars. A small matter of GCSEs to prepare for first of course.
This is a longer term than usual as Easter is late this year and there is a great deal going on. First and foremost, please remember World Book Day which we are celebrating on Friday 3rd March with a non-uniform day. We ask for £1 contribution which will go to a local charity. We are also asking for pupils – if they wish – to come dressed as their favourite literary character! The staff volunteered to do this last year and many of the pupils clamoured to be allowed to do the same, so here goes…. There will be prizes for the best costumes and a whole-school assembly celebrating the endless pleasures to be had from reading a good book.
Year 5 have their residential trip to Ambleside to look forward to before Easter – Mrs Foxen will, I know, give us a full report in her Head of Primary blog – and I am sure they are very excited as it may well be the first time away without parents for many of them. Just as excited will be the Year 9s on their way to play football in Valencia and the thirty or so senior pupils heading for Rome and Pompeii. Safe journey, buen viaje and buon viaggio to you all!
Ms S. Jeffreys, Head of School, February 2017