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Principal's Blog 1st March 2019

After a half term of beautiful weather students have returned to school with batteries fully charged.  Year 11 students have been undertaking their mock exams in preparation for the real thing in the summer term.  They are now on a 50 day countdown to the start of their final GCSE exams.

As one year group ends their GCSE journey, another is beginning theirs.  We are looking forward to Year 8 Options Evening on Monday at 6pm.  Parents and students will have the opportunity to visit stands displaying each course on offer with Heads of Faculty available to discuss the best option for each individual.  It is vitally important that students make a fully informed decision regarding their route of study which will be followed for the next 3 years.  We will be launching a more varied curriculum offer to fully engage all students.

Ms Bannerman took 2 teams of year 10 students to the Maths feast this week.  They came 6th out of 10, being the top placed comprehensive school, only beaten by regional grammar schools.  Lipson actually got the top score in one of the rounds thanks to Jakub Szelag who was outstanding.  Great to hear of such academic success in front of peers from other schools.  Well done to all who attended.

It was good to see so many parents at our consultation evening on Thursday to discuss future considerations for Lipson.  As always, Lipson values the relationship with our parents and feedback is always appreciated.  We want to engage with more parents and will be looking at ways in which we can do this.  Parent feedback is key in helping us to improve.

Miss Geraghty has been informing me about the plans for our first ever Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition taking place this year in Switzerland.  They will have their practice expedition in the Brecon Beacons over Easter and then embark on their qualifying expedition during May half term.  The students (and Miss Geraghty) are very excited.

The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme has gone from strength to strength each year. Miss Geraghty now has participants at all levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Lipson has one of the highest completion rates in the city.

Continuing along with our rugby success, it was fantastic to hear that Jacob Gaskin Year 10 has just been notified that he has been selected for Exeter Chiefs Academy, what a great opportunity for this young man-Well done Jacob.

I love to hear about our ex-students and felt incredibly proud when Miss Geraghty came to tell me about Kieran Jessep-Crook, formerly of CHKGY who graduated from the RAF in December and received an award for Best Airman.  He also received a commendation in the New Year’s Honours for the extra work he undertook on a voluntary basis. Kieran is now based at RAF Lossiemouth so he is a long way from home but never far from our thoughts and hearts. 

Kieran had no clear idea on what he wanted to do until the annual Careers event. The next day he came into tutor and told Miss Geraghty he was going to join the RAF.  She said the conviction in his voice matched the determined look on his face and there was no wavering on this.  Kieran was going to make this happen - and make this happen he did.   As his tutor, Miss Geraghty is extremely proud of his achievements as am I.

Remaining on the ex-student theme, Jamel Maarfi has been busy in rehearsals with the Romeo and Juliet young cast in Salford. He will be performing alongside the Capulet Company at The Lowry between 11th and 15th June.  Great to hear about the success Jamel is having and testament to the enthusiasm our Dance and Drama teachers put into lessons, inspiring our young performers.

Plymouth Music Accord’s tuition project started seven years ago with a trial at Lipson Co-operative Academy.  This proved to be very successful and since then six schools have been involved.  Many students from our school have learned through the project, achieving qualifications, including GCSE and A Levels, and some going on to study Music at University and with the Royal Marines. 

On Wednesday 27th February at 6.30pm we participated in the concert at the Sherwell Centre within Plymouth University. A big congratulation to the saxophone and brass ensemble.  Also, Grace Henagulph performed a first class solo on her saxophone showing the outstanding success of her musical ability.  This is down to her relentless dedication to practice and support from our Music department.

I received a lovely email of congratulations from the Plymouth Music Accord Committee expressing how outstanding the performances were and what a real credit to the school the students were, embodying the co-operative values and commitment to team.  

I have had even more feedback from parents regarding the ski trip, one mum commented on how impressed she was at the way the trip was organised and in particular how emphasis was placed on the children that they were very fortunate to have been part of the group and that this privilege came with responsibility.  This message certainly seemed to be taken on board by all as behaviour on the ski trip was exceptional.  As I’ve said many times, educating the whole child is core to what we believe at Lipson and enrichment plays a massive part in this.

Finally, we have received the names of students who are due to start with us in Year 7 in September, welcome letters are winging their way to them and we look forward to this next exciting cycle of transition.  We have lots planned for our new intake and trust it will be as successful as this current Year 7’s introduction to secondary school. 

On this theme I had a lovely email from one of our current Year 7 parents who wanted to let me know how pleased she was after Parents' Evening, she said her children had had such a positive start and had been inspired by the hard work teachers had put in to engage them.  I will never tire of hearing positive praise for the staff at Lipson.

Mrs Lynda Budd