Half-Term Update

Dear all,

Once again our grateful thanks for your support and partnership throughout this half term, including with the interruptions to the normal we have all experienced together.

We want to end the half term sharing with you other, more typical aspects of school life:

Pastoral and Mental Health Support in School – Children’s Mental Health Week:

As you may have seen in the media, this week marks Children's Mental Health week. The theme for this year is 'Lets Connect' which encourages us all to consider how we can make meaningful connections with one another. I have run my last two assembly cycles on exactly this theme and will be doing so again in March, as we explore the extent to which our connections are healthy, safe and uplifting, and what we can pull together to do if and when they are not.

The Education Partnership Team have produced 8 bite-size online safety videos for all adults caring for young people. You can find the links to the clips in the attachment, and we will be using them in our tutor sessions over the next few weeks. The inputs cover subjects that parents and schools have identified as the main areas of concern for their children and young people whilst they are online – do take a look. We think there is something of value for all of us.

We know that talking about mental health and being safe isn't something that just takes place in a designated week or day. We speak to our students all the time regarding how they're feeling and encourage them to share any worries or concerns.

We acknowledge with them the places and the moments that are not us at our best, and that don’t have the vibe or the values we believe in – we want them to hear from us how we need to pull together to improve those aspects of school life, and not feel that anything has to be pushed under the carpet.

We continue to be thankful for all of your support here – calls in about anything you notice in the local community, insights you get from your children at the end of the school day or when you observe what’s happening when we do online lessons and, in fact, all of the feedback you provide is incredibly important to us, so please keep it coming. It’s every bit as important as all the things we are proud of every day.

Support available in school:

As a reminder, and for information for new parents/carers, we have got a wide range of support networks in place as well as some specific interventions and key adults that can work with students in times of difficulties:

Tutor and Year Leader Team - your child's tutor and Year Leader team are the first port of call for any worries or concerns at all. They're able to meet with your child 1:1 and chat through anything that might be worrying them.

ELSA team - Miss Harwood is our lead school ELSA and provides 1:1 support for students, as well as running group sessions including anxiety workshops and our bereavement group, alongside lunchtime drop ins. We also have 2 other trained ELSAs who work with students on a 1:1 basis to help with a variety of emotional concerns.

Counsellor - We have a school counsellor who works with students, via a referral from the pastoral team. The counsellor works with students with specific concerns which may include mental health issues.

MHST - the Mental Health Support Team work as part of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health team). These appointments are made via a referral service actioned, by the pastoral team.

Well-Being Ambassadors - We have a group of Young Mind trained student ambassadors who we are gradually developing in order to offer both 1:1 and small group support to our students. It was lovely to see them enjoying their visit to the Safer Internet Day at King Edward VI School today, with Miss Fitzgerald, and we are looking forward to them starting work with Year 7 students soon, along with our Junior Prefects.


Military Group - we have a number of service children as part of the Noadswood family. We know that many of them have felt genuinely sad since the departure of Mr Campbell- Hill, really missing his support. We really miss him too! We have a new member of staff lined up to take over the running of this group in liaison with some of our friends in the military, and hope to have the first sessions in place just after half term.

Safeguarding Team - we are lucky to have a big safeguarding team as part of our support network for students. Our designated safeguarding lead is Mrs Loveday, and I have also been a qualified DSL for many years now, as has Miss Gates. We are supported by several deputies: Miss Harwood, Miss French, Miss Wyse, Miss Fitzgerald, Miss Lavetiviti, Miss Penny and Mrs Lucas.

Learning Support Department - Miss Hyland is our SENDCO, supported by a large and experienced team of Learning Support Assistants, including colleagues in our two specialist provisions, one for PD and one for Social, Emotional and Mental Health (Redwood). These departments support those with Education and Health Care Plans, but if you wish to contact someone to discuss needs you’re noticing in your young people, or ways they seem to be struggling, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can point you in the right direction. Just drop us a line at info@noadswood.hants.sch.uk – don’t sit on that concern you think no one has perhaps noticed. We want to hear from you.

Should you have any concerns at all, or should you feel your child needs some support, even if you are not sure from whom, please do reach out to one of us – you can write to info@noadswood.hants.sch.uk or go to the website to: https://www.noadswood.hants.sch.uk/contact-us where we list the email addresses for many of the key staff listed above so you can make direct contact.

Finally for this update, we want to let you know that we will also be offering rooms for young people at lunchtimes to watch films or play games or read, overseen by our prefects and our student leaders. They are also keen to provide peer mentoring opportunities, and are driving our diversity and inclusion agenda in the school. We want to make sure that there is the right kind of support for everyone, and that we work hard to make best use of our space in social times. More to follow in the months ahead.

Influence Noadswood life – Join the Board of Trustees!

We would like to remind you of ways you can have an even more direct influence on the strategic direction of Noadswood life, for your and all our children, by becoming a member of our Board of Trustees (our Governing Body). As Noadswood continues to work to sustain its many areas of strength and success, and to work on its vital objectives for improvement, we would love to have you on the Board to share your experience and to offer us challenge and support.

This week, the Board met to consider true excellence, and how we can take our school from Good to Outstanding, in terms of our Ofsted rating, and debated our vision for excellence in all parts of school life in the Board’s annual training session. We also met to continue to develop our thinking around Noadswood becoming part of a Multi-Academy Trust, to strengthen the educational partnerships and services right across the Waterside. It’s important, interesting and genuinely influential work.

Every week, I speak to parents/carers who challenges us about something, and I think to myself, I wish they could join our board and help us drive the school from strength to strength. Maybe you’re passionate about particular subject areas, or finance, or pastoral care, or uniform, or our school site.. you name it, you can have your say and learn about school life from the inside.

If you are even a tiny bit interested in that sort of support for the school, just drop me a line at headteacher@noadswood.hants.sch.uk and I will arrange for us to meet, and for you to meet our chair, our longest serving Trustee, Alison Munden, who has been with us since around 2009. We would so love to hear from you.

Uniform update:

We would like to thank you all for your support with your young people regarding how they wear their uniform, particularly during recent weeks, when, owing to the gas leak, we had to allow uniform + additional clothing – it’s always that bit harder to come back from needing to make temporary changes like that, but, by and large, we have done so, and that’s down to your support and the students’ efforts.

As a reminder, the full uniform list can be found on our website (click link), and we would ask for you to chat to your children over the half term break, so that they are ready in spot on uniform afterwards.

If you need any assistance at all, please don’t hesitate to email your child’s year leader or finance@noadswood.hants.sch.uk and we will do all we can to provide what is needed or the support to purchase it.

Last Friday and through this week, we will be providing reminders verbally as well, so that everyone has got time to tweak any bits and pieces that aren’t right ready for after the break.

We are also very aware that the trend for shorter skirt lengths is becoming ever more culturally the norm, something we have perhaps not helped with by attempting to find a form of words those students wearing skirts felt was more appropriate – we have most recently gone with mid-thigh length, but then we have understood entirely those parents and carers who’ve got in touch to say, whose specific definition of that are we going with, and isn’t it just too vague?

We think this is one of the areas of our uniform where we really need to do the most work, and we know you agree with us about this. We will be revising the wording again to: Skirts should be worn ideally at just above the knee, and never any higher than mid-thigh.

We will be sharing with the students why we are doing so after half term: it is simply to ensure all items of clothing fall within the definition of ‘professional dress’. We think this wording will allow for those students who have grown taller, whilst wearing the same skirt, and who are perhaps in Y11 during which time parents/carers understandably are not keen to pay for a new one.

Additionally, we are looking at the types of trousers currently permitted in school and we are asking our Trust Board to consider one or two, still professional, additions to the current permitted styles -  more on that to come.

Reminders for the students:

  • Skirts should be worn at just above the knee and never any higher than mid-thigh length,
  • No hoodies to be worn whilst on school site of any style, including hoodies with zips,
  • Students must always wear a blazer or jumper, removing it when they’ve just asked for permission or it’s part of the usual rules in their classrooms for them to take them off as they sit down and then put them back on before they leave,
  • No black running shoes to be worn,
  • No facial piercings are permitted, unless a clear retainer is worn,
  • No hoop earrings, for health and safety reasons.

So this week we are speaking to the students about the above expectations, to make things clear and ready once again for after half term – here’s to no gas leaks making the site colder!

Hot Choc get togethers:

It’s been a great half term of Hot Choc get togethers with some of our youngest students, and indeed some of our older ones, too.

All of them have been nominated by their teachers or tutors, or sometimes members of the public or indeed proud parents/carers, to come and have a chat, a drink and a biscuit with me.

I thought I would make it really clear that there is no expectation of top grades, or the best of behaviour the whole time for a nomination, so how about writing to me to tell me about something your child does at home, or in an out of school activity, or to help you? Maybe they’ve improved on something or learnt a new skill outside of school? Maybe they look after a younger sibling or a pet, or do some cooking at home? I am not saying a Hot Choc and a chat is for everyone – what I am saying is, if your child has done something to make you proud, and you’d like to nominate them, I would love to hear from you.

It's headteacher@noadswood.hants.sch.uk and then I will pass their names to Miss Lavetiviti to sort their invite! It is a genuinely enjoyable breaktime every week for those who come along, and it’s an actual privilege for me.


Teaching and Learning update:

  • Quality Assurance
  • Team Leader showcasing
  • Year 11 revision sessions in full swing
  • Options evening preparation
  • Departmental time – Quality Teaching First

The start of the year is always a busy time for Year 11, and it has been fantastic to see all the hard work on display as the students prepare for their March mocks and upcoming GCSE exams. It is also fantastic to see the huge turnout for the revision sessions which take place across the school, with so many staff supporting the students in their studies.

Mr Hewitt has been working on the options for Year 9, which is an exciting prospect for the students, as they choose the subjects they wish to take further. Option subjects will be hosting an evening in March to give more information about the subject, and we can’t wait to see Year 9 students and parents / carers at this event.

Teaching and Learning developments continue, with Team Leaders presenting to all staff key aspects of how their subject approaches key aspects.

These are really powerful sessions where staff are able to talk in detail about strategies that work for their departments, and offer the chance for staff in other departments to be aware of key ideas that may benefit their learning areas.

Alongside this, our Quality Assurance continues, with members of the Senior Leadership Team and the Team Leader of the subject take a deep-dive learning walk through the department, similar to how Ofsted functioned when they visited us recently, to identify the strengths of the department and areas where we can develop.

This then leads to powerful conversations about how developments can be implemented, with key strategies and timeframes, so that our students experiences the highest quality lessons across all subjects.

This is linked closely to our upcoming INSET Day on February 20th, straight after the half term break, where the focus is solely on Departmental Time, during which they will collaborate together and plan out the best delivery of content across all the years. This time is purely focused on Teaching and Learning, with Quality Teaching First, Assessment Principles, Feedback, Independent Learning, and Literacy being key foci for our subject teams to focus on.

Maybe you have a comment or thought or question about your child’s experience of our curriculum? Separate to behaviour or how they are feeling, which you get in touch with us about, rightly, all the time. If you do, please reach out to us at info@noadswood.hants.sch.uk with your question or comment about their learning in a particular subject, or about their homework, their progress – anything you like – and we will make sure the right team leader comes back to you. Make sure you include your child’s full name and the subject/subjects you’d like to talk about – you don’t need to wait for a subject consultation evening to raise these sorts of thoughts.

Wishing all of the students a happy and safe half term break – we look forward to seeing them all on the other side!









Kathryn Marshall and the Noadswood Leadership Team