17 September 2018

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope that you have all had an enjoyable summer and your child is excited to start a new school year. We welcome our new Year 7 pupils and families who are starting high school for the first time but we also welcome back our returning students who have all progressed into a new year group.

I am pleased to report that everyone seems to have returned with a really positive attitude to all aspects of school and they are all settling in well. The challenge of course is for things to stay that way! We are confident that we continue to be a school that is going from strength to strength but to do that we really need your continued support!

We also warmly welcome the new staff to Mount Carmel and hope that they settle in quickly and enjoy working at Mount Carmel: Mrs Anna McDonnell (Curriculum Leader for Geography); Miss Violet Owen (Assistant Curriculum Leader for DT and Art); Mrs Donna Lynas (Assistant Curriculum Leader MFL); Miss Ellie Cruse (Teacher of English); Miss Fiona Fellows (Teacher of English); Mr Falyaz Makda (Teacher of Mathematics); Mr Paul Bolger (Teacher of Mathematics); Mr Thomas Green (Teacher of Mathematics); Mrs Laura Heys (Attendance and Punctuality Officer). Mrs Al-Talib has retired as a teacher but will take on a new role as a KS3 one to one maths tutor. Mr Wallace continues as a maths teacher but on a phased retirement timetable.

This summer saw most subjects awarded the new 1 – 9 grading system. A Grade 9 is designed to recognise the very highest performing students across the whole of the country (top 3%). We are extremely proud that two of our pupils achieved the prestigious Grade 9 and 1 pupil; Sidra Naser achieved an amazing 5 Grade 9’s.
Our English results are once again really strong in terms of progress as are results in French, Drama, Food and Nutrition and Computer Science. Overall as a school we have improved our Progress 8 score which is the key government measure for all schools across the country. All in all it looks like we can once again celebrate improvements this year and look forward to even better prospects in the future.
Each year our exam results show that pupils who work hard in lessons, have good attendance and arrive to school / lessons on time, show good behaviour and generally have a positive attitude towards their learning – achieve their target grades.

Over the Summer holiday period we have made improvements to our main hall with brighter decoration and graphics; our Reflect Room has been decorated and booths installed; bright new lockers have been installed across school; new exterior clear signage for staff and visitors; our music room has had new worktops and tables; our reprographics department has been remodelled to create more space in the Learning Resource Centre and air conditioning has been installed in more classrooms.

ChatHealth is a text service which is an easy way for young people aged 11-19 years to confidentially ask for help with a range of issues. The service is manned by qualified school nurses who have a wealth of experience. ChatHealth is available and allows young people in Lancashire to text messages to a dedicated number 07507 330 510; the messages are delivered to a secure website. Once received, the school nurse will respond to the text within one working day.

ChatHealth is available Monday to Friday from 9am-4.30pm (excluding bank holidays). Any young person who texts the service outside of these hours will receive an automated message with advice of where to get help if their question is urgent.

As well as this, we now have a Year 11 “Calm the Child Group” meeting on Wednesday lunchtimes in the Pastoral meeting room and a drop-in Emotional Health/Wellbeing service on Friday lunchtimes also in the Pastoral meeting room.

We are continuing to use Show My Homework which will provide you with a deeper insight in the homework your child receives. This aids your child’s organisation, time management and helps them to keep on top of their homework tasks. If you have a questions please contact Mrs Thompson at school.

Over the past few years I feel that we have significantly improved the standard of uniform across school. I would like to thank you for your support for our zero tolerance approach. If pupils look smart it shows they have pride for themselves and their school. In assemblies this week I will be reminding all pupils about a few things that still concern me and I will be asking Achievement
Co-ordinators and Form Tutors to follow these issues up with individual parents until they are resolved.

1. SHIRTS: Shirts must be tucked inside skirts/trousers and the top button must be fastened.
2. SKIRTS: Skirts must be worn just above or on the knee and not rolled up at the waist;
3. TROUSERS: trousers must be slate grey conventional tailored trousers – not black and not “skinny fit”;
4. MOBILE PHONES: Please could I remind parents and students that mobile phones should remain in school bags throughout the school day. If the phone is not kept out of sight and a member of staff sees a child using their mobile phone during school hours, it will be confiscated and parents will have to collect it from the main school office. We make no apologies to having a zero-tolerance approach to these school rules and ask for your full support in these matters.
5. MOVEMENT AROUND SCHOOL: Pupils must move around school by walking on the left hand side and in single file on the stairs. This ensures that all pupils feel safe especially at lesson change over and coming in from outside at the end of break and lunch.

Regular school attendance is an important part of giving your child the best possible start in life. Talking to your child and their teachers could help solve any difficulties you may have in getting your child to go to school and there are other forms of support available if you still have problems. The law requires parents to make sure their children receive full-time education suitable to their needs. Regarding taking holidays during term time; Government legislation now states that requests for holiday leave during term time will not be authorised by the headteacher and could also be subject to a fine. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to attend school every day. It makes a massive difference to your child’s learning and once again this year pupils who have a poor attendance have not achieved well in their GCSE exam results.

Our School Annual Open Evening will take place on Thursday 20th September from 6 to 8.30 p.m. To enable staff to prepare for this event, school will close at 12.30 p.m. Buses have been ordered for this time. If your child is entitled to free school meals, they will need to pre-order a packed lunch and collect this at break-time.

Year 10 and Year 11 pupils will be asked to act as guides during the evening and pupils from other year groups will be asked to assist staff in departments. Thank you in advance if your son or daughter is involved in any open evening activities.

This will take place on Thursday 11th October at 2.00 p.m. This is always a lovely opportunity to welcome our new Year 7 pupils and their families to Mount Carmel. Please can I encourage as many Year 7 parents to come along and support your child, even if you are not a practicing Catholic, have another faith or even if you have no faith.

As always, if you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact school. Best wishes to you all for another good school year!

Yours sincerely

Xavier Bowers