Welcome to our first Glyn Newsletter of the 2021-22 academic year. It has been a joy over the past 10 days to welcome first staff and then all of our returning and new students back to school. There has been a genuine excitement from all within our community over these past days and it has been particularly gratifying to return to our more normal routines, without the need for bubbles, staggered timetable and other restrictive practices. To be able to see the vibrancy of a school environment of over 1900 staff and students, interacting and most importantly engaging in lessons and extracurricular activities, has been brilliant.
I wanted to begin by thanking families for their support yet again with our LFD testing programme. As you will know, all students have been encouraged to take two tests administered at the school, at the start of the term, and for the rest of this month at least, families are asked to continue with a similar routine of twice-weekly testing at home. With no requirement for social distancing and masks, and the removal of the requirement for school-age ‘close contacts’ to self-isolate, engaging in this regular testing programme and indeed responding to requests from NHS Test and Trace to book PCR tests when necessary, remains a vital measure in limiting the transmission of any future outbreak within our school community.
Thankfully this summer’s exam results did not see a last minute ‘moving of the goal posts’, such as was the case in August 2020. With teacher judgment once again forming the basis for these outcomes, I am so grateful for the professionalism and no little amount of hard work shown by our teaching staff and Exams Office in working through this system. We are delighted that the significant majority of our former Year 11 students, alongside 58 ‘external’ students, have put their trust in us to support them through their Sixth Form studies. We are equally proud of the fact that 188 departing Year 13 students have been able to take up places at university this term (an increase of 30 on the previous year), including one student off to Cambridge, two medics, a veterinarian, and 60 students with places at Russell Group universities. Most importantly, all of our students have secured their chosen next steps be it places at university, higher level apprenticeships or employment. All of these outcomes are a testament to the commitment of our students and the dedication and support of our staff and families alike and I am therefore very grateful to you all.
With the lifting of most restrictions for schools this term, one of our school’s core values – ‘opportunity’ comes to the fore. Naturally, engagement in lessons in order to ultimately secure those next steps are a vital opportunity for students to take. For too long though, that broad offer of curriculum enrichment and other extracurricular activities have been curtailed. We are very much keen to reintroduce the fullest programme possible of sporting teams, clubs, trips and outside visitors. It is these experiences, alongside the relationships that they form, that will stay with students (perhaps more readily than many of their lessons!) in the years to come. I therefore encourage all of our students, new and returning, to grasp every opportunity that arises as a result of being part of this school community.
Alongside new students in Years 7 and 12, the start of any academic year brings with it changes in staff. This year, our Associate Staff team is joined by Ms Baxter and a returning Mr Colombage.
We are delighted to welcome Ms Day, Ms Fitzpatrick and Ms Lester to our English faculty, alongside Mrs Khan and Mr Yap to our Mathematics team. In Science, we are joined by Mr Hanna and Miss Harrison, and we have four colleagues joining our growing MFL Faculty this year: Mr Cooper, Mr Ganeshalingam, Mrs Lucas and Mrs Riley.
Mrs Groves and Miss Laidlaw join our History team, whilst Miss Dade joins us in Geography. Mrs Elwell joins as our new Head of Psychology, Miss Simon joins our Business & Economics team. Our PE faculty welcomes Mr Lee, joining our Art department is Mrs Lukalu and finally we welcome Mrs Gunawardena to our Computing Faculty.
The education recruitment landscape remains highly challenging, and I therefore know how fortunate we are to have been able to appoint such an outstanding group of new colleagues, whom I am certain will forge excellent relationships with our students. I hope you will join me in welcoming them to our community.
Glyn is absolutely committed to developing not just our students, but so too our staff, old and new. Our school will only continue to improve if we all recognise that we are not the finished article, nor will we ever be. Within this context, we remain hugely fortunate to have a close relationship with the GLF SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) programme, who work in partnership with over 90 primary and secondary schools. Many of the new colleagues that I am delighted to welcome this term are either SCITT trainees or recently qualified through this programme, and it is a privilege to be able to support and develop colleagues as they set out on the start of their careers in education. Working in schools and alongside young people, especially the fantastic students at Glyn, really does provide the most rewarding of professions. To that end, I would strongly encourage any Parent or Carer considering a career in teaching to visit the GLF SCITT website for more information.
On behalf of the staff at Glyn School, I would like to thank the students for making such a positive start to the academic year, and I very much look forward to seeing how they grasp every opportunity that this year presents.
Matt Duffield, Executive Headteacher