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Principal’s weekly update 25 January 2019

We began the week by welcoming staff and 20 students from Guangzhou (Canton), the capital city of Guangdong Province located along the south coastline of Chinafor a two-week visit. The students are enjoying a full experience as a Longsands student and have been paired-up with ‘buddies’ who are not only hosting our guests but also supporting them in lessons. As I entered our Library, it was evident that positive relationships had already been forged as I watched your children enthusiastically interacting with our visitors. Bonnie, a visiting member of staff, addressed staff on Wednesday, Thank you for making us so welcome, our students are very happy with their buddies and their teachers and we look forward to another excellent trip.”

On Monday, I was also delighted to be able to report that students in Years 12 & 13 achieved significant success in maths and English re-sits with results well above National averages. In addition, we also received some super results from those students who completed the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which affords students excellent preparation for university.

Miss Bell, our most-able champion, gave details of the progress of our current cohort of Arkwright applicants. This year, three Year 11 students are applying for Arkwright Scholarships. On the 6th February they will sit a 2-hour Aptitude Test during which they have to devise multiple solutions to an engineering problem. If they are successful with the exam and their application, the students will be invited to interview. Good luck to Samuel Kendall (project: build own 3D printer), Yasmine Mountaser (project: improve wifi signal using a parabolic reflector) and Ben Godfrey (project: code a video game for a competition).

We are equally proud of our Year 12 Arkwright Scholars, Evan Marlow and Cliona Blackwell, who both receive £600 per year funding as well as opportunities to visit a range of universities.  The students also benefit from mentoring from ARM in Cambridge who are busy supporting them with their preparations for the Aptitude Test. In Year 13, Matthew Cossins has received a university offer from Nottingham which includes a £1500 bursary in recognition of him being an Arkwright Scholar.  Matthew was a real help last year with Evan and Cliona and has helped already this year by talking to the Year 11 students about their applications.  In addition, the students also benefit from the experience of Bob Southall, a Rotarian and parent of an ex-Longsands student, who comes in weekly to work with the students. Lastly, my heartfelt thanks to Miss Bell, who leads this aspect of our work with dedication and expertise.

During this week, careers interviews began with our Year 11 students to support them in their choice of an appropriate post-16 pathway. Students are able to access information, advice and guidance on the full range of options, including A level studies, college courses or apprenticeships. These interviews will conclude this week; please note the deadline for applications to the Astrea Sixth Form is Friday, interviews with the sixth form team will commence thereafter to support and guide course choices.

With this Sunday, 27th January, being Holocaust Memorial Day, Mr Willis, Mr Owen, our Head Boy & Girl plus a number of prefects led assemblies to mark this national commemoration day which is dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. Students were encouraged to be considerate and mindful of the challenges still faced by many people around the world who face displacement from their home.

On Friday, a number of our students, who are also St John’s Ambulance cadets, held a bake sale which raised an impressive £128.65; many thanks and well done. Money raised by ‘Longsands Got Talent’ has also been presented to Parkinsons and Cancer Research.

Lastly, it was heart-warming to receive a communication from the parent who had, without warning, received a letter from the Police detailing how her son and his friends had supported a young German girl who was lost and in a distressed state at the skate park. The students not only showed great compassion but also worked with Police Officers to help resolve the situation; in addition, they found their German studies very useful in this unexpected situation.

Your children continue to be a source of inspiration and it is a privilege to work with them; be very proud.

Martin Paine