Reading Girls' School newsletter - 23 OCTOBER 2020

Principal's message: "And the nominees for the Covid Champion award are..."
We have been shortlisted for an international award!

What a great way to end the term for our pupils, staff and parents. Earlier this week we received the news that we have been short-listed for an international award for our educational provision throughout the current pandemic.

We are over-whelmed because this is not a reward excusive to schools. Rather, we are the only school in a category with multi-million pound national and international corporate organisations and large Trusts. Given the gulf in difference in resources available, I’m sure it will be extremely challenging to win in that category but we are so proud of pupils, parents and of course staff who worked so hard to ensure that the pandemic does not disturb learning.

The awards are run by The Learning Performance Institute (LPI) who are a global membership body for learning professionals. Their aim is to raise the profile of the workplace learning sector by sharing and celebrating the knowledge, experience and skills of its members and partners. We have been shortlisted in a category for ‘Covid Champion’ with:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Guys and St Thomas’ Foundation NHS Trust
  • Independent Garage Association
  • Kellog’s
  • Lidl GB
  • Novartis

The judging takes place from 16 – 25 November with the Awards ceremony taking place on 18 February 2021. The link will take you to more details. https://thelearningawards.com/finalists


We have collated feedback from our parents, pupils and staff as part of our review of term 1 which was a very surreal term for everybody. As per my promise last week, I would like to share the headlines with you…

(i) Our top five STUDENT responses were…

  • 96% - enjoy learning at Reading Girls’ School
  • 94% - it has been helpful for them to come into school my PE / Dance kit.
  • 94% - the school is good at dealing with cases of bullying, if and when it happens.
  • 91% - in year 7 and 8 reported that leaving early from class was helpful.
  • 90% - sanitising stations help to keep them safe.

(ii) Our top five PARENT responses were…

  • 100% - Reading Girls’ School deals with bullying quickly and effectively, if and when it happens
  • 100% - it has been helpful for their daughter to come into school her PE / Dance kit for when she has these lessons
  • 96% - would recommend Reading Girls’ School to another parent
  • 93% - Reading Girls’ School makes sure its pupils are well behaved
  • 92% - sanitising stations help to keep their daughter safe

(iii) Our top five STAFF responses were…

  • 100% - the school has been successful at returning to a normal school routine
  • 100% - felt safe when in the classroom
  • 100% - the behaviour of pupils in their lessons is good
  • 100% - the work that year 11 are completing in their lessons will prepare them for their GCSE exams in 2021
  • 100% - felt confident that the pupils in year 11 will have all the knowledge they need to do well in their GCSE exams


In addition to answering our survey questions, thank you for your comments. I will answer these comments and publish them in the newsletter on Friday 6th November 2020.


You will be aware of our reopening document that I sent to you in September and the subsequent updated drafts. In light of the term 1 review, we have amended this document. I have highlighted those areas that have been amended. Please take time to read this so that you are aware of what we have told the girls.

The amendments cover the following areas:

  1. Facial coverings (page 2)
  2. Dance and PE uniform (page 4)
  3. Use of the M.U.G.A.R (page 6)
  4. Access to floors 1 & 2 during break and lunch time (page 7)
  5. Queuing safely to buy food for Years 7&8 (page 6)
  6. Staggered times at the end of the day for Years 7&8 (page 7)
  7. Classroom windows (page 9)
  8. Year 11 break and lunch (page 9)


We had a full day of year group assemblies today to sum up the review of term 1 and explain the amendments that will take place from term 2. Two of our Year 10 girls, Sophie Chivers and Emma Hind led the section on our new Mental Health Charter. Please take time read the assembly and ask the girls about the review and amendments for next term.

Sophie and Emma delivering our new Mental Health Charter in assemblies today.

Farewell Mrs Bilbe

Today we say thank you and farewell to Mrs Bilbe who is retiring after 22 years of service to Reading Girls’ School. We held a special breakfast for staff this morning and each year group assembly celebrated her time and thanked her for what she has done for our school.

Mrs Bilbe retiring after 22 years at RGS.
Year 9 girls saying thank you to Mrs Bilbe in today's assembly for her 22 years of service to RGS.

Jon Gargan, Principal

Cultural Day

On Friday 23rd October the RGS girls and staff came to school in either their cultural attire or in the colours of their flags to celebrate our diversity. It was wonderful to see and hear the discussions taking place and girls explaining their own heritage to each other!

Here are a selection of photos taken at break time today in their year group areas.

Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Mrs Parsons and Mr Fyffe
Wonderful outfits to celebrate their varied cultures.

Reading For Pleasure

Reading is a pleasure but it is also a unique form of mental exercise for children. Follow the link to an article by Lorraine Levis on "Why we must raise a generation of readers".

Has your lesson been REAL (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning)?

Using REAL tokens students have the opportunity to give instant feedback to staff about their experiences within the lesson.

Students are provided with a token and at the end of the lesson, are asked if their lesson has been R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning). Students theen place their token into the 'Yes' or 'No' box, which is in every teaching classroom. Staff then uses this information to make any modification to their delivery of their lesson. These tokens are then collected in at the end of every week and counted.

Results for this week: Monday 19 to Friday 23 October 2020

YES - 8660 tokens

No - 244 tokens

Increasing Student Participation

"Talking Tokens"

Talking Tokens are issued by the classroom teacher and/or teaching assistant to pupils who participate to questions and/or ask questions during lessons. Pupils are encouraged to write their name and year group on the back of the 'Talking Token' and place them into the relevant 'Talking Token' collection box for their year group. At the end of each term, all 'Talking Tokens' are placed together and a pupil is selected at random. The more 'Talking Tokens' a pupil collects for contributing answers to questions in class, the more chances they have to win a prize.

At the end of this week the following number of 'Talking Tokens' collected by each year group were:

  • Year 7 - 789
  • Year 8 - 586
  • Year 9 - 185
  • Year 10 - 388
  • Year 11 - 509
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 7716.

All meals are provided by Chartwells - a school meal consists of a main meal and a dessert for £2.40 a variety of snacks and drinks are also available.

Chartwells operate a cashless till system, operated by cards. The cards are topped up online using a secure website called ParentPay, if your daughter is eligible for free meals, £2.40 is credited to her card each day. Your daughter will be provided with her card and ParentPay login details on her first day at Reading Girls' School. You can find more information about ParentPay on their website http://www.parentpay.com. The school office is also happy to help with any enquiries.

Follow the link for details of the school menu.