Reading Girls' School Newsletter - 8 NOVEMBER 2019

Principal's Message - Thank you for using our car park drop-off and pick-up

Firstly, I would like to thank parents for responding to our survey in the last edition of the Newsletter. 100% of parents who responded would prefer a three-year GCSE course, which is what we currently offer. I will ask for your opinion on another specific Quality of Education matter in next week’s edition.

In addition, we now also have two on-going ‘feedback’ links on our website for parents and students. Feel free to use them anytime. Both links are monitored and responded to if required. They can be found here:

Secondly, thank you so much to those of you who have availed of our school car parking facility for morning drop-off and afterschool pick-up. It’s made a huge difference to congestion on the roads and the safety of the girls as they come to and from school. The pictures of the clear roads were taken at 8.25am earlier this week. You can see the impact that your help has made.

Finally, I would like to remind all parents of our Central Reading school bus service. The number 91 runs from Oxford Road daily to school. If your daughter is using the number 5 from town, you should consider the number 91 for which there are discount codes. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Jon Gargan, Principal

Dare to be different

This week, a group of year 8 students visited Porsche in West Reading for a Dare to be Different event with students from other schools.

The aim was 'driving female talent' and encouraged the students to consider the wide range of roles in the motor industry. They heard from mechanics and customer care advisers and had a tour of the workshop and training centre. A medical consultant for Silverstone, who mainly works in A&E, ran a session about CPR and talked about her experiences, including delivering a baby at Silverstone one race day.

A workshop on why we have cars and how their use could develop included a competition on recognising car logos. They heard about Porsche's latest electric car, how charging works and how they are improving charging times.

After lunch, the girls met a female racing driver who drives in GT3. They heard about her career and asked all sorts of questions! Some were lucky enough to sit in the Porsche Carrera cup car! They also took part in a pit stop challenge where teams of students competed to see who could change wheels the quickest. For a while we had the winning team with 15.4 seconds, but another team managed to get below 14 seconds.

The final workshop focussed on marketing and how Porsche use social media to target different groups such as existing customers, potential customers and those who are simply fans of Porsche cars. Students were then challenged to take photos of Porsche cars, and come up with a team name and marketing slogan – this involved sitting in the cars in the showroom which was very exciting.

The students had a very inspirational and educational day at this exciting workplace, and thank you to Porsche and the Dare to be Different team.

University of Reading

Students from the University of Reading visited the Year 7s and some Year 9s this week. The university students are considering going into teaching and are taking the Institute of Education module in their final year of their degree. They had designed some activities that they ran for our students and talked about university life and the courses they are doing.

For the Year 9 students, the sessions were on climate change, and on maths using dinosaurs as a focus.

For the year 7 students, the activities took place as part of their STEM day. The workshops included using flowcharts to recognise and identify diseases (as used by the call handlers on 111); how disease is spread, identifying the source of an outbreak focussing on a map of the university campus and accidental discoveries in science. Groups were asked to consider if they were given a budget of £1M to spend on environmental issues what their priorities would be.

Another workshop focussed on code breaking and deciphering about a possible security problem in a bank and students discussed the ethics of whether the bank should be put under surveillance. There was also an activity about using decision maths for route planning - and deciding the most efficient route for trick or treat!

Our students and those from the university enjoyed taking part in these STEM activities and we wish the university students all the best with their careers whether they decide to go into teaching or not.

“Thank you so much for organising our outreach session at Reading Girls’ School. Our undergrads certainly went home on a high – they really enjoyed the opportunity to work with your students – I think they particularly appreciated the chance to repeat their sessions so that they could put their reflection into action immediately. Fingers crossed that in the future they will remember the adrenaline high that most of them so obviously experienced and that teaching will be their career of choice. Please say a big ‘thank you’ to all the teachers who worked with us. We were made to feel very welcome and really enjoyed our morning with you.”

Books are important, and at RGS we want to make as many as possible available to our community. If you have books that you no longer want, need or have any use or space for, then we would be extremely grateful if you would consider donating them to the school. Alongside our old library stock, these books will be sold at school events like parents’ and open evening and the money raised put back into buying new books for our school library. We will take books of any kind. All you need to do is drop them off at reception and we can take care of the rest.

We are also still looking for volunteers to help our struggling readers. If you are interested and can spare any time for this very worthy cause then please get in touch with me at rreid@readinggirlsschool.net to find out more.

Deeper Applied Learning

On Thursday 7 November, year 7 and 8 experienced one of their Deeper Applied Learning External Partner Experiences for Health and Nutrition. Mary Jones from the NHS who is a dietitian visited the school to discuss the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Furthermore, the students were presented with interactive games to get them fully involved. Students in year 7 and 8 also benefited from the experience by applying their current learning in Health and Nutrition beyond the classroom and how their learning within this subject can support their own personal development and the opportunities this subject can provide for them once they leave Reading Girls' School with potential opportunities for employment within this field.

Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month the Performing Arts department were visited by a guest dancer to lead an African workshop. A selection of Year 7 and Year 8 girls were given the opportunity to learn about Zimbabwean culture and develop an African dance sequence. The girls thoroughly enjoyed learning a new style and the experience of performing to each other.

We want to say a big thank you to Sharon Tandi and Reed Education Reading, for giving us the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month through African dance.


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 their 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 - 53
  • Year 8 - 65
  • Year 9 - 60
  • Year 10 - 66
  • Year 11 - 8
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collect this year across the whole school are 1,769.

Teaching and Learning

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

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 then 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 the delivery of their lesson. These tokens are then collected in at the end of every week and counted.

Results for this week: Monday 4 to Friday 8 November 2019

YES - 1268 tokens

No - 57 tokens