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Reading Girls' School newsletter - 6 NOVEMBER 2020

Principal's message: Another Number #1 national award for RGS!

Just before half term we received the news that Reading Girls' School is the UK’s number 1 school for Bedrock progress! I would like to say a huge congratulations to all of the pupils and the English department. Bedrock is a national programme that aims to develop pupils’ vocabulary. You can read more about their work by following the link in the tweet below.

https://twitter.com/readinggirlssch/status/1319953254759976960?s=12

Your questions answered…

In our newsletter before half term, I said that I would respond to questions and/or comments that you raised in completing our Parent Survey in October 2020. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. Please follow the link below to read my responses.

Hybrid classrooms in reverse

You will be aware that we offer our hybrid classrooms to girls at home who have to self-isolate so that they can access their lessons and join their classmates in group work. This week, it was the turn of one of our teachers to be at home and the girls in school. Here is Mr Dinnegan teaching Year 10 English from home. I would like to thank all the classes for the way in which they worked this week. It is the reason why I always say that they are the best thing about our school!

“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too” (Kipling, 1896)

In his poem, ‘IF’, Rudyard Kipling imparts wisdom about how to live up to the ideals life and how to deal with different situations. He uses these lines to emphasise two traits that all people should possess; self-trust and the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, even if it means understanding that people will not always like or agree with you.

Why am I referring to this poem? There have been a couple of occasions recently whereby parents have not agreed with our behaviour policy and in doing so, did not consent to detentions.

You will know from both our parent and pupil survey responses which we share with you, that behaviour at RGS is very good. Our clear expectation policy is the foundation upon which teachers can teach and pupils can learn without interruption. If such a policy in any school is not effective, everything else will fall apart.

Our policy is one that was first written in 2004 and has been the single most influential reason for cultural change across four schools. During that time it has been the subject of national research as an exemplar model policy. There may be aspects that people do not like and it is my role to ensure that we are fair in our administering of the policy, which I believe we are.

I want to take this opportunity to reconfirm that our policy is non-negotiable. We cannot have a situation whereby parents are choosing which aspects to follow. With respect, our behaviour policy is all or nothing.

Jon Gargan, Principal

UrbanPlan

The Year 11 Geography class took part in an urban planning activity this week, working virtually with facilitators from EdComms and representatives from Hill. They planned the reconstruction of an area and presented their plans. During the activity they also heard about the range of careers and opportunities in the construction industry.

Virtual planning

Quote from the girls who took part……

"This was an educational experience that provided insight into this growing industry. They highlighted the importance of women in this industry and our class was encouraged to pursue this career path. We were divided into teams, with the task to create an urban regeneration plan, reinforcing the knowledge from our geography specification. We learnt about the different factors that play a part within construction, for example finance and sustainability, and presented this plan building on our confidence, teamwork and communication skills."

STEM

For their STEM day on Tuesday, the Year 7s started the day with a virtual Kahoots quiz with the University of Reading. The questions were themed around various aspect of maths, science, technology and engineering, and themes included sport and films. The students really enjoyed this! What law of physics does Professor McGonagall break?

They then researched inspirational women and were given particular people to find out about. This included presenting their findings to their groups.

In the afternoon they investigated whether they could 'step through a piece of paper'. This is possible if the paper is cut in the correct way! There was a race to see how quickly pairs of students could get the cut piece of A5 paper over their heads and down to step through it!

The day finished with a presentation by Health Education England about the wide range of jobs and careers in the NHS (over 350) and the skills that people need to work in healthcare.

Reading For Pleasure

"If we want our children to thrive, teaching them to read is not enough – they must learn to enjoy it."

Follow the link to the full article published in the Independent by Cressida Cowell. Cressida is the author of books for children including ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, ‘The Wizards of Once’ and the ‘Emily Brown’ picture books, published by Hodder Children’s Books.

As part of the drive to encourage reading for pleasure, there is now a display of World War 1 poetry in the canteen area.

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 2 to Friday 6 November 2020

YES - 2335 tokens

No - 100 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 - 314
  • Year 8 - 340
  • Year 9 - 35
  • Year 10 - 271
  • Year 11 - 18
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 8694.

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.