Reading Girls' School Newsletter - 8 February 2019

Principal’s message – Road safety at beginning and end of the school day

Over 90% of our students walk or travel by public bus to and from school. However we appreciate with a very wide catchment area children are travelling from further afield than Reading often using cars to make the journey. We have had a number of issues raised by parents and our local community regarding safety for our children since the return from the Christmas Holiday. Cars have been mounting the pavement outside the school gates, turning around in Northumberland Avenue and parking in front of our neighbours drive. This puts our children at risk.

In order to minimise the risk to our children, we would ask that if you are dropping your daughter that you use the ‘drop off’ area just inside the vehicle entrance. Children can then walk down the pavement to the main pedestrian gate. Thank you for your co-operation, Jon Gargan, Principal.

Personal Development Day

For our third PD Day on Monday 4th February we were joined by specialist external partners from Youth Action, West Berks NHS, Study Higher, University of Reading, Reading Mental Health Hub, Oxford Brookes University, Berkshire Autism, Yell and Thames Water.

Study Higher is an organisation who encourage students to go into further and higher education. Locally they represent Oxford Brookes University, the University of Oxford and Bucks New University as well as Reading College and the University of Reading. Representatives from these various universities ran activities for our students including Healthy Eating, British Towns, Gear Up, Wellbeing, Science Challenge and CV Workshops.

Our Enterprise Adviser, Syreeta Harewood, ran CV Workshops for our Year 11 students and Thames Water visited Year 11 to discuss mental health at work. East Berkshire EBP ran a session on Diversity & People Like Me and careers in STEM for Year 8s and 9s. Autism Berkshire visited the Year 7 students to raise awareness about social action and autism, and we plan to do some fundraising for them. There were also first aid sessions, smoking and alcohol awareness activities, and workshops about exploitation and mental health.

We are very grateful to all our visitors for running such diverse and wide ranging groups of activities. The students will have had their eyes opened a little more to the world around them.

We also take the opportunity to deliver First Aid and CPR, as we train every student in basic techniques that can save lives. The Personal Development Day Curriculum is innovative in its delivery and we cannot thank enough those partners who provide their specialism. For our students it is an example of REAL Learning.

STEM - Science, Technology, English & Maths

Bayer, the biosciences company, visited the Year 8s as part of their STEM day on Wednesday 6th February.

The students heard about the work and the career path of the presenters, and then made 'Gene Jewellery'. This involved taking samples of their cheek cells from the inside of their mouth by gently massaging their cheeks for 30 seconds without swallowing and then spitting their saliva into cups. Cue lots of 'ughs'! The cells were treated with chemicals and then frozen to release their DNA, which was put into necklaces for them to take home.

The students were all very involved and interested in this process, and enjoyed this experience as a lab worker. They were fascinated to see their DNA sample developing and were delighted to be able to be to take it away from the session. We are very grateful to the staff from Bayer for their time, support and energy in running this activity for our Year 8s.

Staff from Fujitsu also visited Year 7 to run An Hour Of Coding. Using a Minecraft based programme, the students were introduced to the basics of computer programming, including planning logical steps and linking sections together. The students thoroughly enjoyed this session and did extremely well at it.

In each session, the first 5 students to complete the task were given prizes for their excellent work.

University taster day

Some Year 8 students have visited the University of Reading recently to experience what it is like. They had a tour of the campus, talked with current students about their experiences, and had a taster lesson. Those who attended the first visit had a History themed workshop. The second visit was Business Studies themed. We are very grateful to the University for giving our students this experience and we hope it will encourage them to consider university.

Visiting the Mayor of Reading

We were invited to attend a WEC meeting with the Mayor of Reading as the host. Her journey to becoming Mayor was inspirational for young people. Many primary schools from WEC attended and we all discussed how Whitley could become a better community. We enjoyed this opportunity to voice our opinions and make a change for the young. Arooj Khan, Amandeep Mavi and Alice Gray Year 9.

Teaching and Learning

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

This academic year has been an exciting time for staff and students at Reading Girls’ School, with the launch of REAL. At the end of lessons students get the opportunity to feedback to teachers about the lesson. Students are presented with the question ‘Has your lesson been REAL?’ Students inform the teacher by taking a token and placing it in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box in their classroom. The tokens are then collected in at the end of the week and counted.

Results for Monday 28 January — Friday 8 February 2019

YES - 301 tokens

No - 26 tokens

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