Reading Girls' School newsletter - 27 NOVEMBER 2020

Principal's message: Ladies & Gentlemen, let me introduce to you, for one year only.....

Our newly elected Student Senior Leadership Team (SSLT)

Our mantra is that Reading Girls’ School is a school for our girls and by our girls. We value the importance of developing leadership in young people and to that end, we have just appointed and introduced to the school, this year’s Student Senior Leadership Team (SSLT).

This year’s team take over the baton from last year’s inaugural SSLT who we would like to take this opportunity to thank for the work they carried out in embedding this programme into school life and the legacy they have left behind.

Our 2020/21 SSLT will be led by Co-Student Principals, Erin Gray and Zaara Sadiq. The team will be responsible for leading different areas of the school improvement including Anti-Bullying, Positive Mental Health, Prefects, Teaching and Learning, Reading, Sports and much, much more.

Zaara and Erin
Our 2020/21 SSLT was presented to the school this week.

Positive Mental Health – Emma Hind and Sophie Chivers (both year 10) will be working with a team of girls across the school to ensure we are all looking after ourselves and providing us with activities and ideas to keep healthy and positive!

Wellbeing – Tika Gurung and Sabiha Khan have been launching the school’s new Wellbeing strategy. The intention is to build on the Wellbeing Days we had during lockdown and find ways to give us breathing space to reflect and enjoy our time in these difficult months.

Teaching and Learning – Iris Collin and Sophie Harris (both year 9) will work with Mr Smith to promote our REAL lessons and support with our teaching and learning initiatives.

Anti-bullying– Midhat Zaidi and Katie Afonso (both year 9) work with their team to educate on how to be a good friend and managing relationships. They will also be trained to run restorative sessions with students.

Literacy and Reading – Ella Mirembe and Cerys Kitima (both Year 9) will take on the responsibility of literacy and reading across the school and work with Mrs Smith to promote all manner of activities.

Pledge – Iqra Parvez and Alina Pun will be working with Mrs Elliott to support and promote PLEDGE across the school and continue the good work from last year.

School displays and atmosphere – Cimron Thapa & Antonei Venter will be working with Mrs Hargrave to create eye-catching displays and a welcoming atmospheres for the year group bubbles.

Attendance and careers – Ashleyne Reen, Kate Nnaji and Eachhaya Bhattarai will be working with Mr FitzGerald on promoting good school attendance as well as working with Mrs Thomson in supporting our careers programme across the school.

Moreover, our leadership programme is not restricted to our SSLT members. Rather, we have:

Prefects – Hasinah Khan and Lilly Hughes in year 11 have been invaluable this term in supporting the students at break times and guiding new members of the team will be the main priorities in the coming weeks. Ellie-Rose in year 9 has been their reliable number 2 doing her duties every day and encouraging students in year 7 & 8 to enjoy their breaktimes safely.

Junior Prefects– applications are currently flooding in for girls in years 7 & 8 who are keen to take on responsibilities at break and lunchtimes. Their interviews will take place next week and I look forward to seeing them at work!

STEM Ambassadors– Girls in STEM are encouraged to act forthrightly in the world by working on their leadership and communication skills. Each week there is a rota for 6 girls to welcome guests (when outside of lockdown), to give introductions and votes of thanks to guest speakers, to assist with organising group activities and the assisting the teachers in delivery of sessions. The girls are expected to be bold and confident and act as good examples to anyone who is working with us from outside the school. They are also expected to be good role models, showing a passion for their subject and being reliable and trustworthy when dealing with competitions, games or group work.

Sports Leaders – the girls will work across their own year group bubble to promote the love of sport and get students involved in sporting activities in social times as well as in class.

A prime example of students showing a real desire to support the school and lead by example is Millie Ward in Year 8. Twice a week Millie distributes library books to all those who have orders and manages the booking system. She is fully trained on ensuring the books are covid secure and ensures all the quarantined books are handled safely.

Millie Ward

And the winners are....

On Wednesday of this week, we took part in the final of The Learning Performance Institute’s ‘Covid Champion Award’. We were short-listed as one of eight finalists. We had to give a 15-minute presentation on why we should win followed by a 30-minute Q&A on our presentation.

Our newly-appointed Student Principals Erin Gray and Zaara Sadiq, both in Year 10, and I made the 15-minute presentation. The girls were exceptional. The judging panel targeted their 30-minute Q&A session at them and they handled it with maturity beyond their years.

Our challenge was that in comparison to our fellow nominees, the judging panel did not know our school. We produced a promotional video therefore and showed it as part of our presentation. We would like to say a huge thank you to Sabiha Khan also in Year 10, for her work in co-producing this video alongside Miss Evans.

Thank you also to parents, pupils, staff and partners of the school for their contribution to the video. As per my promise in last week’s newsletter, you can now access the video.

We now wait until 18th February 2021 to find out who will be announced in 3rd, 2nd and 1st Place. The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in London.

Jon Gargan, Principal

STEM - Year 8

Girls were given an opportunity to look at the efforts being made towards our understanding of Dark Matter and the origins of the universe from deep underground with a live broadcast from the Boulby Deep Underground Laboratory in Yorkshire in STEM this week. The activities were varied and looked at a range of topics above ground too, where they enjoyed a competition where teams had to innovate efficient methods of manufacture and working out profit and loss in a business setting with the “Teddy Bear Factory” competition. Throughout the day, girls took turns in attending the fascinating talk from University College London’s returning “GeoBus” this week who looked at 3D models of fossils in an interactive workshop throughout the day.

Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory “Space Weather” competition winners

We are thrilled to announce that two Year 8 Reading Girls were awarded prizes for the RAL Space Weather competition. Shane Serika was the winner of the 11-15 category (writing) and Malaika Khan was awarded Highly Commended in her competition entry. Congratulations for placing well in this national competition to create a piece of creative work – art, cartoon or written – about space weather.

Eton Medical Society – Reading Girls’ Chapter

The new Eton Medical Society local division at Reading Girls’ School was launched this week with aspiring Year 10 and 11 girls invited to attend the Zoom talk from Myrddin Rees with the Eton Medical Society. He is a consultant hepatobiliary surgeon, giving his talk “A history of liver surgery - bloodbath to bloodless”. He stayed for longer than the hour to take questions from the guests including our girls who found his talk most stimulating where there were many good questions. The girls look forward to the next term’s talks scheduled for 2021 already.

Performing Arts

This term the Performing Arts Department have partnered with Reading Museum, The Museum of English Rural Life and Kala the Arts to produce a performance in celebration of the Diwali Festival. In September, practitioners from Kala the Arts led virtual workshops with Year 8 classes to teach choreography based on the story of Rama and Sita. The tale tells of Rama and Sita being banished to the forest and getting attacked by the many-headed demon Ravana, who wants Sita to be his wife. They are able to defeat him and are welcomed back to their Kingdom with rows of lit lamps (diyas) to help them find their way home.

Following the online workshops, 9D BTEC Performing Arts learned and created a Diwali performance to contribute to an online event hosted by Reading Museum. The event opened with a speech from the Mayor and followed with performances from Reading Girls' School and Geoffrey Field Junior School

The RGS Diwali performance and an article about the event can be found in the link: https://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/blog/diwali-festival-light

Thank you to Sushmita Pati, Senjuti Das and Rhea Douglas for the fantastic opportunity and well done to the girls listed below for a lovely performance!

  • Rahaf Al-Waheidi
  • Lexie Bowdler
  • Unyamanee Drawong
  • Jess Dsouza
  • Jodi Eustace
  • Holly Hallett
  • Tayah Hanly
  • Khadijah Kabier
  • Amirah Page-Riaz
  • Anushka Patil
  • Aanya Poleboina
  • Caitlin Powell
  • Eunice Pun
  • Nimrah Raja
  • Jahlani Rennis-Browne
  • Megan Rolfe
  • Alyssa Ward

Year 9 and Year 10 Challenges

From the start of November, Miss Rizan introduced challenges each week that Year 9 and 10 could take part in. These challenges engaged everyone to have some fun and is also a bit of competition between both year groups. The winner receives a point for their year group and a prize too. The first challenge was to bake a cake and decorate it for a selfie. It sounded quite interesting and fun so I decided to try it. As I like baking and do it often, it was very enjoyable and I was even more thrilled to win it. It really is just for a bit of fun and experience which opens up your creativity. By Zahra Shabbir in Year 10.

Queuing safely to buy food - We have made a further amendment to the break and lunch timings to avoid year groups overlapping.

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 23 to Friday 27 November 2020

YES - 2608 tokens

No - 178 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 - 301
  • Year 8 - 190
  • Year 9 - 63
  • Year 10 - 242
  • Year 11 - 13
  • Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 11893.
We have received a beautiful 6' Christmas tree to decorate and display in school. It was very kindly donated by Caversham Bridge Garden Centre.

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.