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Head of School Letter 10th June 2024

10th June 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

Welcome to another week, and welcome back to school to the Year 9 Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students who had wonderful weather for their training expedition at the end of last week. Public Exams continue this week; we are so impressed with the tenacity of our students; they’re over halfway through now. 

Wing Family Fest - Saturday 6th July 2024 We’re looking for volunteers to make Wing Family Fest a real success. If you are able to help, even for an hour or so or just for a specific part of the day, please complete this form: Wing Family Fest Volunteers 

Another reminder that tickets can be purchased for the Colour Run - here’s the link to book tickets: Friends of Cottesloe PTA Colour Run As a community event, it’s open to everyone, not just families with children who attend either school. Please share with friends and neighbours and encourage them to come along for a brilliant day.

Confident Futures Skills Show at Stoke Mandeville Stadium - 11th June Are you feeling unprepared about future career choices for your teenager? Then join the Bucks Skills Hub on Tuesday 11th June, 3.30-5.30pm, for their Confident Futures Skills Show, in the Bowls Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. This event, free to attend, is designed for students facing barriers including SEND, social, personal, cognitive or physical obstacles. It will help both parents and children navigate the career options, with advice from employers, training providers, further education colleges and careers advisors. Book your ticket to meet employers keen to talk to you and your young person! Confident Futures Skills Show 2024 

InvestIN Immersive Careers Experience - 19th June As the summer approaches, it is a great time for students to start thinking about how they can spend their holidays wisely. To get a head start on their futures, students can use this time to upskill and gain valuable experiences that will boost future applications. Join the InvestIN team on Wednesday 19th June between 7pm-8pm to learn more, by booking a space here: InvestIN Careers Event sign-up  Topics covered include:  

  • The impact of the changing job market on the future of careers, identifying the shifts in key skills and qualities employers are looking for. 

  • A deep dive into desirable skills students can build over the summer and key practical takeaways to implement this.

  • How InvestIN can support students through ultimate work experience Summer Experiences, giving them the chance to learn from professionals and test-drive their dream careers.

Drowning Prevention Week: 15-22 June 2024 The Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) summer campaign is designed to explore a multitude of opportunities to proactively raise awareness of water safety ahead of a summer outdoors. Starting in May, through the summer, the risk to the public through accidental drowning increases significantly - Drowning Prevention Week is critical in raising awareness and encouraging everyone to enjoy water safely. In 2022, there was a 46% increase in the number of accidental fatalities amongst children, compared to the 5-year average. 35 accidental child fatalities were reported - equivalent to more than a classroom of children.  In the last 5 years, 30% of accidental drownings in the UK occurred at the beach, shore or coast.

Every young person should have access to water safety skills that can be used throughout their life, no matter their background. This knowledge will keep them safe around the water and enrich their opportunities to engage in water-related activities and play.  Water can provide so much joy but at the same time has the potential to cause unimaginable tragedy. Spending a short time providing a sound water safety education for the whole family can make the difference for a planned day at the beach or the park resulting in everybody enjoying their day and returning home, safely. The RLSS have produced a A Guide for Parents RLSS Water Safety Advice to help everyone have a fun and safe summer around water this year!

Sports Fixtures and Results We had a number of girls’ cricket fixtures last week, well done to everyone that donned their whites and represented the school.  On Monday the U15 Girls Cricket played Radcliffe School. The girls lost but had an excellent experience. On Tuesday the U13 Girls played in a Cricket tournament at Ascott House. The girls won one match and lost three.  On Thursday the U13 Girls played again, against Buckingham School, but unfortunately, they lost in what was a really close game. 

On Wednesday we hosted a Year 2 Primary School Festival, with just under 300 children attending! All the children had a great time and as a school, we received some fantastic feedback about how excellent our Year 9 Sports Leaders were!  It's always great to hear positive feedback from visitors to the school about how wonderful our students have been; congratulations Year 9!

Over the weekend a number of students competed in the County Athletics Championships - more on this next week!

This coming week is a quieter one for cricket with just one match scheduled for Monday; the U13s are playing Radcliffe at Ascott.  Year 7 will be participating in a Rounders Tournament on Tuesday at Aylesbury High School. 

Year 12 Biology and Applied Human Biology students will be attending a Virology talk with an external speaker from Oxford University on Wednesday. Virology, the study of viral infections, such as rubella, herpes, hepatitis and HIV is a topic taught in both the A Level Biology and BTEC Applied Human Biology courses.

Year 10 Triple Science students will be attending the Virology talk on Wednesday with Year 12. Business Studies students will visit Woburn Safari Park on Wednesday.  They will begin by experiencing the park as customers via a guided coach tour, and then attend an educational talk about marketing, a topic they have recently been studying.  This type of opportunity, bringing a topic to life, is invaluable to students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of aspects of GCSE Business Studies.

Year 8 HPV vaccinations will take place on Monday for students for whom families have completed the consent form from the Bucks School Nursing Team. 

Year 7 It’s the Year 7 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday. If you have any queries about appointments or how to log in to the online Parent Evening System please contact the main school office. 

Have a great week and thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 3rd June 2024

03rd June 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

It’s hard to believe that it's already the final term of the school year! So much has happened over the last ten months and yet it feels as though it was not long ago that we were welcoming Year 7 to the school at the start of their secondary school journey. This term promises to be another exciting one, filled with a number of different experiences and opportunities for all year groups. A key part of this term is looking ahead to September and ensuring everything is ready for a smooth start to the 2024-2025 academic year. This includes Transition and welcoming the new Year 7 students to the school. It’s really enjoyable to visit students in their primary schools, answer their questions and help them put faces to names of key members of staff who will be working with them when they join us in September. An incredible amount of work goes into the planning and preparation of Transition; thank you to our Transition Coordinator, Mrs Moore for her time and energy in ensuring students are well prepared for what lies ahead.

Building Work If you visit the school this term, you’ll definitely notice the building work is under way. Thank you to everyone during the last week of term in adapting to the changes to parking and site access. These changes will continue for the foreseeable future.   

Year 11 Celebration We said a formal farewell to our brilliant Year 11 students on the last day of term. They had a great afternoon signing shirts on the field, spending time with their form tutors, some of whom have been with them since Year 7, and remembering successes throughout the years in their final Celebration Assembly. A very big thank you to the incredible team of Year 11 tutors: Mrs Savine, Mr Clawson, Mr Herman, Miss Goddard, Mrs Nicholls, Mr Brokenbrow, Mr Knightley and Mrs Bye, as well as Mr Magill who has led the year group as Head of Year since Year 11 joined the school in 2019. 

British Physics Olympiad Congratulations are in order for a number of students across Years 7 to 10 who participated in British Physics Olympiad competitions over the last term. The British Physics Olympiad, organised by Oxford University on an annual basis since 1982,  encourages the study of physics and recognises excellence in young physicists through fourteen annual physics competitions. Certificates are awarded at Commendation, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. The very best A Level students can go on to represent Great Britain at the International Physics Olympiad.

All of Year 8 and most of Year 7 competed in the Year 7/8 Physics Challenge, a new competition for 2024. At The Cottesloe School, an incredible 27 students achieved a Gold award! Our four highest scorers were Charlotte in 7D, Felix in 7O, Freddie in 8R and Frederick in 8O.  All students in Years 9 and 10 competed in the Junior Physics Challenge, with three Gold awards being achieved by TCS students: Silas in 9C, Ella in 10O and Alfie in 10H. In addition to this, two Year 11 students stayed after school to compete in the Junior Physics Challenge, with both students achieving Gold awards: Jack in 11E and Finlay in 11T. Certificates have been presented to all Commended, Bronze, Silver and Gold achievers in their Science lessons. Thank you very much to Miss Gamage for organising the opportunity, and a very well done to everyone who accepted the challenge and participated. 

Uniform Following the confirmation of a change in school skirt style at the end of last half-term, a reminder that the deadline to request a free skirt for students in current Years 7 to 10 is this coming Friday, 7th June. This is to ensure orders arrive in time for September. Here’s the form link: https://forms.gle/XyWhcvMGk5FL2hA77  

The weather for this coming week looks to be in the mid to high teens; students need to wear their full school uniform including blazers to school, and around the site, unless it is their day to wear their PE kit to school. Students are able to remove blazers in classrooms if they need to. During the parental consultation regarding skirts, a few parents requested that shorts be incorporated into the uniform. We don’t have a specific winter/summer uniform and at present have no plans to make additional changes to the uniform such as introducing shorts. We are aware that one local secondary school in Aylesbury is trialling school shorts this term; it may be something we consider in the future. 

Wing Family Fest Saturday 6th July 2024 Another reminder that tickets can be purchased for the Colour Run at Wing Family Fest - here’s the link to book tickets:  Friends of Cottesloe PTA Colour Run This is a community event open to everyone, not just families with children attending either school so share with your friends and neighbours to encourage them to come along for what looks to be a brilliant day.  

Sports Fixtures and Results On Thursday 23rd May, a team of triathletes travelled to Stoke Mandeville Stadium to participate in the Bucks Secondary School Triathlon competition. Split into age groups of Year 7/8 and Year 9/10, teams participated in swimming in the stadium pool, cycling on Spin bikes and running around the stadium track, over different distances according to their ages. Year 7/8 girls came 15th out of 16 teams, Year 7/8 boys came 12th out of 13 teams. Year 9/10 boys came 8th out of 14 teams and the Year 9/10 girls took the Bronze medal, coming third place out of 12 teams. Congratulations to the Year 9/10 girls and to everyone who took part - the photos suggest it was a lot of fun to participate in! 

This week there’s cricket matches at Buckingham for the U15 girls and at home for the U13 girls, as well as a cricket tournament for the U13 girls at Ascott on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, we’ll be welcoming Year 2 sports people from local primary schools to participate in a Multi Skills Primary Festival, supported by our own Year 9 Sports Leaders. 

Year 13 and Year 11 Public exams continue this week, with an increased number of A Level exams taking place. Although both year groups are now on study leave, they are very welcome to come into school to study and have been encouraged to get in touch with their teachers and tutors for support, or if they need help with specific topics/past paper questions.  

Year 10 A letter will be coming out to parents later this week with details of a face to face information evening in the school hall on Monday 8th July,  to support students and families with the transition into Year 11. Year 10 students will be on Work Experience from Wednesday 10th July.  

Year 9 Another group of students undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award will be out on expedition on Thursday and Friday this week - we wish students well on their adventure! 

Have a great week and thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 20th May 2024

20th May 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

Although this has been a short half-term, we have packed many things into the six weeks. This week is no different and will see the start of the very long-awaited building work. Construction company, Morgan Sindall will be on site for a number of months building four additional classrooms, a new Science lab, two new sets of toilets and a much improved and extended Sixth-Form study space with coffee shop-style seating areas and workspaces. More on this below. 

 

Building Work

The work on the new classrooms has begun this morning. Inevitably there will be disruption to the site during the works, however as I explained in a virtual assembly on Friday to all students, the short-term inconvenience will make way for much longer-term benefits for everyone. In recent weeks, we have worked closely with Morgan Sindall to ensure that the challenges created are minimised. We will be in daily contact with the Site Foreman to ensure the exams are not impacted. A big challenge will be the loss of a number of parking spaces across the site, particularly in the first week (this week) as the site compound and welfare units are sited. We have been fortunate to secure the use of the parking spaces at Carey Lodge for this week only for some staff to use. Carey Lodge is planned to re-open as a Care Home in June. 

During the building works, we would ask that you support the disruption, particularly in terms of safely accessing the school site to drop off/pick up children via the coach park. A considerable number of staff will be parking on the school field via the coach park entrance so please be patient if this impacts on your journey.  

 

Year 11

Celebration Assembly We say a formal farewell to our brilliant Year 11 students on Friday as they will begin study leave after the half-term holiday. A letter has gone out to parents about the logistics of study leave - please complete the Google Form so we can coordinate study rooms and ensure that students are registered correctly, whether in school or revising at home. 

The majority of Year 11 joined the school as new Year 7 students at the same time that I did, as Deputy Head. I remember some of them as much smaller Year 7 students back in September 2019, unsure about where to wait for the ‘late bus’ to get home. On my first after-school bus duty, I didn’t know either, so we learnt together. Fast-forward five years to last week when I talked to those same students, taller, wiser and with so much confidence, discussing the Maths exam they’d taken that morning and their plans for revision when they got home to prepare for the following day’s Chemistry exam. It is a privilege to play a role, alongside parents and families, in helping students develop into such wonderful young people, with bright futures ahead. Whether their next steps are with us, staying at The Cottesloe School for sixth form or heading elsewhere, we know they will succeed.  

 

Uniform

The weather has continued to be as we might expect for late Spring/early Summer and looks set to remain good into this week. As a reminder, students need to wear their full school uniform including blazers to school, and around the site, unless it is their day to wear a PE kit to school. Students are able to remove blazers in classrooms if they need to. Coats and other tops should not be worn in place of a blazer, if it’s warm enough just one thing, needs to be the school blazer. If a period of very warm weather is forecast, we will advise students and families about any adjustments to the uniform expectations. 

 

Friends of The Cottesloe School Easyfundraising

Friends of The Cottesloe School is registered with easyfundraising, which means you can raise donations for us every time you shop online. Over 7,000 brands will donate to us when you use easyfundraising to shop with them – at no extra cost to yourself. These donations mount up and make a big difference to the school, so we’d really appreciate it if you could take a moment to sign up and support us. The easyfundraising page at Friends of The Cottesloe School Fundraising | Easyfundraising The Donation Reminder reminds you to donate when you shop on your laptop or computer, it’s also available on iPhone and iPad: Easyfundraising on the App Store

 

Blue Lollies

We have seen a new phenomenon take a small hold within pockets of our community where students, mainly in KS3, are selling blue lollies at school.  These lollies are widely available for bulk purchase from Amazon or TikTok Shop and are then being sold for profit to other students. Whilst entrepreneurship is admirable, it’s not permitted for students to buy or sell items from other students,  in school, unless part of a planned event such as a charity bake sale. Any items being sold outside of a planned school event will be confiscated and where appropriate, students sanctioned. 

 

Wing Family Fest

Saturday 6th July 2024 A reminder that tickets can be purchased for the Colour Run at Wing Family Fest - here’s the link to book tickets:  Friends of Cottesloe PTA Colour Run This is a community event open to everyone, not just families with children attending either school so share with your friends and neighbours to encourage them to come along for what looks to be a brilliant day.  

 

Families and Learners’ Careers Evening

On Wednesday 26th June 2024, from 6 pm - 7:30 pm, we’re hosting a careers event open to all year groups, from Years 7 to 13. To confirm attendance please register via Eventbrite:   Families and Learners'  Careers Evening 

 

Sports Fixtures and Results

Just one fixture to report again this week with our U15 Girls Cricket Team travelling to Ascott House to play against The Buckingham School. Unfortunately, despite the wonderful setting, the girls lost this game but are very keen to play again! 

 

Sports Day

Students will be attending assemblies led by the PE team this week about the plans for Sports Day on 18th June, so tutor groups can begin preparing team sheets. 

 

Year 10

Year 10 GCSE Drama students will be performing a Showcase on Thursday at 4pm, to demonstrate their work in progress, working towards their assessed performances next year. 

 

Vacancies

We are advertising for a number of new colleagues to join us from September. Please share with family and friends who might be interested in a new role with us in the new academic year.  Vacancies 

 

Have a wonderful week and thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 13th May 2024

13th May 2024

The weather has been wonderful this weekend and I hope you have been able to enjoy it, whether you stayed up to witness the spectacular colours of the Northern Lights or had already gone to bed and missed it!

On Friday we wished our incredible Year 13s well as they began study leave - we’ll see many of them this week as the A Level public exam timetable gets going. In his speech as Head of Sixth Form, Mr Youngs reminded them that we are with them on this last part of their Cottesloe journey; if they need us they need only to reach out. He also encouraged them to support one another in the coming weeks, as they have done as a year group throughout, for what has been for most of them, the last seven years at The Cottesloe School. As teachers, it is always emotional and a privilege to reflect on how those small Year 7 students have grown into young adults, ready to take on the world and the adventures that lie ahead. There’s a wonderful reel on Facebook that captured the day perfectly.

Wing Family Fest - Saturday 6th July 2024: Tickets are now available for the Colour Run at Wing Family Fest. You will have received a letter from the Friends of Cottesloe and Overstone PTA - here’s the link to book tickets: Friends of Cottesloe PTA Colour Run (https://www.pta-events.co.uk/thecottesloeschool/index.cfm). This is a community event open to everyone, not just families with children attending either school so share with your friends and neighbours to encourage them to come along for what looks to be a brilliant day.

Classroom to Careers newsletter: The latest newsletter from the Bucks Skills Hub has been released: Bucks Skills Hub Classroom to Careers May 2024 (https://heyzine.com/flip-book/6f3bd855ea.html#page/2)

Families and Learners’ Careers Evening: A separate letter has gone out about a Careers Event being hosted in school on Wednesday 26th June 2024, from 6pm-7:30pm. The event is open to all year groups, from Years 7 to 13. In partnership with The ASK Programme & Bucks Skills Hub, the evening will allow families to explore various career pathways, helping them gain valuable insights into different professions and make informed decisions about their future. To confirm attendance please register via Eventbrite: Families and Learners' Careers Evening (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/families-learners-careers-evening-cottesloe-careers-pathway-tickets-798618638847)

Supporting Children with SEND: Bucks SEND IAS Service is the free, confidential, impartial information, advice and support service for children and young people with SEND and their parents/carers. They’ve added to their library of recorded webinars for parents/carers, and shared this with us to pass on. The webinars cover topics such as Alternative Provision, Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) and Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA). For further details of the support available, click on the links: SEND Information Advice and Support Service (https://buckinghamshire-gov-uk.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/SEND-IAS-A5-Flyer_viiv9wj.pdf) and SENDIAS news, events and webinars | Buckinghamshire Council (https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/bucks-sendias-service/news-events-and-training/).

Sports Fixtures and Results: Just one fixture to report this week with our U13 girls attending a football festival at the Royal Latin on Friday. They lost all their games but enjoyed the experience and learnt a great deal. Year 9 and 10 Rounders matches are planned against Waddesdon School this week.

Festival of Ideas Trip: On Friday, students from Year 10 and 12 who are studying Health and Social Care, Separate Sciences and/or Criminology are visiting the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield to participate in its first Festival of Ideas.

Year 10: Parents Evening for Year 10 will take place on Tuesday this week.

Year 9: The next group of Year 9 students undertaking their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition training will be out in the Bucks countryside on Monday and Tuesday this week with Mr Curtis and Mrs Rudge.

Year 7 and Year 8 Sparx Maths: Mr Brawn, Head of Maths, has shared that an outstanding 22,169 questions have been answered correctly in the first week of Sparx Maths. Well done Year 7 and Year 8!

Vacancies: We have a number of vacancies for teaching and non-teaching posts for September. Please share with family and friends who might be interested in working with us in the new academic year. Vacancies (https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/about/vacancies).

Have a wonderful week and thank you for your ongoing support.

Yours sincerely
Mrs L Baldwin
Head of School

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Head of School Letter 7th May 2024

07th May 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you had a great Bank Holiday weekend and were able to enjoy the sunshine on Saturday and Sunday. This week, the GCSE and A-Level written exams begin. I spoke to Year 11 in their assembly on Friday, to remind them of the journey they have been on up to this point, that this was the final push to success and we were very proud of them. We will wish Year 13 the very best on Friday when they begin their study leave. 

Financially Motivated Sexual Extortion

Last week, Mrs Hankin sent two letters home regarding financially motivated sexual extortion – a type of online blackmail widely known as ‘sextortion’. The National Crime Agency issued an alert to teachers in England and Wales, following a considerable increase in global cases of this illegal online activity, with specific information for teachers to learn more about the crime and how to recognise the signs that a child at their school may be a victim. See more here: NCA issues urgent warning about ‘sextortion’ The NCA asked schools to write to families, ensuring everyone is aware and knows how to support young people experiencing this. 

Sextortion involves people being forced into paying money or meeting another financial demand after an offender has threatened to release nude or semi-nude photos of them. This could be a real photo taken by the victim or a fake image created of them by the offender. If you have any concerns or questions about this affecting your child or someone you know, please contact Mrs Hankin. 

Exam Season 2024

Exam timetables can be found on the school website: Examinations  Please support your child by discussing at home the importance of following invigilators’ instructions, ensuring they are on time for exams and have the correct equipment with them. All students have been informed of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) rules regarding mobile phones, watches and other devices/technology and/or revision notes left in pockets. Students will be reminded at the start of every exam to ensure phones are off and in their bags, they have taken off their watch (smart/digital/analogue) and put it in their bags, checked pockets for revision notes or electronic headphones/other devices. The rules around having something left in a pocket are very clear and strict - each exam season students can be and are disqualified from a paper or an entire qualification if found to have any restricted items on them during an exam.  The JCQ warning to candidates is displayed in each exam room: JCQ Warning to candidates 

Fake Exam Papers

You may have seen reports in the news this morning about fake exam papers being offered to students via social media. As in previous years, scammers on TikTok, Instagram, Discord and other social media platforms offer new, untaken exam papers in exchange for payment. These accounts promise ‘early access’ to exam papers but in reality, the ‘exam papers’ turn out to be fake. The exam boards have very tightly controlled processes to prevent the leaking of exam papers and therefore any papers purporting to be this year’s papers are probably fake.  The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents the UK's eight largest exam boards, says it is highly unlikely real papers are being leaked online. The exam regulator Ofqual says if students try to cheat, they could lose the qualification they have been studying for, even if the papers they try to buy are fake. Social media sites urged to stop A-level and GCSE scammers - BBC News

Roadworks and transport

We’ve been made aware of planned roadworks being carried out by Thames Water on the A418 in Bierton this week. Students taking exams have been reminded that if they are late to school in the morning due to transport issues or roadworks, and miss the 9am exam start, they will be given the full exam time. 

Ofsted Consultation

Last week I attended an Ofsted ‘Roadshow’ to learn more about changes to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) which sets out how Ofsted will inspect state schools, further education and skills providers, non-association independent schools and registered early years settings in England. Whilst the next Ofsted inspection for The Cottesloe School is unlikely to be for some time, it’s important that we have an understanding of any planned changes to the EIF. 

As part of their continued commitment to improving the process of an inspection, Ofsted is seeking the views of all stakeholders via a consultation called the Big Listen.  The Big Listen is an opportunity for them to hear from the professionals they work with, like teachers and other educators, carers, employers and social workers, and the people they work for parents, carers, children and learners. I would encourage you to complete the survey if you are interested and able to; it will help shape the future of Ofsted: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ofstedbiglisten/ The closing date is 31st May 2024.

Headteacher’s Gold Thumbs Up Award

I am delighted to let you know about the two most recent recipients of the Gold Thumbs Up Award. Students from the Year 11 Separate Sciences class, Izzy and Lilly, voluntarily completed the Isaac Physics Pre-16 Physics Masterclass to improve their understanding of nuclear physics. A virtual course that required a weekly commitment of 3-5 hours for pre-recorded tutor sessions and follow-up work, they both achieved 100% on all four modules! Mrs Hooley, Head of Science and A Level Physics teacher, was very proud of them and said this supra-curricular study will support them to achieve success in GCSE Physics this summer. This link will tell you more about the four modules: Pre-16 Nuclear Physics Masterclass Well done Izzy and Lilly!

Wearing PE Kit to school

Students have embraced the change to their routines by wearing the Cottesloe branded PE kit to school, on days students have Athletics, in order to support the exam processes. Please check that your child is wearing a Cottesloe-branded PE kit and not something that isn’t on the approved PE kit list. Students don’t have to be cold and there is no expectation for families to make an additional purchase of a Cottesloe fleece, so students should wear their school blazer over their PE kit if they would like. No other sports kit should be worn. If your child does not have the correct Cottesloe PE kit, and there are unforeseen challenges in acquiring it, please contact your child's tutor, who will be happy to support you.

Cambodia World Challenge

There is a parent meeting planned for this afternoon from 5:30pm as the departure date is ever closer. Please contact Mr Curtis if you have any questions about this meeting. All the teachers escorting the trip - Miss Gamage, Mrs Hankin, Mr Clawson and Mr Waite, along with trip leader, Mr Curtis will be at the meeting. 

 

Sports Fixtures and Results

There are no results to report again this week as the planned fixtures were rained off. There’s some Rounders planned again this week and a football festival for U13 girls. 

 

Year 8 and Year 9

Four students will be travelling to Walton High this week to participate in a Team Maths Challenge competition. The Challenges are aimed at students from Years 8 and 9 from schools and colleges based in the UK. Each team consists of four students, with a maximum of two students from Year 9, with only one team from each school permitted to enter. Thank you to Mrs Axtell-Powell for leading this opportunity for our very best Mathematicians to pit themselves against the best from other local schools. I’ll let you know about their achievements in a future letter.

 

Year 7 and Year 8

Sparx Maths Thank you to all the families in Year 7 and Year 8 who have supported our young people with their first week of online Maths homework. I’ve had an email today stating that 199 hours of learning have been completed this week by TCS students. Congratulations to everyone for tackling this new challenge with such enthusiasm!  

 

I hope you have a great week and thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 29th April 2024

29th April 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

This week students will undertake their GCSE and A Level Modern Foreign Language speaking exams. Students in Years 11 and 13 will be speaking French, German, Cantonese and Portuguese with exams being conducted by our own language teachers and visiting examiners. Worth between 25% (GCSE) and 30% (A-Level) of the overall grade, we wish all our students bonne chance,   好運, viel Glück, and boa sorte!

Careers Education and Guidance

Every young person needs good career guidance to make informed decisions about their future and this has never been more important; changes in technology, the technical education system and the labour market mean that the jobs available and the skills and qualifications needed to reach them are changing all the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has added further disruption, with a disproportionate impact on young people as they enter the labour market. Many skilled jobs require specific education and training, and young people need more support to make better-informed decisions about their future. 

At The Cottesloe School, we are proud to have achieved all eight Gatsby Benchmarks in Careers Education. The Benchmarks define what world-class careers provision in education looks like and provide a clear framework for organising the careers provision within a school. A four-year evaluation by the University of Derby, published in 2021, which found achievement of the Benchmarks had a positive impact on students' career readiness and GCSE attainment.

Careers education and guidance happens in some form nearly every day at The Cottesloe School. This week’s assemblies were led by Donna Geoghegan, a Portfolio Delivery Manager at Network Rail. Donna spoke to all year groups about her education, career plans and how she reached her current role. Originally intent on becoming a vet, with offers to study veterinary medicine at university, she took the decision post-A Levels to follow a very different pathway to achieve career success. During the assemblies, Donna helped students to appreciate the skills they will need to develop in order to effectively evaluate potential career paths. Thank you to Donna, and Network Rail for providing this opportunity to our students.   

School Improvement Reviews

As part of our continuous school improvement processes, robust and comprehensive subject reviews are carried out across a two-year cycle. The process involves curriculum leaders and their teams working alongside senior leaders to identify two or three big questions or lines of inquiry to challenge and investigate the successes and areas for improvement within each department. As part of the review day, a respected external advisor joins the team to provide an alternate perspective and to professionally interrogate practices and processes so success is celebrated and actions for improvement are appropriate, achievable and most importantly will have a positive impact on student learning. We also welcome members of the school’s governing body to observe and contribute to the review days. Following a review, a report is published and shared with the subject team, senior leaders and governors, with the Curriculum Leader attending a Governors’ meeting to present their action plans to move forward.

Last month the Maths department review took place, and Year 7 and 8 students will benefit from one area of improvement that’s launching next week - an online Maths homework platform - see below for more details. This week we held a review of the SEND team, welcoming to the review team Mr Tomson, Head of Wingrave School, and Mr Collier, Head of Oak Bank School, a special school that supports children with Social Emotional and Mental Health difficulties, in Leighton Buzzard. 

Sparx Online Maths

One aspect of the Maths department subject review that was identified as an area for improvement was the implementation of learning at home. To support students achieve even more, students in Years 7 and 8 will be trialling an online platform called Sparx Maths that supports students aged 11-16 with personalised, challenging and attainable homework. External research conducted by RAND Europe and Cambridge University found that using Sparx Maths for 1 hour a week significantly improves grades.  Parents of children in Years 7 and 8 have already received a letter explaining more about the system and how to support their child. The first week’s homework will be available at 8am on Wednesday 1st May, with the deadline for completion at 6pm on Tuesday 7th May. The intention is to roll the programme out to all students in Years 7 to 11 from September 2024. To find out more, please watch this video: Sparx Maths Parent information 

Mr Herman braved the shave!

On Friday last week, Mr Herman had his beard and hair shaved off by Mr Powell, watched on by many students and staff. At last check, he had raised an incredible £815. There is a fabulous video on our social media so you can watch what happened! There’s still time to donate if you’re able to:  https://bit.ly/HermanShave

Extending the school day and parent/carer survey Thank you to everyone who got in touch about the proposed change to the school day and the recent parent survey. We appreciate your contributions in helping us to make our school even better. Results and feedback will be shared with you in future letters.

 

Sports Fixtures and Results

There are no results to report this week, but next week will see some Year 7 and Year 8 Rounders matches at Waddesdon take place, we will also welcome primary school children to participate in a QuadKids Athletics festival.  

Wearing PE Kit to school

As a reminder, in order to support students taking exams this summer, from 29th April, on the days that students have athletics, they should come to school wearing their PE kits. This is because we shut the PE changing rooms closest to the exam rooms to ensure the space is silent. To help parents, this means that your child/ren should be wearing their PE kit one day per week only - all years have two Core PE lessons per week, one is Athletics and the other is Rounders/Cricket. 

Year 13 Exam Study Leave

Students must attend lessons up to and including Friday 10th May unless in an exam. If the course content has been completed they should be working on structured preparation for forthcoming exams with their teachers. A letter from Mr Youngs has been sent home with further details. 

 

Year 11 Exams

Protocol Year 11 lessons and timetables will continue to run throughout the Summer 1 term until Friday 24th May 2024. If a Year 11 pupil does not have a scheduled exam, they will attend their timetabled lesson as normal. During this period, the school will offer additional revision workshops and ‘masterclasses’ where appropriate, as well as the timetabled lessons. A letter from Mr Passaro and Mr Magill has been sent home. 

 

Year 8

A number of students will be on their way to a week of adventure in Wales by the time you read this, participating in an Outward Bounds course, supported by Mr Curtis, Mr Youngs and Mrs Hutley. We hope they have a wonderful time, and return safely with tales of how they challenged themselves to push their boundaries.

 

It’s looking like the weather might be warming up so I hope you have a great week and thank you for your ongoing support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Wearing PE kit to school during the summer exam season 2024

22nd April 2024

The summer exam season starts in May! We want all our students taking KS4 and KS5 exams to have the very best experience during the exam period to allow them the opportunity to demonstrate their ability and achieve success. To ensure this can happen, we have taken the decision to close the PE changing rooms located by the old gym/canteen, which are very close to the spaces used for public exams. Students getting changed and moving between the changing room and their PE lesson create distracting noise for candidates completing their exams nearby. 

 

From Monday 29th April until the end of the Year 12 mock exams in July, when students are timetabled to have Athletics as part of their PE lessons and would get changed at the old gym changing rooms, they should come to school dressed in their PE kit.  On the days that students are timetabled for Cricket or Rounders, they should bring their PE kit with them and get changed as usual in the Sports Hub changing rooms. PE teachers will confirm with their groups which days are cricket/rounders and which days are athletics and therefore when PE kit should be worn to school. 

 

Do you have Athletics today? 

  • Wear your full TCS PE kit to school in the morning
  • Bring a spare pair of socks and shoes to change into in case the grass is wet (and a bag for the wet shoes)

Do you have Cricket or Rounders today?

  • Wear normal school uniform to school in the morning
  • Bring your PE kit to change into in the Sports Hub changing rooms as usual

As normal, when students come into school wearing PE kit, it be must their specific school PE kit. No other sports kit/item of clothing is permitted. As a reminder of the expectations regarding PE kit, please see the uniform section of the website:  https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/parent/uniform-and-equipment  

 

If students wish to wear an additional layer over or under their PE top, they can wear their TCS rugby shirt, TCS fleece or a thermal 'skin' top, or they may wear their usual school blazer and/or school coat over the top of their PE top. If they wear their coat, they will be expected to remove it during classroom-based lessons. No other tops are permitted. Hoodies or other non-TCS PE kit items of clothing must not be worn

 

In speaking to some Year 13 and 11 students about this, they are very appreciative of the support from the wider school community in recognising how important these exams are for them. Thank you very much for your support.  

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Head of School Letter 22nd April 2024

22nd April 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

It was wonderful to welcome students back to school after the Easter break, last Tuesday. The Macbeth performances were well received by Years 10 and 11 on their first morning back into learning. Exam Season is underway, with Level 3 Finance and GCSE Art exams taking place this week, before GCSE MFL speaking exams next week.

One lunch

We have had four days of the whole school taking lunch at the same time. Overwhelmingly, the trial has been positive and where challenges have arisen, staff and students have worked together to resolve them. Students will be asked for their feedback on the trial via a Student Survey in the next couple of weeks. A reminder that there is a wide range of lunchtime activities on offer for students to participate in, I popped into Chess Club on Thursday lunchtime. It was great to see lots of students from across the year groups playing Chess - both beginners and those with experience, expertly guided by Mr Knightley.  The website has been updated with details of new lunch and after-school activities: Wider Curriculum and Activities 

PE Kit

To support students taking exams this summer, from 29th April, on the days that students have athletics, they should come to school in their PE kits. This is because we shut the PE changing rooms closest to the exam rooms to ensure the space is silent. A letter has gone to parents about this and there will be regular reminders via social media in the coming days. 

School Photo Shoot Day

The weather was not helpful last Friday with rain and wind affecting some of the planned photo locations for the marketing photographs, but we’re hopeful that the photographer captured the school at its best - the blossom on the flowering cherry trees outside B Block is looking stunning at the moment. A thank you to all staff and students who were part of the photoshoot. 

Brave the Shave for an Incredible Cause!

This Friday is the day that Mr Herman will be shaving his hair and beard, donating his hair to the Little Princess Trust, and helping create wigs for children experiencing hair loss. We will share photos of the event on social media️. If you are able to, and would like to, please consider sponsoring Mr Herman's Shave to support both of these charities. Every donation, big or small, makes a huge difference. To donate, please click here: https://bit.ly/HermanShave

Sports Fixtures and Results

Yesterday I ran the London Marathon as part of the official pacing team, pacing sub-7:00 hours. As a pacer, you are required to finish no more than 60 seconds under your target time and cross the halfway timing mat no more than one minute over or under your time; I am very happy to report that I paced home some incredible runners, crossing the finish line in 6:59:28. For many of those who were running with me, this was their first (but hopefully not last) marathon. It was a huge privilege to be able to support them, and others out on the course to achieve their goals. Listening to some of their stories about why they were running, the charities that they were raising money for and their friends/family supporting them, made for an emotional run at times; a real celebration of human spirit, resilience and kindness at its best. 

 

On Saturday, four of our students volunteered to run as ‘hares’ at the Buckinghamshire Primary School Cross Country event at Ascott House, Wing. Their job was to lead the younger runners around a tricky cross-country course that had a tough uphill finish. Well done and thank you to them all for supporting a local event in this way. In other sporting news, we participated in two 6-a-side football tournaments at the John Colet School. On Tuesday, the U13 girls only lost one game, drew four and won three, finishing 5th overall. On Thursday, the U15 girls played, losing three games, drew four and won one. This meant they also finished in  5th place overall. 

 

The U15 boys’ football team headed to the 3G pitch at Royal Latin School for the District League Cup Final vs Buckingham School. I am delighted to report that the boys won this match 5-3, retaining their League Cup trophy from last year! A difficult first half saw the team trailing to Buckingham, 3-1 at the break. Jack H led the team to an inspiring comeback by scoring four goals. Sam S assisted three of these goals and got a goal for himself at the end of the game to secure the victory. Congratulations boys!!

 

It’s a quieter week for sport this coming week before the summer fixtures calendar starts up and I can report the results of cricket, rounders and athletics wins! The new practice schedule is on the website: Summer Term PE Clubs. There are a number of lunchtime opportunities: Summer Term PE Lunch Activities

 

Performing Arts

Trip Students from a range of year groups are off to the theatre in Milton Keynes on Thursday evening to watch Aladdin the musical. Miss Mayhew is hopeful it will inspire them as it is a possible contender for the next Cottesloe Performing Arts show!

 

Year 13 A letter from Mr Youngs will send home this week a letter regarding study leave and attendance at school during exams for Year 13. 

 

Year 11 A letter from Mr Passaro and Mr Magill regarding study leave and attendance at school during exams as well as key dates and information about Prom will be sent home this week. The GCSE Art exam takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and the GCSE PE Moderation on Friday. Good luck to those students involved!

 

Year 10 The mock exams for GCSE Statistics and Level 2 Functional Skills will take place this Tuesday, giving all Year 10 students one of their first opportunities to experience the exam process. We don’t underestimate the importance of rehearsing the practical side of taking an exam and developing confidence in how to take an exam, alongside demonstrating key knowledge and skills to achieve an excellent outcome.  

 

Year 9 The next group of Year 9 students undertaking their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award practice are out in the Bucks countryside on Monday and Tuesday this week with Mr Curtis and Mrs Rudge. Fingers crossed it is a dry night!

 

Wishing all our students who are taking exams this week the very best. We know they will be brilliant. Have a great week and thank you for your support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Is your child or young person struggling with SATs or exam pressure?

15th April 2024

They Are The Future have some fantastic courses on offer to help you support yourself and your family.

https://courses.theyarethefuture.co.uk/online-parent-class

Exams and SATS season can cause a bit of a spike in anxiety for many young people. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of their free articles offering practical tips and hands-on strategies to help children and teenagers manage their anxiety at these high-pressure times.

Navigating Exam Anxiety in Children and Teenagers
https://www.theyarethefuture.co.uk/exam-day-tips/

CBT Worksheets For Anxiety: Free ABC Anxiety Worksheet
https://www.theyarethefuture.co.uk/abc-anxiety-worksheet/

Anxiety Worksheets for Teens: A Toolkit for Managing Stress and Worry
https://www.theyarethefuture.co.uk/helping-teens-with-anxiety-a-new-way-to-think-about-thoughts/

Exam day tips
https://www.theyarethefuture.co.uk/exam-day-tips/

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Head of School Letter 15th April 2024

15th April 2024

We’re two-thirds of the way through the academic year but still with so much more to achieve and opportunities to be grasped, across all year groups. I hope you had an enjoyable holiday and were able to do some of the things that make you happiest, with family and friends. The week ahead is relatively quiet, before things begin to become busier with GCSE and A Level exams beginning next week, with GCSE PE Moderation and the GCSE Art exam. We wish all students preparing for exams our very best.

Parent Survey: A reminder that we are currently seeking the views of parents, to help inform our school self-evaluation process (https://forms.gle/vwZzATYxcuMGcmHQ9). Thank you to the families that have already completed the survey - we appreciate you taking the time to help us improve our school. We welcome constructive feedback - even when it is tough to hear - because it will help us to develop and improve. It is also good to know where you think we are getting it right. The survey will remain open until Monday 22nd April.

Change in the school day: The consultation on the proposal to adjust the school day to start ten minutes earlier and increase tutor time/assembly by five minutes and lunch time by five minutes each in order that the school meets the DfE’s minimum expectation on the length of the school week of 32.5 hours for all mainstream, state-funded schools will close on Thursday 18th April. If you’d like comment on the proposal, please email: consultation@cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk

One lunch: This week we will launch the one lunch trial with all students and staff moving to the ‘early lunch’ time of 12:20pm-1pm. Tomorrow there will be an assembly for each year group to explain the practicalities of the change; where students line up for access to the canteen, details of the increased number of lunchtime clubs, and which toilets are accessible for specific year groups. The website has been updated with details of new lunch and after-school activities: Wider Curriculum and Activities - https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/curriculum/wider-curriculum-opportunities. My thanks goes to all the staff offering these clubs and activities.

School Photo Shoot Day: This coming Friday 19th April, Edupic, a specialist school photography company will be in school to take photos for our new website and for marketing purposes such as online prospectuses. If you have given photo consent for your child, they may be included in some of the photos; please double-check their uniform on Friday morning. If you have not given photo consent for your child, we will not use them in the photos - we have carefully checked the information we have about this to ensure we don’t include anyone without consent. It would be helpful if you could remind your child, that although we will be checking on the day, it does speed things up if students are aware of their status. The weather is looking good at the moment!

Brave the Shave for an Incredible Cause! Mr Herman, one of our History teachers will be undertaking a wonderful act on Friday 26th April during the lunch break by shaving his hair and beard!. Cancer has touched Mr Herman's family deeply, and he has seen first-hand the incredible support Macmillan offers during those toughest times. Mr Herman has previously braved the shave but this time, it's bigger than ever as he has been growing his hair since the 2nd lockdown! He will be donating his hair to the Little Princess Trust, helping create wigs for children experiencing hair loss. If you are able to, and would like to, please consider sponsoring Mr Herman's Shave to support both of these charities. Every donation, big or small, makes a huge difference. To donate, please click here: https://bit.ly/HermanShave

Ski Trip: The ski trip returned last Saturday from a wonderful week of adventures. Thank you to the members of staff who gave up part of their Easter holiday to provide this opportunity to students.

Sports Fixtures and Results: On Sunday, over 48,000 runners will take to the streets of the capital to participate in the London Marathon. I will be running as part of the official London Marathon pacing team, pacing 7:00 hours; you may spot me on TV with a huge 7:00-hour flag on my back! A number of our students volunteer with St John’s Ambulance on a regular basis, including at a variety of sporting events, and will be doing so at the marathon on Sunday. I'm hoping not to need their help whilst on the course but I’m looking forward to seeing them at their First Aid post at the finish. If you, or someone you know is taking part, we wish you the very best of luck!

At school, we’re looking forward to a summer of cricket, rounders and athletics; there’s a new practice schedule published here: Summer Term PE Clubs (https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/documents/1711632861.pdf). With the move to one lunchtime and sports facilities not being used for lessons at the same time as some students were previously on lunch, a wide range of sporting activities will be on offer every lunchtime: Summer Term PE Lunch Activities (https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/documents/1711632928.pdf)

Year 10 and Year 11: Tomorrow, Tuesday, Year 10 and Year 11 students will experience Macbeth performed by a professional theatre company in our school hall. Macbeth is the Shakespeare play taught as part of GCSE English Literature and this performance will serve as a well-timed revision for Year 11, and inspire Year 10 students to increase their understanding of the play for their exams next year.

Wishing everyone a happy and positive week. Thank you, as ever, for your support.

Yours sincerely
Mrs L Baldwin
Head of School
 

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Head of School Letter 25th March 2024

25th March 2024

What a whirlwind of a term it's been! As we approach the well-deserved break, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the incredible achievements, experiences, and personal growth our students have shown over the past eleven weeks. From the sobering yet impactful visit to Treblinka, which provided a powerful context for students studying GCSE History and Ethics and Philosophy, to the exploration of Dorset's dramatic coastline for the Year 12 Geographers this weekend just gone, this term has offered a truly diverse spectrum of learning opportunities. From sporting triumphs on the football and rugby pitches, netball and badminton courts, as well as on cross country courses, the brilliant victories in the Rotary Technology tournament, to the exam results from students taking singing and instrumental exams, all these achievements and more have showcased the dedication and talent of our students. We've also seen them rise to the challenge of mock exams, with some students taking real exams this term, with grades contributing to their overall outcomes. The Options and Choices processes have been another highlight, with students demonstrating impressive maturity as they navigate their future pathways. Thank you for the support you’ve offered in helping your child make progress this term.

Parent Survey: Seeking the views of parents, and other stakeholders is important to help inform our school self-evaluation process. https://forms.gle/vwZzATYxcuMGcmHQ9. It plays a key part in our development planning for the year(s) ahead. We value your opinions and want to hear what you think of The Cottesloe School. What do we do well? What are the things that you think we need to improve on, to support your child(ren) make progress? We’d be grateful if you could complete the survey, and answer honestly. Your feedback will help us really focus on the areas that need to be further improved and so that our community can recognise and celebrate the things we are excelling at. If you have a specific or immediate concern, please don't use this survey but get in touch via the usual contact routes such as form tutor, Head of Year, subject teacher or curriculum leader as appropriate.

Change in the school day: You will have received a letter from the Chair of Governors last week regarding a proposal to adjust the school day to start ten minutes earlier and increase tutor time and lunch time by five minutes each in order that the school meets the DfE’s minimum expectation on the length of the school week of 32.5 hours for all mainstream, state-funded schools. If you have comments about the proposal, please get in touch via the dedicated email address: consultation@cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk


One lunch: As part of the planning and preparation, should the school day start time and length of day change, we will be trialling everyone taking lunch at the same time when we return after Easter. Currently, we operate two lunch times: early lunch at 12:20pm and late lunch at 1:20pm, this measure was introduced as part of social distancing requirements when students returned to school following one of the COVID lockdowns. We chose to move lunch to the earlier session at 12:20pm to support public exams which cannot start any earlier than 1pm. Moving to one lunch means the school will be quiet for the duration of afternoon exams. Trialling a return to one lunchtime will allow us to identify and resolve possible challenges this change may bring, such as ensuring all students and staff can access the canteen, or somewhere to sit and eat and take a break from learning. A timetable of lunchtime clubs and activities will be on offer - currently, the lunchtime activity offer is limited because the two-week timetable means a teacher can be on different lunch breaks across both weeks. On the first day back after Easter, there will be a short assembly for each year group where we will explain the practicalities, for example where each year group will line up for access to the canteen and which toilets are open for specific year groups.

Please see the new school day timings.

Staff Farewells: We will be saying goodbye to some staff at the end of this term. Mrs Ayling, our Exams Officer, is moving onto the same role in a bigger secondary school. Our new Exams Officer, Mrs Hall, started with us last week and a comprehensive handover has taken place to ensure all our students are fully supported this summer. We also say goodbye to Mrs Lambourne, Teacher of PE, who has been with us since 2012. She is moving to a school closer to home. Finally, we say goodbye to Miss Inns, the Science Technician. Freya completed her A Levels with us in 2023 and has been working in the Science department since the start of the academic year. We wish her well as she heads off travelling - we’re looking forward to hearing about her amazing adventures when she returns! Thank you to them all for the service and contributions they have made to our school community.

Sports Results: It was another bumper week for sport, including a number of end-of-season netball tournaments, some badminton matches and a Primary School Skills 4 Life Festival hosted at The Cottesloe School, ably supported by our Year 9 Sports Leaders students. In the netball tournaments, there were some excellent performances across all year groups. 10A came first and won all of their matches; 10B won 1, drew 1 and lost 1; Year 11 Lost 2, drew 1 and Year 9 lost all their matches. Year 7 and Year 8 will play their end-of-season netball tournaments this coming week. The Year 7 Rugby team played Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School with a loss of 25-10. On Tuesday, the Year 11 boys' football team played in the league cup semi-final against Royal Latin School. With a scoreline of 2-2 at full-time, it went to penalties. Unfortunately for the boys, the end result was a tough loss of 10-9 in sudden death penalties. We are proud of all students who have represented the school across a wide variety of sports throughout this Spring term. We’re looking forward to the cricket and athletics ahead in the Summer term.

Ski Trip: A group of nearly 50 students and teachers will head to the slopes in Kaprun, Austria on Friday morning for a week of skiing. The forecast suggests that there’ll be some snow this week and whilst they’re in the resort.

Assessment Point 2: AP2 reports will be available to access this week via G4S.

Year 13: Year 13 Parents Evening will take place on Wednesday and we wish good luck to our Year 13 A-Level Art students who will undertake their mock exam on Tuesday.

End and Start of term: We finish at 3pm on Thursday 28th March. Students return to school after the break on Tuesday 16th April. Monday 15th April is a Staff INSET Day.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday; a very Happy Easter to families who will be celebrating next weekend and Eid Mubarak to families who will be celebrating Eid in April. Thank you, as ever, for your support.

Yours sincerely
Mrs L Baldwin
Head of School

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Head of School Letter 18th March 2024

18th March 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

There were some wonderful mornings of sunshine last week when it wasn’t raining! The long-term forecast suggests that we'll be experiencing some April showers during the Easter holidays too. The variable weather didn’t put off students participating in a brilliant Science Week, devised by Mrs Moore. A huge thank you to her, and the rest of the Science team and wider school staff for making the week such a positive experience for all year groups.  Thanks are also extended to Miss Gray, Miss Lambourne, Mr Powell and Mrs Knightley, and our Year 10 Prepare, Aspire, Succeed Leadership class who raised £250 for Comic Relief through a bake sale, guess the teacher and beat the goalie competitions. The students planned and organised the event held at break time last Friday. The planning and delivery of a fundraising event is part of an assessment that contributes to the final grade of their Level 2 Prince's Trust qualification. 

Working Together for Clean Air: Reducing Idling at School

The Cottesloe School is committed to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for our students and staff. This includes promoting clean air quality, which is especially important for young developing lungs. Vehicle idling – leaving your car engine running while parked – contributes significantly to air pollution, particularly around schools during pick-up and drop-off times. 

Here's why idling matters:

  • Health: Exhaust fumes from idling vehicles contain harmful pollutants that can irritate the lungs and worsen respiratory problems like asthma.

  • Environment: Idling wastes fuel and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, impacting the environment.

  • Savings: Turning off your engine when parked for more than 10 seconds actually saves you fuel.

What you can do to help:

  • Turn off your engine whenever you are parked and waiting for more than 10 seconds, including during pick-up and drop-off.

  • Plan ahead: If you anticipate a longer wait, consider carpooling, parking further away and walking, or using alternative transportation options when possible.

  • Spread the word: Talk to other parents and guardians about the importance of reducing idling.

Picking up and dropping off students etiquette We want everyone to arrive and get home safely, whether travelling by school bus or by car but from time to time, there are near-misses between vehicles on the coach park in the mornings and in the afternoons. In addition to considering turning your engine off if waiting for more than 10 seconds, I would like to remind and request that everyone who uses the coach park, drives responsibly and slowly (5MPH) in order to avoid the possibility of harming a child, or another car. We know that mornings and afternoons can be challenging - parents need to get to work or drop a sibling at a different place, and in the afternoon everyone wants to get home or onto an after-school activity without hitting the traffic. Please drive carefully and with consideration when on the school site. It is especially important when buses arrive at the same time as cars are dropping off each morning. 

In the morning, please drop your child off and leave as soon as you can so there is enough space for buses and coaches to pull in and use the one-way system around the small island. Please do not arrive and then park up until the bell goes for registration. I would be grateful if you could share this information with grandparents, family members or friends who may not receive this letter but use the coach park to drop off/collect students. 

Safe Drive, Stay Alive

Sixth Formers who pass their driving test can apply for a parking permit from the Sixth Form team in order to drive and park their car at school. They are regularly reminded of the expectations when driving on the school site and students who cannot follow the rules may have their permit revoked.  To support sixth formers during exciting times for them, but nerve-wracking for parents as they venture out in a car on their own or with friends, we engage with the Safe Drive, Stay Alive programme which explores how to stay safe on the roads. Year 12 will attend a presentation on Tuesday this week as part of their PSHCE lessons. Hard-hitting at times, it aims to educate students about the ‘Fatal Four’ – speeding, seatbelts, drink and drug driving, and driving while distracted. The session seeks to remind young people that they are more likely to die or be seriously injured on the roads than in any other way – it is the biggest threat to their lives, and usually, it can be prevented if they just make sure they make the right choices.

Gold Thumbs Up Awards

Whether you are a Year 7, Year 13 or somewhere in between, the Headteacher or Gold Thumbs Up Award recognises students who have made considerable contributions either in or outside of school. It’s a really lovely part of my role to be able to present some very well-deserved and received awards to students for a variety of reasons. They all epitomise Prepare, Aspire, Succeed.

  • Lydia in Year 7: For her incredible performance at Crufts with her dog, Kimber.

  • Pippa and Livy in Year 10: For their performance and third place in the Instrumental trios and quartets at the Milton Keynes Festival of the Arts

  • Nathan in Year 12: For creating a bespoke website for the school’s Science Week

  • Harvey in Year 13: For designing a Teaching and Learning data collection spreadsheet for teachers at school to use and for being one of only seven people from 900 applicants to be offered a degree apprenticeship by Amazon!

Poland Holocaust Reflections Evening

On Thursday, students and staff who visited Treblinka in January will come together for a thought-provoking evening of reflection, sharing their experiences with family and friends. Students will read their own poetry and stories and display pieces of artwork, created in response to their experiences in Poland. It is always a very moving and sombre event. 

Sports Results

Because of the rain, some events were cancelled again last week. Coming up this week are some badminton matches, netball and rugby fixtures for our teams to play. Despite the weather, there are some results to report: we had wins against Princes Risborough and St Michaels in netball and our incredible U15 girls' football team played SHFGS in the Buckinghamshire County Cup Final at Arbour Park, home of Slough Town. Unfortunately, despite positive attitudes and determination, the final score was 10-2, in favour of our opponents. We are very proud of the girls for reaching the final and for their perseverance. Well done girls!! Thanks go to Miss Keveren for coaching the team to the final.  It was also the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Pontefract this weekend where Year 9 student, Olive took part, having been selected to represent Buckinghamshire. Olive placed an incredible 36th out of 339 in the Junior Girls’ Race, in a time of 11:53. Her excellent time helped the Buckinghamshire Junior Girls’ Team achieve a team place of 7th out of 46 participating counties. Congratulations Olive! 

Geography

This week is a busy one for Mr Pye and his team of Geography teachers: Mr Youngs, Mrs Knightley, Mr Brokenbrow and Mrs Chapman, as they head out on two different field trips. On Tuesday, all Year 11 Geography students will visit Milton Keynes to collect data that will contribute to the case study questions on Paper 3 of their GCSE Geography exams this summer. On Friday, Year 12 Geographers will visit Dorset for three days of fieldwork on the coast, developing their understanding of different aspects of their A-Level course. Thanks as always goes to the teachers who give up their weekends and time with their own families to support our students by extending their experiences and opportunities  - this time it’s Mr Pye, Mr Youngs and Mrs Chapman taking on the responsibility. 

Year 11

On Thursday Year 11 will have their leavers’ photos. 

Wishing you all well for a great week, and thank you, as ever, for your support.

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 11th March 2024

11th March 2024

I hope this letter finds you well. Ramadan Mubarak! Wishing all our Muslim students and families a blessed Ramadan, as the holy month began at the weekend.

Ramadan: If your child is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, please get in touch with their Head of Year, or the school office via email. This will ensure staff can support them in the right ways throughout their fast. For example, we will support them to not participate in PE lessons, make other adjustments to help them, and inform teachers and assistant teachers that they may be feeling more tired during the day, or be lacking their usual energy. For students who want to pray during the school day, a quiet room will be available in TEAM Hub during break and/or lunch.

Science Week: This week is British Science Week, a ten-day celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths held between 8th and 17th March. Following on from the showcasing of our brilliant female Science teachers on International Women’s Day last week, all the Science team (including the male members of the department, Mr Brockwell, Mr Mudarikiri, Mr Caputo and Mr Magill) will be taking their classes through a range of different learning experiences throughout the week - students will undertake up to three Science Week specific lessons. Events will also be taking place at breaks, lunches and after school. To find out more, take a look at the bespoke website: Science Week @ TCS (https://cottesloescienceweek.co.uk/) - designed by one of our Year 12 Computer Science students, Nathan. A huge thank you in advance to Mrs Moore for organising yet another wonderful Science Week at the Cottesloe School.

Careers: Last week we took over 350 students from Year 9, Year 10 and Year 12 students to the Bucks Skills Show. One of the really wonderful aspects of taking our students to events is watching them interact with people from outside our school community. They understand and model the 6Cs and Healthy Relationships on a daily basis in school, but it’s great to see the Cottesloe Character About Us Cottesloe Character (https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/about/cottesloe-character) in action within the wider community. Whilst at the Show, I met the Social Value Manager from Morgan Sindall, Norma Odain-Haines. Morgan Sindall Construction who will be building our new classrooms over the coming months. Whilst the construction is underway, Norma will work with the school to support students to learn more about the range of roles and opportunities within the construction industry, as well as work experience opportunities.

This week, all Year 12 students will be attending the Apprenticeship Show in Milton Keynes, to learn more about the ever-increasing range of opportunities open to young people via an apprenticeship. National Apprenticeship Show Central (https://nationalapprenticeshipshow.org/central/)

Sports Fixtures: There are lots of results to share with you this week, with Year 11 footballers winning 4-1 against AGS, a successful Cricket Tournament for Year 9 and 10 girls, and Year 10 and 11 netballers winning 25-9 against Thornton College. A number of games were postponed due to the condition of the pitches and the weather. We saw some losses in netball, football and badminton, but we know that losing games helps us learn and improve - wishing every team success in their next game. This week, there’s more netball for all our year groups.

Vacancies and Interviews: It’s the time of year that schools start to advertise vacancies for the coming September. This week we will be interviewing candidates who have applied for posts in PE, Maths and English. In times of challenging recruitment in education, I’m thrilled that we have received a strong field. If you know of any friends or family who might like to join our brilliant team, please keep an eye on our vacancies page: Vacancies (https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/about/vacancies)

Reminder - Last day of term: This is a reminder that School finishes at the normal time of 3.00pm on the last day of term, which is Thursday 28th March. Students return to school on Tuesday 16th April, following an INSET day for staff on Monday 15th April.

Year 11: Miss Mayhew has let me know that the GCSE Drama scripted performances went incredibly well in front of the external examiner last Thursday. I’ve not yet had an update from Miss Felton about the PE students who went to Stowe School on Friday to undertake their Athletics assessment. I’m sure that it went equally as well. This week it is the turn of the Hospitality and Catering students. My luck was in last week, when I had the good fortune to pass through DT4 where students were practising their final meals. I was able to give feedback on some delicious soup and a fantastic lasagne with homemade pasta sheets. We have been really fortunate to have Mrs Catling come out of retirement and return to us to support the two Year 11 classes during Dr Jera’s absence due to a very sad family bereavement. We wish all the students the very best of luck.

Year 9: On Thursday and Friday, students participating in the Bronze D of E Award will be undertaking preparation for their assessed expedition later this year. I hope the weather stays good for them!

There will be a bumper set of Headteacher’s Awards announced in next week’s letter. Wishing you all well for a great week, and thank you, as ever, for your support.

Yours sincerely
Mrs L Baldwin
Head of School

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Head of School Letter - 4th March 2024

04th March 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the lighter evenings as Spring has officially begun! Mock exams are now complete for students taking public exams this summer. My thanks go to all the teachers who have undertaken the time-consuming task of marking mock exam papers over the past couple of weeks to ensure papers can be promptly returned to students, supporting the process of tackling where and how improvements can be made to contribute to successful outcomes in the summer. 

Vaping

Following the information I shared last week from the Local Public Health Team regarding the rise of contaminated and illegal vapes, assemblies this week will be taken by Mr Fox and myself, focusing on the laws around vaping along with the science about the impact vaping has on a person’s physical and mental health. This builds upon the assemblies on Thursday last week from the Drug Detection Dogs team. Health Education is compulsory in all state-funded schools across all age groups; at secondary school, teaching builds on the knowledge acquired at primary and develops further pupils’ understanding of health, with an increased focus on risk areas such as drugs and alcohol. We deliver this through our PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship, Economic education) programme that is taught every Tuesday period 2 across the whole school,  and within the assembly programme and tutor time.

If you have any concerns relating to these topics or any other matter, about your own child or their peers, please contact our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mrs Hankin. 

Careers

The Bucks Skills Show, the county’s biggest and most interactive careers event, is taking place this week and as a school, we’re taking Year 9, Year 10 and Year 12 students to the event on Thursday morning. The event is at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and this year it’s also open to parents and families between 4pm - 8pm on Wednesday 6th March. Further information and how to book as a family is here: https://bucksskillshub.org/news/bucks-skills-show-2024 

Attending the Skills Show is just one of the many opportunities students have throughout their journey with us to help develop their plans about their futures, both whilst at school and when they leave. Careers Plan Year 7 to Year 13 describes  all of the career journey opportunities. We are very proud that the school has achieved all eight of the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance. We did so through the leadership of Mr Matcham, the school’s dedicated Careers Consultant. He has the QCF Diploma in  Careers Guidance RCDP qualification which means he is recognised as being qualified to offer career guidance, a key area of preparing students for their futures beyond school. 

An exciting opportunity to find out more about Creative Careers in the UK is scheduled for 18th April,  online. This event is funded by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport, and the Arts Council and is open to all families. Never before have careers across creative industries been more exciting, relevant or innovative. During this session, families will hear directly from creative industry employers about the roles available and the importance of creative skills in the workplace. Click on this link to book a place: Virtual Parent & Carer Open Evening to DISCOVER! Creative Careers

Vacancies

It’s the time of year that schools start to advertise vacancies for the coming September. Currently, we’re looking for a qualified teacher of English. If you know of any friends or family who might like to join our brilliant team, please keep an eye on our vacancies page: Vacancies

Sports Fixtures

There aren’t any fixtures outcomes to share with you this week but we’ll update next week with a bumper set of results from the fixtures and tournaments from last week and this week. Teams will be playing netball and rugby matches for Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 against Thornton College, John Colet and SHFGS.  

Year 11

Year 11 online Parents' Evening is this Thursday. Appointments can be checked/booked via the usual https://thecottesloeschool.schoolcloud.co.uk/ portal. We are beginning the final push towards the summer and students completing GCSEs and Level 2 qualifications with a non-examined assessment aspect to the course will complete these practical assessments over the coming weeks. These assessments form part of the final GCSE grade; they’re important! This week it’s the turn of GCSE Drama and GCSE PE students.  Drama students are performing their scripted pieces in front of an external examiner on Thursday, and GCSE PE students will travel to Stowe School on Friday to undertake their Athletics assessment. We wish them all the very best of luck.

Year 9

Vaccinations are taking place today for Year 9 students with the Td/IPV & MenACWY vaccines providing protection against a number of different diseases; tetanus, diphtheria, polio, meningitis and septicaemia. Parents will have received consent forms directly from the School Nursing Team.  

Year 8

A reminder that the Choices Form deadline is Monday 18th March. Here’s a link to the form: KS3 Choices Form 2024

Thank you for your continued support.  

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Latest edition of Bucks Skills Hub Classroom to Careers newsletter

28th February 2024

 

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Head of School Letter 26th Feb 2024

26th February 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

We’re back into the swing of school life, after the half-term holiday - so much happens during the school week! This half-term is a really important one for our Year 11 and 13 students (and those in Year 10 and 12 taking public exams this year) as they begin the final preparations before the summer exams. Assemblies last week focused on the reasons why students come to school, and the importance of following rules to ensure all students are well prepared to succeed in their aspirations, whatever they may be. The expansion plans are continuing, with weekly meetings being held between the school, Local Authority and the construction company to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum - including and especially during our summer exam season. When we have a confirmed start date for the work, I’ll let you know. 

Vaping and contaminated vapes

All Headteachers in Bucks have been contacted this week by the Local Authority to highlight the Public Health team’s concerns around contaminated vapes.  A separate letter has been sent to all families today regarding this very concerning matter; below is a summary. 

There have been a number of reports of vape liquids & pens containing very strong synthetic cannabinoids ‘spice’ which are likely being sold as THC vapes. These are causing unintended effects on those who use them. THC vapes are illegal in the UK. 

Here4YOUth, Buckinghamshire - Cranstoun a Buckinghamshire commissioned young people drug/alcohol harm reduction service has prepared a harm reduction information Drug Alert - Contaminated Vapes - Cranstoun about contaminated vapes that I would encourage every family to read and discuss as you feel age-appropriately with your child. 

 

As part of our assemblies last week, all year groups have been reminded that a student could face being permanently excluded for possessing, supplying or being under the influence of an illegal drug whilst on the school site. If you have any concerns about your own child or their peers, please contact our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mrs Hankin. 

 

Happy Birthday Mr Bonser!

You may have seen a post on Social Media, celebrating Mr Bonser’s 65th birthday. Mr Bonser has taught Design Technology at The Cottesloe School for 41 years! He had a wonderful time on his birthday; the celebrations continued on Friday with cake and birthday wishes from colleagues and students.  

 

Headteacher’s Awards

One of the lovely bits of my role as Head of School means I get to recognise and celebrate student success via the Gold Thumbs Up badges, or Headteacher’s Awards. Although there are no specific criteria for a student to achieve a Gold Thumbs Up badge, it is always because they have gone over and above expectations, demonstrating either the 6Cs or an aspect of Healthy Relationships. The recipients of the Award this month include Kurtis in Year 7 for the confident way he spoke to all of Year 7 about his experiences with a hearing impairment during the Sign to Sing performance; Olive in Year 9 for her outstanding running in the county Cross Country Championships, and Sebastian in Year 8 for his fantastic description of what it means to be resilient during the year group assembly last week. 

Sports Fixtures The weather affected more fixtures this week but it was a great week for sport. U13 and U15 boys’ and girls’ badminton teams took on Buckingham School in a league match. The boys won 7-0 and the girls won 4-3; a brilliant result, well done to all the players. Four boys’ football matches were played against Waddesdon, with Team Cottesloe winning them all! Year 7 won 3-1, Year 11 won 6-1, Year 9 won 7-1. Year 8 played away, on Waddesdon’s astro pitch. Despite the home team having the advantage of being more familiar with the faster pace of the artificial grass, the Cottesloe Year 8 team won convincingly, with 10 goals getting past the Waddesdon keeper. In reply, Waddesdon scored just one goal. Super results, boys!  Year 7 girls won their netball match against Kingsbrook 9-4, well done to the team! Unfortunately, the U18s boys football team will go no further in the County Cup, having lost in the Quarter Final 6-1 to John Hampden, away. This week, we’re hopeful more outdoor fixtures will be able to go ahead, including football games, netball matches and two indoor cricket tournaments. 

Years 12 and 13

Mock Exams continue this week; keep going, everyone! 

Year 11

Mock 2 Results will be shared with students on Tuesday morning during their PSHCE lesson. As with Mock 1 results, the format will be the same as the actual Results Day on Thursday 22nd August 2024, to give students another opportunity to experience what it feels like to receive the piece of paper with their grades on it. We know that rehearsing every aspect of the exams process can help students feel more prepared for the most successful outcome. 

Year 8 

The Choices Process launched last week with further information available on our website: KS3 Choices within The Cottesloe School Curriculum. Tomorrow, Year 8 Parents Evening provide additional information to help inform decisions. 

Wishing you another good week, thank you for your continued support.  

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 19th Feb 2024

19th February 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope this letter finds you well after the half-term break and that you as a family were able to enjoy some time together doing the things that make you happy.  The weather is looking variable for the coming week, when we had some torrential rain just before half-term, we trialled a new wet weather plan - the nature of the school site means it’s nearly impossible to move between lessons without going outside; students were excellent at following staff instructions to ensure they kept as dry as possible.  Assemblies this first week back will be delivered by Mr Jones, Mr Fox and me. The focus will be on the Cottesloe Character - what it means to be part of our community, the behaviours we expect to see from students and adults, and why they are so important.

Buckinghamshire SEND Survey 2024

The local authority is seeking the views and opinions of parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. The questions are about your experience of the SEND system within Buckinghamshire in 2023. This questionnaire is for families of all children with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), not just those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or on formal SEN support at school. If this applies to you, please complete the survey, accessed via the link below, to share your thoughts with the Local Authority. The survey is anonymous.: FACT Bucks SEND Survey 2024 

Careers Fair

On Thursday 8th February, we held a really successful careers fair, with nearly forty different companies and Further Education providers helping students explore  future career opportunities. All year groups visited the Careers Fair over the course of the day; we received some wonderful feedback from the exhibitors about our students: ‘they were so well mannered and really represented the school well’.  

D&T Rotary Tournament

I’m really pleased to let you know that Mrs Hankin, Mr Poote and the teams of DT students had an extremely successful day at the annual Rotary Club’s DT Tournament at Aylesbury Vale Academy. Five schools were represented, with each school fielding a number of teams; we took three Year 10 teams and three Sixth Form teams. Two of our Year 10 teams came second and third in the intermediate competition. Year 13 came first in the senior competition, winning a superb trophy for the cabinet in our school reception!  One of the two Year 12 teams came third. The second Year 12 team won the overall portfolio category, beating 22 other teams to win another trophy! Congratulations to all our students, and thank you to the DT team for organising the equipment and resources needed for the students to participate. 

Sports Fixtures

The weather caused some fixtures to be cancelled before half-term, but we had another successful week in a number of sports. The U15 girls football team are now through to the Buckinghamshire County Cup Final following a 5-6 win away against Chesham Grammar School. The Year 9 boys are through to the next round of the County Cup following a 4-1 win against Mandeville at home.  Our Year 7 boys played in the local Aylesbury Vale District football league, winning 7-2 against Princes Risborough School. The girls were also winning netball matches, with the Year 8 and Year 10 teams playing two matches across the week. There were wins for both year groups against Mandeville, meanwhile, against the Royal Latin, Year 10B lost a tough match but 10A dominated, winning 21-2. Year 8 won their second game of the week against The Grange. The Bucks Cross-Country County Championship took place on 7th February at Stowe School, well done to all our runners on what was a tough, muddy course. Huge congratulations go to Olive in Year 9 who came third in the 3km Junior Girls race in a time of 13:37. This success means Olive has been selected to represent Buckinghamshire at the English Schools Athletic Association’s National Cross-Country Championship, to be held in Pontefract on 16th March. Good luck Olive! This week, we have Basketball, U18B County Cup football and netball matches to look forward to. 

Art

The Art department has a busy week ahead with the Year 11 Art Mock Exam taking place today and a trip to the Tate Britain art museum tomorrow for students in Years 11, 12 and 13.  The visit is a fabulous way to give students first-hand experience in visiting galleries and seeing art up close, to add a richness and personal response to their artist studies and development of ideas, in preparation for their upcoming exams. Thank you to Mrs Bye and Mrs Nicholls for supporting students through this opportunity.

Year 12 and 13

Mock Exams begin for both Year 12 and 13 on Wednesday 21st February and continue into March. Wishing all students the very best.  

Year 10

Details of the two-week work experience opportunity in July 2024 have been shared with families. The deadline for submitting forms is in April, but it can be a time consuming process to ensure everything is in place and approved. As students are responsible for organising their own placement, we encourage them to not delay in getting the planning underway. The website contains more information if parents/carers or students have any questions:: Career Pathways 

Year 9

A reminder that the deadline for submitting a completed Options form was today. During this week, we will follow up with students who have not yet submitted forms in order that the allocation process can begin. Students will find out their confirmed allocations in June. 

Year 8

Following the completion of the Options process with Year 9, it’s now the turn of Year 8 students to make some decisions about their future studies with the launch for the KS3 Choices Process. Tomorrow, Year 8 will attend a PSHCE Assembly explaining the process and the subjects available for them to choose. Families will receive an email tomorrow with a link to the Choices booklet, Google Form and presentations about each of the subjects. Further information will be available on our website from tomorrow: KS3 Choices within The Cottesloe School Curriculum. Year 8 Parents Evening on Tuesday 27th February will help parents understand how children are progressing across a number of subjects. 

Wishing you a good week ahead, thank you for your ongoing support.  

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 5th Feb 2024

05th February 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope this letter finds you well and looking forward to the half-term break at the end of this week. Spring definitely seems to be on its way, with daffodils starting to open around the school site. Although there are five days left until the holiday, there are still lots of things happening across the week at The Cottesloe School. 

Vaping

You will have read in the news last week about the Government’s plans to ban disposable vapes. As a school, we welcome these plans. The Government published a blog to explain the rationale behind the decision: The number of children using vapes has tripled in the last three years and there is strong evidence to suggest that cheap and easy-to-use disposable vapes are partly to blame. Our research shows that in 2023, around 69 per cent of vapers aged 11 to 17 in Great Britain were using disposable vapes, up from 7.7 percent in 2021. This is extremely worrying given the unknown long-term health impacts and the addictive nature of the nicotine in vapes. While vaping can play a role in helping adult smokers to quit, the NHS advises that you shouldn’t take it up if you don’t already smoke– and children should never vape. Disposable vape ban and what it means for young people - The Education Hub

The school’s Behaviour for Learning policy states that vapes or e-cigarettes are banned items and should not be brought onto the school site. Where a student is found in possession of a vape, the matter is treated very seriously,  and sanctioned accordingly. 

LGBT+ History Month

In assemblies this week, Mrs West will be exploring how LGBT+ peoples have contributed to the field of Medicine and Healthcare, both historically and today. The theme of the 2024 of LGBT+ History Month will showcase the amazing work of LGBT+ staff across the NHS and in other healthcare settings, in providing healthcare, especially during the pandemic, as well the immense challenges that members of the LGBT+ community still encounter today, when accessing support for themselves.

Careers Fair On Thursday 8th February

The Cottesloe School will open its doors to over forty different companies and Further Education providers to help students explore future career opportunities. All year groups will visit the Careers Fair over the course of the day, with students having the chance to talk to the exhibitors and ask lots of questions. Thanks to Mr Matcham and Mrs Gunn who have been instrumental in organising the Careers Fair. Mr Matcham has explained to students that a careers fair is perfect when you don’t know what you want to do in the future - you don’t need to have an action plan for a dream career; you can explore possibilities and open your eyes to new things at the fair. The school website has much more information about Careers:  https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/students/student-career-pathways 

DT Rotary Tournament

Today Mrs Hankin and Mr Poote have taken a number of teams of DT students to Aylesbury Vale Academy to participate in the annual Rotary Club’s DT Tournament. We usually do very well in the competition, across all year groups, so I’m looking forward to celebrating some excellent achievements when students return.  https://www.rotarygbi.org/projects/young-people/technology-tournament/ 

Ski Trip 2024

An online parents meeting will take place on Tuesday 6th February at 6pm to support the preparation for the trip at the end of next half-term. Mr Curtis, Trip Leader, will share the link to the meeting with parents later this week.  

Sports Fixtures

Last week saw some results that required our teams to dig deep, work together and demonstrate true Cottesloe Character by continuing to aim high, even when results didn’t go their way; Year 11 netball lost 12-6 against Waddesdon, Year 10 drew 10-10 against Waddesdon and our Year 7 footballers lost 5-1 against Mandeville. This coming week we have another really busy schedule with a total of 15 games on the timetable. Amongst the football and netball matches scheduled against Princes Risborough and the Royal Latin, we’re looking forward to cheering on our U15 Girls footballers in the County Cup Football Semi Final against Chesham Grammar on Tuesday. Another exciting event this week, the Buckinghamshire Schools Cross Country Championships, takes place on Wednesday, at Stowe School. Wishing everyone successful results whether on the court, pitch or running up the hills and mud! 

Year 11

Congratulations to all our Year 11 students for their resilience and hard work during the last couple of weeks during their second round of mock exams. By the time you read this, they will have taken Maths Paper 3 this morning and be back into normal Year 11 lessons. As with the first set of mocks, students will receive their results via a Mock Results morning during PSHCE on 27th February.  

Year 10

A Drama showcase will take place between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday 7th,  to give GCSE Drama students the opportunity to perform in front of peers and families, to increase their confidence in the performance aspect of their GCSE. 

Year 9

A reminder that the deadline for submitting a completed Options form is the first Monday back after half-term, Monday 19th February. Parents are reminded to get in touch via options@cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk if they have any queries.

Year 8

After half-term, it will be the turn of Year 8 students to think about their futures with the launch for the KS3 Choices Process. Year 8 families will receive further information later this week about the key dates of the process. 

Year 7

On Tuesday 6th, Year 7 will perform as part of the Sign to Sing Module they’ve been working on this half-term. We have a ‘Hearing Dog for Deaf People’ and its trainer coming to the performance. Year 7 students have been asked to raise money for this charity as part of their learning. If Year 7 families have not yet contributed, and are able to, there is a link on ParentPay. More details of the work the charity undertakes can be found here: Hearing Dogs for Deaf People 

Thank you for your ongoing support throughout this half-term. I hope you all have a good week this week and a wonderful half-term break. We look forward to seeing students back in school on Monday 19th February 2024. 

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 29th Jan 2024

29th January 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you had a great weekend. January can feel like a very long month but we only have two weeks left until February half-term. Although this term is only five weeks long,  it continues to be a very busy one, with a great deal going on across the school. 

Deputy Head of School

I am delighted to let you know that following a day of interviews and presentations last Friday, Mr Dan Fox, our current Assistant Headteacher for Teaching and Learning has successfully been appointed as Deputy Head of School. He will take on additional responsibilities relating to the implementation of the whole school curriculum, as well as support my role as Head of School, This change in the senior leadership structure will allow Mr Jones to continue to focus on the development of a Multi Academy Trust. 

Sniffer Dogs

At The Cottesloe School, we take the safety and welfare of our students extremely seriously.  Many schools, both locally and nationally, have used sniffer dogs on their premises, with the aim of highlighting the dangers of drugs in the community and reinforcing a zero-tolerance approach towards the issue. In previous academic years, we welcomed Thames Valley Police sniffer dogs into school to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of drug education within our school community. The dogs will be in school again as part of an unannounced visit; the exercise could happen at any time during the academic year and is designed to ensure that the school remains a safe environment for all members of our community.

If you have any concerns relating to a child at The Cottesloe School being involved with substance misuse, or any other matter relating to Child Protection, please contact main reception and ask to speak to a member of the Safeguarding Team. Mrs Hankin is our Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Sports Fixtures

Following on from the success of the U15 girls football team’, we had two more excellent results from the boys’ teams last week. The U15 and U16 boys have both played County Cup fixtures, away from home. The U16s played St. Michael's Catholic School, winning the match 1-4, coming back from 1-0 down. The U15s played Akeley Wood and showed real Cottesloe resilience to achieve a draw, having started the game with only 10 players due to injuries. Well done, boys!  We had further success with the Year 10 girls’ A netball team beating Waddesdon 22-3. Mrs Lambourne commented on the girls’ exceptional netball performance; they are a talented team who played high-quality netball both in attack and defence, showing great team spirit, commitment and support to one another throughout the game.

This week we have netball fixtures for Year 11 and the Year 10 B team against Waddesdon, and football and netball matches against Mandeville for Years  7 and 9. Year 11 GCSE PE cricketers will be completing their moderation session this week too. Wishing everyone good luck for positive results!

Year 11

The second week of Mock exams is now underway for students. We have been very impressed with their focus and the way they have conducted themselves in the exams when responding to invigilators’ instructions. The last day of mocks is  Monday 5th February. Keep going, Year 11! 

Year 10 This week Year 10 students will find out about Work Experience,  planned this academic year for two weeks from Wednesday 10th July to Tuesday 23rd July 2024. Mr Matcham, our Careers Advisor, will explain the steps they need to take to organise their placements. This is an incredible opportunity for students to experience the world of work; not all schools offer this.  This year, the process will be managed via the Unifrog platform, for more information about organising a placement, please see https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/students/student-career-pathways 

Year 9

Following last week’s Option Process launch, students and parents will be attending the online Parents Evening on Thursday 1st February to find out about current progress and seek advice about possible options decisions. Parents are reminded to get in touch via options@cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk if they have queries relating to the process.  

Thank you for your ongoing support. I hope you all have a good week. 

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 22nd Jan 2024

23rd January 2024

I hope you had a great weekend. This week I am able to share some brilliant news, planning permission for the school expansion has been granted and the green light is on for building work to commence in the near future! The North Buckinghamshire Area planning committee met last Wednesday and approved the application for four new classrooms, a new science lab, new workshop/garage space for our Site Team and new toilets. Mr Jones will update families with more details soon, including the schedule for works to take place. I am delighted we can proceed with the expansion, it will have such a positive impact on the learning experiences of all students in the future.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day, an international day of remembrance, is held on 27th January every year, the day that marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. The day remembers the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of people murdered under Nazi persecution of other groups and during more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Assemblies this week will focus on this theme, led by Mrs Redman and the Philosophy and Ethics team.

Sports Fixtures

I am thrilled that our U15 girls’ football team beat Princes Risborough in the County Cup last week. This means we now go through to the semi-finals. Congratulations girls!! This week, it’s the turn of the Year 11 boys’ football team to play Oakgrove in the County Cup on Tuesday; we’re hoping for another great result! Other sports fixtures on the calendar this week will see all year groups from Year 7 to 11 participating in Football and Netball matches, both home and away against Waddesdon, Akeley Wood and Sir Thomas Fremantle. Wishing all the teams good luck for positive results!

Elevate Education Online Webinars

Parents may be interested in signing up to attend Elevate Education Online webinars, designed to support their child over the coming months - these are open to all families but will be particularly relevant to families of students in Year 11, 12 and 13. The first webinar in the series takes place tomorrow, with future sessions scheduled throughout the spring term. For more information, please click on this link: https://go.elevateeducation.com/ukschoolwebinar

Bucks Skills Show

The Bucks Skills Show, the county’s biggest and most interactive careers event, will be held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on 6th and 7th March 2024. As a school, we take groups of students every year and excitingly this year, the event is open to parents and families between 4pm - 8pm on 6th March. Further information and how to book a free ticket is here: https://bucksskillshub.org/news/bucks-skills-show-2024

Year 11

 Following the very well-attended Progress Evening last Thursday, Year 11 students began their second round of mock exams today. Mocks continue until Monday 5th February. Everyone at school wishes you all the best of luck; remember these exams are a practice to learn from to ensure success in the summer.

Year 9

The KS4 Options Process begins this week, with students attending a PSHCE assembly tomorrow, to learn about the subjects on offer at KS4, and how the process works. Students will receive paper and electronic copies of the Options Booklet and families will have further information and a link to the options form sent home via email before Thursday’s online Options Evening presentations. If you have queries relating to the process, please get in touch via options@cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk

Thank you for your ongoing support. I hope you all have a good week.

Yours sincerely
Mrs L Baldwin
Head of School

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Head of School Letter 15th Jan 2024

22nd January 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I am writing to you this week after returning from the GCSE History and Philosophy and Ethics trip to Warsaw and Treblinka in Poland, held last Friday to Sunday. 

Visiting Treblinka is a sobering experience for anyone, and for young people, it can be particularly challenging. The camp's history is one of unimaginable suffering and loss, an estimated 900,00 people were killed there; confronting these realities firsthand is not easy. However, I was so incredibly proud of how our students approached every aspect of the trip, from listening with respect to our tour guide and visiting the remains of the Jewish Ghetto and Warsaw Zoo (the zoo and its owners played a role in hiding hundreds of Jewish people during the Warsaw Uprising) as well as the Extermination Camp itself.  They showed maturity, sensitivity, and the desire to learn from the past. 

The visit provided an opportunity to engage directly with the horrors of the Holocaust. Visiting the sites of such atrocities sparked difficult questions, and prompted discussions about human nature, prejudice, and the importance of tolerance. While the trip's focus was understandably on the dark chapters of history, it also served as a reminder of the enduring strength of the human spirit. Not simply an educational excursion; it provides students with an opportunity for personal growth and reflection and will leave a lasting mark on them.

Thanks must go to the other teachers who attended the trip; Miss Lay, Trip Leader, Mr Herman, Mrs Knightley and Mrs Redman. Later in the year, we will hold a Holocaust Reflections Evening, where students who attended the trip present responses to their experiences, through art, written reflections and spoken word. 

World Challenge - Malaysia 2025

An information evening about another incredible international opportunity, open to students in current school Years 10, 11 and 12 is taking place this Wednesday at 6 pm in the main school hall. The school has worked with World Challenge for several years - last summer saw students travel to Eswatini in Africa, and next summer, students will visit Cambodia. 

Sports Fixtures

This week sees a wide range of sporting fixtures on the calendar. Students from Years 10 and 11 are attending a Badminton Tournament today along with seven different football teams playing St Michaels and Kingsbrook with games being held both at home and away. We will be hosting Princes Risborough U15s girls in the County Cup on Wednesday. Wishing all the teams good luck for great results!

Year 7 and 8

The third round of DT and Art subject rotations begins this week for both year groups. Students complete five different DT and Art projects over an academic year, with each one focussing on a different aspect of creative learning to allow students to develop a wide range of skills in food technology, art, electronics and computer-aided manufacturing. 

Year 11

The Progress Evening is scheduled for this Thursday 18th January. Families will have received an individual appointment time so every Year 11 student has the opportunity to discuss their plans for post-16 with a member of the senior leadership, pastoral or SEND team. Students have been asked to complete a Google Form in preparation for their appointment so the discussion can be focused and supportive. If you’ve not got an appointment time, please get in touch with the school office. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. I hope you all have a good week. 

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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Head of School Letter 8th Jan 2024

11th January 2024

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. We are looking forward to our first full week back after the holidays, ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in 2024.

Winter Weather 

Although this is traditionally called the Spring Term, we know we can experience really cold temperatures at this time of year, so we ask that children have a warm coat to wear over their blazers when outside during the school day. The nature of the school site means students need to walk outside between lessons on a daily basis; it’s important that they can do so without getting cold or wet. 

Severe Weather Closures 

On rare occasions, the weather impacts on us to the extent that we need to close the school. In the event of severe weather, especially heavy snow, we will conduct a risk assessment of the safety of the school site, follow advice from Buckinghamshire Council and consider the plans of the bus companies who provide transport for our students, before making any decision to close the school. We always hope to avoid that scenario but the health and safety of our students and staff must be weighed against any inconvenience caused by the closure. Below is a link to the school website that explains the procedures that we will follow, and how families can keep up to date with any closure plans, should this situation arise. https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/parent/school-closures 

KS4 Holocaust trip to Warsaw and Treblinka

Wishing safe travels to fifty Year 10 and 11 students studying GCSE Ethics and Philosophy and/or History, and four teachers,  departing for Poland at 4am this Friday. They are on a three-day trip to learn more about the Holocaust, the Treblinka Extermination Camp and the wider experiences of Jewish people living in Poland before and during WWII. An emotionally challenging trip, and we look forward to learning more about their experiences when they return. 

Year 9

This term sees Year 9 students reach an important milestone in making decisions about their options for GCSE subjects. We will be writing to Year 9 families shortly with more information about the process and key dates, including the Year 9 Online Options Evening on Thursday 25th January and the Year 9 Parents Evening on Thursday 1st February.  Further information about the process is on our website: https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/curriculum/ks4-options. Updated information for 2024-2026 will be accessible in due course.

Year 11 

To support planning for students’ next steps, a face-to-face Year 11 Progress Evening is scheduled for Thursday 18th January, where every Year 11 student will have the opportunity to discuss their plans for post-16 with a member of the senior leadership, pastoral or SEND team. Each student will be given an individual appointment time - further details will be shared shortly. 

Mock exams provide a valuable opportunity to assess progress and refine study strategies before the real exams arrive. The second set of KS4 written mock exams begins on 22nd January. The mock exam timetable and further information about exams is here: https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/curriculum/examinations 

Year 12/13

Students studying Applied Biology, Finance, Business Studies, Sports Studies and Health and Social Care will undertake exams that form part of their KS5 final grades over the next couple of weeks.  We wish all of them the very best. 

Mock exams for Year 12 and Year 13 are scheduled for later this term, in February and March. Information regarding exam timetables can be found on the school website: https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/curriculum/examinations 

New Staff 

We're excited to announce some staffing changes that will enrich our school community further. Joining our team are:

  • Colin Wright: Head of Business and Economics. Colin has been a successful subject leader at a secondary school in Bedfordshire for a number of years. His leadership and experience will allow us to expand our KS5 curriculum offer to include the increasingly popular A-level Economics. 

  • Alison Holmes: Teacher of Drama. A highly-regarded and experienced drama teacher, Alison will bring her creative energy and expertise to the Performing Arts team and support us in being able to offer A Level Drama from September 2024, a first for the school in a number of years. 

  • Emma Makin: Teacher of Food Technology. Emma has previously taught the subject at a local grammar school and will be teaching KS3 Food Technology. 

  • Janine Carter: Head of Year 8. Although not new to the school, Janine will take over the responsibility of Head of Year 8, following Mrs Catling’s retirement in December.

In a time when schools are struggling to recruit good quality teachers, assistant teachers and other support staff, we are lucky to have such a dedicated and skilled group of adults working with our young people.

Although it’s a short one, we're looking forward to a productive and rewarding half-term. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns; thank you for your ongoing support. 

I hope you all have a good week. 

Best wishes, 

Louise Baldwin

Head of School

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GCSE and A-Level students can come and collect their work

17th October 2023

May be art of 1 person and text that says "S GCSE AND A LEVEL ART COLLECTION From November 8th Please give us 48 hours notice prior to collection Prepare |Aspire Succeed The Cottesloe School"

Last years GCSE and A-Level students can come and collect their work from the main reception from November 8th

Please give us 48 hours notice by emailing the school before coming to pick up your work!

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ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ ꜱᴀꜰᴇᴛʏ ᴇᴠᴇɴɪɴɢ 2023

06th October 2023

📲ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ ꜱᴀꜰᴇᴛʏ ᴇᴠᴇɴɪɴɢ 2023 📲

Invitation Open to all parents of students at the Cottesloe school

𝐖𝐞𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝟏𝟖𝐭𝐡 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟔𝐩𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝟕𝐩𝐦

Covering these topics:

• How and what are children accessing online

• Practical advice and resources

• Communication with young people about healthy online usage

• Blocks and filters

• Our online safety policies and procedures

• Cyber Bullying

FREE FACE-TO-FACE TICKETED EVENT BOOK NOW

http://bit.ly/TCSOnlineSafety

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𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗡𝗟𝗢𝗔𝗗 𝗚𝗢𝟰𝗦𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗢𝗟𝗦 𝗔𝗣𝗣 𝗡𝗢𝗪!

05th September 2023

𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗡𝗟𝗢𝗔𝗗 𝗚𝗢𝟰𝗦𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗢𝗟𝗦 𝗔𝗣𝗣 𝗡𝗢𝗪!

Android https://bit.ly/g4sapple

Apple https://bit.ly/Go4SApple

The G4S app enables parents/carers to view:

  • Timetables
  • Achievement points
  • Behaviour points
  • Progress data
  • Home notes

Detentions that have been sanctioned

We have ‘How to’ guides on our website https://www.cottesloe.bucks.sch.uk/parent/go-4-schools.

At The Cottesloe School, we are continually working to further improve communication with parents/carers. We aim to work with families to support each student at The Cottesloe School, ensuring that parents/carers are kept fully informed about their child's attendance, progress, achievements and behaviour whilst at school.

To strengthen these communication pathways, the school has invested in the G4S App. You will be familiar with the Go For Schools (G4S) already as the platform is currently used to report progress at Assessment Points, accessed by parents/carers using a computer/laptop or other devices. Please see the guidance documents attached or contact your child's tutor if you require support in accessing G4S. Using the G4S app enables information to be shared and viewed easily via a mobile device.

The G4S app will notify parents/carers at the end of the week, providing a summary of achievement and behaviour points for the specific week. You will also receive an email notifying you when a new action has been logged on G4S.

During this academic year, more information and data such as live attendance marks will become available for parents to view. Having access to all of this information will facilitate informed conversations with your child, so you can celebrate successes and progress as well as discuss improvement strategies.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or need further guidance regarding any aspect of this process.

Yours sincerely

Mr R Henry

Assistant Headteacher – Student Character

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Alternatives to A Levels and University: What you need to know

28th June 2023

Alternatives to A Levels and University: What you need to know

Thinking about what’s next after you leave school? Gaining a university degree is just one option and there are many different paths you could take, from apprenticeships to higher technical qualifications.

And while it’s compulsory for young people to be in education or training until the age of 18, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in school and take A Levels if it’s not the right fit for you.

The best choice for you will depend on your situation and the career or job you have in mind. Here we look at some of the alternative options to A Levels and university routes for those who are aged 16 and older.

https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/06/27/alternatives-to-a-levels-and-university-what-you-need-to-know/

 

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Apply for a spare seat on a council-run school bus

23rd June 2023

 Spare seat scheme will open on 26th June. 

This is for any family where a child doesn't receive free transport to school but would like to use one of the school buses. This is particularly relevant for families of Year 11 students intending to come to our Sixth Form.

https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/schools-index/school-transport/paid-school-transport/spare-seats-on-school-transport-buses/apply-for-a-spare-seat-on-a-school-transport-bus-offstate/

You can apply for a spare seat on one of the council-run school buses we run for children who get free school transport. You will have to pay for your child's place.

Spaces are limited, so you should also research other school transport options, in case your application is not successful.

https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/schools-index/school-transport/school-transport-options/

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