Details of the new GCSE courses which Year 9 pupils are now studying will be made available at our Information Evening on Wednesday 21 October at 7.00pm.  We look forward to seeing large numbers of Year 9 pupils and their parents.

Our Mass of Welcome for Year 7 pupils and their families took place in a packed School Hall on Wednesday evening.  It was a joyful experience, a moving expression of the ethos of our school community.  The occasion was all the more auspicious in that it was the first Mass celebrated in school by our new Priest Chaplain, Fr Josh Hilton.  Thanks also to Canon Tim Wiley, School Governor, for celebrating the Mass with us and to Mrs Holder, our new Chaplaincy Coordinator, for helping our new pupils to participate in a moving liturgy.  Special thanks to all who attended: pupils, parents, families, the representatives of our partner primary schools, staff and governors.

Performance poet Andy Craven-Griffiths was in school on Thursday morning to celebrate National Poetry Day as part of the school’s collaboration with Ilkley Literature Festival.  Our visiting poet worked with groups of pupils from Years 9 and 10 on the anthology of poems currently being studied for GCSE.  He discussed the writing process from inspiration to finished piece and demonstrated ways to apply this process to creative writing.  Pupils came up with their own ideas for poems and short stories on theme of 'Love and Relationships', linked to their work on the GCSE anthology.

Ilkley Literature Festival is offering limited numbers of free and discounted tickets for events in the three week festival, which opens today. Interested pupils should speak to Miss Burns.

Selected Year 11 pupils have taken up key roles in school.  Following a rigorous recruitment process, similar to that of appointing new members of staff, Kate McDermott has been selected as Head Girl and Joseph Grindrod as Head Boy.  Their deputies are Ruby Joseph and Benjamin Boam.

New senior prefects have also been appointed.  Senior prefects take on key responsibilities and duties including leadership of assemblies, the training of Year 10 mentors, assisting with supervisory duties around school and helping to ensure the pastoral welfare of Year 7 and 8 pupils.  Senior prefects also conduct tours on Open Day and serve refreshments at events such as parents’ evenings.  The senior prefects are: Trishia Amores, Grace Armitage, Victoria Besa, Ellie Cavanagh, Mia Cavanagh, Nicholas Claassen, Emmanuel Efezokhae, Christopher Ghosal, Caitlin Graham, Jennifer Harrington, Lillie Joseph, James Lewis, Molly McWilliams, Sara Mendoza, Cindy Moyo, Caspar Rea, Sebastian Rea, Shreyaa Sathiyanarayanan, Una Ward and Joshua Zapanta.

Prefects assist in these duties.  The newly appointed prefects are: Rebecca Booth, Chelsea Cariazo, Niamh Cassidy, Maeve Darley, Stephen Dumdum, Chloe Facun, Olivia Hu, Shania Hunt, Molly Innes, Fatemeh Kazemi Ghahi, Shona Martin, Milla Roberts, Dan Rowley, Adam Smith, Kripa Varghese and Isabelle Webster

We were delighted to receive applications of high quality from our pupils.  Congratulations to the successful candidates who were appointed from a strong field.  I have no doubt that they will represent the school admirably.

As you know, the school operates an ‘invisible phone zone’ policy for pupils.  I think that it is an excellent policy: it prevents pupils from distraction and avoids the need for unnecessary discussion with staff about when a mobile phone can be taken out of a bag.  The policy is simple: if a phone is seen, the pupil has to hand it over to a member of staff.  In the course of a week there are very few occasions when a phone is confiscated.  Unfortunately, this week there have been a couple of instances when a small number of pupils have used their phones at school times, or immediately after school, to video other pupils and staff.  Not only is this breaking the invisible phone zone policy, it is an intrusion and invasion of privacy.  I have asked form tutors to make it clear that any pupils found using phones to video events in school will be subject to the full severity of school sanctions.

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