CELEBRATING SUCCESS - Accelerated Reader

Through this exciting school initiative our younger students have achieved great success in their reading: 7F1 have already been presented with their 5 Million Word Class Prize; 7F2 will receive their 10 Million Word Class Prize this week; seven more Word Millionaires were created last term, taking our total for the year to eleven. 1,000 quizzes were clocked up last term, bringing the total this year so far to 3,021 represented by a total of 89,662,615 words!
The Learning Resource Centre is busy collecting good condition used books (children’s and suitable adults’) for a book sale in March and another on the evening of the Spelling Bee. Please send in any books to the LRC. Proceeds will go towards helping to fund the Concorde Book Award, enjoyed each year by many of our students.


A big thank you to all the staff and students who raised an impressive £862.13 for The BBC Children in Need Appeal; and thanks also for the donation of £50 to the together for short lives charity raised through the sale of Christmas cards.


Each month two of our Sixth Form students join a member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Breakfast Networking Club run by our Premium Partners for Schools. This gives our students leadership opportunities to introduce themselves to the business community, to network with prospective employers and sponsors, and to take questions from the community on their school experiences and aspirations.


Towards the end of last term, our Year 12 Music students visited the local recording studios at NGM Thornbury, spending the whole day running recording sessions alongside the professional recording engineers at the studio. The completed recordings will contribute towards their overall AS grades so the pressure was on for every take to be perfect! With a total of 32 performances to record, the day was extremely fast paced, with students working very hard to lay down their tracks with a superb degree of professionalism and efficiency. Every single student rose well to the occasion and did their absolute best on the day. The biggest problem came when we had finished recording and had to drag them away from the studios! Well done Year 12!


I am delighted to welcome an initiative on the part of the Performing Arts Faculty which offers leadership opportunities for our students interested in journalism and/or photography. Students will be covering events happening in and around the school and reporting on them via our termly Newsletter, the Headteacher’s Blog, Twitter accounts, and communications home. Keep your eyes open for some exciting and interesting articles from ‘the horse’s mouth!’


This term has seen us celebrate many successes with our students, some of which have already been shared through the Headteacher Blog.  Our Performing Arts students have brought a wealth of talent and technical skills to the Year 13 performance of ‘Shakers’; Year 10 Access to Music students have been collaborating with younger students to showcase their musical skills in a series of ‘open mics’ workshops; and we are eagerly anticipating exam performances from Year 12’s The Importance of Being Earnest’ (Oscar Wilde) and Year 11’s Private Peaceful! (Michael Morpurgo). Two of our Year 13 students took part in ARTiculate – a prestigious public speaking event at the Arnolifini – and were complimented by the judges on their passion for their chosen subjects and an exemplary delivery.

Our Year 11 and Year 10 Rubgy teams have continued to represent the school with enthusiasm and determination; our Year 9s and Year 10s saw success in the South Gloucestershire Rowing Challenge, and congratulations go to Joe Leather (Year 9), who is representing Avon in the County U18 Tennis Competition.

Congratulations also to Jessica Chalkley (Year 10) who has won her semi-final heat of the Rotary Young Chef Competition. We wish her every success in the District Finals in February.

It is always pleasing to share good press with our parents - for those of you who didn’t catch the news in the Gazette “Castle and Marlwood schools buck the national trend and named amongst best in South Gloucestershire” click below for the whole article.



We are delighted with the response of applications to join the Sixth Form from Year 11.  As well as an academic programme for students, we will be developing the ‘Enrichment Programme’ to ensure students have opportunities for leadership within their timetables. If any student is still thinking about joining us, it is not too late to submit an application form.


As we have moved towards Academy status, Term 3 has seen some changes in the constitution of our Local Governing Body: Mr W Tingley and Mrs R Clark (Parent Governors) and Mrs C Oglesby (Staff Governor) have stood down and we thank them for all their hard work and commitment to the school whilst in office. The Governors are delighted to welcome Ms R Allgood, a Castle School Education Trust Director, as the newly appointed Chair of Governors. We also welcome Mrs M Beckford (Parent Governor) and Mr V Green (Staff Governor). This leaves the Governing Body with two vacancies for Community Governors and a vacancy for a Parent Governor. If you feel you have the right skills and enthusiasm, with time to commit to this role in an exciting period for the school, please contact the Clerk to the Governors for more information.


Our Term 3 Newsletter is now available via this link to the web site – it is full of details of what our students have been doing throughout the term, House updates and useful information on forthcoming events see http://www.marlwood.com/ws-public/uploads/269_Newsletter-February-2015.pdf


Term 4 will see us driving a whole-school agenda to ensure our students arrive at school wearing the correct uniform and we have communicated with parents to request their support. We are also starting a consultation with students and the wider school community on the appropriateness of our current uniform. Students are encouraged to have their say through their House and School Councils. We ask that parents/carers refrain from buying any items of uniform for September until we have confirmed what changes – if any - there might be. The results will be fed back at the end of Term 4.


We have a school target to reach of 95% attendance and are encouraging all our students to attend school and to arrive punctually. Research shows the link between good attendance and academic outcomes. At Marlwood, as part of our vision for achieving excellence, we aspire to create that connection between attendance and outcomes.

HEADTEACHER ASSEMBLIES – Working together for excellence

I met with all the year groups last week to talk about how best we can support students in their learning: for the Year 11s we are emphasising the need to PLAN their revision before their exams in order to do justice to their learning and to reflect their hard work; for the Year 10s we want them to be thinking already of how they will structure their learning over the next 16 months  to give them the best possible grades they can achieve; for our Year 9s it is about their options – which study paths to take that give them the most flexible choices for their GCSEs, A levels and beyond; for our Year 8s and Year 7s we covered leadership and taking the opportunities presented to them to participate fully in their whole school experience; and for our Sixth Form it is all about putting in the time and effort now for the payback of choice for University/College or apprenticeship and their eventual career path.  It is a competitive world our students are preparing to enter and we want them ready and excited to grasp the opportunities ahead of them


The school welcomed a group of parents to our newly formed Parents Forum which is designed to provide opportunities to explore and discuss school initiatives with parents and to receive their viewpoint and feedback. The first forum, which met last week, looked at alternative approaches to the format for Parents Evenings, the Respect Agenda in some detail, and a first round of consultation on school uniform. We are very grateful to the parents who turned up on a cold, wet and miserable evening to take part and who contributed fully to the discussions. They have agreed to continue with the forums until the end of the school year. The next meetings are scheduled for 25th March and 24th June. If you would like to join us, please contact ‘theschool@marlwood.net’.



The school has been delivering our Respect agenda throughout the school via assemblies. The Respect agenda is based on students embracing leadership opportunities throughout their time in school, which will prepare them well for the world of work/study when they leave school. It is supported by the House system and all students are encouraged to participate through the School Council and school initiatives (such as the Spelling Bee). Leadership encourages a sense of responsibility and a share in the decision making of the school where appropriate. Current projects include investigating whether we introduce a Prefect System, various School Environment projects – Marlwood’s version of  ‘Dragons Den’ where students bid for funding for projects based on ideas worked through by students, and the Bright Futures Careers initiative which helps our students understand career pathways, and gives support with CVs and mock interviews.


53 of our students took part in the Remote Control Car competition; students from Y7 – Y11, teamed up with students from the University of the West of England to create cars from kits using their skills from Science, Technology and Engineering. They also designed the paintwork and stencils used to add the finishing touches. The school used this learning opportunity to support our Respect agenda which helps students develop their skills in leadership and responsibility; we added another touch of spice to the competition by making it a House event and Holt won.


As part of our cross-curricular opportunities for the Sciences and the Arts, our Year 9s enjoyed an exciting visit to the Cinelive Project, which included intro-immersive performances (placing students inside the world of the event with performers),and  Science workshops delivered by Bristol and Cardiff neuroscientists. Our students explored the structure and nature of the human brain, and a screening of the film ‘The Village of the Damned’ (1960) on which the whole event is based to tie all of the theatre, science and full immersion together. The feedback was our Year 9’s were a credit to the school, participated well and were fantastically behaved. We are extremely proud of them.