I’d like to wish all parents/carers and students an enjoyable, relaxing and safe Easter and look forward to welcoming our school community back into school refreshed and ready for Term 5.


We have taken action to improve student, staff and parent safety in the parking area at the front of the school at the beginning of the day. Please follow the link for details.


I am delighted to introduce our newly formed Marlwood Press Team via the end of term newsletter

This initiative offers leadership opportunities for our students interested in journalism and/or photography and they will be covering events in and around the school as they happen.


Under our PSHCE programme and the Respect Agenda, four students have now been recruited to apply for the role of the future Prime Minister of Marlwood School. This will be a position of responsibility and the winning ‘Government’ will be allocated £2000 to put their proposals into practice. This also provides opportunities for our students to engage with our Respect Agenda and to take the lead on school initiatives. We are looking forward to hearing their election manifestos!


Competition remains fierce between the four Houses and there is very little in it at the end of Term 4. Highlights have included the Heads of House Race The Radio Controlled Cars Competition, The Marlwood Great Bake-Off, Jolly Hockey Sticks and the Quidditch Easter Egg Hunt! Full House details are in the Newsletter.


The consultation period has ended and there is a full report in the Newsletter. Term 5 will see a consultation on the style, colours and costs of a new uniform and this will be communicated to parents and carers.


The second meeting of the Parents’ Forum took place on 25th March. The meeting was well attended with new parents joining our discussions. A summary of the meeting will be available on the school web site shortly.


Three times a year the normal school timetable is disaggregated and faculties are able to drill down into specific aspects of their curriculum in more detail than a one hour lesson sometimes allows. These days also allow the school to address the wider educational issues which fall under the umbrella of Personal, Social, Health and Careers Education (PSHCE). All year groups, 7 to 13, participate. On Thursday, before our Inset Day, a range of activities took place and contributed to a positive, vibrant atmosphere across the school on a sunny Spring day, which I hope our students have shared with you at home.


As part of the Curriculum Focus Day, our Sixth Formers used the opportunity to raise yet more funds for their chosen charities by hosting a Great Marlwood Bake-Off Competition. Ian Curtis, from the Crusty Loaf in Olveston, joined me in the judging. Funds raised from the sale of the cakes, biscuits and ‘other’ reached over £110. Well done to all involved.


Year 10 spent a morning enthusiastically receiving structured guidance on how to approach their mock exams which start in May. This also prepares them for the mock GCSEs and the real examinations next year. Input came from the core subjects and students were guided on how to manage their time and understand and exploit their own preferred learning styles.

Tutors and subject staff work hard to prepare our students so they are confident in their knowledge of the subject and in sitting exams. Our Revision Guidelines Booklet with Top Ten Tips for exam success was handed out to all students, including information on how to prepare themselves physically and mentally to be at their best on the day. We look forward to reaping fine results!


Our second meeting of the Parents’ Forum will be held on Wednesday 25 March 7.00-8.00pm in the Learning Resource Centre. Our Founder members welcome any parents who would like to join them. On the agenda this time:

Feedback from our uniform consultation
Measuring progress in a future with National Curriculum levels
Progress towards a revised style of Student Progress Parent Evenings

If you’d like to join us, please let school know in the usual way – by phone or email.


It was with great pleasure that Mrs Carrington, Mrs Gill and Abi Southwell (English student) accompanied a group of 14 students to the Concorde Book Award held at the Bristol & Bath Science Park. The event was well attended with over 100 students and many parents.

Marlwood students confidently introduced the six shortlisted books and later gave a drama presentation on their interpretation of Gillian Cross's book After Tomorrow. Gillian Cross later commented how much she enjoyed seeing our interpretation of her book. Our students have been meeting regularly since October to read, discuss and blog about the books. During the last few weeks, they have come up with ideas for our presentations and practiced, latterly, most days. The group have been a real pleasure to work with. For more details see our Term 4 Newsletter which will be on the web site next week


As reported by Samantha Bland, Y13 student, a group of Year 13s in their second year of studying A Level Access to Music arranged a music performance event at New Siblands School in Thornbury. A group of our talented Year 12 and 13 musicians were invited to perform some of their best pieces in the New Siblands’ morning assembly. This musical showcase highlighted the level of talent evident within the Marlwood Music Faculty and consisted of five performers, including vocalists and instrumentalists, with the diversity of the flugelhorn played by Peter Stace. At the end of the showcase, our students handed out a variety of hand percussion instruments enabling the New Siblands’ children to contribute to the performance for the last piece. The Marlwood students also created Award Certificates to hand out to the children, which gave them a sense of accomplishment and highlighted their overall contribution to this exciting event.


The School Council has met again this term and have been making decisions on which charities to support within the four different Houses: so far the students have nominated Cancer Research and Macmillan Nurses. Some of the items covered by the School Council includes: working with the Senior Leadership Team to review Homework Guidelines and the School Planner; and School Improvement Bids for work to be done around the school site. There are two new working parties coming together: one will work with the Site Management Team to place and install water fountains around the school, and the second one will be working with myself to look at student engagement and achievement.

ITALIAN TRIP update from Mr Helliker

Students of Geography in Year 11 and 13 have just returned from 4 days on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Staying in Sorrento, we had the opportunity to explore the island of Capri, Emperor Tiberius's summer villa (in ruins now) and take a laser boat around the various coastal features. The second day involved a fascinating visit to Pompeii and Herculaneum to experience what a Roman town looked like. The third day involved a visit to Montenuovo - a cinder cone volcano. Unfortunately, a visit to the crater of Vesuvius had to be cancelled due to snow and high winds at the summit - not the Mediterranean weather we had hoped for! We followed up the visit to Montenuovo to Solfatara, a caldera with active fumeroles and vents. Although there were lots of bad egg smells and steam, it was a very interesting place. The staff thought the students were excellent: polite, punctual and interested… “they were a pleasure to be with."


19th March sees the school running a Curriculum Focus Day which gives our Faculties the opportunity to run subject-based, extra-curricular activities that are fun and interesting for our students and which give them a broader experience of the core subjects they study in KS3 and KS4.


Once again I am happy to report on the school’s continuing commitment to helping others who are worse off than ourselves. Students and staff have been happily selling Red Nose Chocolate Brownies to support the Red Nose Day appeal. Our local baker joined the cause and provided the brownies at a very favourable price so our profit margins were better than we had hoped. Thank you to Ian Curtis of the Crusty Loaf in Olveston. All monies raised will help to buy Mosquito Nets in Africa.

The ‘Bandana Week’ fund raising for Brain Tumour Support went very well last week, with the local Press coming along to photograph our students in a variety of bandana wearing guises. Our students raised an impressive £233.30 for their nominated charity.


This week has seen our Year 11 students taking part in mock interviews with volunteers from our business partners and the local business community. The students have had to prepare a CV, a letter of application and come dressed appropriately for the experience. The feedback is that our students benefit enormously from this practical experience and we are very grateful to those businesses who spare their staff to come in and make this a worthwhile event for our students.


Under our PSHCE programme, recruitment has begun for four students to apply for the role of the future Prime Minister of Marlwood. This will be a position of responsibility and the winning ‘Government’ will receive £2000 to put their proposals into practice. This also provides opportunities for our students to engage with our Respect Agenda and to take the lead on school initiatives. We are looking forward to hearing their election manifestos!


We are very proud of all of our students and staff who are involved in raising funds for charity in one way or another. This term sees us introducing a Wishing Well located in the school grounds and the first funds raised will be donated to UNICEF. Staff are also supporting the Daffodil Appeal run by the Marie Curie Cancer charity. A group of our Year 13 students are fund raising for Brain Tumour Support – ‘Bandana Week’, having already presented at a Business Breakfast Networking meeting last week. The school is likely to be a mass of bandana-wearing supporters on 6th March and I have no doubt our students will find some unusual ways of wearing them!


As mentioned in previous blogs, we are now well into the consultation process with students, staff, parents and governors to consider whether it is time for a change, and if so what that change may be.  Please encourage your children to join the debate via their House and School Councils and we look forward to receiving parental feedback too.


Our Year 11 will be performing their exam play Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo on 17th and 18th March. This promises to be a thought-provoking and highly entertaining performance. For more information and tickets, please call 01454 862525.