20th Feb 2023
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope you had a relaxing half term. What a relief that we are now firmly in February! The long cold days of January have passed, and Spring days will be with us very soon. Whilst in this mood of reflection I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on some the amazing events that have taken place recently at school or within our community. I think back to my school days fondly. The subject knowledge, skills and lessons I learnt every day have opened doors for me and have enabled me to progress in my career choices. However, it was the extra-curricular opportunities that were offered to me that I remember the most. This is what helped shape my character. As Tim Peakes said “Character is important – a CV may get you the interview, but character will get you the job.” Character Education and Cultural Capital are crucial aspects of development for our students and as such our staff really do their utmost to support the holistic learning of our students.
The autumn term concluded with plenty of events that were celebrated by students, staff and the community. The Christmas Fayre was a phenomenal event! It has been a few years since we have held a Christmas Fayre on this scale, and it was certainly one to celebrate. Our students did a great job at running their own stalls, with the support of the pastoral team. There were so many other people involved in this event, making it so fabulous. I would particularly like to thank the Piggott School Association for their help. I was fortunate enough to win a few prizes on the tombola, so I went home happy!
The Christmas Carol concert was a splendid event and again something that we were delighted to run again this year. The year 7s enjoyed being able to walk to the beautiful St Mary’s Church to fully experience the atmosphere and talent of those participating in the event. Students partook in a range of Christmas related activities such as an advent calendar competition and a fantastic Bake-off competition.
Our community fully embraced our vision of ‘Go and do likewise’ in the autumn term with a range of charitable activities. Thank you to you for your generous contributions to Readifood and for supporting CIRDIC (a charity in Reading that supports homeless people). We ran a non-uniform day to support Children in Need as our pupil voice team elected to support this charity. Some of our students also sang Christmas carols to the elderly at Bridge House to spread Christmas cheer.
We are always looking for opportunities to support others and are currently in discussion with the Cowshed, a local charity supporting disadvantaged people. More details on this will be coming soon but we are very appreciative of your help in trying to support others in our community. The last few years have been a really testing time for people and it even more important for us to support each other through these years. I have a plaque in my office that I look at every day which says ‘Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.’ This I truly believe. However, I often think it should say ‘Always believe something wonderful is happening.’ I feel privileged to work with such wonderful and special students every day; students who put others’ needs above their own.
This term we have already had some impressive news. Our year 8 girls’ team have reached the Regional finals for CyberFirst UK, they came third out of thousands of applicants. This opportunity enables young people to explore their passion for tech by introducing them to cyber security. It aims to support girls interested in a career in cyber security. It is such a unique opportunity to experience things they might not get a chance to otherwise. Just before half term I listened to four of our year 8 girls live on Radio Berkshire!
Another impressive award to one of our year 13 students - a Gold Crest Award. A Gold Award involves a high level of commitment, at around 70+ hours to complete and it is designed to immerse students in real scientific research. This is a remarkable achievement. Our sports team continue to impress and dominate. Our under 14 and under 15 girls’ football team have made it to the final 16 in the National cup and English School cup. Our girls’ football team also represented Berkshire in a national competition.
Our clubs are fully back in action! We have a large range of sporting clubs, which our students love. We are currently offering football, rugby, cross country, basketball, dance, cheerleading and fitness. Alongside this we do have a wide range of other clubs on offer for our students. We have an extensive range of clubs running this term including mindfulness, board games, Modern Foreign language films, programming, debating, Drama, Flute, Christian Union, eco-committee, sign language and we even about to start a croquet beginners club! I am delighted that so many of our students take part in these co-curricular activities and many are assisting in helping to run these too. I would like to thank all the staff members who generously donate their time to these clubs.
The Geography department have had a busy start to 2023. Sustainability and climate change are crucial topics and the department is striving to education our students about making informed and educated choices. Not only do they run the eco-committee, but they also run Surfers Against Sewage. This involves campaigning to equip young activists with the tools to create positive, lasting environmental change in our school and world. It teaches pupils that they should never underestimate the power of their voice. They are investigating single-use plastics, finding alternatives for our school to use, and challenge polluters to change their ways. They have been creative in running a Greenpeace Poem Competition, in which we received some emotive responses. The eco-committee have started renovation work on the pond area. The aim is to establish an outdoor learning environment to make good use of the space, whilst conserving the area for wildlife. Not to be outdone the English department have also launched a poetry competition: Poetry by Heart. The English department are also running Readathon, Magistrates Mock Trial and arranged an author (Nicola Garrard) to visit the year 9 students. The department also took a group of Year 7 students out to visit the new library in Wokingham to help promote the love of literacy, something we are all passionate about. The Drama department have been busy working with some talented students who will be performing A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream at South Hill Park in Bracknell. I am very excited about watching our students perform on such a professional stage! We have a mixture of crew and cast involved. Recently they had a professional workshop, organised by the Coram Shakespeare School Foundation. This enabled our young actors to work on characterisation and general performance skills. In addition to all of this, the Mathematics department is very much in competition mode with multiple UKMT Maths Challenges.
This term also saw the return of Piggott School Ski Trips! We ran the first of five ski trips in January 2023. 69 Year 9 students and ten members of staff headed off for a fabulous trip. Mr Williams, trip organiser, said ‘It really was a fantastic trip. I was immensely proud of our students and they all pulled together so well. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone so much better. All the staff commented on how well behaved our students were, but it was so much more than that. Memories were made on the slopes, and in the long coach journey! I am looking forward to the next one! High standards have been set!’ Thank you to everyone involved in making this ski trip happen, it takes a lot of time and commitment.
One of my highlights of this year so far has been the Chinese New Year celebrations. We had some very special assemblies that were performances by our Chinese classes. These assemblies involved dancing and red envelopes with a treat inside. I think it is always so special to celebrate diversity and these assemblies certainly did just that.
In my next letter I will have yet more exciting news …. The introduction of the Piggott Passport, Mental Health Champions and another Ski Trip update for starters.
I look forward to writing to you again soon,
Lead on Character Education and Developing Cultural Capital