Letter to parents
Dear parents and carers
What a busy half term it has been! I must admit I was hoping for some sunnier weather, but hopefully Spring will arrive soon. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for your on-going support. I appreciate the last few years have been somewhat challenging, and we are so proud of your support in enabling us to continue to offer not just a quality curriculum for your children but also some wonderful extra-curricular activities. As I have sat down to write this letter, I made a quick list of some of the experiences our students have been offered since February half term. It is a lengthy list!
Year 13, Year 8 and Year 12 have all been out on ski trips throughout February and March. The most recent has been the year 12 trip to Canada. The Year 10 ski trip has departed only this morning. They have all had the most fabulous time and created some lasting memories. Other members of our school community have also travelled abroad, this time off to France as part of the French exchange. This is such a unique experience for the students, and one which really helps with language acquisition and provides opportunities to experience a different culture. Thank you to anyone that housed a French student recently as part of the exchange, I hope the experience was enriching.
A group of year 8 students were lucky enough to attend a successful outdoors activity day at Wellington College. This is the first time we have attended such a day and we will definitely go again if the opportunity arises. The students worked on team building, resilience and confidence. The teachers accompanying the students were super proud of the determination when it came to the high ropes and some students surprised themselves with how high they could climb!
It has been a few years since we have been able to run the lessons from Auschwitz project but I am delighted to say that this year some year 12 students had the unique opportunity to learn about the history of the Holocaust through a bespoke programme, including a one day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The students commented about how impactful this trip was. Sophie commented that, “I don't think it's possible for a human to comprehend what it would have been like to be in this situation, I can't imagine there'll ever be sufficient education about the Holocaust to do the sheer size of the devastation any justice.” Evie expanded on this by saying, “I was fortunate to have had this opportunity with Lessons from Auschwitz; it was a very insightful experience. From learning about pre-war Jewish life to going more into depth about the tragedy of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, I am proud to be an official ambassador.” The year 12 students are currently considering how best they can share this insight with the wider school community.
I had the privilege of attending a special performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on 14th March, performed by our very own students. I was unbelievably impressed by our students. It was fantastic watching our young people on a real stage supported by some fantastic Piggott crew! Well done to all the students involved and to the Drama department for facilitating such a fantastic opportunity. Drama and performances can be extremely beneficial to our young people. The skills learnt and used in Drama, such as problem solving, collaboration, creativity and resilience, are well sought after in career and employment areas. By participating in opportunities such as this, students can build skills for life as well as broadening their own cultural capital. Similarly, the music department have put on several splendid events this half term. Jazz Day went beautifully, and it was a real treat for students to be so immersed in the music and performance. The Spring concert is a highlight in the school calendar. I hope you enjoyed the performance as much as I did. Learning about music and having the opportunity to play musical instruments and make music together is a vital part of a rich and rounded education. It has also been proven that music plays a key role in brain development. Well done to the small but massively committed music department.
As a school our Christian vision is to ‘Go and Do Likewise’. This half term we have been considering what that means and how we can Go and Do Likewise in our community. The idea of this vision is to kind and compassionate to others, to show mercy, to be charitable. With this in mind, we had held a few charitable events this half term. The school council wanted to raise money for the devasting Earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey. Be holding a non-uniform day and a successful bake sale we managed to raise £1865 for this cause. Furthermore, we have raised awareness of a local charity, The Cowshed, who support our most vulnerable in society. We have been asked by the charity to collect new underwear and socks and new, unopened toiletries to support those who are in need. People that are locked in poverty must make terrible choices between eating, paying rent, keeping warm or keeping clean. The Cowshed has asked for our help to support our most vulnerable members of society. We are asking for any donations to be dropped off at school by the end of April. We have also held a non-uniform day to support this local charity. The PSA have also been collecting for Easter eggs for Readifood collection. Thank you again for your kindness and generosity. In an ideal world we would not even need charities, but until then we must work together to create a more equal and just society.
Furthermore, our students have also been politically active this half term. Not only do we have an active school council, but we also have students on the Wokingham Youth Council. This term they have attended the first Wokingham Council Youth Politics Event. Students were able to debate topics that are relevant to them in the Wokingham Council Chambers in front of the councillors. What a fantastic opportunity and well done for showing such courage, an important school value.
We are looking forward to the next Duke of Edinburgh expeditions that are due to set off after the Easter break. We are running both Bronze and Silver expeditions. Undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh award gives you skills, confidence and develops important ‘soft skills’ that are so desirable in the work place. With this in mind we have introduced The Piggott Passport for year 7. This is designed around the Duke of Edinburgh award as an introduction for year 7 students. The idea is that students complete at least one activity from each of the four sections; volunteering, skills, physical and adventure. We have designed this Passport so that all students are able to achieve the award and perhaps find a new interest or hobby along the way!
This half term has also seen some inspirational events designed to widen the curriculum for our students. We have had both World Book Day and Science week. It has been rather interesting to try to guess what atom our science teachers were dressed up as! It certainly took a little imagination for some of them! The well-known World Book Day is an important event to raise awareness of the importance of literacy. It is shocking to realise that around half a million children in England don’t own a single book. Literacy is, of course, a fundamental skill and something that we promote every single day in school and we will continue to promote the love of reading. Science week has facilitated some real life exposure to Science professionals to enable our students to celebrate the diversity of the carers available in the field of science.
After the Easter break we will be coming closer and closer to the main examination series. We wish our students the very best for their examinations. We hope students use their time effectively and efficiently but our advice, as always, is to look after ourselves and taking breaks and do things that bring us joy. If you would like any advice about supporting your children’s well-being please see our website: https://www.piggottschool.org/page/?title=Well%2DBeing+and+Mental+Health&pid=415. To better understand the curriculum please see our website: The Piggott School - Curriculum.
We have every faith in our students, and we will continue to support them to the best of our abilities.
Wishing you a joyous Easter Break
Lead on Character Education