Category Archives: Letters and Newsletters

student Exchange

Dear Parents/Carers and students

You will be aware that Ridgeway has a link with Hermann-Vöchting-Gymnasium (HVG) in Blomberg, Germany.  We have recently started to conduct an exchange to the school in Germany and are now approaching our third year. The first time Ridgeway students went to Germany was in June of 2017, having hosted our German partner school’s students back here in England for the first time in January of that same year.

HVG and Ridgeway would like to continue to develop this student exchange between the two schools that involves teachers, parents and students.  We would like to host up to thirty German students here in England in January 2019. It is our intention to then take up to thirty Ridgeway students back to Germany in March of the same year.

The language and cultural knowledge and skills students of both nationalities will experience will benefit them immediately and in later life.

At this point, we are looking to see how many students (and their families prepared to host a German student) would be interested in this venture.

Needless to say, there will be more details to follow, regarding the exact dates in January 2019.  However, at this point, we would like to know how many families would be interested in working with a German family from HVG.  Should you be interested, please complete the slip below and return to Mr Ayton or Mrs Trevethick.

Yours sincerely

 

ALEX AYTON – MFL TEACHER

SUZANNE TREVETHICK – ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER

MICHAEL BENNETT – HEADTEACHER

Please download the letter with the attached reply slip here.

SENCo

Dear Parents/Carers,

As you may be aware I have now taken over the role as SENCo at Ridgeway Secondary School. I am writing to introduce myself.

I am now in my seventh year at Ridgeway. During my time at Ridgeway I have taken on a number of roles, from Year 5 class teacher to Head of the Creative Faculty. During the last academic year I was Key Stage 2 SENCo, working alongside Mr Clarkson to run SEND provision in our school. Previous to this I completed my National SENCo Award at the University of Worcester. During this term year I will continue to work with Mr Clarkson to ensure a smooth transition.

If you would like to discuss your child’s needs any further please feel free to contact me, either by email (st191@ridgewaysecondary.org.uk) or via telephone through the main school office.

Yours sincerely

 

Mrs Trevethick

Assistant Head and SENCo

Y5 Parents Evening – 27th September

Dear Parents/Carers,

Y5 Parents Evening – Online Appointment Booking

I would like to invite you to attend our Parents’ Evening on the following date;

  • 27TH September 2018 from 4pm until 6:30pm

This is an important evening and provides you with an opportunity to discuss how your child is settling in.

The school use an online appointment booking system. This allows you to choose your own appointment time with your form tutor and you will receive an email confirming your appointment.

Appointments can be made from today and will close on 27/9/2018.

Please visit https://ridgewayacad.parentseveningsystem.co.uk to book your appointments. (A short guide is attached on how to add appointments and will also be found on our school website) Login with the following information:

  • students First Name
  • students Surname
  • Date of Birth

If you do not have access to the internet, please contact Mrs Tattersall at the school office who will be happy to add appointments on your behalf.

 

yours sincerely,

Mr T Clarkson

Assistant  Head Teacher

Please download the guide on how to book your appointment using the online system, here.

Letter to Ofsted from A Ridgeway student

Dear Amanda Spielman,
Re: The Inspection of Ridgeway Secondary School in Redditch, May 2018.
(Published on the 18th of June 2018)

My name is Mary Dowchan-Kowalska and I’m a 14-year-old, year 10 student at Ridgeway Secondary School. I take pride in being a Ridgeway student so therefore you can imagine how disappointed I was with the recent Ofsted report which judged the school as “requires improvement”.

I was born and lived most of my life in Poland. My dad is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon which gave my family many opportunities to travel and move around the world. It wasn’t always towns or cities though. We even moved countries, continents. I first moved schools when I was 8 years old. My parents wanted to give my siblings and I a better chance in the future so therefore we moved to the United States, California. For an 8-year-old who didn’t speak English, this was quite a stressful experience but I soon grew to love it. As I realised later, it gave me an amazing opportunity to learn at least a basic level of this globally used language.
Unfortunately a year after, we had to move back to Poland. We stayed there for 6 months but my dad soon realised that it would be a waste of what my siblings and I have already learnt, to stay in Poland. He got an amazing job opportunity in England, and so we moved. I attended a school in Solihull. When I first came to England in September 2015, I was excited to meet new people and experience a slightly different culture.

Unfortunately, my classmates weren’t very keen on somebody coming in from the outside. I experienced severe bullying and racial profiling. People made fun of my accent and the way I spoke. I always loved school and was very eager to learn. At that school, I didn’t feel safe. I was afraid of raising my hand in lessons because I would usually have to face nasty comments. In a school of over a 1000 students, I felt like I had no meaning. I didn’t get the support from teachers that I needed. My parents soon noticed that I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t enthusiastic about going to school anymore, instead, I tried to find ways to avoid it. Let me emphasise the fact that this school’s 2014 inspection judged it as “good”.

In the middle of a school year, we moved. The next school my parents chose was a small school in Redditch. I came to Ridgeway lacking self-confidence: I felt like nothing I did was good enough. That soon changed. students and staff at Ridgeway were so welcoming: they wanted to know where I came from; who I was; what I liked. I was never discriminated because of my accent or my background: I was praised for it, they liked that I was different. The teachers encouraged me to do what I loved and helped with the things I struggled with. They helped me get up to speed with all the material I was behind with. I started moving sets in both English and Maths. For the first time, I was told that the pieces I produced in my English lessons were “great” and sometimes even “outstanding”. I found my passion for sport: there were opportunities for me to compete and later on to even earn a leadership role in the P.E department. I was never once turned away by a teacher when I needed help. They were always there when I needed that extra help with something I didn’t understand. With their support, I started getting test results that I was pleased with. Ridgeway provides great support for students who struggle both academically and emotionally. Because of the school’s size, students are able to get more attention from teachers and help specific to each individual person. I know people who came to our school from what seem like “better” schools with “better” Ofsted reports, yet achieved more and became more successful at Ridgeway.

Unfortunately, as I said before, my dad’s job requires moving a lot… He got a better job opportunity in Hereford so therefore that was our next destination. I was devastated. I was moving from a school that made me feel at home…

Next, was a school in Hereford. I only attended that school for around 2 months before I moved back to Poland. Those two months were a huge setback for me. From a school where everyone got individual treatment, I moved to a school where we were treated as a crowd. In a school as big as the one I attended, it’s very hard to identify certain behaviours -the learning environment is not as controlled as in a smaller school- therefore my brother fell in the wrong crowd, causing him to act in certain ways and do things he’s never done before. At break and lunchtime I saw children’s behaviour that was incomparably worse than Ridgeway students’, yet this school’s Ofsted inspection was yet again judged as “good”.

The summer of 2017 I moved back to Poland for 7 months. Poland is known for its harsh educational system with hard and intensive grading and examination methods. After a gap of almost 3 years out of the system, I was afraid I was going to be massively behind. I had to do some catching up in history (we only learn about Polish history) and Polish but I felt very comfortable and up to speed with all other subjects. This was quite surprising as before I moved to the UK I was never more than average in subjects such as maths or science. This gave me an opportunity to do something more for the school. I took the example of Ridgeway and introduced some new ways for students to get involved during the school days. For example volunteering opportunities that involved helping younger children in school. I thought of this because I remembered how I had the same opportunity to do so as a “P.E leader” at Ridgeway. We would organise activities and games for kids in year 5 who were new to the school, or even went to first schools and organised sports days. I thought that idea was amazing and beneficial for both parties: kids got an amazing, fun day and got used to life in big schools, and we had leadership opportunities that helped gain confidence and even taught us to work as a team. So, therefore, I introduced something similar at my school in Poland. I organised a group of people that in their free time helped younger students with homework and reading. Both teachers and students really liked that idea. A couple of months in, I became head girl of that school. I remember that most of my ideas to improve the school were based on my school life at Ridgeway.

7 months into the school year, we moved again. One day my mum said “We’re moving back to England! Which school would you like to go back to? Or would you like to try something new?” Both my brother and I, without a second of hesitation, exclaimed “Ridgeway!”. Suddenly all excitement for school came back. We were glad to be coming back somewhere we felt safe and comfortable.

When we first heard about the inspection, I wasn’t worried at all. Comparing all the other schools I went to, I knew Ridgeway was outstanding. With its last inspection judged as “good”, I thought nothing could go wrong. All our teachers are passionate about their subjects and on top of that, they have the ability to pass it on to us. They stretch us when appropriate and provide help when needed. All teachers – at least in my experience – try to lead lessons in a stimulating way so that everybody understands. It doesn’t matter if you learn by listening, reading, doing or even all of the above because teachers present lessons to suit us- students.
All students at Ridgeway create a safe and welcoming environment. Our free time is well managed, there are rarely any conflicts. There are many opportunities for us to get involved and many leadership roles to take on. Some of them including: House Captains, School Ambassadors, Sports Councillors, Play leaders and more. This allows us not only to focus on learning but grow as a person. I find this especially useful since Ridgeway is now educating it’s students until year 11, preparing us for our GCSE’s which are a very big step in all our lives.

With all this confidence I was -saying the least- surprised and disappointed with the inspection’s outcome, as were many others. After reading the report I could not process the decision. There were points being made about SAT results not being good enough, when Ridgeway has proved to achieve one of the best in the area. The focus was on younger students as well as students with disabilities. I am in no way denying that Ridgeway has room to improve but so does any other school. There was barely anything said about the higher years which is especially unfair since Ridgeway is becoming a secondary school. I feel that with such passionate staff and open-minded students the judgement of “requires improvement” is strongly unfair. I believe that this has set Ridgeway at an unfair disadvantage labelling it as “worse” than other secondary schools in the area and not giving it a chance. I understand and roc agonise the areas where our school needs improvement, but I feel that not all comment in the report were fairly made.

I look forward to the next inspection and proving that our school is better than what it was judged as, with our GCSE results to support that.

Thank you for your attention,

Sincerely,

Mary Dowchan-Kowalska

Extracurricular Sport – Winter Term

Dear Parent/Carer,

We would like to inform you in advance of the upcoming extra-curricular sporting opportunities for students in the winter term.

As a growing school we are keen to offer all year groups the opportunity to take part in physical activity either as leisure or as part of a competitive team. We compete in almost all sports both district and county wide and in large are very successful. We have however reflected on the previous year and tried to build in some more opportunities for students to participate and for selected squads to train together. We have therefore decided that rather than split year groups on different evenings to hold all years training sessions.

As a department we hope this will increase consistency and decrease confusion as we have chosen to use a termly timetable that will not change unless you are informed, until the start of the spring term in January 2019.

We hope this gives you adequate time to organise any arrangements to make it possible for your child to attend should they wish and look forward to another successful sporting year.

Yours Sincerely

 

The PE Department.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Ridgeway Secondary School – EXTRA CURRICULAR SPORT WINTER TERM 2018/19. Week Commencing 10.9.18

DAY LUNCHTIME MEMBER OF STAFF / SPORTS LEADER AFTERSCHOOL MEMBER OF STAFF / SPORTS LEADER
MONDAY COUCH to 5K JW / CN FITNESS JW/CG
TUESDAY     FOOTBALL ALL YEARS BOYS AND GIRLS JW/JS/AV/AS/CG
WEDNESDAY COUCH to 5K JW / MDK NETBALL ALL YEARS SC/GS/JD/ML/SO
THURSDAY     STAFF MEETINGS / FIXTURES  
FRIDAY COUCH to 5K JW / JD RUGBY ALL YEARS TC/JS/JW

 

S69 Bus Service

As you will be aware following a communication issued by Diamond Buses to all students who use the above bus service this will be ending at the end of this academic year.

We are writing to reassure you that we are working on finding an alternative supplier for this service and once we know more information we will share this with you.

If you have any questions in the meantime, as always please contact us.

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Hewitt
School Business Manager

Charity Sky Dive

Dear Parent/Carer,

Firstly let me introduce myself. I’m Mrs Tattersall, and I work in the office at Ridgeway Secondary School and over the years I have taken part in various challenges to raise money for several charities and this year is no different. This year I am taking part in a Charity Sky Dive on the 8TH Sept at Hinton Airfield. After speaking to the School Council about my challenge they were interested to learn about the charity I am raising money for. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and their ‘Heart in a Box’ campaign.

The charity is raising money to bring a revolutionary piece of equipment, commonly known as ‘Heart in a Box’ which would change the way heart transplants are carried out at the QE. ‘Heart in a Box’ allows a donor heart to be transported for longer periods of time, in a better condition and anti-rejection drugs can even be used to increase the chances of the patient accepting the new heart before the transplant takes place. ‘Heart in a Box’ has the potential to increase the number of hearts available to transplant by as much as 50%, revolutionising the way the heart transplants are carried out.

The Student Council got their thinking caps on! Collectively, we came up with a Heart in a Box relay which will see all students take part in transporting a “Heart” around the school track for the day to see how far we could carry it. Now don’t worry our heart will be a cushion and students aren’t expected to run but come together to enjoy a day of fun, whilst raising money for this charity.

So on 20th July 2018 Ridgeway Secondary School will turn Red. Students can come dressed in red for the day for a £1 donation (prizes will be given for best dressed). They will also come home with sponsorship forms for our “Heart in the Box” relay. The children will be sponsored for the number of laps of the school they complete.

Cakes will be on sale at break time to replenish their energy levels and students can also contribute to this if they wish.

I am sure all students will enjoy the day and if anyone has any questions in regard to the campaign please don’t hesitate to contact me in the office.

Thank you for your support.

Student Council and Mrs Tattersall

The Sponsor Form can be downloaded here.

Ofsted Report 2018

Dear Parents and carers,

As you know, Ofsted inspected the school on 3rd and 4th May. The report can be found by following this link:

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/139029

We are pleased to note the positive aspects of the report but also acknowledge that there are areas requiring improvement.  We have already begun the Rapid Improvement Plan to address areas requiring improvement. We will be making significant, positive changes to enable all students to continue making excellent progress and enjoy their learning at Ridgeway.

If you are currently pleased with the progress both academically and emotionally at the school, then it will only get better with the improvements we are making. Please support us on this journey towards ensuring children make excellent progress and are prepared for the future.

We remain, as always, fully committed to providing a high standard of teaching and learning for the children at Ridgeway Secondary School and will, with your support, strive to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of the children at our school.

Members of the governing body and all staff at Ridgeway Secondary School are very disappointed with some of the report findings and do not feel that the report gives a true reflection of the school.  We are in the process of contesting a number of points with Ofsted. A brief summary and examples of the areas we are contesting:

  • The report alludes to students making variable progress.

Below is a Department for Education comparison site of schools within a 10-mile radius of Ridgeway. You will be able to see that students make good progress here compared to other schools. (Please see the below document).

  • Although the majority of parents who responded to the Ofsted questionnaire expressed broad satisfaction with many areas of provision, a little over one quarter did not…

¼ of 106 parents who completed the survey about 26 parents therefore only 6% of the population of the school. We feel that this is unfair as there is no reference made to the 94% that were either positive or did not contribute.

  • students do not make consistently good progress across years groups….

School evidence and DfE comparison site do not support inspection findings (see attached sheet) Best SATS in Redditch in 2017, exceeded local authority average and in line with national average.

On the table below is a list of schools locally from the DfE comparison site. You will see that our data is strong in relation to all of these schools. Ofsted has recently inspected two of the schools on the list. Both of those schools have attainment and progress results below Ridgeway Secondary School yet both achieved a ‘Good’ in the inspection.

  • Whilst the report highlights areas to improve for disadvantaged and SEN students, it fails to highlight some significant strengths.

students with a statement of SEN or EHCP attendance is significantly above national average. Attainment and Progress of Disadvantaged and SEN are also positive.

Whilst we are acknowledging the areas we need to improve upon as a school, we accept that there are inconsistencies in some areas.  It is clear that there is a disparity between the report findings and our own evidence.

In particular, to suggest that students’ attainment and progress is variable at Ridgeway seems to be inconsistent with the data provided by the DfE comparison site and therefore inconsistent with previous Ofsted inspection results of similar schools with lower attainment and progress results compared to Ridgeway.

We are currently conducting a parental questionnaire and are keen to hear your views about the school, how we communicate, what you would like to hear about in communication and when.

To give parents more opportunity to discuss the report and any questions you may have regarding this and the progress that we are already making in improving the school, we would like to invite you to an open parents’ meetings at school on 21st and 28th June at 6pm. There will be members of the various leadership teams from the school present to answer any questions that you may have.

Thank you again for your support.

Ridgeway Secondary School

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