Thursday 19 December 2013 Dear Parent/Carer,

Newsletter 2
Thursday 19 December 2013
Dear Parent/Carer,
As we have reached the end of our very first term I am delighted to be able to update with you with lots of information and
news, which I hope you will enjoy reading.
Christmas Productions
I hope you enjoyed the performances of ‘A Christmas Carol’ (Year 7 production) and our Reception Class production of
‘Whoopsy-daisy Angel!’ this week. Students and staff worked incredibly hard to ensure we were all treated to delightful
festive entertainment and I would like to thank everyone involved, including parents and carers, for their commitment,
support and professionalism. A special mention must go to Miss Gibson, Teaching Assistant, as without her vision,
enthusiasm, dedication and hard-work the Year 7 production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ may never have even been
conceived. Also a special mention to Mrs Barber, parent, who gave a huge amount of her time and resources to ensure
the authenticity of the Victorian costumes. Thank you.
I am immensely proud of what was achieved this week given we only opened our school less than four months ago and
are operating from temporary accommodation. I would like to congratulate everybody, especially our talented students
both younger and older, and hope, like me, you have very happy memories of the school’s very first Christmas
Christmas Raffle
A big thank you to all those who bought raffle tickets at our Christmas productions and for supporting our school in this
way. Thank you to those parents who organised the raffle and sold tickets at each event and a special thank you to Mrs
Kinsella-Miles, parent, who devoted a huge amount of time approaching local businesses to secure their generously
donated prizes. The raffle has now been drawn and our winners contacted by telephone and I am looking forward to
sharing details of how much money was raised in our first Newsletter of 2014.
Parent Teacher Association
We are looking to form the school’s Parent Teacher Association (P.T.A.) and will be contacting you with further details
early in the New Year. A number of parents and carers registered their interest in being part of the P.T.A. before we
opened and we are now eager to capture your enthusiasm and ideas as to how it will work in furthering the strong ties
between school, home and the wider community.
Admissions 2014 - Reception Class
The deadline for on-time applications for children due to start Reception Class next year is 15 January 2014 and we have
already held a number Open Mornings. If you have a child due to start school next year, or have a friend or neighbour
who does, then do please get in touch to book a visit by contacting Mrs Rowlinson in the School Office.
Staffing News
We are delighted to have appointed Mrs Rowlinson as our Office Administration Assistant who joined our team midNovember
In January, we are very pleased to have hired a supply teacher to teach modern foreign language lessons to our Year
7 students. Mrs Morgan is an experienced and well-qualified Modern Foreign Language teacher who has previously
taught at Stowe School and the City of London School
Parent/Carer Feedback Questionnaires
We have had an excellent response rate to our recent request for feedback and I am grateful to everyone for taking the
time to complete and return the questionnaire. We are busy collating the details and look forward to sharing results with
you soon. It is very encouraging to read all the positive comments so we can continue to perform on what we already do
well but I very much welcome your views on what we need to improve upon and we will be working hard to consider how
to address areas for development.
Communication to Parents/Carers by e-mailWe have been busy activating our pupil database which now includes the
e-mail address(es) recorded on your child’s enrolment form. This means, from January 2014, we will be able to send
letters and our monthly school Newsletters by e-mail. Please, therefore, let us know in writing of any changes to the email address you would like us to use. Equally, if you do not have access to email then please notify Mrs Rowlinson in the
School Office as soon as possible. Thank you.
News from our Reception Class
“We have had a really good term in Reception – thank you to all the parents for your
support. The children settled in very quickly and we have seen some wonderful learning both
inside and in the outdoor learning spaces. The teachers have based learning opportunities
on children’s interests so we’ve been exploring stories and dramatic role-play. This has given
us a wonderful opportunity to learn about different types of books, characters and settings,
authors and illustrators. The children made settings for their play by creating Dinosaur Island
and a pirate cave.
They have introduced story lines into their play and recorded them by telling them to the
teachers, drawing maps and illustrations and using their understanding of letter sounds to
write short captions.
We have been particularly pleased with the children’s
progress in relation to reading and writing. They have
daily teacher-led phonics sessions where they have been
learning about letter shapes, the sounds they make and
how they can use these for reading and for writing. They
have also learned a range of frequently used words so
that they can now read and write short sentences
The new maths resources that we have introduced
have been very effective. Children have been
exploring number order, addition and subtraction
and the different ways we can make numbers, e.g. 10
is 4 + 6, 2 + 8. Some children are already beginning to
explore hundreds, tens and units!! One of the
children’s favourite activities is exploring with Numicon
– a resource that makes number very visual, and they
absolutely love Numicon bingo which can get very
We have throughly enjoyed preparing for Christmas with our play and our party and have
been busy making lots of decorations. It has been a fantastic term, the children have worked
really hard and made wonderful progress. Everyone is exhausted now and so we are all
looking forward to the holidays……but we can’t wait for next term when we can carry on
learning and exploring!!!”
The School has put in place a School Council to put forward the views of the students. There
are three Student Representatives from each House. The Council members are:
Grace Birkett (McGuire)
Kayleigh Buddin (McGuire)
Alfie Wilson (McGuire)
Megan Barrett (Lindh)
Joe Howarth (Lindh)
Marcus Keeys (Lindh)
Laura Denison (Bader)
Ben Heath (Bader)
Hermione Nethercot (Bader)
The Student Council has already met on four separate occasions and had discussions on
various topics including charity work, school trips, punishments, clubs, school sports, toilets
and the House points system. Meetings have been minuted and passed to the Principal.
Recently the Council held its first unsupervised meeting and, with the intention of giving the
Council a greater degree of autonomy, there has been an election of officers, voted for by the
Council members themselves. It is hoped the Council will be able to run independently of
staff, whilst still reporting to the Principal, enabling the students to put forward their own
views, without staff bias.
The results of the election are as follows:
Chair: Hermione Nethercot
Vice-chair: Alfie Wilson
Secretary: Kayleigh Buddin
We wait with baited breath for the results of the most recent meeting and look forward to
sharing details in the next School Newsletter.
House Points
At the time of writing the current House totals are:
LINDH 236 pts
202 pts
BADER 191 pts
House points are awarded for positive contributions both in and out of the
classroom. At the end of term the winning House will be awarded a prize
and, needless to say, graciously applauded by the other two Houses!
There will also be prizes awarded to the top 10 individual points scorers
each term.
Our congratulations to the top four students in each House as follow:
Laura Denison 14 pts
Alice Walder 12 pts
Hermione Nethercot 11 pts
Ben Heath 9 pts
Hermione Romain 18 pts
Millie Daniels 14 pts
Marcus Keeys 12 pts
Joe Howarth 11 pts
Megan Hockley 14 pts
Niamh Aspell 13 pts
Grace Birkett 12 pts
Kayleigh Buddin 12 pts
At the end of November two teams of students, a girls squad and a boys squad, were entered into the North
Oxfordshire Schools Sports Partnership’s Cross Country (NOSSP) event in Banbury. Taking on eight other
secondary schools, the girls’ team won the whole event and out of over 50 runners we had four girls finish in
the top seven places. The boys’ team came in third place with one student taking an individual runner’s-up
place. A remarkable performance given the small size of our school. Our congratulations go to all the
students who represented us.
Swimming Gala
Recently we entered two teams into the NOSSP School Swimming Gala and one of our boys won 3 rd place and
one of our girls 4th place in the events. Again, given the small size of our school, these are fabulous results
and our congratulations go to all our students involved.
We are pleased to have joined the NOSSP which means further inter-school sports fixtures are now in the
pipe-line which will include Tennis, Athletics and Cricket and we look forward to sharing results with you in
future Newsletters
Boys’ Football
Our first football match was played at the Heyford United Football Club where the boys lost a closely fought
match to Marlborough School. More recently we drew 2-2 to Bicester Community College which, again, is a
very respectable result given the small size of our school. Well done to all our players and good luck for
forthcoming matches in the New Year.
Girls’ Football
We are very pleased we will be forming a girl’s 11-a-side football team early in the New Year and look forward
to sharing details of their match results soon.
Please ensure every item of your child’s P.E. Kit is clearly labelled with their name so we can quickly
reunite missing items with their correct owner. Thank you
Musical Instrument Lessons
We are really pleased with how many of our Year 7 students are learning musical instruments in
school. There are still a few spaces available for tuition in small groups for drums, keyboard,
guitar, flute, saxophone and clarinet. If your child is interested then please contact Charles
Lloyd at Oxfordshire County Music Service by e-mailing [email protected] for
more information.
Merry Christmas
Thank you to all of our students for their hard work in Science, STEM and Art.
Have a lovely break and a well-earned rest. Dr Russell.
We have so much to celebrate at Heyford Park Free School as we come
rushing to the end of our second term and as we reflect on how far we have
come, together. Starting secondary school is always a challenging transition
where students are removed from familiar surroundings and routines but at
Heyford Park this term there has been a friendly but academically focused
feel about the place. Aside from the early starts and the long days, with new
teachers and the need to move around the school for different lessons,
expectations and pupil targets were always going to be high, but students are
now starting to rise to the challenge and are becoming resilient and more
independent. In the science and STEM department, I feel we have made
good progress and I am hoping Santa rewards us all!
In science we have been
following the science national
curriculum for KS3 but have
also begun to collate work for
a GCSE assessment folder.
This means when we begin
GCSE work we will already
have a folder of resources
and assessment project work.
Topics we have completed this
term are cells, variety and
classification, energy transfers,
the Solar System, Earth, Moon
and the Sun and Astronomy.
Students have had their theory
knowledge and understanding,
and their newly acquired
regularly and teacher and
student targets, have been set.
Progress has been rapid but
most of all, students have
been enthused, engaged
and self-motivated with their
learning. It has been a
pleasure to have such
inspired, budding scientists
to work alongside.
Congratulations to Bradley, Kayleigh, Thomas, Ben, Alice, Laura, Hermione N,
Manny, Kitty, Millie, Abigail, Declan, Eleanor, Chloe, Issy, Niamh, Isabelle, Grace
W, Hannah, Aimee, Joseph, Luke L, Archie, Kara, James, Nakita, Manny, Harriette
and Asa for showing continuous curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any
direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know.
And you are the guy who'll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) sessions
have given us time to establish small student businesses.
We need to extensively thank supportive family as they have
bought all of our company’s products; from bubble bath,
soaps and bath bombs to our latest Christmas collection, in
the form of Christmas cards, sweet buckets and candle
buckets (see pictures below). These sessions have been
great fun but students have also learnt real business skills as
accountants, advertisers and production line workers.
In the new term we hope to extend our customer base to the
surrounding industry and make gifts for the local community.
These lessons have been invaluable for equipping students
with real life working skills and for ensuring they are able to
work collaboratively as well as independently. We are really
proud of the success they have made of STEM.
Great business and
team work skills
demonstrated by
Tomoka, Hermione R,
Marcus, Grace B,
Jacob, Alfie, Amber,
Elizabeth, Megan B,
Kaylee, Molly, OJ,
Callum, Lysia, Megan
H, Hollie, Josh, Maisie,
Abbi, OP, Jamie, Nikki,
Harry, Elliot, Lukas,
Cora, Luke W,
Michaella, Zara, Harry,
Billy and Zak.
School shield competition – Manny Barber’s entry.
Well done Manny.
New School Site
During the evening of Monday 27 January, Governors will be holding a meeting for parents and carers about the
development of the new school site. This promises to be an informative event whereby further details of the
refurbishment of the old Officers’ Mess and our new Sports Hall will be unveiled and there will also be the opportunity to
ask questions. We will write to you separately in early January with full details, including the time of the meeting and its
venue, but in the meantime you may wish to book the date in your Diary.
Emergency Closure Procedures
Whilst we have been enjoying a mild winter so far we need to be prepared in case of severe weather early in the New
Year. Please remember in the event of school closure a decision will be taken as early as possible and always by 7am. If
school is closed we will notify you as follows:
Text message to your mobile (this will come from ‘HPFS Office’)
We will up date the school website
You can also listen to Radio Oxford and Heart FM for their announcements
Please make sure we always have your up to date mobile phone number(s) or we will not be able to contact
you by text message. Thank you.
As 2013 draws to a close I look back on the Autumn Term and reflect with pride all we have achieved together. Students,
staff, governors, parents and carers have all united and supported one another to ensure the school opened as planned
and is running successfully. We inevitably faced challenges along the way but thanks to everyone’s resilience and
determination we can already be proud of our new school and its place in the local community. I hope you will agree we
have stayed true to our Vision in that we know every student well and have high aspirations for them; children are already
making excellent progress.
There is obviously still a huge amount to be done as our school grows and 2014 promises to be challenging but also
exciting as we will be preparing to re-locate into our new premises as well as welcoming new students and their families in
September. I am looking forward to sharing details with you as and when I have more information. In the meantime, I
would like to thank you all for your support during 2013; I am immensely grateful.
All the staff here at Heyford Park Free School join me in wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy,
healthy and successful New Year. We look forward to welcoming students back to school on Monday 6 January.
Yours sincerely,
David Castles