Information for Parents

Letter to all Parents 27/1/17

Jan 27, 2017

24 January 2017

Dear Parents/Carers

I am writing to you at this time to update you on a number of matters relating to school.

Can I start by saying how delighted we were to receive our key performance information for St Julie’s Sixth Form courses. The Department for Education publish performance tables for summer results about this time each year. For each school, they publish a “Value Added Score” to measure the progress that students make from their starting point when entering Sixth Form. For A-Level qualifications, we were ranked ‘sixth’ in the City, out of 30 schools. For the Applied qualifications (including Applied A-Levels and Level 3 BTEC courses) we were ranked ’third’ in the City. As a fully comprehensive school we continue to offer a broad range of options in the Sixth Form and, for the second year running, we are the only school in the City to be ranked in the ‘top six’ for both A-Level and Applied course performance. On the national scale, this puts us in the ‘top 30%’ of all Sixth Forms in the country. This may not come with any great surprise to you, considering the glowing report that Ofsted gave about our Sixth Form when they visited St Julie’s in March 2016. Ofsted agreed that the provision in the Sixth Form was good and that “As a result of effective guidance, destinations of learners in the Sixth Form are strong, with the majority progressing to university study”.

During the March 2016 Inspection, the school was given some areas for improvement that would benefit the students. The school has carried out significant work in ensuring consistency in the quality of Learning and Teaching across all subjects over the last two terms. We have introduced a common lesson format for all teaching staff with a focus on, amongst other things, effective questioning, challenge tasks that make children think hard, independent practice time, and adding new information in small pieces that gets progressively more challenging. These changes have been implemented following the advice and guidance of School Improvement Liverpool, our School Improvement Partner (SIP) and, after careful listening to our students who have told us how they like to learn, and what helps them to learn best. We have also introduced a new Marking and Feedback policy, which has been implemented across the school. You may have noticed that your children’s books are marked in ‘green’ pen, and that they are given constructive feedback with “How To Improve” (HTI) comments in their work. Teaching staff give students time at the start of lessons to respond to these HTI comments, which they do, in ‘purple’ pen. This enables staff to easily identify the work that children have done in response to the HTI comments. This has helped to improve the dialogue between children and staff about their work and what they can do to improve to the next level.

To support these developments, I undertook a review of leadership across the school in summer 2016. Following that review, I have been busy implementing the new Leadership structure within the Teaching staff and, most significantly, I have appointed two Senior Middle Leaders to the positions of Senior Progress Leader and Senior Curriculum Leader. The work of the Senior Progress Leader, Miss Gawley, is to ensure a consistent approach to the application of all policies relating to pastoral matters that support the children in school each day. You will recall that Ofsted judged the overall effectiveness of Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare at our school ‘good’ and, in amongst many strengths identified during the Inspection, Ofsted stated “processes to keep pupils safe are strong. Pupils feel safe and are safe in school”. However, we are always keen to review our practices. As well as ensuring a consistent approach to our pastoral systems, the Senior Progress Leader quality assures the work done by the Progress Leaders’ Team. Similarly, I have appointed Miss Roberts, Curriculum Leader for Performing Arts, as the Senior Curriculum Leader. The purpose of this role is to ensure a consistent approach to high quality Learning and Teaching, and to ensure that all curriculum areas are adhering to policies relating to Learning and Teaching and Assessment, such as the Marking and Feedback policy and common lesson format. Miss Roberts regularly quality assures the work of the Curriculum Leaders and their teams to ensure the provision for students is effective, and the experience for children, as they go to their different lessons, is of similar high quality.

The new building for St Julie’s is progressing well and I have only recently been provided with more information regarding the new school opening. KIER Construction have stated that they will be taking ownership of the existing old school building on 28 July 2017. Any furniture, equipment and teaching resources have to be removed in their entirety from the old building before that date. As such, students will finish for the summer holidays on Friday 14 July 2017. Staff will return to school on Monday 17 July 2017 and will only have three days to pack up all of their teaching resources and equipment ready to be transferred into the Sports Hall of the new building for storage over the summer. From 20 July to 27 July 2017, the Removals company will come to the old St Julie’s building and arrange the process of removing all remaining furniture, equipment and teaching resources. Key Premises staff will then be allowed access to the new school from Monday 14 August 2017 to start moving furniture and teaching resources to the relevant teaching bases, and we hope that this will be completed within two weeks. However, at this time, KIER Construction and Liverpool City Council have advised that they will only be in a position to hand over the new school building for full occupation to staff and students on the afternoon of Friday 15 September 2017. As such, we anticipate that we will only be able to start our new Academic Year 2017 on Monday 18 September 2017. KIER Construction have advised that they will be working within the new build right up until Friday 15 September 2017. As KIER Construction will have taken ownership of the old building from 28 July 2017, for the purposes of starting the demolition process, it is not possible to provide alternative educational provision for the children in the first two weeks of the next academic year. However, to mitigate against this start to the academic year, the school will not hold any INSET days through the year which will mean that five days of teaching will have been gained back.

To summarise, students will finish for the summer on Friday 14 July 2017 and return on Monday 18 September 2017.

I need to point out at this time that we have had many complaints from local residents and members of the public regarding inappropriate parking around the school gates, and local roads. This has included parking on the school zigzag lines. However, I am gravely concerned about the growing practice of parents/carers parking on the zebra crossing outside school. Several staff and local residents have reported they have seen cars stop on the zebra crossing when there are no people waiting to cross, parking up and allowing their children to alight from the car and cross the road to go into school. Apart from the fact that this is illegal, under the Highway Code and drivers can face prosecution, witnesses have also reported that road users have been outraged by this practice and have sought to overtake parked cars on the zebra crossing, putting the drivers’ own children and other children in serious danger. This is particularly relevant at present with the very dark mornings where it is not always easy to see children running out in front of, or from behind, cars. So, once again, can I ask all parents/carers to ensure that they not only obey the laws of the Highway Code, but try to drop off and pick up their children further away from the school and encourage their children to make that short walk in the morning.

I would like to conclude by highlighting some of the outstanding achievements of the students who engage in a range of in-school and extra-curricular activities. Our congratulations go to Molly Garber, Year 9, for winning the “Springboard Future Chef” local final; our Year 7 and Year 8 athletes for once again becoming the Indoor Athletics City Champions; Nicola Nolan in Year 8 for being selected to compete in the Martial Arts Taekwando Championships in Germany; our Year 8 and Year 9 Volley Ball Team who emerged winners from the first ever tournament that they played in before Christmas, and Ellie Morris in Year 8 for once again taking Gold in the National Judo Competition, and becoming British Champion in the Under-66kg category. Ellie and her squad will now travel to Alicante for their next competition.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of the Governing Body and Staff for the continued support you give to your children and St Julie’s Catholic High School.

Yours faithfully

Mr T Alderman