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May / June / July 2023 Blog

Now I have to confess to a little bit of a slip up - as I thought my last blog covered April and May, but as the ever correct Mrs Duncan pointed out to me, it actually covered March through April. So where has that time gone.

The summer term has been a flurry of the most incredible activity a lot of which has been captured on our Facebook page. It has also been our busiest transition period as well as we have prepared to welcome in our largest ever cohort to Crookhorn for September 2023.

Part of the preoccupation has revolved round our Year 11 students and their preparations for and resilience during their Year 11 exams. As a staff we have ended up so overwhelmingly proud of this cohort as they pushed through May and June, with a complete exemplification of never giving up and also making the most of all opportunities for study and support, right till the end.
Once the Year 11 students had left, we were straight into the numerous summer term activities that we love so much such as the Head Teacher Reward Evenings, Governors Awards presentations, Year 7 Summer Camp, the Whole College Production of Little Shop of Horrors! Transition day and evening, Prom and the Golden Time Trip.
I think it is safe to say that as a community we have squeezed every last part out of the last three months!!
Now for our Whole College Assembly we were in the fresh air for the first and hopefully last time ever. It was still an incredible event and there was so much to celebrate, that I wanted to share my summary of the year as the main part of this blog. As I said to Mr Collins - it is my ‘love letter' to our community as we review and celebrate all that we have achieved this year. I also want to give a big congratulations to Romsey House who were the overall winners of the House Cup this year!
Please enjoy the successes of the Crookhorn students below…
Let me start by talking about opportunities and the growth of our extra-curricular programme. We have had just over 10,000 attendances to clubs this year, with 18 sports clubs being run over the course of the year and 11 subject clubs. 97% of students in Year 7 attended a club, 84% in Year 8, 83% in Year 9 and 60% in Year 10 which just goes to show how so many of you are engaging and participating in College life.
As well as extra-curricular clubs, we have had staff and students take part in some fabulous performances this year such as:

  • Science Christmas Lecture which was entitled two thousand and twenty Leagues under the Sea
  • The Winter Show
  • Dance Live
  • The Spring - which incorporated not just the opportunity to perform but also the opportunity to engage in collaboration with sound engineers, venue management and theatre technicians.
  • Summer Music Showcase involving performances from 57 students from Year 7 to 11. There was a huge variety of performances from solo and duet singers to bands and large group ensembles (Rock Band & Rock Choir).
  • And then of course the fabulous production of LSOH from a few weeks' ago - which was enjoyed and revelled in by over 400 people from our community - whether that be local primaries, parents, other family members, teachers’ fellow students and Governors. My inbox has been rammed with people wishing to send in their congratulations to the team for such a successful production.
  • Finally, performing throughout the year we have the hugely popular and successful Rock Choirs and bands yes because there now two of each!! They have performed brilliantly at all the major events of this year including of course on the last day of term.
I want to move onto Positivity next because the wonderful escalation in the number of our academic Commendations and participation House Points awarded this year, has just been remarkable. Mr Collins presented the detail of different categories of rewards over the last 5 years, in assemblies last week, so I will just focus on the headlines. For Commos in 2017/18 we awarded 63,406. This year in 2022/23 we awarded 156,208. That is a 146% increase. For HPs in 2017/18 we awarded 18,986. This year in 2022/23 we issued 71,196 which is a 275% increase.
The 275% House Point increase is incredible as it supports the statistics, I have just given about your participation in College life. This to me is just so important - and well done to each and every one of you who contribute to make this the exceptional College we are becoming!
When we review how far we have come with our sporting developments this year - this is the embodiment of exciting!!
It has been a brilliant year for PE and physical activity at Crookhorn College. We have introduced our new curriculum sports such as Handball, Roundnet and Volleyball which many of you have embraced and really enjoyed. Alongside this we have continued to run our traditional sports and our overall participation rates for PE are excellent as is the smartness of the new kit.
Many of you have gone on and taken part in numerous fixtures across Football, Netball, Basketball, Cross-Country, Athletics, Table tennis, Rounders and Cricket. In total, you have participated in at least 128 fixtures/matches, showcasing your commitment to pursuing excellence and always representing the College to the highest of standards. Some particular highlights include the Year 7 Basketball team being crowned joint winners of their federation competition and the Year 9 Netball team winning their league.
We have also had some magnificent individual performances, with Ethan.C, Chloe.P, Charlie.P, Leon.C and Will.S qualifying to compete for the South-East Hants Cross-Country team. More recently, we have had 3 athletes, Casie-Jane. H, Myah.S and Jeremy.B all represent the school at the county Athletics competition – a wonderful achievement considering the strength of competition in the local area. Within College, Sports day this year was another huge success with the excitement of smashing so many previous College records and also running the 4-minute mile in 4.15 seconds - which is our fastest ever time for this event.

As well as pursuing your own achievements, many of you have also been pivotal in allowing others to enjoy physical activity and sport as well. Our team of sports leaders have assisted with various events, such as inclusion days and sports days in the local community. This work has been so rewarding for the students involved and has not gone unnoticed, with other members of the local community having this to say about our team:
"Your students' support and engagement with the young children should not go unnoticed or unacknowledged as they were fantastic."
"I just wanted to recognise their amazing efforts, enthusiasm and positive attitude - they are an absolute credit to your school."
 I know that Mr Chaplin and his team have just started on their journey to transforming sport at Crookhorn and I think we can look forward to another action packed and exciting year of PE and school sport next year!
Never Give up
For Never Give up I want to reflect on our growing resilience as a community and as individuals as we face personal and collective challenges that can at times appear overwhelming.
Our Go WEST strategy under the leadership of Miss Bishop has leapt ahead this year. We started with introducing new, Go West and promoting positive mental health sessions, in the Year 7 SMART Start. This was followed up by Year 11 welfare prefects doing a check in with all Year 7’s during the first half of the autumn term before handing over to the new Year 10 Welfare Prefects who are doing follow up check ins now with the newly turned Year 8’s.
Taking on board student feedback we have completely reorganised how we post mental health and wellbeing information on itslearning. We now have a separate 'Keeping You Safe' page and then a 'Promoting Positive Mental Health' page.

Both pages offer different types of support but act as very clear signposts to help you engage with the different ways you can look after yourselves. We have also promoted and made extremely prominent - The 'I Need Support' button and the impact of this has been fantastic as we have increased the number of students knowing where this button is and what it is for from 58% last year to 90% this year.  Last year we had 34 requests for support and this year we have had 84.
We have also significantly increased our input from outside agencies this year, delivering mental health information to either whole cohorts through assemblies with the Mental Health Support Team and the PSHE yoga sessions for all Year 10 students; or to smaller groups such as the 40 Year 11 students involved in the Mental Health Support Team exam stress workshop, the 16 students involved in the initial stages of the BeeWell project - of which we will hear a lot more about next year and the 60 students who took part in the Mental Health and wellbeing roadshow delivered by Unloc.
Looking after ourselves has been included as a significant part of the tutor time programme this year with the celebration of World Mental Health Day in October, time to talk day in February and mindfulness activities in June. We have also completed two discussion scenarios in the Autumn and Spring term - focussed on how to react in certain circumstances and how to support others.
Part of the success of our Go WEST strategy can be seen in the fact that our attendance has improved this year from 90.9 last year to 91.5% this year which is almost a whole 1% above national average. Because attendance is so important - as I always say - "you have to be in it to win it", then we will continue to grow and develop our GO WEST strategy next year.
As I move forward into the MIND part of OPEN MIND I want to dwell on independence. This crucial part of OPEN MIND has grown this year. For a start we introduced our DBLP for all year groups - which has been designed from Year 7 right the way up to the middle of Year 11 to focus on how to use its learning as a crucial retrieval tool as well as two successful study techniques of cue cards and mind maps. By introducing all these aspects from Year 7 we are ensuring that you have plenty of opportunity to hone your independent study skills.
The growth in your confidence for independent study this year is marked by the fact that we had 6154 attendances to study club across 449 students compared to 2032 attendances last year. 150 of the 449 students were Year 11’s who managed to clock 4064 attendances. Now this is your target to smash, Cohort 19 - our new Year 11’s. We also had 103 of you undertake one or more challenge from the challenge award this year and I know that this will be a target that Miss Crump will be very keen to beat next year!
Next Generation
Our next generation of leaders - as in the College Council have been brilliant this year in putting forward views and ideas from the student body, that as a leadership team, we have needed to consider.
As a result of your powerful voice we have introduced many changes such as a complete change to DEAR time that will start in September, the opening of a second servery in the performing arts block to helps ease queues, zoned inside areas for students to be able to enjoy their lunch in the warm during the winter months, additional lunchtime activities for more students to enjoy, a bigger and better study club facility, bins of the edge of the field to help with litter, completely redesigned mental health pages and keeping you safe pages on itslearning and the set-up of a Go Greener task force. Year 7 students now have their own toilet facilities as well.

I look forward to working with the future leaders of tomorrow to bring about further changes, like the serving of hot food in a second area as well. If we achieved all of this, this year, what can we achieve next year!!
So now as I move towards the finish this morning as we celebrate the end of this academic year, I would like the College to show its collective appreciation and respect to the staff who are leaving us today after being a key-committed part of the ongoing Crookhorn journey. We have Miss Ellie McBride and Mrs Teresa Rose who have been with us this year; Miss Shrimpton who has been with us for the last 3 years and finally Mrs Appleton, who many of you might not know, but she has in fact been our site and then Facilities Manager for the last 35 years, and just as her title implies, she has successfully facilitated the transformation of this College under three Headteachers and in particular as far as I am concerned worked alongside me and enabled many of my personal visions for the College to come to fruition over the last seven years. I wish Mrs Appleton a very long and happy retirement and I wish staff leavers well in their new ventures.
It is probably opportune to mention at this time that we welcome to the College 6 new teachers, 3 of whom have been with us since roll over: Miss Faye Holland, Miss Ellie Hills, Miss Charlie Kitching and Mrs Jayne Connelly. The two staff members joining us in September will be Miss Amy Pritchard and Mr Joe Parker.
Joining our fabulous TA’s we have Mr Simon Smith, Mrs Charlotte Morgan and Ms Anita Stevens and finally joining our amazing site team we have Mrs Teresa Stancombe as our landscape gardener.
So finally, what a year - and I have to say, I think many aspects of it are brilliantly encapsulated in our new film which will shortly be on our website but is currently on our Facebook page so when you get a chance, do watch it and do share it and be proud of this amazing community that you are a key part of.
As Headteacher - I am so proud of you and what we collectively have achieved this year. I wish you all a safe and happy break, and we will be here to welcome you back on the 5th of September.
Thank you Crookhorn and thank you to all the parents who have just been the most brilliant support during the course of the year. I hope we all have the chance to enjoy some fine weather over the coming weeks.