Although this half term has only been just over 5 weeks long we certainly have packed a lot into the time. All year groups have been actively taking part in trips and visits, clubs and performances. Year 12 and Year 13 have also been busy with their mock exams this half term.
 
Year 9 have been considering their future options with a range of informative and supportive events and activities in the lead up to choosing their final GCSE subjects. Please remember that all Year 9 GCSE Option Forms are due in by Wednesday 20th February and must be signed by a parent/carer.
 
There was an impressive turn out at the Year 10 subject parents’ evening last night.  We are pleased with the engagement of Year 10 students and I was delighted to hear so many positive conversations about the progress students are making with their studies.
 
Year 11 parents/carers will have received a letter inviting them and their children to a Revision Information Evening on Wednesday 27th February 2019 at 6.00pm. We would like to share with you the current thinking about what it means to revise effectively as well as give hints and tips for revision and what parents/carers can do to support at home. Families can have a huge impact on the success of young people’s performance in exams and we therefore hope to see as many of you as possible on the evening.
 
Please look out for the date of the next Parents’ Forum evening which will be publicised after half-term. It’s always a pleasure to meet with parents to hear views and opinions on how we can support our students better.
 
I would like to wish all our families a wonderful half-term break and look forward to welcoming students back at school on Monday 18th February.

Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher
Happy New Year to all our families and a warm welcome back to the new term.

This is a crucial term for Year 11 and 13 in the lead up to the summer exams. Traditionally, students who start to build a routine of revision in addition to the extended learning tasks set by their teachers, make a significant amount of progress in the 12 weeks we have before the Easter holidays. The mock exams provide a useful source of feedback for students to focus their efforts and this is a time when young people require resilience to continue to strive for their best. Supportive and encouraging discussion at home can make a tremendous difference to easing some of the pressure and concern felt by students. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Form Tutor or Head of Year if you feel they require additional support.

I am delighted to let you now that the GO 4 Schools App is now available for parents and students. You will shortly be receiving a letter which explains the information that is available through the app as well as how to access it. I know that many parents have said that they would like this facility and I hope you will find it convenient and helpful.

Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher

We were delighted to welcome Year 9 to the GCSE options information evening last night and pleased that so many turned out with their parents, on a very cold evening to visit subject areas and receive advice and guidance from their tutors. A reminder that Options Forms, signed by parents, need to be back in school on 20th February 2019. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact subject teachers or your child’s Form Tutor if you have any questions at all.

Parents may find it useful to be aware of all the support that is available for Year 11 students between now and the summer exams. Explore the document below to find out what is on offer and please encourage your children to make the most of these opportunities.

Teachers are always available to help and students need to practice and take responsibility for their own learning as they develop as independent learners.

 

We are delighted to announce that Sally Litchfield and Mike Jeffries have been appointed on a short-term basis to deliver targeted interventions in the maths and English departments for Year 11 students. Both Sally and Mike are very experienced tutors who specialise in working with small groups of students and preparing them for GCSE exams. We are very pleased to have them on board and feel that they will make a valuable contribution to both departments.

 

Parents are warmly invited to our Year 10 parents’ subject evening on Thursday 7th February where you will have the opportunity to discuss your child’s progress with their subject teachers. Please make your appointments online, if you have not already done so please visit https://strattonupper.parentseveningsystem.co.uk/ to book your appointments. Should you wish to make an appointment with a member of the Senior Leadership Team please contact the school by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please only request these once you have booked your other appointments online, and specify your availability start and end times. Please include in your email a brief outline of your concerns when requesting to see one of our senior team as this will assist us in booking the right person and time slot.

 

I am grateful to the site team who were out very early this morning to ensure the paths around school were cleared and gritted following last night’s snowfall. The school site looks beautiful in the snow and I am pleased that we are able to remain open and operate safely due to the commitment of our staff.

 

Ms Roz Hodges Interim Headteacher

A very busy end to the term has meant that there are so many students and staff to thank for their contributions to a number of events.
 
Firstly, I would like to thank all the staff involved in our production of ‘School of Rock’ last week. They have worked tirelessly all term and put in many extra hours over recent weeks to ensure that all who came along were thoroughly entertained. Some parents also gave their time and expertise to help and I was delighted to see some ex-students as well as former Stratton staff coming back to help with the set and technical aspects of the show. Of course, the cast and crew were fabulous showcasing the amazing talent we have among our student body. There was a real sense of community coming together to produce something quite spectacular. Many thanks to everyone who came along to watch and support.
 
On Thursday, Year 12 students hosted an afternoon tea for local senior citizens. This was a lovely event very much enjoyed by the guests as well as the students. I would like to thank the following Year 12s for giving up their time to fund raise for this event and for putting on a wonderful spread and entertainment. I am delighted that they chose to give back to the community in this way.  Dan Humberstone, Zak Stevens, Ellis Jackson, Connie Ryan, Lauren Scott, Olivia Whitby, Maisie Condron, Edward Dellar, Josh Staynor, Tyler Turner, Jack Welsted, Bailey Doggett.
The following students also represented the school admirably on Tuesday night, singing for the Rotary Club at John O’Gaunt Golf Club. Alex Robinson, Jake Caldera, Cali Henebery, April Dyer, Daniel Magee, Kayleigh Henegan, Elizabeth Turnock. In spite of the keyboard cutting out on them repeatedly they carried on beautifully.  The Rotarians have given us a donation of £100, which we will put toward a new portable stage piano that works!
 
Year 10 dance students impressed us this week with their extended learning project based on the professional work of A Linha Curva.  Well done to (first names only as there are so many!):
Millie, Chloe, Emma, Aoife, Darren, Grace, Morgan, Elise, Daisy, Flo, Bel, Ellie-Mai, Katie, Bronwyn, Alexandra, Sadie, Emily, Ella, Freya.    These students have demonstrated exceptional engagement in their learning and developed useful revision resources in the process.
 
The minutes of this term’s Parents’ Forum meeting are now available to view below. You will see the actions that the school are taking in the bullet points in bold. Thank you to all who came along as well as the parents who submitted some comments by email that we are also taking into account.
 
As this will be my last blog before Christmas, I would like to wish all our families a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher
Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM)
We are in a really exciting time at Stratton as we get involved with STEM initiatives to give our students the best experiences possible. Every week, students are involved in a wide variety of clubs, from coding and robotics to our dissection club. It is a pleasure to see students exploring the latest technology and spending time out of the classroom learning STEM subjects. Our latest STEM project involves a team of Year 9 students who are working on a competition against other schools organised by Go4Set to design and innovate a solution to a real-life problem. We are looking forward to hearing how they get on in due course.
 
Young Enterprise Success
We were delighted to hear about the success of our Young Enterprise team ‘elevate¬_YE’ last weekend at the Young Enterprise Trade Fair in Milton Keynes. The team of six Sixth Form students Tommy Hastilow, Jack Wright, Jenson Twiss, Tom Turner, Sam Lingwood and Billy Humphries achieved three first place awards for best overall company, best sustainability and best customer focus. They even managed to get their picture taken with Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, who liked their products so much he bought one of their lion clocks!  Congratulations and well done to the whole team.
 
Year 9 GCSE Options
Mrs Vincent and I were pleased to be able to address a packed Hall on Tuesday evening to explain the GCSE options process to parents of Year 9. Students are today taking part in a number of 25-minute taster lessons so they can have a good insight into what GCSE subjects are really like and make informed decisions on their options. We look forward to welcoming all Year 9 students and their parents to our full subject Options Evening next Thursday 31st January. The event runs from 5pm – 7:30pm and Form Tutors are also available for appointments during the evening. If you and your child would like further advice and guidance, please make an appointment.
 
Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher
Our musical ‘School of Rock’ opened last night to an energetic performance by a cast of 30 students supported by a team of 15-stage crew including some committed ex-students.  Effi as our lead as Dewey Finn raised the roof with ‘stick it to the man’ and Isobel Frost used spell binding character work in her emotional solo. 
Tonight a cast of Year 9 students will have their turn to shine.  Many of whom attended Biggleswade Academy and they would love to see you there.
It’s not too late to buy tickets for tonight’s performance and the two on Saturday by booking online at Ticket source, https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/biggleswade/stratton-upper-school and on the door. Please come along and support the students who have worked so hard – you won’t be disappointed!
 
The end of term is fast approaching and you will be aware that we have an early closure on the last day, Wednesday 19th December. This will also be a non-uniform day in aid of Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day appeal. We ask that all students arrive wearing a Christmas Jumper and pay a contribution to the charity. There will be hot chocolate to welcome students as they enter school and thank them for their work over the term.
 
Year 11 begin their mock exams today and we are proud of the attitude and approach the students are taking to preparing for these important exams. The exams will take place over the next week and this experience is crucial for getting into the right habits for the real exams in the summer. Revision and exam practice should now be part of the routine for all Year 11 students and a permanent feature of their personal extended learning.
 
Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher
 
 
 
The GCSE options process has started in earnest with a number of events taking place over the next couple of weeks.
On Wednesday all Year 9 took part in a ‘Futures Day’ with students visiting one of eight venues to get an insight into further education opportunities and careers ranging from the armed forces and genetics/science to hospitality and catering. Staff accompanying the trips were delighted with the enthusiasm and participation displayed by the students and many have come back full of ideas and possibilities for the future. A huge amount of planning and organisation was required and I am particularly grateful for the work that Mrs Walton to make this such a success.
 
On Tuesday 22nd January there will be a short information evening for parents followed by a full subject options evening on Thursday 21st January.
 
Parents might want to know that we will shortly be publishing information on our website on how to manage the notifications from GO4Schools.

Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher
 

 

 

Sixth Form Open Evening
The Sixth Form team and I were delighted to see so many year 11 students and their parents at last night’s sixth form Open Evening. Stratton has a post-16 provision to be proud of, and one which offers a wide range of courses and levels that can be accessed by all our students after their GCSE studies. I would like to thank the Sixth Form team for organising such a successful event, as well as all the subject staff who contributed to the evening. Thanks are also due to the head students for being excellent hosts and in particular Alex Scholes and Emma Royston for taking their first step into public speaking by sharing their experiences during the talk. It is very nerve wracking to stand up and speak to a packed hall the size of ours and they did a great job.
 
Parents’ Forum
We also had a good turnout for our first parents’ forum on Tuesday evening and the feedback we received is very valuable. We will circulate the full minutes in due course, but I have highlighted here some of the areas of discussion:
It was pleasing to hear that lots of good quality Extended Learning is being set across all year groups but some issues were raised about the setting of homework on Go 4 Schools and recording its completion, which we will discuss with staff. It is apparent that some students are struggling to manage their workload and we will be considering how to help them learn to manage their time as well as looking at the timing and flow of homework across the week for each year group.
It is clear that both parents and students feel that behaviour in lessons is very good in most areas of the school, but we are aware of a couple of pockets of poor behaviour, which we are actively addressing.
We had an in-depth discussion about the process for trips and visits and we will be posting the full trips calendar on the school website so that parents can have an overview of all the trips available and can make informed decisions. There was a strong feeling that the process for signing up for a trip is lengthy and involves a number of steps and forms. Parents have also raised that our current ‘first come, first served’ practice is not as inclusive as it could be and we have committed to looking at the whole process to make it sleeker and fairer for all. Please look out for future communications on this. 
 

School of Rock
Tickets are still available for the four shows on Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December. Please support the school by booking online at Ticket source, https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/biggleswade/stratton-upper-school.
 
Yours faithfully
 
Ms Roz Hodges
Interim Headteacher

I am delighted that Year 9 parents’ evening was so well attended last night. The number of appointments made was significantly greater than recent years and we are fortunate to have so many parents actively involved in their children’s education and keen to discuss progress with their teachers. We acknowledge that not enough appointments were available on the night for all subject teachers and we will endeavour to improve the system in the future.


As Year 9 approach their option choices, there are a number of other opportunities for students and their parents to get further information and speak to subject teachers. I would encourage parents to speak to departments at the GCSE Options Evening on Thursday 31st January, particularly if you have not been able to speak to your child’s subject teacher beforehand. You will shortly receive a letter from Mrs Vincent explaining the options process and highlighting all the upcoming key dates.


The History department has recently launched a valentine’s themed competition called ‘Find Someone Who Treats You Right!’ based on their GCSE topic ‘Medicine Through Time’.  Students are being challenged on their knowledge of 26 key individuals from the ‘Medicine’ course with two prizes of a £20 gift voucher to be won and spent on a range of big brands including Amazon, Cineworld and Nando’s. To be in with a chance of winning the first £20 voucher, they should follow the History department’s Instagram page ‘We Are Stratton History’, find the ‘Find Someone Who Treats You Right!’ post and comment which ‘Medicine Through Time’ individual they believe should be considered the greatest. A second £20 voucher will be decided by a random draw for all students who successfully complete the ‘Medicine’ challenge on the display board outside the Humanities Office in upper H Block. To enter, a ‘game-card’ can be collected from Mr. Macwhinnie. Both competitions are open to history students from years 10-13 and close on Thursday 7th February. Winners will be notified on Friday 8th February.


Following the homework update email that was sent out in error, GO4Schools have issued a letter of apology to all parents which can be viewed using this link: https://www.stratton.beds.sch.uk/index.php/parents/letters-home/159-go4schools-letter-of-apology


It already seems a long time since Christmas but I feel we should share some comments from our customers who bought their Christmas turkeys from the Stratton school farm. One customer said, “We have had turkeys from the farm for the last 7 years and this was the best one to date, also the biggest at over 14kg. Delicious.” Another said, “We are very impressed with our turkey. It was excellent value and amazing flavour”.

 

Ms Roz Hodges

Interim Headteacher

This week you will have started to notice changes to our website, letterhead and other forms of communication within and outside of school. These changes are being made to promote a consistent modern image of the school which has drifted over recent years. The school uniform will not be changing and in fact the changes made to the school badge on our communications are more consistent with the badge on the school jumpers. I would personally like to thank Mr Kilby, Head of Computer Science and Miss Phillips who is responsible for marketing, for their commitment to developing and rolling out these improvements. Also working alongside Mr Kilby is a team of students, we call the Tech Team, that will be taking on some of the management and technical side of the website, with a new Student News service appearing soon. A special thanks to Mitchell Kettlewell and James Langridge for their help with the photography for the new website and prospectus, and to all the students that have appeared in the photos.
 
Sixth Form Open Evening
We are looking forward to welcoming students and parents at our Sixth Form Open Evening next Thursday 29th November. All Stratton Year 11 students have had an assembly and letter to inform them of the evening and will be receiving information and guidance packs early next week. Comprehensive information is also available on the website for Sixth Form https://www.stratton.beds.sch.uk/sixthform and applications should be made on line through the website before the end of term.
 
GO 4 Schools Reports
Most parents have now logged in to GO 4 Schools to view their children’s grades, attendance and homework. Formal reports have also been published for Years 9-11 and we are about to publish the first report for Year 12 for this academic year. I would encourage all parents to view these reports in Go. If you have any difficulty logging on to or using GO we would be happy to help, please contact us or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   We are hoping to be able to launch the App for Go very soon which will make accessing the information even easier.
 
Performing Arts
This is a very busy time of year for the school and particularly the Performing Arts Faculty. On Monday evening a group of Year 10 students performed at Bedford Modern School.  Assistant Headteacher Mr Evans went along to support and said that he was incredibly impressed with the level of performance shown by Year 10 students.  “The theme of political drama is a challenging one but Stratton students did themselves proud.  Special thanks to Lorna Wood and Amy Amies for organising and directing the performance.”
Doors will open in just under two weeks for our production of the musical School of Rock. The cast and crew are now working late into the evenings and at weekends to rehearse and prepare to launch this exciting and energetic production. Tickets are still available for the four shows on Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December. Please support the school by booking online at Ticket source, https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/biggleswade/stratton-upper-school. If you would like a free taster, our students will be performing some songs from the musical in Biggleswade this evening, Friday 23rd November, at the Christmas light switch-on.