Mr Burke 24th February

With the second set of mock examinations taking place this week for our 5th Form and U6th Students it has been great to see the rest of the school being so supportive in ensuring the conditions for examinations have been perfect for them. I do believe it is incredibly useful to have these additional examinations at this time. It provides another opportunity for the students to complete a set of examinations under the same conditions they will have in the summer, albeit in a more condensed space of time but it also provides the students and teachers with the information they require to focus revision and exam technique between now and the summer. With parents evenings coming up for the both of their year groups it is important that there is an honest appraisal of the performance in these mocks so we all know where their strengths lie but also their areas for development between now and the summer. With so much depending on these results it is important that we as a school do all we can to remove as much stress and pressure as possible but as we move ever closer to the examinations it is important to recognise that the responsibility shifts more towards the students and so they must put into action all the advice, guidance and support they have received from their teachers but also the work they complete with Elevate which we have shared with parents throughout their time with us.
There have been a number of visitors to the school this week. We are in the process of going out to tender for our catering provision. There are a number of organisations who will be delivering presentations in the middle of March and some of the pupils and students will be part of that process and so this week they are coming in to observe service and provision we currently have. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by St James’ House on Wednesday afternoon for a publication that will be released at the end of the year. I was approached at the end of last year to see if it was something that might be of interest. They are working with the Houses of Parliament to mark the centenary of woman securing the right to vote and they felt we would be a useful example to use. I look forward to seeing the article later in the year and will let you all know when it is published. To have been chosen in this publication was a real honour and I hope goes some way to show how far we as a school have come as this publication will be shared with all Heads of Commonwealth countries as well as in every British Embassy around the world – St Martha’s is going global!
A lot of work has also been done on the school archives and very soon these will be opened up as part of our anniversary celebrations. We have been able to secure many treasures of the school and it will be wonderful to be able to share these with the extended St Martha’s family. They will be housed in the Lodge for the rest of this year but if you, your family or friends have any items that you feel would be a useful addition do please let us know by contacting my PA who is doing the wonderful job of co-ordinating this event.
The pupils and students may well have noticed surveyors around the school this week and those who attended the revision sessions over half term will have also seen them. They are helping us with our future plans for the school. The Trustees, Governors and I have some exciting thoughts and ideas for the future and I know that when the time is right these will be shared with the St Martha’s community and the wider community as well. It has been so encouraging to have so many acceptances already coming in for the next academic year, well in advance of the deadline which shows the confidence they have and share with our great school. We have also had a number of late entries sitting entrance tests and having interviews this week which is also a positive sign. When speaking with St James’ House this week it was wonderful to not only reflect on our history since 1903 but also on what we as a team have also achieved since 2013. So much has been enhanced and results have improved so much and course this can only happen with a community that is pulling together.  The staff are at the moment working on the creation of a St Martha’s way which will make clear our core values but also but it means to be part of our community and as part of that what people can expect as members of our family but also what we expect of them. We are experiencing exciting and challenging times at St Martha’s at present but I believe we have the right team of staff, pupils, students and parents to take our school up to the next level. This cannot be achieved by one person but can by one team and I thank you all for being members of Team St Martha’s.

Matthew Burke

 

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