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Raynes Park High School - December 2014

Experiencing the World of Work - can you help? 

Our Year 10 students are seeking companies that can offer a week of work experience from 2nd - 6th March 2015.  

If you can offer a student the opportunity for valuable work place experience please contact Ms Brake, Head of Personal Development and Careers on 020 8946 4112 ext. 1117.  


The school has been celebrating Black History Month with a wide-ranging programme of lessons, competitions and a school Assembly when students learnt about Steve Biko a great civil rights leader. 

Raynes Park High SchoolBlack History Month was launched in UK in 1987 its aims are to: 


  • ·          Promote knowledge of Black history, culture and heritage
  • ·         Disseminate information on positive Black contributions to British Society
  • ·         Heighten the confidence and awareness of Black people to their cultural heritage 


Now in its 24th  year, the Black History Month includes over 6,000 events and celebrations. 

Trip to WW1 Battlefields in Belgium 

Over the first weekend of the half term holiday a group of thirty students from Years 9 – 11 were in Belgium to visit some of the key sites of the World War One Battlefields.


Although the weekend was primarily educational, the students spent an enjoyable first day at Bellewaerde theme park for a bit of rest and relaxation before the more serious, hard-hitting itinerary began. Bellewaerde is similar to Chessington World of Adventures, so there were a variety of animals (elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes included) to see as well as the rides to enjoy.

The second day began with a visit to Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest British & Commonwealth memorial cemetery in the world, on the site of the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele. The students were completely in awe of the rows and rows of headstones marking the graves of some of the soldiers from the UK and other Commonwealth countries who died in the battle which claimed almost three quarter of a million lives, some buried where they actually fell. The students looked for the graves of the three soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour. We followed this with a visit to Poperinge to see the prison cells of those soldiers who were shot at dawn by their own side for desertion. Today it is clear that they were suffering from shell shock or post-traumatic stress and all soldiers have now been given an official formal pardon. We also located the grave of the only officer to be shot for desertion, although there is no record of this on his head stone.  A visit to the Passchendaele museum in Zonnebeke gave the students an opportunity to see a recreation of life in the underground world of the trenches before the experiencing the real thing in the preserved trenches of Sanctuary Wood on Hill 62. They trudged through the mud and water and thereby gained some idea of the actual conditions the soldiers were faced with. 

The day finished in Ypres with a visit to the Menin Gate, the vast stone arch that is a memorial to the missing and which contains some 55,000 names of dead soldiers whose bodies were never found. We attended the moving “Last Post” ceremony that has been held there at eight o’clock every evening since the end of the Great War, with the exception of the time under the German occupation in World War Two.

The final day began with a trip to the German cemetery at Langemarck: an almost spiritual place in atmosphere, very different in design to the Commonwealth cemeteries but just as moving and containing the bodies of nearly 45,000 German soldiers (including 25,000 in one mass grave), many of whom were school leavers. We then returned to Ypres to visit the splendid “In Flanders Field” museum with its wealth of information and interactive displays. We also climbed the Bell Tower and were rewarded with spectacular views of the Ypres Salient. We had a final look at the Menin Gate and all the floral tributes there in daylight before finishing the trip with a little retail therapy in Calais.

None of the group failed to be moved by the sites and experiences of the trip. In the words of one, “I had a fantastic time, even though I couldn’t help feeling so sad when thinking of the waste of young lives and the horrors endured by all”.

Mrs. Jones - Head of MFL

News from the Governors

I was delighted to take up the role of Chair of Governors at the beginning of term, and I am now fully involved in the governance of the schoolon a daily basis. The role includes a lot of meetings and visits, but with the help of an immensely supportive Vice-Chair, Rebecca Costain, and tremendous support from my other fellow-Governors, it is really very rewarding. The fact is that the school is progressing well towards the vision that we as Governors have for it – an outstanding community secondary school offering high quality education and care to a comprehensive intake. It is an exciting time for all of us at RPHS.

At the beginning of October, Governors conducted one of our regular Strategic Visits. This is our chance to spend a half day questioning, challenging and learning about the school, and to visit classrooms to see the school in action. We were given presentations on Pupil Premium, Science at RPHS and the Schools Direct scheme, and we were able to question and test those responsible for these topics.

This year, we are making a special effort in our Visits to meet groups of staff middle leaders – typically the heads of faculty and departments – because we know they are at the sharp end of delivering change and we want to hear from them how this is progressing. Another highlight of each Strategic Visit is meeting groups of pupils in discussion groups to find out what life at RPHS is like for them. It was good to hear from everyone we spoke to how big a boost this year’s A-level and GCSE results have been. “The school has turned a corner” someone told us, and that is the view of Governors too. 

Finally, two adverts:

First, we would love more parents to become involved in the Parents, Teachers and Staff Association, which is doing great things for the school. Their next meeting is on 2 March at 6pm – some way off, so less excuse for not going!

Second, Governors have established a new mailbox: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so thatparents of students at the school, and those who are thinking of sending their children here, can communicate direct with their Parent Governor Representatives. It is another first for RPHS! We hope parents will make good use of it.

Michael Ross - Chair of Governors 

Other PTSA News 

The first PTSA fundraising event was on Friday 14th November when Year 9 students were invited to a ‘Super Sleepover’ in the Sixth Form building. It cost only £2.50 (which includes breakfast) and the money raised will be split with the BBC ‘Children in Need’ appeal.  This will be followed by a similar event for both Years 7 & 8 in January 2015.

The PTSA are also organising our traditional KS3 Christmas disco which will be held on Friday 12th December where I can never work out if the outfits or dance moves are considered the most important!


Assistant Headteacher - Ms Finan 

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