Mr Richard Notman
Dear Parents and Pupils
We signed off the Autumn term in style, with a wonderful Carol Service in the inspiring surrounding of Exeter Cathedral; if you were able to join us, I hope that was the kick start to a lovely festive period. Thanks again go to our fantastic Music department for delivering some excellent ensemble performances and to the English department for the quality readings we enjoyed. So, to look forward; slightly belatedly, happy new year to you all. The term is now underway and has begun very positively. Staff training at the start of the term was inspection focussed. This turned out to prophetic, as we have now been informed that a team of 5 inspectors will be with us for the duration of this week conducting a full educational quality inspection. As part of this process, you will receive a full parental questionnaire. Please do respond, as your thoughts are valuable in giving the inspectors a complete picture of the school’s provision and quality.
The other immediate concern for our Year 11 and 13 pupils is their trial examinations. These take place over the first couple of weeks of the term and allow each pupil the opportunity to gauge progress to date, and build a plan for success for the remaining weeks of their courses. I did remind the pupils in the autumn’s final assembly to enjoy the Christmas holidays but also make sure they had set time aside to prepare thoroughly. The proof of this particular pudding will be in the results achieved over the next fortnight; good luck.
As always, the start of term saw some new faces at Stover. Not among the staff on this occasion, but across the pupil cohort. Our existing and experienced Stoverites will do their usual excellent job in welcoming the new starters, helping them settle in and showing them the ropes. In a matter of a week or two they will feel like Stover is a home from home.
The Christmas break has not been a time of relaxation and recuperation for all. Our Estates team have been working hard to realise further improvement in the school site and its facilities. The Preparatory buildings continue to be an area of focus, with the ICT suite being refurbished, Turkey Hall being re-decorated and various other doors, walls and fixtures and fittings being freshened up. The team have continued the programme of improved with more energy efficient lighting both inside the buildings and externally and some of the more worn areas on the school drive have been attended to. We continue to add to our technology provision, with additional banks of laptops and charging units coming into the Mansion House classrooms and the Clockhouse.
There are a number of parents’ evenings over the course of the spring, so please check the school calendar to make sure you are available for the relevant sessions. In particular, on Wednesday 5th February, we invite all of our Year 9 pupils and parents to attend the Options Information evening. This will follow the programme of options preparation the pupils have been receiving as part of their PSHE programme and will allow parents the opportunity to engage with subject staff and consider best option choices for the pending GCSE courses.
Other important dates to look out for include the whole school e-safety day on Monday 24th February. Once again, we will have an industry expert giving best and age-appropriate advice to our pupils, with regard to keeping themselves safe in the cyber-world. If, as a parent, you would like to attend, please let the school office know and we will allocate you to a suitable session during the day.
World Book Day will be celebrated on Wednesday 5th March, with pupils from the Pre-Prep to the 6th form dressing up as their favourite characters, closely followed by the school Open Morning on Saturday 7th March. As always, friends and family are welcome to come and get a taste of all that Stover School has to offer.
Thursday 12th March will see our senior pupils engaged in the House Music Competition, followed the next day by Phyllis Dence Day, in which our pupils celebrate all things musical. I hope you are able to join us to celebrate the finale in Jubilee Hall on Friday afternoon.
The Preparatory School production this year is titled Yee-Haw, with a matinee performance taking place at 2.30pm on Friday 20th March and a following performance in the evening at 6pm. I hope to see Jubilee Hall filled with supportive parents.
In addition to the dates mentioned, please do check the spring calendar (available on the school website) as the term sees a host of sporting fixtures, musical performances and other events that I hope you are able to attend.
The Friends of Stover will be hosting their first coffee and croissant morning this Thursday in Turkey Hall at 8.30am. For any parents who are keen to get involved in this valuable parent driven fundraising side of the school, the mornings are a good way to informally introduce yourself to the team. Keep an eye on the school newsletter for additional times and dates.
During the half term break our High-5 club will be running for all pupils and families who would like to take advantage of child care and ensure their children have a great time along the way. If interested please contact Lisa Lount in the finance department.
Finally, could I take a moment to thank the three very generous families who have agreed to fund items from the Individual Gifting Opportunities brochure that accompanied my September welcome letter. As a result of this kindness, the pupils trained with focus on a brand-new scrum machine in the autumn, the ICT department will receive a 3D printer before the close of the academic year, which will enhance learning across a number of departments and the school clock, situated on the Clockhouse, will be repaired and repainted, rather than being permanently suspended at 5 o’clock! If any other families are interested in sponsoring an item, there are still opportunities available to help the Music, Art and Science departments, among others. I attach the brochure for your perusal.
I close by wishing you the very best in the spring term and hope to see you at some point, enjoying one of the many events that we have to look forward to.