A Message From Jane McBride, Head of School.
It is with excitement that I welcome you all back to Term 4. It marks the halfway point of the school year, and for Year 11 and some Year 10 students 12 weeks until the GCSEs begin. From the privileged position of Head of School I am enthused to be working with such a dedicated, talented and positive team of staff and students.
We pride ourselves on exceptional outcomes for our young people, but we are clear that this demands hard work over time from our students, both in and out of the classroom. With this in mind, the staff team at Priory will continue their focus on increasing the resilience of young people in overcoming challenges, embracing mistakes as an important part of learning, and emphasising independent learning skills.
As a school community we feel strongly that we support our students to become active, engaged and responsible citizens is as much at the heart of what we do as academic achievement. To this end, we set high expectations of students and our code of conduct expects them to be kind and courteous both inside and outside the school community. It has been an absolute delight and pleasure to watch our students excel in the initiative with Hutton Moor “Are You A Hero?” scheme. We can see already the positive efforts and attitudes of our young people in school and beyond. I would like to share a superb example of how positive the scheme can be. Congratulations Makayla. Her heroic actions have touched people as far away as America!
Behaviour and uniform remains important to us and students have been really cooperative this year so far. We will continue to be rigorous in our application of the behaviour and uniform policies. Most students are absolutely clear about our expectations and so we expect there to be little difficulty for them. Students who follow the Priory Code of Conduct will have their effort recognised and rewarded with good news postcards, positive letters and phone calls home.
At the end of term PCSA performed the ‘Our House’ musical for three nights. It was truly magnificent with over 40 students performing from all year groups and even some ex-students. My warmest congratulations and thanks go to all the performers, staff and parents who were involved. It was a really great way to end Term 3.
Finally, as we go to Term 4, I am aware once again, it will be an incredibly busy and important term. Evening School starts Tuesday 21st February and will run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 – 7:30 right up to the start of the GCSE exams. A huge thank you to the staff who commit their time to this. It is an exciting term for Year 8 students who choose their subject preferences and have their end of lower school exams (week commencing 27th March). Good luck Year 8 – you will be amazing! We also have the second of our Priory Family Breakfasts on Saturday 11th March. We look forward to welcoming our new Year 6 students and their families. We had 370 first choice applications for our 256 places. Thank you for your support.
We break up at the end of Term 4 on Friday 7th April at 2:55. We will however be holding Easter School for our Year 11 and some Year 10 students. Please do encourage your child to engage if they are asked to so. Our staff team really to go the extra mile every year for our students. We will continue work and play hard at PCSA!
Head of School
The inspirational PCSA students were putting on a production of the Madness inspired musical, Our House in front of packed audiences.
Head of Performing Arts Jess Hall said: “This was one of the best productions I have ever been part of. The students were magnificent and I’m so proud of all of them.”
Executive Principal Neville Coles said: “This was a show of exceptional brilliance. West End stars Jake and Corinne are a terrific example of our excellent performing arts offering at Priory.”
By Jack Branton, aged 12
Former World War Two bomber navigator Arthur Spencer got to see the state-of-the-art 16-room Spencer Science Centre which will open in September.
Arthur, aged 95, was the first Head of Priory some 41 years ago. Before that in World War Two he was the navigator on board the famous Lancaster Bombers.
He was back to visit the site, talk to students and hear about the latest exciting developments.
Arthur said: “I have really enjoyed coming back to Priory again where I have so many happy memories. The new science centre is going to be impressive.”
Head of School Jane McBride said: “It was so pleasing to have Arthur Spencer back to visit his old school and the incredible new science centre which is being built and named after him.”
PCSA is Ofsted outstanding and one of Britain’s best schools.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the students will be bringing the house down with their performance of the classic production.
One example of this is the lead role in the production going to Year 11 student Jack Evison – who is now raising thousands to get to a dream acting school place on a London stage.
After impressing during his auditions dancer and actor Jack was an obvious choice to play the role of ‘Joe Casey’.
Priory has a growing tradition of creating spectacular shows and producing spectacular performers. Jacob Fisher and Corinne Priest are just two who have gone on to incredible things.
Jess Hall said: “We are so excited about this production. They are incredible students and have been having a lot of fun preparing it. Our House is a fantastic story about love, friendships and moral choices.”
The students were winners in the ‘Be a Hero’ campaign at Priory Community School.
Students have been demonstrating exceptional acts of kindness, courage, and other character and attitude traits.
PCSA Head of School Jane McBride said: “We are regularly blown away by the exceptional attitude and character of our students. We want to honour them with awards to show them how much we appreciate their efforts.”
To nominate a student hero email firstname.lastname@example.org
I intend to write an occasional ‘short’ update about The Priory Learning Trust (PLT) and the work we are doing at both Priory and Worle. If you have a moment please see www.priorylearningtrust.org.uk. It would be very helpful if you could read on and then share on other forms of media as we try to keep everyone informed of progress and events. We will also place an update in our magazine style newsletter @PCSA which goes out to all our parents and carers. The next @PCSA is out in April. We will post up an informational ‘You Tube’ in the next couple of weeks. As always, the main form of communication is by e-mail to myself or Jane McBride (Head of School at Priory). E-mail addresses are on the excellent Priory website and again they are:
I hope you have received quick replies to e-mails and if you do not receive prompt replies please do e-mail me directly and I will assist. Many of you have asked me about our work at Worle. This is going very well with OfSTED saying the school was good in November. I want to stress this does not mean any major changes at PCSA. I will continue to work alongside Mrs. McBride (Head of School at Priory) during the week splitting my time between Priory and Worle. Clearly, the aim is to make both schools outstanding as part of the new multi-academy trust – The PLT. Our focus is on producing excellent exam results at both schools, alongside a wide offer of after school provision including academic studies and sport, music and arts. Parents will be aware that again Priory was very high in the recent league tables published by the Department for Education (January 2017). We were actually second of all the schools in North Somerset and first in WSM and the local area on the new Progress 8 measure. Only Gordano School was above Priory. So, well done to Mrs. McBride and the team at Priory. I am also delighted to say that we have 370 first choices at Priory for our 240 places next September. We hope to expand to 300 on entry in 2018.
As you will know, we have been very successful at Priory over the last few years with capital bids. As I write we have a new 2.4 million science block being built. It will open in September 2017 and will be called ‘The Spencer Science Centre’ after the first Head at Priory, Mr. Arthur Spencer. Capital bidding has largely been the great work of a colleague called Martin Kerslake. Martin, formally the Director of Finance and Business Services at Priory is now the Chief Operating Officer of The PLT. He will continue to make bids for all The PLT schools – working with colleagues at those schools. He will continue to do the same at Priory. Re-development will certainly start to happen at Worle with major bids being placed in the next month. I think Worle needs to bid for a new sports hall as a first step. Clearly, this will benefit the whole community. It is also likely that both St Anne’s and Castle Batch Primary Schools will also join our family of schools in September. I am really keen to see this happen. Both schools are first class primary schools. We will assist here with capital bids and primary colleagues will greatly add to our knowledge of primary – secondary transfer. I have long thought that Year 7 children know far more than we think they know on entry to secondary school and we often pitch lessons too low on entry. This again is a very good reason to join up at a MAT.
Mrs. McBride’s task now is to focus the Priory Year 11s on getting superb exam results again. Miss Aaron (Head of Upper School) is right there with all our Year 11s. Rightly we are really stressing the importance of maths and English. The students are working really hard. We are also again opening an Evening School for Year 11s. This will start next month and this will be a place for our students to get revision help and more teaching time. We hope parents will strongly encourage Year 11s to attend. In English and maths this year the ‘pass’ is likely to be Grade 4 or Grade 5. There is a new grading system from 1 – 9 in English and maths. 9 being the old A* – the top grade and 1 being the lowest grade. So, it is a new system with grades and all schools a little uncertain how this will work out. I can tell you that all the staff at Priory, in all subjects, are working really hard. Students are focused and on track. I will be doing an assembly this week about ‘growth mindset’, which is basically about working hard and showing lots of resilience. At Priory we have areas, such The SRB, which are very supportive places for anyone struggling with exams. The atmosphere must be one of ‘we can’ and I can assure parents that all PCSA staff are working with this in mind. Of course, there will be staffing headaches ahead with less income for all schools – but as a MAT we are well placed to cope. We will only recruit and retain the very best staff at PCSA. Again, we can retain more staff in WSM by giving our people opportunities to work at Worle and Priory. I can assure parents that without such a set-up we would lose staff to other schools.
I do not want to make these updates too long. However, lastly, I’d like to tell parents of a unique programme starting at both Worle and Priory next year through The PLT. We have been granted ‘Teaching School’ status. This comes with additional funding. This means from September we will have 12 extra members of staff teaching maths, science and ICT in our secondary schools. These 12 will be spread across both Worle and Priory. They will be part of the ‘Schools Direct’ programme. Colleagues employed will be trainee teachers. If you know anyone who’d like to train as a teacher please do ask them to e-mail me or Chris Sherring email@example.com, who is our Director of the Teaching School Alliance. The beauty of the system is that by November these 12 colleagues must be teaching small classes, if they are ready. This will allow us to create 12 new classes. We will then have smaller groups in maths, ICT and science (probably in Year 10 and Year 11) which we will again help to further improve results. This model has worked at Priory, as we improved C+ maths results from 34% in 2007 to 81% in 2014.
Best wishes and thank you for your support. There will be another update in March but, as always, please do e-mail if you’d like to know more about The PLT or specifically anything about Priory. Please go through Mrs. McBride firstly, but I am always available to assist. Next month I will share more plans about Priory for the future – with more new building plans, such as a new restaurant and the old science block re-development. We have the capital money already to make this happen.
PCSA is the first school to see its students partnering with Weston Town Council to make the town a better place.
They may even have a small budget to run their own projects.
If successful it is planned to roll out the project to other schools.
Head of School Jane McBride said: “This is a fantastic project and we were overwhelmed with volunteers students who want to participate and make the town a brighter place.”
James Wilmot, Priory’s Head of Careers, said: “We are very pleased to work with the town council on this fantastic project. It will be great experience for them and the skills that they will develop will look fantastic on their CV!”
Sarah O’ Gorman is part of the Priory’s successful teacher-training school run by the The Priory Learning Trust.
She has been a trainer across the world in areas such as youth engagement, social action, HIV and AIDS, and child protection.
A graduate of University of London, she is now eager to be a full-time teacher and to release the creative energy, talent and enthusiasm of students.
She said: “I’m so excited to be part of the teaching school at Priory which is well known as one of the best in the country.”
In 2016 The PLT was awarded the prestigious National Teaching School status – a rare accolade after it fulfilled a wide range of criteria in training teachers and supporting other schools.
To become a teaching school, schools must be judged outstanding and have a proven track record of delivering exceptional teacher training and supporting other schools.
Students and staff at Priory Community School have all received a Christmas present of a classic book.
Priory is a high-achieving school that ensures reading and English is involved in every subject.
Head of School Jane McBride said: “Reading is such a key part of students being a success in life in every area. This is an excellent idea that will guarantee that every student will own a literary classic for their lifetimes.
“We champion reading every day in every lesson. We tell the students that reading is the best brain exercise to help you revise. In short, the more you read the better the exam outcomes.”
The students were the first to be honoured under the new ‘Be a Hero’ campaign at Priory Community School and Worle Community School.
Students from both schools had been demonstrating exceptional acts of kindness, courage, and other character and attitude traits.
PCSA Head of School Jane McBride said: “Well done to every single student. Praise is a powerful motivator and we aim to spend as much time as we can celebrating achievement.”
WCSA Head of School Jacqui Scott said: “We see so much positive behaviour and actions of students right across the school. This is a great way to ensure it is celebrated.”
To nominate a student hero email firstname.lastname@example.org
PRIORY students have incredibly beat off author legends Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens after publishing a book of short Christmas stories.
Fifteen students wrote short stories and then had the book published on Amazon. This week they were startled to see they had reached near the top of the charts.
Head of Careers James Wilmot – himself a published author – co-ordinated the project and launched a celebrating evening this week.
He said: “Their stories were absolutely fantastic. Everyone has been amazed at their success. Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens are quite rightly legends, and to pip them in the charts is wonderful for the students.”
Head of School Jane McBride said: “We are absolutely thrilled and so proud of every single one of them. We believe many of these will go on to have tremendous writing careers.”
By Priory Student Journalists Jack Branton and Jacob Esgate, age 12 and 11
A DRIVING force behind the success of Priory is now celebrating an early Christmas miracle of returning to his running career after a dramatic and horrific accident last year.
A DRIVING force behind the success of Priory is now celebrating an early Christmas miracle of returning to his running career after a dramatic and horrific accident last year.
Brave John Richardson, aged 72, nearly lost his foot after a terrible running accident on Weston beach last Christmas. He was airlifted to Bristol Royal Infirmary where surgeons rebuilt his foot. He needed a long operation to insert metal to repair the bones and a large skin graft to cover the hole where the leg bones came out.
But now a year on he returned to the scene of the accident where he ran the 10km Christmas Cracker event- again on Weston Beach.
Courageous John has been connected with Priory for decades and for the last 10 years has been a governor, as well as a governor at WCSA, and also a Trustee of the new The Priory Learning Trust.
John said: “I am delighted to be running again. I have woken up with nightmares on occasion. It feels like a miracle but I was so thrilled to be able to take part in this Christmas event. I am so grateful to the medical teams who cared for me over the nine days at South Mead Hospital.
“Priory has been a major part of my life for years, and I have received great encouragement and support from everyone there.”
Executive Principal of The PLT Neville Coles said: “This is great news and John has been such a major part of our past and will be in the future.”
He was sponsored to raise money for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity who rescued him a year ago.
Head boys and girls from two Weston schools join together to find and celebrate achievements of their 2500 students in new ‘Be a Hero’ campaign.
Please note that students are not wearing uniform because it was a charity non-uniform day.
Priory and Worle’s Head’s leadership teams want to let the entire community know how brilliant their students and schools are.
This week the Head Boys and Girls, and Deputy Head Boys and Girls, met together at the launch of the ‘Be a Hero’ campaign in partnership with Hutton Moor Leisure Centre. The campaign aims to find inspirational students and to tell the community about them.
PCSA is the first member of the new The Priory Learning Trust (The PLT) and it is now assisting at WCSA, bringing the sharing of ideas, resources and support together.
PCSA Head Boy Will Bailey said: “The Be a Hero campaign is a great way for us to find out all about our inspirational students and to tell the whole community about them.”
WCSA Head Girl Iona Kempton said: “Our students are doing incredible things inside and outside of school. There is a real excitement around our community about the future.”
PCSA Head of School Jane McBride said: “It was wonderful to bring both schools together with the students sharing ideas. The Be a Hero campaign is already going down extremely well.”
WCSA Head of School Jacqui Scott said: “These are exciting days ahead for all of us and it was a joy to see students already joined together helping and supporting each other with a common aim.”
Kemo Jarju told students on the Period 6 journalism club about his career from being in the Media to a Weston community policeman.
He became Police Community Support Officer in Weston in April 2014.
PCSA aims to introduce students to a variety of exciting careers with visiting professionals always popping in to inspire.
Head of School Jane McBride said: “Kemo is such a popular figure around PCSA and it was lovely to hear about his exciting career.”
Students at Priory Community School are buzzing after they all received a free new book to read
Head of PCSA’s Library Rachel Harris said: “Our students have entered this new scheme with enthusiasm. Reading is not only fantastic for pleasure but is also critical for every other subject in schools.”
Head of School Jane McBride said: “We champion reading every day in every lesson. We tell the students that reading is the best brain exercise to help you revise. In short, the more you read the better the exam outcomes.”
Monthly prizes for Priory and Worle students showing kindness or outstanding attitude and character traits will get big rewards at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre.
The aim is to encourage even more wonderful behaviour at school and the community.
Teachers, Tutors and members of the public are being encouraged to email positive experiences of students from both schools and nominate them for a monthly prize.
Prizes in the new The Priory Learning Trust initiative include family swim tickets, children’s basketball lessons, cycle workout classes, and other healthy activities.
Head of Careers James Wilmot says “We have hundreds of heroes across both schools. We want to find and reward all that is good about each and every student.
“It’s about reinforcement of positive behaviour such as kindness, improvement in timekeeping, better behaviour in class, helping someone with their shopping or helping someone across the road. It could even be picking up litter outside the school. Basically it can be anything positive that helps people in school or in the community.”
Dave Somers, General Manager of Hutton Moor, said: “We are really pleased to be working with The Priory Learning Trust on this exciting project that helps students raise their aspirations. We always welcome opportunities to engage with the local community and young people.
“This partnership with Hutton Moor Leisure Centre and Worle and Priory schools, will reward students who really want to make a difference to themselves, their school and their community.
“Our prizes have been deliberately selected to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle for the students, their friends and their families.”
To nominate a student, please email email@example.com with the name of the student, their year group, school and the reason why they should be a rewarded as a hero.
Story by student journalist Liam Byrne
PCSA student Oliver Taylor is already nearly at the Gold Bar Grade in Dance – the third highest possible standard, yet is still only 12.
Priory has numerous success stories on stage and screen who have been at the school.
Head of School Jane McBride said: “Congratulations to Oliver who is showing real promise and has a great career ahead of him.”
These include Corrine Priest, aged 22, who was named 2014’s performer of the year by the Stephen Sondheim Society while at the London School of Music Theatre. Morgan Rooke, 18, has been in the National Youth Choir that performed at the Royal Albert Hall, and Jake Fisher, 21, is at one of the leading performing arts colleges in the world – the Arts Educational College in London.
Priory Community School also has the Artsmark award and seeks to inspire hundreds of students to become passionate experts in music, drama art and dance and to go on to UK careers in the performing arts.
James Wilmot’s first book ‘The Boy who became Father Christmas’, published in 2014 by The Difference Press became a best selling book on Amazon.
The students took a draft home with them and provided James with detailed feedback and ideas on how the story could be improved.
James said: “The students have been a massive help. Young readers are very discerning now. They are accomplished readers and know what makes a good book. Their feedback has been really valuable to the story and I will be making some significant changes to the book before it is published at Christmas time.”
‘Con of the Crannog’ is a children’s story spanning thousands of years from prehistory to the present day – inspired by James’ childhood experiences while growing up in rural Ireland.
It focuses on the lives of three children who all have a shared destiny on a mysterious island.
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National Citizen Service for students aged 15 / 16 years old interested in voluntary work.
Success at School is a place for young people to explore careers, get the lowdown on top employers, and search for the latest jobs, courses, news and advice.
On the 23rd March Year 9 boys and girls will receive their Td/IPV and Men/ACWY in the Main Hall. Consent forms and information leaflets to follow.
CareerPilot is a careers information website, which includes:
Or take a look at the Career Pilot App: www.careerpilotapp.org.uk