Issue 995: 3rd February 2023


Strike Day

Thank you to everyone for your understanding and cooperation during Wednesday’s day of industrial action.  I am aware that due to a recent Microsoft update, there was an issue with the quality of sound during some online lessons, however I can confirm that our IT Team has now resolved the issue. 


There would appear to have been little focus from the Media about one of the main reasons so many teachers across the country chose to strike on Wednesday, namely it is not simply about pay, but the fact that any pay rises need to be funded.  Many of our staff have made it clear to me that their decision to strike was based on the funding aspect, which is testament to their ongoing commitment to protect the future of teaching and the quality of education we will be able to provide for our pupils.


Given the number of teaching staff who chose to take action, and the likelihood that they will do so again, I would expect future strike days to follow a similar model to this week.  The next scheduled strike day is Wednesday 1st March and I will, of course, write nearer the time with details of the plan for that day. 

“Blind Date with a Book”

Next week, pupils will be invited NOT to judge a book by its cover but to have a “Blind Date with a Book” to read over half-term.  The team of Year 8 Library Monitors has been busy wrapping up books with just three or four words written on the cover to describe it.  These books will be on display in the Library for pupils to borrow from Monday.


Upon return, pupils will be asked to complete a very quick review on the book, for the benefit of other readers, on whether they are likely to read another book by the same author or from the same genre.  Happy reading!

Year 7 Parents’ Evening

Thank you for all the positive comments we have received in relation to our Year 7 pupils’ transition into secondary school at last night’s Parents’ Evening.  As always, we welcome your views and feedback on our practices and provision.  A number of parents raised the issues of homework, which coincidentally has coincided with work we are doing in this regard.  You may be interested to know that the Student Council delivered a presentation at our Senior Leadership Team meeting this week on this very same subject and we have established a staff working party to address the points raised to improve this important area of school life.  As always, the Student Council also provided their feedback on other areas which we will consider and as a group they continue to represent the views of our school community superbly.

Change to Break Patterns

You may not be aware, depending on when your child(ren) joined Sweyne Park, but prior to the pandemic, we only had 1 break time, of 20 minutes, for the whole school.  We were forced to make a change to accommodate the “bubbles” we were required to create to assist social distancing.  Since then, and having three separate break times, this has meant that Year 7 have had 2 split lessons during the day.  Furthermore, with staff on three separate breaks, the capacity to supervise pupils at break time has been reduced.  Therefore, after the half-term break we will be trialling a change to our break arrangement.  We will not be returning to a whole school model, in order to provide Year 7 pupils with a session on their own, but will be moving to just 2 break time slots as follows:


  • Year 7 pupils will have break from 10.00 am – 10.30 am (Period 2 will run from 10.30 – 11.30am).
  • All other year groups will have break at 11.00 am – 11.30 am (Period 2 will run from 10.00 am – 11.00 am).
  • Year 12 and Year 13 will continue with their usual break times.


In order to create more social space for pupils, until the weather improves, the main hall will be open at break times. 

Catering Costs

Everybody is fully aware that the cost of living has been rising recently.  Unfortunately, as you will know from your own shopping bills, food inflation has also risen strongly.  Due to this, along with the cost of labour, our catering prices need to increase.  From after half-term, the cost of the main “Meal Deal” will remain fixed at £2.50.  This always represents the best value for money and is nutritionally balanced for young people.  However, many other items on the food menu will need to increase.  As always, we will try to apply price rises to the less healthy items, the average increase will, however, be 5%.   We appreciate that this will be another strain to the household purse, and if you feel you may be eligible for Free School Meals please contact Pupil Services ( who will be pleased to advise you.  The full tariff for our catering provision can be found on the school website.

And Finally….

Have a good weekend…..

National Apprenticeship Week: 6th-12th February

Next week is National Apprenticeship Week, so what is an apprenticeship?

Find an apprenticeship – GOV.UK (

Next week is National Apprenticeship Week, so what is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship, which must last for a minimum of 12 months, combines hands-on work with the opportunity to train and obtain qualifications. It’s also a paid position, so you earn while you learn. At least 20% of your time is set aside for learning, usually at a college, university or with a training provider.

The rest of your time is spent applying your knowledge and skills in the workplace, doing the job that you set out to get. At the end of it, you’ll gain official certification, which will be equivalent to traditional qualifications.

Apprenticeship levels are set and equivalent to the traditional qualifications listed below:

  • 2 (Intermediate): GCSEs
  • 3 (Advanced): A-levels
  • 4 (Higher): Foundation Degree
  • 5 (Higher): Foundation Degree/first year of Bachelor’s Degree
  • 6 (Degree): Bachelor’s Degree
  • 7 (Degree): Master’s Degree

There is no maximum age limit for an apprenticeship, but students must be aged 16 or over, living in England and not in full-time education.

Apprenticeships are available in over 600 occupations, including Nursing, Digital Marketing and even Bee Keeping!

To find out more, and to search and apply please use the link below.

To look at current vacancies and opportunities, please use the following website.

Find an apprenticeship – GOV.UK (

Anne Wimpenny

Careers Lead

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