Headteacher's Blog

Archive: October 2011

  • 31Oct

    Progress Day

    This Friday 4th November sees the first of our Progress Days for parents of students in Year 7 and Year 11. This is an opportunity to have a detailed discussion with your child’s form tutor who will have to hand a report including data from each subject teacher.
    I hope by the end of the discussion parents of year 7 will have a clear sense of how your children have settled in at The Urswick School and what they need to do to further improve. For many this will be about becoming better organised with completing homework which, even though many primary schools now set homework, always seems to take some getting used to by year 7. Equally if you have any concerns please express them to your child’s tutor.
    Year 11 students have responded really positively to the extra ‘lesson 6’ we have added to every day for the first time this year. Please remember this is in addition to, not instead of, homework and time spent on revision. After Progress Day you should be clear about next steps, especially to guarantee C grades or above in English and Maths. Modular Exams and Mocks are fast approaching.
    In our last OFSTED report the school was graded ‘Outstanding’ for the positive way we engage with parents. Progress Days are very well attended and we look forward to meeting you on Friday. Please also complete one of our Questionnaires for Parents – your views are important as we continue to improve The Urswick School.
    Best wishes,
    Richard Brown

    Posted by Richard Brown @ 10:45

  • 19Oct

    Joshua Watson of Hackney

    I am sometimes asked to represent  the school at various special events. This week I went to the Houses of Parliament to attend a  celebration of 200 years of the National Society. Amongst the guests were many MPs, peers, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Oxford.

    Why was I invited? Because of the School’s link with Joshua Watson who founded the National Society and is buried in the church yard of St John at Hackney. Three times in speeches he was referred to as ‘Joshua Watson of Hackney’. In our everyday talk at school we so often refer to The Watson Building, perhaps without  reflecting on the life of Joshua Watson who was a central figure in establishing  Church of England Schools. Following the foundation of the National Society in 1811, by 1861 there were 12,000 Schools at a time when there was no national education system and many children didn’t go to school.
    Today, The Urswick School is one of 2,500 Voluntary Aided Schools. We are proud to be  a school which serves the local community and admits those of Christian faith, other faiths  and no faith.
    So let’s celebrate the life and achievements of Joshua Watson of Hackney.
    Best wishes

    Posted by Richard Brown @ 10:45

  • 10Oct

    Raise £1/2 million for The Urswick School by applying for Free School Meals

    As you may be aware, the school currently receives additional payments from the government for every child who receives Free School Meals. This is called the Pupil Premium and the amount of money is set to double.

    I was recently interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s ‘Beyond Westminster’ programme about the success of The Urswick School and about the Pupil Premium Policy. I explained that we use the additional funding to provide smaller classes in Literacy and Modern Foreign Languages; we also spend the money on student rewards, the Year 11 Prom, free musical instrument classes and subsidising trips, including residential visits to France and Spain and the Year 7 trips to Stubbers (September 2011) and to France (July 2012).

    If all of these activities are to continue to be funded we need to ensure that every child who is eligible to receive Free School Meals (FSM) actually applies. This includes those who bring packed lunches and Year 11s who leave the school at lunchtime. Members of Year 11 have another reason to apply: if you apply for FSM now you should be eligible to receive the £800 post EMA Bursary when you join The Urswick School Sixth Form or go to college.

    I estimate that if every family who was eligible for Free School Meals actually applied NOW, the school would receive £500,000 extra funding in April 2012. Without this money, free musical instrument lessons and subsidies on school trips will be at an end. Tickets for the Year 11 Prom will double in price. The new cashless catering system means that when students reach the till and swipe their card, nobody can tell if they are receiving FSM or not.

    If you think you are eligible to receive FSM, please contact Sharon Lewis, Receptionist, at the school. Phone: 020 8985 2430 or email: admin@theurswickschool.co.uk

    Best wishes,


    Posted by Richard Brown @ 10:45