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Principal's Blog #45 for Friday 9th December 2016
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Friday 9th December 2016

This week has seen a tremendous response to the festive appeals, competitions and rewards launched in last week's assemblies. Thinking of others less fortunate and appreciating what we have is brought more sharply into focus for us at this time of year. As we approach the final week, preparations are under way for the Christmas assemblies and pantomime. 

The Christmas Carol Service on Tuesday will no doubt be a highlight for me. It's great to share this with our primary feeder schools.  We end the term next Friday (16th December). The proceeds of this festive non uniform day will go to the Salvation Army along with hampers we are already putting together for the homeless.  Keep sending in the tins. It makes a real difference.

Well Spoken Students
 
Eight of our finest public speakers competed against some of the best schools in the North East for a place in the next round of the English Speaking Union's Public Speaking Competition. The standard was exceptionally high and every one of our students performed with admirable confidence, control and acumen. 
 
A huge thank you goes to the incredible Miss Oliver for all of her work with the students and congratulations to the leaders of the future: Thomas Waistell (who won the award for 'Best Chair Person' in the North East heat), Ewan Lynn-Noble, Tom Grant, Eve McIlwraith, Benjamin Newman, Amber Reed, Chloe Pratt and Daniel Pull.

Advent Update

Our annual Attendance Advent is in full swing and we’ve already had some worthy winners of this year’s Christmas treats.  Congratulations to James MacDonald from Year 7, Christina Dzurbanova and Amber Thompson from Year 9 and Czarek Zalesinski from Year 11.  Well done!
A Trip for Tips

Ten Psychology students attended a revision session with AQA examiners at the Odeon Cinema in the Metro Centre.  They completed a number of different sessions covering most of the topics on their exam.  They also received tips from examiners on how to answer the questions and what to remember when completing the exam.  Students enjoyed the day and left with increased confidence for their exam and also their very own 80 page revision guide to take home.

School Nurse

To support the health and wellbeing of our pupils, we have arranged for our school nurse, Mrs Allan, to host drop in sessions in school for pupils who have any concerns or queries about health issues.  Our nurse will be available in our Restaurant on the dates below. The sessions will operate on a drop-in basis, therefore appointments are not necessary.

Tuesday 10th January
Tuesday 24th January
Tuesday 7th February,
Tuesday 28th February
Tuesday 14th May
Tuesday 28th May
Tuesday 25th April
Tuesday 9th May
Tuesday 23rd May
Tuesday 13th June
Tuesday 27th Jun
Tuesday 11th July
All in the Mind

Last week our sixth form students took part in a ‘Think Well’ workshop, which focused on mental health and emotional well-being.  The initiative was set up by Jonny Benjamin and the session followed his story, “Stranger on a Bridge”, which has attracted worldwide media attention.  Our students left the session much more aware of signs to look out for in both themselves and others in relation to mental health.

Adding to their Success
 

Five of our sixth form students were entered for the Senior UK Maths Challenge.  The Senior Challenge is aimed at all 16 - 19 year olds studying mathematics.  The challenge involves answering 25 multiple choice questions in 90 minutes and is sat in school under normal exam conditions. Our sixth formers who rose to the challenge did particularly well with Jack Udale and Michael Beattie attaining gold awards and Adam Liddle and Sam Lowery each achieving silver awards.  Jack and Michael now go on to participate in the next round of the competition.  Well done to you all and good luck to Jack and Michael!
Early Morning Readers

As the autumn term draws to a close, we would like to take the time to commend our Year 7 and 8 pupils for their effort and commitment as part of our Early Morning Reading programme.  Participants have been rewarded with a selection box in recognition of this. A special mention should also be given to our older students who have acted as peer mentors, supporting our younger pupils with their literacy skills.

Principal's Awards

This week’s winners were… Katie Anderson for Outstanding Achievement in German, Beau Emmerson for Personal Achievement with his fantastic stop motion animation promoting Southmoor (See below) and Zixu Gao for Outstanding Achievement in Maths. Well done everyone!

What do you do at Southmoor?
 
I teach History and co-ordinate the Extended Project Qualification in the Sixth Form.
 
Who was your favourite teacher at school?
 
Can I have two favourites? There was Mr. Kilner, my History teacher of course. He was amazing, he made History a fun subject and had a collection of really ugly, handmade jumpers; we all used to take bets on which ones he would wear.  Also Mr Thompson, who taught me Chemistry.  He was the coolest teacher: we did lots of practical lessons. I remember blowing up lots of big glass bowls by throwing sodium into water and one time he made chlorine gas but made too much and we all had to stand on the chairs until the room cleared so we didn't, you know, die!  I don't think he'd get away with that these days!
 
What do you like to do in your spare time?
 
Well, I love the Lake District and my family and I go walking there as often as we can in the holidays, but I'm also a bit of a sci-fi geek, so you'll probably find me watching or reading sci-fi.  If it's set in space, the future, involves time travel or aliens it'll be right up my street. I'm loving West World at the moment and can hardly wait for the next series of Games of Thrones. And eeek!  New Sherlock on New Years Day. Huzzah!
 
Who is your favourite musical artist or band?
 
Ooh too many to choose. I like The Dresden Dolls, Iamx, All About Eve, Biffy Clyro, Reuben and Bowie, to name a few on my phone at the moment, but then I’m also a child of the eighties, so there will always be a place for The Cure and The Smiths in my heart.
 
What's the best thing about Southmoor?
 
The support the pupils get from the staff here, you're very well looked after, and the pupils themselves are brilliant of course. They are a big part of why I love the school. The Sixth Form is fantastic as well and I'm proud to play a part in that.
 
What's the one thing you could never be without?
 
A vague uneasy feeling that there is something I've forgotten to do? Or maybe my coloured contact lenses. Ha, sadly, it's probably my phone.

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 Missed out on previous editions of our blog?
Then check out the archive below!

 
Issue #42 Friday 18th November
Issue #43 Friday 25th November
Issue #44 Friday 2nd December

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