Year 11 - A Fond Farewell

23 March 2020


Year 11 - A Fond Farewell

The final day of school for a Year 11 students is very important. It is a right of passage, leading to the next chapter of their lives at college, apprenticeships or sixth form. Throughout the academic year, staff and students at Kingsdown School have been working tirelessly to ensure everyone was fully prepared for the GCSE exams. For our students in year 11, we knew that last week was vital for them all. After Wednesday’s announcement, we knew that we needed a plan – a send-off that certainly wouldn’t make up for these unforeseen circumstances but would allow them to capture their memories of 5 years at Kingsdown School with a Leavers’ day celebration with style.

Students spent Thursday collecting messages from friends and staff in Kingsdown School Leaver books donated by the Art department but the real celebrations began on Friday. It has always been a tradition of ours that on Leavers Day, Kingsdown students congregate at Greenbridge McDonalds and walk through the community to arrive at school on mass. And on Friday this was no exception.  They did so with absolute class, showing the pride of Kingsdown School as they walked.  Indeed we had telephone calls from members of our community acknowledging their exceptional high standards of behaviour and personal respect.

Overnight, we arranged for a photographer to come to school and set up a photo booth where students could get photos with their friends and their teachers; a shirt signing event followed by an aerial photo which has become a new Kingsdown tradition for us in recent years. Student spent the day enjoying each other’s company, capturing happy times together before this abrupt end to their schooling.

One student said “I’m extremely grateful for the memories I’ve created at Kingsdown and hope that my year group has paved a good path for others who remain at the school. This was never the way I intended to leave school but thank you for working tirelessly to make it such an amazing day”.

For some, it was total shock - students hadn’t really processed what was about to happen but for others, this news was absolutely devastating.  Emotions were raw and the prospect of not being able to show their true capabilities with exam results has been upsetting for many.  That said, they should all be so proud of how they approached their Key Stage 4 years.

As always, we closed the day with a full Leavers’ assembly which was attended by the Year 11 cohort of 2020 as well as all the Kingsdown staff.  Tutors spoke of the pride and resilience that students had demonstrated and then there was a standing ovation for Michelle Davis, the Year 11 Progress Leader who has been the absolute champion of Cohort 2020 during their time at Kingsdown.  Michelle paid tribute to the year group by saying “you made me laugh and at times you made me cry …. As you leave Kingsdown, I will forever be proud of the young people you have become.”

After receiving a personal letter from the Headteacher with an individual silver lion badge, students left the site with a guard of honour from all staff.  Here students walked up and through staff who applauded them as they walked up the drive.  Emma Leigh-Bennett said “Having to close the school was a significant action but we all understood why.  Kingsdown school staff immediately started preparing a fond farewell for Cohort 2020 who had embraced all the changes that the school haad introduced and they embraced them so well.”  She added that “Cohort of 2020 had been such incredible role models.  We are so proud of them as individuals, as groups and as a year group.  They leave us with such high aspirations for their futures and we look forward to hearing about their future successes.”  Mrs Leigh-Bennett thanked all the staff, the tutors, the Progress Leader and Katie Winwood and Bertie Lees, the strategic leads for year 11, who together “gave year 11 a day to truly remember.”

Since Friday, we have been inundated with messages and kind words from parents and students:

“Thank you for everything you have done for my boys… I couldn’t have asked for more” – Year 11 parent

“Please can you say a huge thank you to the staff for organising today and for the time and effort that you (the headteacher) put into our school - I hope one day to see the headlines ‘Kingsdown school achieves Outstanding at OFSTED’” – Year 11 student

In her closing remarks, the Headteacher wished all the students well and promised that she and her team would provide ongoing support in the coming months.  She also assured students that a true celebration at a Year 11 Prom would happen in the future.

If any students or parents need any support in this area, then please get in touch.  All email addresses are on our website and daily work is being set via Show My Homework.  The school is running a daily special childcare provision for critical / key workers. 

More information about this is on our website.

For now – the school sends out very best wishes to all our students and their families.  Emma Leigh-Bennett said “we are looking forward to seeing our students in due course and will continue to provide daily curriculum support and support via emails and telephone calls.  We are thinking of our families at this time ”

Beats - Challenge
Beats - Pride
Beats - Ambition
Beats - Stretch
Beats - Respect
Beats - Responsibilities