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Weekly Bulletin 24/03/2023

Please see the weekly bulletin below...

Dear UCC Families

We recently received the very sad news of the passing of one of our former colleagues, Cathy Kidson. Cathy worked at UCC for 27 years, which is a remarkable commitment to our school. Her granddaughter is a current student and her daughter used to work at Uppstarts, the nursery we used to have on site. Cathy started here in the early 90s, working firstly on reception, before moving into the finance team and then eventually onto becoming PA to the Principal. Cathy was a great servant to UCC and is remembered fondly by those who worked with her. Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family during this very difficult time.

On Wednesday we held our first face to face parents’ evening since the pandemic. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as we hadn’t run one of these for a few years, but the feedback from Year 8 parents was very positive. I want to spend some time evaluating feedback from colleagues and parents before making any decisions about future parents’ evening events. I’m conscious that there are drawbacks and compromises to the way these events are structured and that online meetings are preferable to some. I’ll endeavour to make a decision about this after Easter and communicate with you as soon as I’m able to.

Congratulations to the Maths team who successfully hosted the Maths Factor inter-house competition. The final was held during Monday lunchtime and it was a pleasure to witness the talented mathematicians from all year groups in KS3. After a close few rounds, Pegasus emerged as winners with some impressive on the buzzer mental Maths. The students were answering questions before I had managed to read them! Thank you to everybody involved in making this a success, in particular Mrs Ives, who led in the organisation and hosting of the competition.

Mrs Higton emailed me this week to tell me that a number of our students recently entered the Rotary Club Young Writer's competition. They were asked to write about the theme of peace. The overall winner for Rutland was a student from UCC, Laura Brucciani in Year 9. What an amazing achievement! Her story is below and I’m sure you’ll agree it is absolutely superb!

Golden light streams like threads from the treetops, the burnt leaves crumbling under the phantom weight and the ashen blades of grass crunch beneath my weary feet. The bugle that began this cries its misery through the valley, the calls of a passing war pushing through my battered heart and a sharp misery settles in my stomach at the desperate noise. Distantly, I can feel the rough stone underneath my scabbed palms as I scale the unforgiving edge of the mountain, but I hardly blink at it. The view before me has long since grabbed my attention.

The once lush farmlands had become barren and torn by the harsh hands of a momentary war, and the river twisting through the wasteland had turned muddy and crimson as men lay crumpled beside its welcoming banks. I feel no envy. The gaping mountainsides had crumbled into crushing rubble and the branches of overturned woodland crawl above the destruction in snaking hands grasping for light.

But as the sun envelopes the Earth in a glowing embrace and the plants intertwine with my fingers while a vibrant swathe of birds still soar in the gaping sky above me, the twisted feeling lessens. The world keeps spinning, my heart keeps beating, and the fire of life keeps burning. It feels peaceful, here in these toothy peaks with the sun's rays cradling my jaw, and I let myself believe, if only for a moment, that I'll be alright.

Y11 students Evie and Florence were successful applicants this to take part in the Rutland Youth Leader Award (RYLA), which is an annual opportunity offered to students via The Rotary Club, Uppingham.  Rotary are dedicated to helping young people develop their leadership skills to the fullest and this opportunity gives places to 2 candidates to attend White Hall Activity Centre Buxton, to take part in a programme to develop qualities of leadership, responsibility and good citizenship in their communities. On the weekend of 17th February, Evie and Florence took part in the full programme in Buxton and then returned home to prepare a presentation about their experience.  On Monday 20th March both Evie and Florence made their presentation to the Rotary Club meeting, which was received with great warmth by all members.  Evie and Florence presented with confidence and maturity which was widely recognised by everyone that attended. As part of their ongoing commitment to develop and inspire young people, Rotary Clu, Uppingham will again be sponsoring more students next year to take part.  Evie and Florence will be presenting to our current Year 10 students before they leave UCC, in the hope of inspiring future applications. Huge congratulations to Evie and Florence for their success. 

There are so many things happening at school during the week, with a vast array of activities our students are involved in, it is sometimes a challenge to include everything in the newsletter. Last week I didn’t mention the endeavours of the Y10 boys' rugby team, who did particularly well against Catmose, beating a side which contained mostly Y11 students 7-0. After Easter we have semi-final action for both KS4 teams; our Year 10s play Ashby and Y11 play Lutterworth College. Next week we have Rugby fixtures against Belvoir, so good luck to everyone involved in those games. Sticking with sport, we have some big football matches next week in the cups. Best of luck to the Year 10 boys' football team, who compete in the cup final on Monday, and also to the KS4 girls' football team who have a cup quarter-final game on Tuesday.

Finally, I am pleased to announce the completion of the refurbishment our former nursery building, which will now be known as Redhill Lodge (named after the hill the school is situated on). This project, funded by RCC has overrun by a couple of months for a variety of reasons out of our control, and I am incredibly grateful to my colleagues who have worked tremendously hard to get this over the line. The building really has been transformed, and it is unrecognisable, particularly on the interior. We will use it to deliver small group teaching and vocational qualifications, as well as it being an ideal venue for concessions in exam season. Bernadette Caffrey, Head of Service  Early Intervention, SEND and Inclusion at Rutland County Council was present at the opening event and said "Rutland County Council is thrilled that children have increased opportunities in Rutland to be supported in their education. UCC responded to the request to schools to shape education to support children’s special educational needs with bespoke learning arrangements, the facilities developed help enable this and add to the investment for children with specific needs across Rutland funded through the DfE High Needs Capital Programme." Our Chair of Governors, Mr Geoff Thompson, in one of his final duties as High Sheriff of Rutland, cut the ribbon to officially this refurbished facility. 

Please take the time to read through the rest of the Newsletter.

I hope you have a great weekend.
Mr B Solly