Dear parents, carers, pupils and friends of Sharples,

I cannot believe just how much we have managed to cram in to the last six weeks! Staff at Sharples have really gone the extra mile this half-term and created so many wonderful opportunities for our young people. There have been countless revision sessions after school for Year 11s; a trip to Oxford and another to Cambridge; Saturday morning science and technology lessons for GCSE pupils (more subjects coming soon!); the annual Masterchef 'Cook-off ' final at Bury College; Year 7 science clubs and much much more. Head girl, Ruheen Mohmed , wrote to me just before Christmas to ask if she could organise a Year 11 and staff meal and with Mrs Harrison’s help – it happened and a fantastic night at Nawaab’s restaurant was enjoyed by all. Thank you to all our hard-working staff and pupils for making Sharples the exceptional place it is.

After we come back from the half-term holiday, there will only be 39 school days left before the first GCSE exam. We are focusing a great deal of energy on giving Year 11 pupils as much support as possible. This includes mentoring, motivational team challenges, Saturday sessions, after-school lessons and motivational presentations. Yesterday, Andy Walker, a motivational speaker, delivered a moving and inspirational talk to a group of Year 11 pupils which really got them thinking about determination and resilience throughout the coming challenges of GCSEs. Andy became paralysed from the neck down at the age of 28, yet still strives to fulfil the ‘millions of dreams’ he has had over the years. From skiing to white water rafting; acting to meeting the Prime Minister, he does not let his disability hold him back and is a phenomenal role model to all our young people. Thank you Andy and good luck to Year 11 in the coming weeks of hard work.

We have now finalised our new school uniform, after much consultation and debate. It has taken over a year to get to this stage (!) and I hope you will like our new look. There will always be those who love it and those who are not as keen; as they say – you can’t please all of the people all of the time. The new uniform will be introduced and compulsory only for the incoming Year 7s in September 2014. It will then be phased in whenever a new uniform is needed and become compulsory for all years from September 2015. New PE kits are also being introduced. Images of the new uniform will be available after the half-term holiday. Thank you for your continued support in ensuring that your child attends school every day dressed correctly in the current school uniform. Guidance on school uniform policy can be found here.

I hope you all have a restful and enjoyable half term and look forward to welcoming all pupils back in to school on TUESDAY 25TH FEBRUARY

Mrs Quesnel, Headteacher.