22 May 2020 Update

Dear Parents, Carers and Students




‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’


Dickens’ famous opening lines to ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ are over 160 years old now, but never perhaps have they seemed more relevant or timeless.


This, of course, a worst of times. None of us have ever experienced anything like it. Probably - and hopefully - never will again. But it will pass.


However, at the same time I wanted to conclude my final update of the half term by saying that I have never in my thirty-three years of educational experience felt more proud of a school community of students, parents, carers, staff, Governors and Trustees pulling together for its common good, and indeed that of the wider community.


In this respect it is for me, oddly, also therefore the best of times.


The best of times because, the last half term brought out the best of us. Together, we have:

  • Adapted to the challenges of virtual learning, continuing to adapt and improve as we reflect on shared experience
  • Established frameworks for individual support and guidance

  • Continued to celebrate individual and collective achievements

  • Engaged creatively in activities which reflect our values and continue to define our identity

  • Shown a generosity of spirit in supporting others in our wider community

NWN clipping

Hello Clipping


So that’s looking back. Positively.


We now look forward. Optimistically.


Over the coming weeks we will be planning for our return to school in real time and ensuring that you are kept fully updated with this process, whether it relates to Year 12 Induction, Options, the timetable, Open Evening, re-organised Proms, to name but a few.


Thank you to all parents, carers and students in Years 10 and 12 who responded by the deadline regarding one-to-one Personal Progress Tutorials.  We will now begin organising the first wave of Tutorials based on those responses.  You will receive notification of the scheduling of your first one-to-one Personal Progress Tutorial in the first week back. We anticipate that these will roll out from 8 June. For those who have not yet responded, there will be another opportunity to respond after half term.


We are delighted to share information about the launch of the West Berkshire Youth Hub. You can find more information on the flyer below.


An immediate piece of work, relevant to parents and carers with young people who will be joining our new Year 7 in September, has been the development of a fantastic - and unique - online induction platform, established with the support of our wonderful Park House School Association (PHSA). This is being shared with all of our partner primary schools and you can view it here in advance...




This commitment to our young people’s all round wellbeing was earlier this week reflected, as you may have seen in the Newbury Weekly News, in us being invited to become one of 20 founder members of the national Well School Movement. Brilliant!


It’s an approach which, of course, has never been more resonant than in the current climate and I am extremely proud of all the colleagues who work so tirelessly to ensure that this remains at the heart of our culture and ethos.


So, in what are in passing the worst of times, we continue to bring out the very best in us all. In this context, please also continue to send in all your wonderful stories about what you are doing to support and enrich your local communities for Personal Best. They are truly inspirational!


I now hope that you also have the opportunity to enjoy the best possible of half terms, with a reminder that no work is expected to be set or completed and that week commencing 1 June is, for Years 7-9, ‘Flexible Learning Week’. The aim is for any new learning to be ‘paused’ to allow students to either consolidate their understanding of work already set or, for those who feel completely up to date or wishing some further challenge, to be set optional, creative extension work.


With thanks for all your support this term. I very much look forward to continuing to work with you next term as we shape the best of times going forward.


Very best wishes

Derek Peaple



Click here to download West Berkshire Youth Hub flyer>>>

West Berkshire Youth Hub Flyer