Dear Bennett Parent
On Sunday afternoon we have received updated guidance for secondary schools about face coverings. It sets out the expectation that in secondary schools we should again expect students and adults to wear face when in communal areas. They may be removed when children are outside at break and lunchtime. The exemption from wearing a face covering for those covered by the relevant Government guidance continues to apply https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own . We ask that all students come to school with a suitable mask or face covering which should wherever possible be of a plain colour.
I hope that both parents and students will understand that working with the school regarding this additional measure will help to give some in our school community greater assurance of their safety. Students may remove their face coverings once they are in their designated outdoor zones at break and lunchtimes.
Thursday 11th November was our Sixth Form Open Evening.
Bennett sixth form boasts around thirty subjects to choose from and offers a variety of technical level 3 courses alongside traditional A levels.
You will find all entry criteria, subject information and how to apply on our website: https://www.bennettmemorial.co.uk/sixth-form/
If you need more information please email [email protected]
The achievement of students at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School this year follows the well-established track record for success that this outstanding Church of England school has sustained over a great many years. Right across the two years of their GCSEs students have worked with diligence and considerable tenacity, both when working at home during lockdowns and once back in school. Throughout this time, they have been good humoured and determined to overcome the obstacles placed in their way by COVID-19. Their outstanding outcomes stack up impressively against those of former year groups, working in less disrupted conditions. The results are richly deserved and the students should rightly feel proud of them since they are the fruit of the same hard work and determination which we have seen year after year at Bennett.
Headteacher Jon Sparke commented: “Once again this year students have had to face considerable uncertainty in how their GCSEs would be assessed. They have absolutely risen to that challenge, making exceptional progress in their courses to acquire the knowledge and understanding to achieve impressive outcomes in robust assessments.”
“I am full of admiration for what are a brilliant set of results. The outcomes show, once again, that the progress made by Bennett students at GCSE is superb and would stack up positively amongst the strongest nationally, just as previous cohorts have.”
“At Bennett we offer a traditional curriculum of high value subjects which, taken together, represents a genuine challenge, so these excellent results provide the strong foundations for the next stages of academic study. Amongst these outcomes are some exceptional individual stories of students overcoming disadvantage and acquiring the powerful knowledge which will enable them to progress to further academic study.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank their teachers and other staff who have taught and supported students throughout their courses, and also parents who play a key role in supporting and encouraging students throughout their school lives. COVID-19 has brought to attention just how important working together as a community is in enabling young people to flourish in their education.”
“Our priority as a school has been to make sure that these students have been able to access the same opportunities to learn and develop as previous year groups. Whilst it has been challenging to enable the same level of involvement in a full extra-curricular programme, it is heartening to see how students have engaged with opportunities once back in school. We are particularly pleased to see so many coming back into school after the end of year 11 to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award alongside year 10. In addition, many have now moved onto the Silver Award”.
We wish all Bennett students well in their next steps and, of course, look forward to seeing the vast majority further in the coming academic year as they return to study A levels following these excellent GCSE outcomes.
Bennett students completing their sixth form studies this year have shown extraordinary resilience and tenacity to complete their courses in the face of two periods of national lockdown and the accompanying uncertainty about how grades would eventually be awarded. Their strong results bear witness not only to how hard they have worked as individuals but also to their character. Throughout their time in the sixth form at Bennett they have also made an exceptionally strong contribution to our corporate life as a school, setting a strong example to their peers particularly in how they responded to the disruption wrought by COVID-19. The results which they have achieved in the face of this adversity have now opened wide the doors to some of the most sought-after university courses as well as other exciting destinations.
Headteacher Jon Sparke commented: “We are so proud of all our students. They have persisted in the face of considerable adversity and through it all have shown real positivity and determination.”
“Our results this year compare very strongly to the excellent track record that the school has established in sixth form achievement, albeit they were arrived at in a way that was very different to usual. It should be remembered that what matters most is the strong foundation of knowledge, understanding and character, that all of our students have built up over seven years of schooling, and which they take with them into their next stages of study and personal development.”
There were very many examples of outstanding individual achievement which include two students, Emily Boarer and Benjamin Finch taking up highly coveted places to study computer science, with Emily set to study at the University of Cambridge and Benjamin at the University of Exeter. Sofia Franklin’s stellar work in biology, chemistry and mathematics means that she is off to study medicine at the University of Southampton.
As the school expected from this high performing cohort, we saw a high proportion of students achieving strings of straight A and A* grades, for example Matthew Coffin with top-notch outcomes in mathematics, further mathematics and physics. Bennett’s traditional high value curriculum means that students have accessed further study in an exciting and diverse range of fields, including: Oscar Smith who will read for a degree in Classics at the University of Oxford, Rosie Warwood is set to study fine art at the University of Edinburgh; Isaac Strand reading for a degree in aerospace engineering at Bath; Beni Phipps whose outstanding diploma and A level results have given access to a highly-prized degree course in film production at Canterbury, George Young reading for a history degree at the University of Southampton and Amy Holman who is off to study psychology and philosophy at the University of Reading.
Mr Sparke explained: “This is a very resilient group of students whose approach to the challenges of this year has been genuinely admirable. You only have to look at the strong numbers who have completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award whilst still at school, despite the difficult circumstances of orchestrating expeditions and volunteering, to see their grit. Every single one of these results has been achieved in the face of some significant adversity, with students remaining committed to their studies in order to sustain their courses as the country went into lockdown. We wish all our Bennett students completing their sixth form this year every success for the next stage of their education.”
Bennett Memorial Diocesan School were delighted to welcome to the school the Right Reverend James Langstaff, Lord Bishop of Rochester, our diocesan bishop to formally open and dedicate our brand new classroom block, named the Rochester building. The dedication and opening ceremony took place on Wednesday 21 April with a small number of invited guests and students from years 7 and 13. The dedication ceremony was followed by the celebration of the Eucharist in the brand new Rochester Hall led by Bishop James.
The Rochester classroom block gives to the school 21 new state of the art classrooms, as well as a multi-use hall. The hall provides a superb new venue for the rich co-curriculum life of the school, in particular for our ambitious musical performances and theatrical productions. We are very grateful that, with support from the Bennett School charity, we have been able to equip the new hall with top of the range audio-visual facilities, as well as stage lighting.
The event was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate another very significant step in our development as a school community, albeit on a smaller scale than we might usually. The new classrooms will make sustainable the school’s expansion, meaning that a distinctive Bennett education, with its strong emphasis upon high quality classroom teaching following a traditional knowledge-rich curriculum, can be made available to even more students.
The school also took the opportunity to express its thanks to Bishop James for his support and ministry as Bishop of Rochester, as he is retiring from that role in the summer. We are very grateful for his sustained engagement with our school community and his leadership.
From Monday 19th April we will be re-opening our food serveries to enable us to offer lunch to students in all year groups. You no longer need to book food online.
Our school catering department have worked hard with us to develop a lunch offer, which we believe will appeal to students, providing them with hot, home-made, nutritious food whilst minimising mixing between year groups and avoiding any disruption to the school timetable.
The following will be in place from Monday 19th April.
It is with considerable sadness that we learned today the news that His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has died.
We send our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and to members of the Royal Family from our community at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School.
Prince Philip will be remembered for his personal initiatives and support in many spheres, but in particular at Bennett for his encouragement of young people through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, which he founded in 1956.
We join others across the Church of England in prayer.
Lord of Lords and King of Kings, we give you thanks
for the life of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh .
for the grace and mercy
he received from you,
for his faithful love and support
of Her Majesty, The Queen,
and his service to this nation
at home and abroad.
Enfold him in your everlasting arms
grant him rest
and raise him up at the last
in the company of the saints in light.
We remember, too, the Royal Family in their bereavement.
O God, our sovereign and shepherd,
who brought again your Son, Jesus Christ,
from the valley of death,
comfort, we pray,
The Queen and all the Royal Family
with your protecting presence.
Fill them with your Holy Spirit;
and with your heavenly peace;
and bring them at the last
to your everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The Government have now published guidance on how schools will approach planning and carrying out the processes of assessing and awarding of grades this summer. Please see this visual map for reference:
We are delighted that Bennett Memorial Diocesan School has been designated as the Teaching School Hub to work across West and East Kent. This designation from the Department for Education provides the school and its network the opportunity to build further on its work as a Teaching School and at the centre of the Outstanding initial teacher training provider Teach Kent and Sussex.
As the Kent Teaching School Hub, we are looking forward to working with our partners to build further on the provision of evidence-based teacher training and development for each professional stage. Teachers play a critical role in the success of our pupils, and it is absolutely right that we are committed to offering them excellent training and development, building shared professional expertise based on evidence. The new Teaching School Hubs have an important role to play in this critical work.
During the school closure due to the developments in the Covid-19 pandemic, parents should be aware of the following support networks available to them in this period. We understand that this could be a worrying and stressful time for families and we would like to make sure that families continue to feel supported by their networks in school and also know how to access support from outside agencies whilst we are closed.