Update from the Head 12th February

Dear parents, 

It is a nice feeling to reach February half term and I am sure that everyone is looking forward to a break. It has been a highly unusual and intense term and I’m not sorry to see the back of it. We long for a return to normality and I am hopeful that we will get some information from the government about plans for re-opening shortly. 

I’m also waiting on information about examinations. Hopefully we’ll get some certainty on this soon so that we can come up with a plan to support our students through whatever the DfE/Ofqual put in place. Until we know what the arrangements are we are focussing on completing all of the content for our courses.  


Balcarras named as the Teaching School Hub for Cheltenham, Stroud and The Cotswolds 

It’s nice to be able to start this update with some really good news. The Department for Education has decided to re-organise the Teaching School system and appoint around 80 lead Teaching Schools to coordinate professional development opportunities in different localities across the country. The DfE made the announcement yesterday. If you are interested in the announcement then please take a look at this article. 

Also we have an article on our website: 

It is a great accolade for the school and a ringing endorsement of our work as a Teaching School since 2012. I would like to pay tribute to Mrs Liz Cullis who coordinated our bid. We intend to work closely with the other Teaching School Hub for Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Tewkesbury and the Forest) which will be led by Pate’s Grammar School. 

Applications for the Sixth Form 

We have received hundreds of applications for places in the sixth form already. If you haven’t filled in your application then get to it! There is information on the website to help you here: 

Alternatively contact the sixth form directly on 

Mindfulness Friday 

We thought Mindfulness Friday was a great success…so much so that we intend to do it again on Friday 5th March. More details to follow. 

Year 9 Options

A reminder to Year 9 pupils and parents the options materials are on the school website. Options forms will be emailed to pupils on the 26th of February (after the Year 9 parents evening the day before).


We are a donation hub for the Gloucestershire #LaptopsForLearning scheme. If you have any old laptops, or tablets that you no longer need, please drop them to reception after half term and they will be repurposed and distributed to families in Cheltenham in need of electronic devices. 

Contact Tracing during half term 

The school will continue to provide contact tracing during the February half term. If your child tests positive for COVID and has been in attendance two days prior to first having symptoms or receiving a positive test then please contact the school. Please use the following email address: 

This email box will be checked daily.  


We are aware that students in Y8, Y9 and Y10 will require vaccinations soon. We have posted some information on the Balcarras website about vaccinations for each year group along with some planned dates for when we hope to be able to offer those vaccinations within school (pending the situation with Covid/school closure).  

 Our School 

 Parent Information 


In the meantime, the NHS immunization team has been contacting some parents/carers of Y9 students that have previously given consent, to arrange for the HPV booster vaccination to be given at a local community clinic. If you have any questions or concerns, there are phone numbers you can call on our website vaccination page. 

Finally can I wish all of our students a lovely half term break. You’ve really earned this one and I hope you all are able to have a rest and re-charge your batteries. I am hopeful that it won’t be much longer before we can start to get things back to normal. 

Take care. 

Dominic Burke