Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 08.02.19

Good afternoon.

Well, there we are, another half-term nailed!  Five and a half weeks, four parents’ evenings, a Year 9 options evening, countless extra lessons for GCSE and A level students, plenty of sport (a fair few weather-hit fixtures though), trips to here, there and everywhere, careers’ events and even a ‘snow day’ (I could extend the list indefinitely, of course); not surprising that my colleagues are feeling a little jaded today.  Although, sharing more delightful emails from grateful parents following last night’s Year 8 parents’ evening, inevitably puts one in a buoyant mood.  I would agree unreservedly with the parent who wrote in one email this morning that ‘Your team are a credit to you.’  Indeed they are and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts again this half term.  I too hope they have ‘a restful, well-earned break next week.’

Despite the fatigue, there is definitely a sense of Spring in the air, and its accompanying positivity and new beginnings; the gloom of January is behind us (dry or otherwise), the lighter evenings are creeping in and the bulbs are starting to appear in both the School and my own garden.  Happy days!

The PE department headed off in the early hours of yesterday morning with 45 students to the mountains of Vermont for the annual ski trip.  Not that I’m jealous in the slightest.  Mr Tomlinson text me last night to say they had landed safely and were about to ‘endure’ the three-hour drive to the resort.  My heart bleeds.  He did add that the students had been superb thus far.  Despite my inevitable envy, I do wish them a safe and hugely enjoyable trip. 

As I type, I can hear applause from the Vale Hall as guest speakers address our Year 12 students as part of their Life Skills Day.  I’m sure Mr Cropper and his team will report back in greater detail in due course.  This is but one of the innumerable events and activities we provide as part of that essential wider education / enrichment aspect of school life.  On that note, I am delighted to read the new Ofsted framework (which will take effect in September 2019 following the consultation period) and how ‘personal development’ has become one of the four stand-alone categories.  It is something I firmly believe we excel at here at Wellington.  Granted there is always more to do.  Equipping students with “cultural capital”: “… the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens … helping them to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement” is, quite frankly, music to my ears.  The aim of producing responsible, active citizens, who develop confidence and resilience, healthy relationships and an effective careers programme, lies at the heart of everything we strive to achieve at Wellington.  Furthermore, it reassures me to read that an ‘outstanding’ school will consistently go the “extra mile” to promote the personal development of its pupils.   Do we not see that every day in School life, a mere flavour of which can be viewed each Friday in this bulletin and in other Latest News?

Just finished MAD Club and some great news form Issie Hornby in Year 8; Issie, Hannah Fielding and Georgia Forsythe have been short-listed for a science competition which now means they will have a stall at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham (the country’s biggest science fair for young people).  I believe Miss Tierney may be providing further details, but well done, ladies, from me!

Whilst I’m acknowledging achievements, I was delighted to read Miss Richards’ piece this week about students’ sporting successes outside School.  I’ll let you read the specifics yourselves but well done to all those mentioned; Maggie, Hannah, Jessica and Toby (all Year 7).  As always, I would encourage parents to keep us informed of all the great stuff our young people do in the evenings, at the weekends and during holiday time.  This needs to be celebrated every bit as much as what they do in School.

Great to see students in DT doing their bit for Wellington news reporting with their excellent reviews of their work so far.  Thank you to Mrs Booth for encouraging their journalistic endeavours.

This week, we also have contributions from Spanish, Music and PE, and almost certainly more by the close of play. 

I’m not one to gloat and I apologise to any Irish rugby fans out there, but I didn’t see that result in Dublin coming – what a performance!  What a great weekend of sport it was too: England victorious against the 6 Nations favourites; Warrington Wolves winning in style against Leeds Rhinos; and the mighty reds demolished a strong Leicester City side 0-1!  Hopefully more of the same this weekend, the highlight undoubtedly being England v France at Twickenham on Sunday.  Well actually, my Warrington Under 17s v Chester on Sunday is the headline act but England / France is a close second. 

I hope you’ve all got exciting plans for the week ahead.  I’m absolutely gutted that I have a different half-term to my wife and three children.  I really don’t know what I’ll do with all that time, peace, quiet, space and freedom to myself! Oh, the endless possibilities.  Actually, with less than 50 days remaining to a potential no deal Brexit and the inevitable apocalypse, I must start my panic-buying , so Costco I here come! 

I don’t want to put a downer on things, but I do hope our Year 11s and Years 13s have organised their time off.  Of course one can build leisure / relaxation / fun time into schedules but with second mocks looming after the holiday, sacrifices have to be made.  I wish it were different but that is the reality of the situation.  The rewards, however, are there to be had and overwhelmingly students get what they deserve in the summer’s exams.  It’s great for both students and staff, a real fillip, when we see grades very much heading in the right direction in March.  Good luck to all concerned.  And remember, put those phones to one side and out of reach whilst you’re revising!

Have a great weekend and a lovely half-term.

S Beeley