Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 14.12.18

Good afternoon.

First of all, my apologies again for any inconvenience caused by the school closure on Wednesday.  Although I deliberated to a degree on Wednesday morning due to the potential impact on parents and loss of learning time, it was, on reflection, the right decision.  Nick Woolley, site team member, walked the School with his trusted thermometer first thing and the buildings were 2 or 3 degrees below advised temperatures, and it did in fact get colder as the morning progressed.  Furthermore, there would have been no break or lunch service in the Dining Hall so we would have had to send the students home at 1.05 anyway.  I have to say, those youngsters who made it as far as the school gates on Wednesday morning didn’t look too disappointed to be turned around by members of SLT waiting to greet them!  I hope the day was spent constructively; GDPR stuff, Spring term planning and Christmas card writing were the order of the day in my office … electric heater on of course!

One knock-on effect of the gas issue was the postponement of Christmas lunch until yesterday but this did nothing to detract from what was another joyous occasion.  Year 7 came down early at 12.35 and sang along to ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ with great enthusiasm, they pulled 200+ of Aldi’s finest crackers and, unsurprisingly, most pushed their sprouts disapprovingly to the side of their plate!  I’ve always been a bit weird, admittedly, but I loved sprouts as a child. I even observed one Year 9 boy yesterday being dared to eat a sprout by his friend as if it was some ‘Bush tucker’ challenge from I’m a Celebrity …!  From 1.05, the remaining years descended on the Dining Hall and the older students were perhaps inevitably more restrained but I was mightily impressed with Year 9 girls’ sing-along to Maria Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas.’   Great Christmas compilation this year, by the way, Mrs Moorhouse.

Thanks to Leon, Sarah and team in the Dining Hall for their efforts once again this year.

The festive fun and frolics continue today with staff and 6th form Christmas jumper day in aid of Life Share, a Manchester-based charity for the homeless.  More details to follow from Mrs Wilson but I think staff and students surpassed previous levels of ‘ridiculousness’.

Mrs Stephens and Miss Grey have also coordinated a collection for the food bank at Timperley Methodist Church this week.  Given the particularly short turn-around time, I can’t quite believe the amount of items donated.  Having said that, this is Wellington students and their families, so I suppose such a positive response and sense of community should have come as no great surprise.  Anyway, thank you to those of you who have contributed so far.  We are taking everything down to the Methodist church on Tuesday so, although today was the official deadline, we certainly won’t refuse anything brought in on Monday or Tuesday.

I was gutted that Wednesday’s closure meant we had to postpone an eagerly awaited rugby fixture for all three KS3 teams away at Stockport Grammar.  Stockport have a strong sporting reputation and heritage and would provide us with the sort of challenge we need to better ourselves.  Furthermore, it is the first time we have travelled away en masse with all three teams.  Never mind, we shall re-arrange.

In other sporting news, I’m delighted to hear that Mr Riley’s Year 7 girls’ football team continued their cup run with a nail-biting victory after penalties against BTH on Monday.  In fact, the Year 7 girls have been busy across several sports this week with performances in hockey and netball too.  I’ll leave you to read all about the outcomes of those matches yourselves.  A fine term’s work overall, ladies, so very well done!

I was fortunate to catch the last few minutes of the Year 10/11 boys’ basketball league win over ACA on Tuesday after rugby training had finished – another tense affair but I will be diplomatic and not elaborate further. 

Mr Manifould has asked me to give a ‘shout out’ to James Hartley in Year 8.  James has recently joined the rugby squad but is better known for his lacrosse playing prowess.  Not only does he play for his own age group at Timperley but he leads training as well and also takes sessions for younger players.  He also trains with the Under 16’s, by all accounts, because he’s pretty decent as it turns out!  Well done, James.  We’ve had lacrosse internationals from Wellington previously with one securing a university scholarship in the U.S ; could James be the next in line?

A rather frenetic week again all round but there’s no better way to end it than spending Friday lunch time in the company of my M.A.D. Club chums from Year 7 and 8.  They really are a delight.  Two things from today’s hot chocolate-fuelled gathering made me laugh but at the same time epitomise these sessions; firstly, a Year 7 girl sat in my ‘big chair’ (all other seats were taken) as if it were perfectly normal, chipping in to discussions as and when appropriate, adopting a rather pensive demeanour like a Rodin statue, a pose I can only assume she thinks I would adopt.  Secondly, a Year 8 girl asked me if there were ‘any big issues you want our opinion on this week, Sir?’  Love it!  Student voice in action and at its most honest and open. 

This hectic penultimate week of the Autumn term was perhaps not made any easier for colleagues by the addition of a parents’ evening.  We decided that the Year 7 and 8 parents’ evenings were taking place too late in the year (after February half term), so one year group would have to be brought forward to this term.  For a whole host of reasons, Year 10 got the nod.  I’m sure it was the last thing colleagues wanted at the end of a long and tiring 15-week term but pay-back will come in February and, moreover, it is clearly better for our Year 7 students and their parents ultimately.  Anyway, as always there was a fabulous turn-out and Mr Gubbins was doubtless delighted with his first parents’ evening as Director of Year 10.  Conversely, it was Mr Pinkerton’s last as he has decided to retire to Cornwall with his good lady in the New Year.  Of course, we thank him for all his incredible support of the students during his two stints with us.  He will be very much missed and we wish him all the very best (tinged with a hint of jealousy) as he embarks on this new chapter.  He will be replaced by Mr Bailey who joins us at the end of January. 

Thanks to colleagues in MFL, Drama, Science, Media and Maths for their contributions to this week’s Latest News (there may be others by the time we ‘go to print’); I hope you enjoy reading about these myriad activities over the weekend.  Don’t let anyone tell you schools (at least not Wellington) are ‘winding’ down at the end of term.  It will be full steam ahead through to 12.15 next Thursday and then … breathe! Or rather sleep.

Nearly the weekend and, having survived a full 80 minutes of rugby last Saturday (playing not watching!), I’m doing it again tomorrow.  My ageing body has just about recovered, I think.  It’s years since I’ve enjoyed that perverse pleasure of returning to the changing rooms, covered from head to toe in mud and endeavouring to remove one’s boots and other items of kit without any feeling in one’s fingers.  Brilliant!  The post-match port and brandy provided some assistance, I have to say! 

Many of you with older children will have experienced this simple pleasure yourselves no doubt, but last Friday I picked my 18-year-old daughter up from school and for the first time (it was her birthday in November), I suggested we stop for a drink on the way home.  A glass of red later, we had put the world to rights (she’s a politics and philosophy scholar so never short of an opinion), and of course there’s quite a bit to put right currently, before returning home to join the rest of family Beeley.  Although it’s always nice to have family-time, I’m sure you would agree that it’s so important to make 1-1 time for you as a parent with each of your children individually.  Those moments are so special … and also a damn good excuse to go for ‘early doors’ on the way home on a Friday!

Have a fabulous weekend wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

S Beeley