Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 15.03.19

Good morning.

As I began my journey to work this morning, I heard the tragic news breaking from Christchurch in New Zealand; the horrific and senseless murder of 40 innocent people attending Friday prayers.  The full facts (at 7.07 a.m.) have not as yet emerged but it appears this was another vile act of bigotry and hatred, which seems so anathema to such a seemingly peaceful and diverse culture as New Zealand.  All we can do is keep the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers and hope, once again, that some good, in the form of unity and reconciliation, can come from this tragedy.

It seems almost crass to be adopt the usual more light-hearted tone of my bulletin following these events but, I suppose, one must always seek to focus on the positives and it is always appropriate to celebrate the efforts of Wellington students.  It is essential that we challenge the warped ideologies that spawn such atrocities and we must teach our children to do just that.  We encourage students to Make a Difference, to be ‘activists’ in their own way, and it is with that in mind that I am accompanying 8 students, as representatives of the School, to the Youth for Climate protest in Manchester later today.  I asked on this bulletin a few weeks ago what parents thought I should have done had the ‘strike’ in February not taken place during our half-term; should I have allowed students to miss School to attend or not?  Having discussed it with students and received some parental feedback, I decided a nice compromise was to allow a small group of passionate climate change campaigners (they knock regularly on my door to press their point) to represent the School.  I would add that no other absences will be authorised for this purpose, as this way we show our support for such an important cause but minimise disruption to learning.  We’ll be jumping on the tram after break, waving our banners and get back to School in time for Period 5.  Just hope the rain stays off.

The highlight of this week has to be the Year 7 homework presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Adshead Hall, organised once again by Mrs Shelley.  Projects on topics such as the brain, language acquisition, medieval castles, the solar system, medicine through time and, of course, plastics in our oceans were produced and then presented beautifully.  I say every year, but there is no way I would have presented so confidently and articulately to parents and teachers at the age of 11 or 12.  Mrs Shelley received some great feedback on the night and subsequently.  Here is one parent’s email:

“Good Morning,

I felt obliged to provide some feedback on the event that I attended yesterday afternoon.  I didn’t have chance to fill in one of the feedback forms at the end of our session.

I was honestly amazed at the confidence and engagement of all of the pupils I had the pleasure of speaking to. It was obvious they had put a lot of work into their project and they really came alive when you started talking to them. To have the ability to talk at length about a piece of work and present their findings at such a young age is remarkable. Self-presentation is such an important life skill and every pupil I spoke to yesterday made a positive impression.

I look forward to more of the same as my son moves up through the school.

Well done!

I’d be grateful if you could pass on my feedback to the teachers involved in the organisation of the event as well as Mr Beeley.”

Well done indeed and we are already discussing how we may add to the opportunities to develop and show case these essential skills at various stages of the students’ school careers.

Well done also to the Year 10 football team who gained promotion following a 1-4 victory away at Sale High last night; Mr Tomlinson was suitably thrilled.  On another sporting note, I was delighted to read that the Year 8s had entered a 6-a-side cricket tournament at AGSB yesterday.  Sounds like they competed well and it was even more pleasing to see a mixed team of 2 girls and 4 boys, with Bronte Neary receiving the accolade of MVP (Most Valuable Player) from Mr Tomlinson.

We had our first rugby fixtures for quite some time on Monday, away at Bridgewater High School in Warrington, a rugby heartland of course.  The 8s struggled against an extremely able side but perhaps could have shown a little more resilience; the poor attendance at training of some squad members hasn’t helped.  The Year 7s, on the other hand, played some fabulous rugby, particularly given their limited playing time since Christmas due to cancelled fixtures.  Dayan and Ben made impressive debuts and it was great to have Finn and Dan back in the squad.  Lewis was the usual powerhouse that he is and Alex worked his socks off as always.  With 15 players, this is the biggest squad we’ve had out this year and a real confidence boost for the lads.  We have a rugby league tournament next week and a rugby union 7-a-side tournament the week after, so plenty of opportunity to build on this success.  I’m not entirely sure of the final score on Monday – we raced to a 6-2 half-time lead but they pulled back in the second half and I think it might have been a 9 tries-a-piece classic draw by the final whistle.  The results matters far less than the brilliant attitude and the improvement the boys demonstrated.

Also in sport, you can read about the latest successes of our synchro ice-skating duo of Imogen and Tilly.  Well done, ladies.

As the school day has not yet started, I am still awaiting contributions for this week’s bulletin but I look forward to catching up with reports on Maths Challenges, International Pi day, the Maths trip to Bletchley Park, the Big Bang Science and Engineering Fair, the visit of a Holocaust survivor, the Year 7 Science trip to Chester Zoo, further outreach work by the Mysteries of History club in local primaries and some of the other wonderful things that have taken place this week.

I hope the Year 9s are ok today after their immunisations yesterday; I had to reassure one girl on the gate after school who panicked, “I think my arm is going to fall off!”  She added, “I could feel fluid running down inside my arm during period 5; I felt like a Fruitshoot!”  You’ve gotta laugh!

Could I, once again implore you to be mindful of the safety of our students and other pedestrians when driving or parking near to school. A Year 7 student actually had her foot run over earlier this week by a car that mounted the pavement by the entrance on Wellington Road. Fortunately, the injuries sustained on this occasion were not severe but of course it could have been far worse. If the parents and the School cannot effectively police things themselves, I will have no alternative other than to report these matters to the authorities. Thank you for your co-operation in advance.

Despite a minor setback at Arsenal on Sunday, I have every confidence that Utd will be back on track at Wolves in the FA Cup tomorrow at the unusual KO time of 19.55, but of course that allows me to help out at the second Year 9 Bronze D of E training day in School, get home for the rugby (England v Scotland at 17.00) as an hors d’oeuvre and settle down for the big match. 

I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear that my Under 17 rugby team at Warrington sealed the league title on Sunday and with two semi-finals pending we are on course for the treble.  The first of those semis is on Sunday, so a busy sporting weekend it will be.

Right, fairly short bulletin today as there’s lots to do.  Off now to cover Mr Ashfield’s Year 10 Chemistry lesson as he is on the trip to Chester Zoo.  It’s always good to cover lessons and chat to students whom ordinarily I don’t get chance to.  I just hope they don’t ask me any challenging chemistry questions!

Have a most pleasant weekend.

S Beeley