Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 25.01.19

Good afternoon.

What a day!  I’ve had a few busy ones in my time but it has been particularly frantic today.  I must say, however, that it has been the usual gratifyingly varied mix of stuff that only a school environment can throw at you.  It might seem like I’m whinging a little, but I do love it really!

I’ve just finished a fabulous session with the MAD club; catching up on their visit to Pictor School last week in my absence and then progressing to a quiz which was aimed at highlighting people’s overwhelming misconception of the world.  The quiz was taken from a book I’m currently reading called Factfulness.  In essence, it encourages us to adopt a fact-based view of the world rather than an over-dramatised one that we often accept as reality.  Quite simply, the world isn’t going ‘to hell in a hand-cart’ as it happens; in so many ways, we’ve made great strides in recent times and the world is now a better place for great swathes of its population than it was in recent history.  For example, Question 3, which only 9% of people questioned in the UK answered correctly (5% in the USA), asks: Over the last 20 years, has the number of people living in ‘extreme poverty’ in the world … a) doubled b) remained roughly the same c) halved?  The answer is c)!  This, of course, leads to a discussion over what is ‘extreme poverty’.  Other questions cover life expectancy, the education of girls / women, vaccinations, natural disasters and more besides.  The book’s well worth a read and hopefully a positive message to end the week / start the weekend for the MAD Clubbers.  Inevitably, one mustn’t conflate ‘getting better’ with perfect.  We suggested that with homelessness, male chauvinism, plane crashes, famine, conflict, modern day slavery, climate change ‘deniers’ and more besides, the work of MAD Club perhaps isn’t finished just yet.  As I once read in a book about the history of activism across the world; it’s always too soon to go home.

Before you start to think I’m some lunatic radical indoctrinating your children (only partly true), I see it as very much our duty to raise awareness of issues, allow students to discuss them, draw their own conclusions and, if they feel moved to do so, act further on their beliefs.  I think it’s probably just called developing their citizenship, creating a spirit of altruism, of ‘society’, isn’t it?

I’ve been asked to pass on some messages by a few colleagues (information which can also be found on the website).

For those of you with children sitting GCSE and A levels this summer please read the announcement from Mrs Baxter about the exam contingency day on Wednesday 26th June.  The justification as to why this has been introduced is explained but the most important thing is that those of you for whom this is relevant should keep this date clear in your diaries if at all possible. 

The provisional dates of all examinations are also on the website and there is a link from Mrs Baxter’s article.

Continuing with exams, can I remind parents of Year 11 students that there is now a link to the ParentPay online shop for GCSE revision guides on the website under the Parent tab.  This saves students having to approach each of their teachers with a handful of change to buy guides individually. 

Some great news this week; starting during the last academic year, students at Wellington have been able to access speech and drama lessons delivered by peri teacher Miss Bounds (latterly Miss Fenton whilst Miss Bounds is on maternity leave).  The first batch of exams was taken recently by 14 students across Years 8-10 and they achieved collectively 11 distinctions and 3 merits.  I hope this is an incentive for them to continue and for others to perhaps give these lessons a go; after all, they can be of huge benefit to developing one’s character and confidence.

Some key events in the School calendar this week, which there may very well be further reports on, but, just in passing, on Wednesday morning Year 9 enjoyed their first taste of a careers’ event.  Mr Holt once again arranged for a number of educational providers (including staff and 6th formers from Wellington) to address our Year 9s on a carousel basis.  Certainly plenty of food for thought.  This was swiftly followed by last night’s Key Stage 4 options evening for parents, delivered by Mr Fenwick.  Coming up is the Year 9 parents evening and subject talks in lesson time covering all the possible options choices.  Hopefully by 28th February the students and their parents will be very much in a position to make the right decisions.

I mentioned Pictor School earlier, who, along with Timperley Boxing Club, will be beneficiaries of our fundraising efforts this year, and Mrs Copeland arranged for Mark from the boxing club and Jacqui, the Head from Pictor, to deliver assemblies to all year groups this week.  They certainly seemed to have had the desired impact and hopefully inspired our students to raise another fantastic amount (£46,000 from the sponsored walk alone last year!).

Another very special fixture in the Wellington School calendar is our contribution to Holocaust Memorial Day.  Mr Gerschler has again written a lovely piece about this event on Wednesday at Sale Waterside.  Thanks and well done to him, Mrs Hamlin, Miss Memery and, of course, the brilliant Year 9 students who performed superbly.

I’ve just realised I’ve not heard any sports results this week.  Looking at the diary, there’s been some basketball and girls’ football.  I’m sure reports will follow.

It’s the return to rugby fixtures next week with Years 7-9 away at Lymm on Tuesday.  They’re traditionally a strong rugby school so we’ll be up against it but we have enjoyed several victories over there in recent years. 

Sadly, as I have mentioned in previous weeks, we say goodbye to Pastoral Manager Louise Warburton today.  The response to her departure from both students and colleagues today speaks volumes; Mrs Warburton has been a wonderfully caring and compassionate servant to the school community since she took the courageous / foolish plunge into the unknown in September 2014.  She has made a difference to the lives of so many young people in that time and I know her current crop will miss her enormously.  She goes with our very best wishes and thanks. 

On that note … PUB!   Ordinarily, I’d be rushing home into the bosom of my adoring family!  It would be remiss of me, rude in fact, not to nip down for a quick farewell pint with Warby!

Have a great weekend everyone.

S Beeley