Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 01.12.17

Good afternoon

I really must be brief this morning due to commitments later in the day and, furthermore, as I have started typing a few words earlier than normal, there will inevitably be items in Latest News that I won’t have read and therefore cannot comment on.  I will enjoy catching up over the weekend like everyone else. 

Anyway, another busy week at Wellington and can you honestly believe we have hit December? Incidentally, I was accused of being miserable earlier for not having an Advent calendar!  At my age?

Christmas Fair was a truly wonderful occasion last Sunday, with bigger numbers than ever in attendance (Mrs Copeland is claiming this was all down to the Batmobile) and what is looking like a considerable increase in money raised for our charities.  Thank you to all the stall-holders, parent and governor helpers, the students in their varied and numerous roles and the paying punters.  A great way to start the festive season.

Jumping back to last week and another fundraising venture, on Tuesday 21st November we held the first of three Bake sales, organised and run by Year 8 under the guidance of Mrs Warburton.  Well done on a fabulous £363 raised.

Year 11s began their first mock exams on Monday and, in the main, they have all shown real commitment to their studies.  There is always a small number for whom the penny hasn’t yet dropped but mocks tend to provide a ‘wake-up call’ for those who haven’t quite ‘got it’ yet.  Due to the length and number of GCSE exams under the new regime, mocks are more important than ever; real stamina will be required next summer and, to use a sporting analogy, I wouldn’t dream of running a half marathon without months of serious preparation.  I hope the second week of exams goes well for all concerned.  Best of luck also to the Year 11 football team who have a Greater Manchester Schools cup match this afternoon; a good chance to let off steam after the confines of an exam hall for five days.

The highlight of my week, of course, has to be the M.A.D. Soc trip to London on Monday and Tuesday.  After a very early start on Monday morning, we were extremely excited at the prospect of meeting former pupil Bill Speakman VC at the Royal Hospital Chelsea (Chelsea Pensioners).  Unfortunately, we received word that Bill was unwell (always a possibility given his 90 years and somewhat delicate health).  Despite this disappointment the fourteen pupils, Miss Tidbury and I were all enthralled by our guide, Albert, another veteran, who gave us a fabulous tour of the site (pictures below).  For a history teacher like Miss Tidbury and being something of a history buff myself, his tales and encyclopaedic knowledge proved fascinating; the place exuded British military and social history.  After a team meal at Pizza Express in Richmond, it was an early night in preparation for Day 2.  We braved commuter rush hour traffic on the tube and Miss Tidbury set off with her merry band of Year 7s to the Tower of London to enhance their study of Tudor England, whilst I accompanied the 6th Formers to the Old Bailey; and what an experience.  We were greeted by Nick Hilliard QC (‘a friend of a friend’ as it were) and were treated like VIP guests throughout our stay.  Everyone was just so lovely and accommodating.  We actually got to sit in on an ongoing terrorist case and, understandably, the students were absolutely fascinated.  The two groups then met for a bite to eat before jumping on the train back to Richmond and the minibus journey back to HQ.

I have been privileged to go on many trips and visits in my twenty-five years’ teaching, but this has to rank amongst the most memorable.  I’m sure the students were suitably informed and inspired in equal measure.  This will definitely become a staple of the Wellington calendar so others can benefit from the experience.

Before I forget, could I remind parents (and anyone else for that matter) that they can download the Wellington app from the App store? Search for Smart School parent app and you’ll find Wellington on the list.  You can also follow us on twitter, for which there is a link on the app.  The app will be used for a whole range of things in the future, so getting accustomed to it now would be useful.

On behalf of Mr Holt, could I also encourage you to complete the Kirkland Rowell parent survey sent home earlier this week?  We currently have around ninety responses (I’m sure you have it on your weekend ‘to do’ list!) and ordinarily receive round five hundred in total; it would be wonderful and would help us enormously with a view to improving ourselves further if we received even more this year.

On the subject of parental feedback, thank you to those of you who contacted me in support of my letter recently on mobile phone use and the lack of respect shown occasionally to our ‘front line’ staff.  The consensus was that it is indeed intolerable. There was one person, however, who expressed their negative view of my letter, labelling our mobile phone policy ‘archaic’ and ‘draconian’ and my tone ‘high-handed and dictatorial’.  There may be others who share such a view. Of course, it was never my intention to be such, but I did wish to have absolutely clarity on these issues; there really is no room for negotiation and for all the right reasons.  I have yet to see any evidence that access to mobile phones enhances either the learning or social environment of a school, quite the contrary.  For those who may say that our ruling on this is extreme and out of sync with others, I would assert categorically that it is not atypical and, in fact, colleagues in other schools who have a more relaxed policy on mobile use, usually wish that this wasn’t the case.  Unfortunately, schools often feel that, despite their better judgement and ultimate wishes, it would too much of a challenge to retreat from the positions they find themselves in. 

A reminder (not sure if Mrs Moorhouse intends to send one out) that there will be the second Community Choir gathering on Monday 6.30-8.00pm in the Vale Hall – all welcome!  Preparations for the Carol Service will be the focus, I believe.

Well done to the Year 7 football team, the Year 8/9 basketball team (not seen any other sports’ reports at this stage) and also to Ines Starbuck in Year 7 for winning the Christmas card competition.  We always like a few success stories to end the week and I’m sure there are plenty more out there. 

Have a great weekend (which for me will NOT involve putting up a Christmas tree or decorations just yet!)

S Beeley