Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 09.03.18

Good afternoon

It just occurred to me that I always begin this ‘blog’ with a ‘good afternoon’, regardless of the time of day I actually write it.  I suppose, I work on the assumption that people read it when it is sent out late afternoon each Friday.  Due to the often unpredictable nature of life in School, I can begin typing at 6.45 a.m. when I arrive and not sign off until late Friday night or even Saturday morning.  I know this appears to be a rather random reflection but I just noticed that it was 9.16 as I typed ‘Good afternoon’.  Anyway, I have a fifteen-minute window to begin the process before breaking off for a series of meetings.  Mrs Roberts, my ever-patient and understanding PA, is ‘out for tea’ at 5 o’clock this evening so I am under strict instructions to have things boxed-off by then so she can upload and email out.

Your email of Latest News contains an enormous variety of items this week with around 8 or 9 departments represented.  It’s been a busy week on the trip front and this serves to highlight the wealth of opportunities provided for Wellington students; whether you’re an A level physicist or politics student, a Year 7 sportsperson or budding thespian or, alternatively, a GCSE student seeking additional input into your studies, there really is something for everyone and this week’s bulletin certainly seems to reflect that.  I have to say, I think Miss Tedford’s and Miss Lloyd’s Romeo & Juliet display looks fabulous.  I hope you enjoy reading about some of the wonderful things students and staff have been up to in the last week

I must, once again, thank all the staff for giving of their time so willingly, particularly as many of our activities do impinge on one’s own time.  I do know of schools where the same commitment to a child’s broader education is far less evident. 

This sheer professionalism and dedication of Wellington staff is one reason I felt the need to speak out last week and take to task those who feel they are entitled to address colleagues in what, in my view, is a rather inappropriate manner.  My words generated the expected response, largely a very positive one.  I hope these parents don’t mind me (anonymously) quoting them but here’s a flavour of your responses:

“After reading tonight’s newsletter, and being saddened to hear about a small number of parents being less than pleasant towards the teachers, I felt I had to get in touch.

I would like to say how pleased I am with my son’s start at Wellington, on the whole I felt that the teachers (at parents’ evening) had a real feel for my son’s character and was thrilled to hear last night that he is doing very well in all areas.

The teachers were well prepared and seemed to be genuinely interested in what I had to say as well as informing me about how my son is getting on.

Thanks again for everyone’s hard work (I hope the sky light was fixed!).”

“Just had Year 7 parents evening last night and we wanted to say how impressed we were at the effort and commitment to learning the staff at Wellington put in. Our son has done so well in his first 6 months at Wellington and we were so proud of him and how far he has come. Each member of staff was aware of the extra support he needs and how the support in place at the moment has helped him to get where he is. Our other child also attends the school in year 11 and what an important year that is. She also has had a great 5 years at Wellington and the extra effort those staff have been putting in, even during school holidays is much appreciated.

We came away last night very proud parents after speaking to the wonderful Miss Hodges who couldn’t say enough about our son.  It was lovely to hear all the kind words. He himself was very pleased when we got home and relayed all the lovely remarks. He went out to school one very pleased young man this morning. Just had to let you all know that as parents we can’t thank you enough for the support and effort you all put in each day.”

“The atmosphere in the school (on the occasions I have been privileged to attend events) has always been positive, inviting and inclusive. My son has definitely made the right choice when he first visited the school 3 years ago and we take pride in being part of the Wellington family.

Thank you again for all your amazing work in all aspects of my child’s school life.”

Thank you to these and other parents who took the trouble to get in touch; my colleagues and I really do appreciate your words of thanks and support.  We know that our work matters and that we make a difference, and that makes our jobs intrinsically motivating, but it’s always nice to be acknowledged by others.  For those who did contact us, I did share your thoughts with colleagues at a staff meeting on Monday afternoon and they were exceptionally well received. 

Just continuing for a moment on the theme of the commitment of my colleagues, we endeavour to meet the needs of all our young people, regardless of their varying needs, their uniqueness, their complexities and their idiosyncrasies and I think, in the main, we do an outstanding job.  Of course, outcomes in public examinations, post-16 and post-18 destinations, attendance figures, participation levels etc. are among the more tangible ‘data’ that suggest we are getting most things right.  It is not quite as easy to evidence that a child leaves us completely ready for the ‘big wide world’, evidently employable, willing to contribute to society and to make a difference, but we believe we do. 

The provision from Local Authorities to help us achieve these aims is becoming increasingly stretched and limited, inevitably so given the real terms cuts to public services.  We are finding in schools, and Wellington is not immune to this scenario, that we are having to do more with less (funding that is).  We invest hugely in our pastoral and academic support systems with our Pastoral Managers, Inclusion, the Hub, our counsellors, the TAs, myriad intervention and support programmes and much more besides.  As announced before half-term, we are very much looking forward to welcoming our new SENCo, Mrs Norbury, to the team in June, and we are constantly seeking other ways to improve our provision further for those children who need us most; it is our moral as well as professional obligation to do so, despite the barriers erected seemingly by those in power.  Communication with parents plays a significant and invaluable part in our capacity to do this effectively.

I’ve just received an email from a mum involved at the Garrick Theatre; she apologies for the late notice but wanted to flag up some performances our students are involved in:

“Apologies for the late notice (incompetence on my part) but I thought some people at Wellington might be interested to know that some Wellington pupils are in theatre productions at the Altrincham Garrick this weekend.  Both are production by Garrick Academy of Performing Arts (GAPA).

On Saturday 10 March, at 2:30pm, there is a performance on the theatre’s Lauriston Studio stage of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sign of the Four” featuring Sam Sparks in Year 11 as Sherlock Holmes. 

At 7pm tonight, Friday 9th of March and 7pm on Saturday 10th of March there is Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat by GAPA 12-16yrs group on the main stage, featuring several Wellington pupils.

Tickets are £7 full price or £5 children/concessions, and can be booked online here: http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=ALTR&organ_val=26446

or via Altrincham Garrick’s booking office, tel: 0161 928 1677
Website: http://www.altrinchamgarrick.co.uk

Unfortunately, I’m not around this weekend but if you do get chance to go along, the quality of the performances at the Garrick is always excellent.  I would certainly welcome a ‘review’ of the shows (preferably with a Wellington slant) for next week’s bulletin if anyone should happen to be in the audience of the weekend.

Well, it’s been a week when the ‘female of the species’ have been to the fore even more than usual (let’s be honest, gents, we know who’s really in charge despite what we like to tell ourselves) with International Women’s Day yesterday and Mothering Sunday this weekend.  I hope we have taken or will take the opportunity to thank, acknowledge, treat, spoil and reward all those strong, positive and irreplaceable female influences in our lives.

On a personal note, and perhaps it’s just me, but with three children aged 17, 16 and 12, two of whom have part-time jobs, should it really be my responsibility to source and pay for Mothers’ Day cards and presents for my wife?  After all, she’s not my mum!  Of course, I don’t begrudge doing the above for my own mother but seriously …?!  Whinge over. 

Anyway, whatever plans you may have for the weekend, have a wonderful time.

Just a quick 80th Anniversary / Sponsored Walk update; if you have been in reception recently, you will have noticed that the ‘totalizer’ is just over £30,000.  A great figure but there are lots and lots of students (including practically the whole of Year 11 as they have had their mock exams) who are still to bring in their sponsor money.  Please, please, please can they do so asap.  I would LOVE to be at £50,000 after two terms.

Take care.

S Beeley