Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 03.02.17

Good afternoon

Every week’s a good week in the magical kingdom that is Wellington School (I don’t know whether I’m more comparable to the Lion, the Tin man, the Scarecrow or the Wizard of Oz himself) but I have found the last five days to be particularly rewarding and enjoyable. N.B. I refer to the Land of Oz, you may prefer Fantasy Island, Utopia, Hades, La La Land (topical!) or something other … answers on a postcard, as they say.

Anyway, there is indeed something of a recruitment crisis in teaching and even schools as successful as ours are not getting the number of applicants for advertised posts that we once did. So, it is always a relief when we secure new staff, and the week got off to a great start on Monday with the appointment of a new member of the Science team (physics to be precise).

More good news followed with the recovery of the bike stolen from the bike sheds at the back of School last Thursday.  It was returned to the grateful owner on Tuesday by our police liaison officer PC McNulty.  The mightily relieved mum of the student wrote these kind words, a real testament to the support and compassion invariably displayed by the staff of Wellington School;

“I am writing to express my most sincere thanks to the staff at Wellington in particular, Mr Webb, Mr Holt and your site team for all their help and support last Thursday.

Last night PC McNulty returned my son’s stolen bike to us. Without the CCTV from school, the neighbours alerting school and your fabulous Senior Leadership Team we would not have been so lucky!

My son, I hope, has learned a valuable lesson and has promised me he will ensure he puts his bike at the front of school and locks it!

Mr Holt was really wonderful looking after him last Thursday night, the Pastoral care from Wellington has always been exceptional. Mr Webb was fantastic with my daughter when she was at Wellington and she was over the moon to hear about how Mr Webb was instrumental in the capture of the thief!

Please could you also pass on my thanks to Tracy Thomson too.”

On a similar note, I was approached by a parent at parents’ evening last night (well done Year 10 and their mums and dads by the way; great turn-out and a real positive and friendly buzz about the place) who wished to express his gratitude and delight for the School’s response to an incident this week involving his younger child. He was impressed with how promptly and effectively we dealt with the matter and was satisfied with the ultimate outcome.  I pointed out to him that the School’s investment in six Pastoral Managers and other roles of a supportive nature allows us to respond to such matters in a manner that many schools may not.  It is a concern, of course, with rapidly shrinking school budgets that some institutions have had to cut back on these and other vital but supplementary roles.  Rest assured, we will not be doing this at Wellington but I cannot deny that the next few years, at least, will be very financially challenging for all schools.  I will be raising this issue with you on numerous occasions, I dare say, in the future.

Each year, we take part in Trafford’s Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony as well as hosting our own events in School.  At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the UK, a symptom of the growing isolationism, fear, ignorance and bigotry around the world which fuels that ‘close the borders’ mentality, these commemorations are more important than ever.  Please read Mr Gerschler’s account of the Year 9 drama piece ‘Erika’s Story’, directed by he and Miss Foster, which enhanced a day of tributes at the town hall.  It sounds like an incredibly moving performance and I very much look forward to watching it repeated in School on Monday.  Holocaust survivor Tomi Komoly will also be joining us to address Year 9.

Here is some wonderful feedback from an audience member;

“I am just writing to congratulate your drama department on a most moving and professional portrayal from the book Erika’s Story. The actors through the scenes were word perfect and seamless in a rapidly moving play, and the narrator had to remember a large part which she did effortlessly. I hope they will perform the same at your school or other places.”

Well, it’s been a week when ‘Girl Power’ has been to the fore:  third in the Year 7 Greater Manchester ‘futsal’ championships; a solid performance in the Year 10 Handball tournament (the girls were saving themselves for the following day), a close third in the Year 8 girls’ football at Manchester United’s training ground and … (drum roll) we are now Trafford netball champions in 3 age groups – Year 7, 8 and 10 –  with resounding victories against BTH, BTH and Urmston Grammar respectively on Wednesday night.  I haven’t checked the archives yet but I am reliably informed this is the first time we have achieved this in the School’s history.  The Year 10 team were crowned champions for the third successive year, so well done to you ladies and to Coach Hodges.  I wonder if Mrs Thomson’s Year 8s can emulate this and perhaps Miss Challinor’s Year 7s can even go one better and make it 4 years on the run?!  Thank you for your support, as a number of parents and staff turned out to cheer the girls on.  I’m still ‘buzzing’ from the experience.  Rewards are on their way, girls!

Boys’ football recommences very soon and I wonder whether they will be spurred on by the girls’ achievements.  Now there’s a challenge!  Well done thought to the Year 8/9 (mainly Year8) who competed extremely well to earn a draw against AGSB in their basketball fixture on Wednesday (see Mr Tomlinson’s report)

Back to rugby next week, with Year 7 and 8 fixtures against Sandymoor High School on Monday and a Year 9 rugby league match against BTH on Tuesday. The latter being a new sporting departure.

Unfortunately, the silverware rush didn’t continue last night at the Bowdon festival, where we have won the choir competition for the previous two years.  Word has spread and there were more choirs than ever this year, with the prizes going to Withington High School for Girls and St Ambrose.  Our students performed exceptionally well once again, with particular plaudits for the Year 7s and their cones (!) and all our choristers are determined to put the record straight next year.

We are blessed in Manchester with access to myriad ‘cultural’ venues and activities and we are always keen and seeking opportunities at Wellington to expose our young people to them.  I haven’t yet visited Home in the city centre but I believe it’s a fabulous facility and I am delighted our Year 10 dual linguists paid a visit this week. 

Just in, a report, via the office, of a good deed from members of the Wellington community;

“I just wanted to let you know that a lady has just phoned in to let us know how lovely the Sixth formers are. She lives on Moss Lane and her handbrake was jammed on her car. The Sixth formers were on their way back from lunch and all stopped to try and help her.

Unfortunately, the handbrake is still stuck but she really appreciated the help.”

Mrs Wilson has since forwarded this message;

“I have managed to identify them – Alex Robins and Dan Mullings in Year 13. They just received a spontaneous round of applause in Private Study!” Well done, gents.

I managed to write the bulletin up to this point before school this morning, mindful that I had limited time available during the day, and I have now ‘reconvened’ to finish off.  In the interim, I have been interviewing for a Geography post.  I am delighted that we have just appointed our second Former Wellingtonian, coincidentally both in Geography.  Miss Hennessy who started in September will be joined from next September by Miss Jones. She was over the moon to be returning to her alma mater and will be a welcome addition to the team.

I was approached by a parent last night at parents’ evening who wanted to say how much she enjoys reading the weekly bulletin; apparently it makes her chuckle (clearly not my intention) and she also uttered the words ‘highlight of my week’ (clearly needs to get out more!).  Apparently, she found my (deeply traumatic) cycling accident, about this time last year actually, particularly amusing.  I still bear the scars.  The lovely lady also mentioned that I often seem to refer to alcohol in my closing remarks.  I would like to stress, particularly to any students who may read this, that any such consumption is in absolute moderation and most often purely for medicinal / relaxation purposes.

Anyway, I would love to go on but Mr Fenwick and I are meeting up with former SLT colleague Mr Vizzard for a pint in Manchester so I must dash!

Oh, and the 6 Nations begins tomorrow; England v France at 16.50 … Allez les Rosbifs!

Have a great weekend.

S P Beeley