Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 06.01.17

Good afternoon and a Happy New Year to you all; I hope Santa was kind to you and that you feel suitably rested and ready for whatever excitement and challenges 2017 may bring.

I have to say I could get quite used to this two-day week malarkey.  Inevitably, however, because of the abbreviated period, there isn’t a great deal to report as staff and students have been reacclimatising to School routine but I’m sure there will be plenty to read about next Friday.  I do hope you found the new format of the ‘bulletin’ (features individually itemised on the email you received before Christmas) to your liking; please note, that you can unsubscribe if you do not wish to receive this email each Friday.

I will also keep this short as I have an SLT review and planning day today (ALL day!) and, what’s more, I have a stinking cold and feel pretty rotten.  This is entirely my own fault as I have been rather smug, even gloating, over the last few weeks as friends, family and colleagues have gone down with various lurgies.  Anyway, I thought I would share with you some of musings I emailed to staff on Thursday, just to set the scene for the term / year ahead, if you like. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my holidays as much as the next person but I do look forward to coming back to school for several reasons: holiday time is just too damn expensive (with 3 children to drain one’s resources); I like the structure and routine that the working day provides and, primarily, because I genuinely enjoy and get huge satisfaction out of my job.  I came in to do a few hours’ work and to gather my school-related thoughts last Wednesday (28th) and during the course of the day became increasingly energised, galvanised and quite simply determined to do even better in 2017, as I reflected on the past and contemplated the future.  There seems to be a school of thought that deemed 2016 an ‘annus horribilis’ (to quote Her Majesty from 1992) due to the considerable number of high profile deaths, the political thunder-bolts and the seemingly endless litany of atrocities from around the globe.  As someone who considers himself the eternal optimist / glass half full kind of person, although shocked and saddened by such events, it is crucial that we always find that ‘silver lining’.  We are, indeed, privileged in our profession (and also as parents) to be able to help our young people make sense of their world, focus on the positives and, ultimately, make a difference as we so often say.  My evolving resolution to make 2017 the best year ever for the staff, students and everyone associated with Wellington (note to self; also find more time for family!) was compounded further last Wednesday when I received a call from wife saying a friend of hers had, that morning, lost a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 46, leaving behind her husband, 14-year-old son and daughter who turns 13 today!  But for the grace of God!  Those two poor children do not attend Wellington but we have others (and colleagues) who have their challenges to face and their burdens to bear, and I know we would be there for them. For this and so many other reasons, I hope you will join me in my campaign to make 2017 the ‘best year ever’ as an antidote to the events of 2016 and those doom-mongers amongst us.

I read about the #IWILL campaign recently, which seems a great way to make a commitment to do good, and that is certainly something I will be looking into in more detail in the coming weeks, but our own school values are a great place to start with this goal in mind and I just wonder to what extent we are all considering, promoting and living them.  I asked colleagues to consider these questions as we begin the new term / year, and I think it provides with a flavour of my expectations and what we are about as a school community (they are also applicable to us as parents too):

Honesty – be totally honest when you answer these questions and ask yourself fundamentally ‘why do I do the job I do?’ (in other words, what is your moral purpose?)

Excellence – do I truly believe in, support and reflect the school’s standards?  Do I have the highest of expectations for all the young people I have contact with at Wellington?

Fairness – do I provide all my students with an equal opportunity to achieve, quite simply because I care? Do I remove any hint of a glass ceiling?

Endeavour – am I innovative and risk-taking and do I demand this attitude from students? Do I go that extra mile because I know these young people only get one crack at this education thing?

Community – do I really feel part of a community and do I endeavour to build that sense of belonging, identity and ownership amongst the students?  Do I believe that, as a school, we can ‘make a difference’ to the lives of others in the wider community?

If our answer is an honest, substantiated, big fat yes to the above, then 2017 should be another very special, may be even the best, year.

S P Beeley