Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 11.01.19

Good afternoon.

Well, didn’t that week just fly by?! Christmas? What Christmas? Easter eggs will be in the shops soon!

In all seriousness, it has absolutely been full-steam ahead in School this week and I do think our students have slipped back into routine extremely well and should be applauded for that.  6th Form parents’ evening last night certainly helped to focus one’s attention at the beginning of a new and particularly crucial term.  As always, there were great numbers in attendance and a palpable sense of positivity and focus on the job in hand.  Thank you for your attendance and your support of what we are trying to achieve together for our students.

In this week’s news, as previewed last Friday, there is a report of the Year 7 Geography field trip.  I note it was the turn of the Year 12 geographers this week to a rather misty Mobberley.  Rumour has it that Mr Holt treated the students to a coffee in Costa at some point but I find this difficult to believe knowing his customary ‘short arms, deep pockets’ routine.   I’m prepared to stand corrected on receipt of photographic evidence.  Anyway, I’m sure the hot drinks were an added bonus to the acquisition of essential A level geography skills and knowledge.

Thank you to Mrs Fairbairn for organising the Year 7 inter-form Maths challenge.  I’ll leave it for her to announce the outcome in her separate report. 

Congratulations to Mr Tomlinson and his Year 7 basketballers.  He took three teams to Ashton-on-Mersey this week, all of whom were victorious.  Of course, we welcome, relish and celebrate sporting success here at Wellington, but equally satisfying must be the levels of participation.  I don’t recall ever putting out three basketball teams from one year group before, and when one also considers the numbers of girls playing netball, those in attendance at hockey each Thursday, the growing popularity of handball (commiserations to the Year 7/8 girls this week) and so many more examples I could cite, we should be pleased with what we have established here at Wellington.

I have to say, I am delighted (for purely selfish reasons) that Mr Higginson has now returned to School having recovered from his broken leg.  He has been a great asset to School rugby (amongst other areas of course) since his appointment and we can now hopefully restore the regularity of fixtures. 

We know from experience here how well students respond to the input of their peers, particularly from those in older years.  I sometimes think we perhaps don’t utilise this invaluable resource as much as we might in schools.  At Wellington, however, there really are countless examples of how our students help each other, in both academic and pastoral contexts, on a daily basis.  It was pleasing, therefore, to read further evidence of this in Mrs Hamlin’s report from Drama.

The levels of empathy, kindness, support and guidance our young people show each other has to be a source of satisfaction and, indeed, pride.  I’m not saying that we are universally ‘nice’ to each other all the time (members of families / communities do have their differences and fall out, after all) but I do think our students ‘get it’ in the main.  They appreciate what being part of something means and, yes it might be a cliché to some extent, but I do think they embody our Values each and every day.

Compare that to the anger, antipathy, venom and bile witnessed via various media around Westminster at the moment (on both sides of the debate, I have to say).  Whether it be amongst ‘protestors’ or the elected Members themselves, I’m afraid to say our children are not being subjected to the best of ‘adult’ behaviour.   It genuinely does hammer home to me the privileged yet immensely challenging task we face as educators (teachers and parents alike); we have to ‘practise what we preach’ and model our expectations, despite the myriad very poor examples in evidence elsewhere.  This may seem a thankless task at times but I truly believe it is essential we keep fighting the good fight and stand by our values in these uncertain times more than ever.  I am confident that we are setting our young people off on the right path.

Anyway, I’ll climb down off my soap box.  I bore myself sometimes!

I appreciate that we live in a rapidly advancing world of mind-blowing technology (well, so it seems from my Luddite-esque perspective) and in schools we have obviously tried to move (sensibly) with the times.  This pertains to how we communicate with the ‘outside world’.  I encouraged you recently to download the School app (instructions on the website), which we will be using increasingly in the future.  You will also be receiving a letter over the course of this term asking you to download another app which is linked to our school information management system (SIMS).  Essentially, this allows you to update contact information as and when it changes; it will negate the need for the annual exercise of issuing data collection sheets in paper form.  Ultimately, this will become the sole means of gathering this data so I would encourage you to follow the necessary steps when we launch the system.  This, of course, is not something you would need to access very often.

We (the leadership team) have had a whole day of review and planning today (cabin fever has set in and hence why my reflections are probably manifesting themselves even more incoherently than usual).  As always, it was a very productive and reassuring process.  We did briefly discuss the possibility of releasing an additional app (an extension to a system we already use in School), which could allow parents to monitor homework, both positive and negative referrals, sanctions, attendance and other aspects of their child’s ‘performance’ in School.  I would welcome any thoughts as to whether you would find this useful.  As always, I’m sure there will be mixed views but, I suppose, we can put the information out there and parents and students have a choice as to whether to access or not.   There would be no obligation to download this particular app but it is de rigueur in many schools and is considered to enhance home-school communication on a number of levels.

Right, 6 hours of school improvement evaluation and planning today has done for me; I’m heading home for a lie-down in a darkened room!

I was supposed to be continuing my rugby come-back tomorrow but the opposition have cried off.  I’m glad actually as I feel I need to ‘unwind’ this evening.  At least this will now give me time to prepare for tomorrow evening when we are ‘entertaining’ friends; she is now vegetarian, he is a very fussy eater (been given a whole list of things to leave off the menu) and they’re both doing ‘dry January’.  Going to be an interesting night, I reckon!

I wish you all a very lovely weekend.

S Beeley