Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 15.09.17
At 17.35, this must be the latest I’ve ever begun to type my weekly musings, and that’s pretty much a reflection of the way the week has gone. It has been incredibly hectic but, nevertheless, rewarding and, indeed, inspiring.
The school week began a little earlier this week as I had volunteered to drive the minibus to London for our first ever politics trip for our first ever A level politics cohort; a real landmark episode! (I must just add that this was on Sunday afternoon immediately after my rugby team – Warrington Under 16s – had put 72 points past our opponents in the morning. Get in!). I accompanied Mr Scott, Mrs Cooper and eleven students down to the ‘Smoke’ for what would prove to be the perfect start to their study of politics; a meaningful contextualisation of the machinations, concepts, processes and practices that they will go on to study in depth over the next two years. Mr Scott has provided a few words to sum up the visit, which you can read for yourselves, but I can confirm that students and teachers alike were suitably inspired, enthralled and informed by the experience. We had a hugely knowledgeable and entertaining guide around the Houses of Parliament, an ‘interesting’ Q & A with our local Member of Parliament and I found the insight into the Supreme Court particularly and perhaps surprisingly intriguing. Needless to say the students were a real credit and have doubtless ‘bonded’ as a result of the trip. I believe they now intend ‘lobbying’ me for a trip to Washington D.C.!
After the 6-hour drive back on Monday evening, Tuesday was always going to be a struggle, particularly with a day’s chores to catch up on. However, I was genuinely excited about Period 2; I have been granted the privilege this year of teaching History to 8X2 (although a linguist by trade, History has long since been a passion of mine and was, in fact, my best grade at A level!). Having witnessed, on our trip to Parliament just the day before, some of the artefacts dating back to or referencing the Renaissance period, which is the focus of the Year 8 syllabus this term, I was particularly eager to share my experiences with 8X2. My regaling of anecdotes from the politics trip (for example, how I had actually seen the painting depicting the Speaker of the House of Commons presenting the Bill of Rights of 1689 to a rather disconsolate looking King William and Queen Mary) would no doubt ‘wow’ my young historians! I think they appreciated my enthusiasm, to some extent, but perhaps weren’t quite as impressed hearing these things second hand. At least they had the decency and courtesy to feign interest to humour me.
Tuesday is also Year 7 rugby practice day, something I always look forward to, and this week saw our second session prior to the first fixture against Ashton on Mersey, which took place last night. This is always an evenly contested and useful opening fixture as they, like ourselves, have a good number of boys eager to take part, many of whom are new to the game. We played three sessions of fifteen minutes to give everyone a good amount of playing time. Overall, we came off second best marginally but as I pointed out to all those present, at this stage it is about learning the game and enjoying oneself. I didn’t expect open, flowing rugby and technically adept performances from these novices, just enthusiasm, the right level of physicality and a preparedness to listen and learn; I certainly got all of that! It’s fair to say that Ashton were huge! Well, 3 or 4 of them were in particular. This caused us a few problems in the opening session and we failed to adapt quickly enough, conceding several early tries. I am delighted to say the lads responded brilliantly and we won session two before narrowly losing the final 15-minute spell. The boys all seemed to enjoy themselves and from a coaching perspective there is clearly bags of potential to work with; Year 7 have the makings of a very good side and I look forward to seeing a week by week improvement. The more experienced players such as Freddie, Harvey, Michael and Ollie acquitted themselves well but I was particularly impressed with the likes of Zac Bangee and Toby Andrews, the latter displaying great pace and try-scoring finesse.
On Wednesday morning, I was back down to London on the 5.56 train from Warrington for the half-termly meeting of the PiXL network of schools, again in Westminster. These gathering are always worthwhile (and not just because of the plaudits we often receive for our performance at GCSE level) but I was disappointed to be out on this occasion as it prevented me from meeting Tony Walsh, aka Longfella, the celebrated Manchester poet. His poetry, his general outlook on life and his ‘back-story’ provided much inspiration for those students and teachers who were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to listen to his words of wisdom, insight and motivation. Mrs Gilbert (LRC manager) should be commended for organising the visit (please read her report attached) and I believe Tony was mightily impressed by the School and those he met; even tweeting about us!
Our 6th formers have spent the last two days on their annual residential at Lancaster University. Mr Cropper and the gang only arrived back at the end of the school day so I have only heard snippets but it would appear that the Year 12 and 13 students have bonded a little more and have worked on some essential A level and FE themes which will be developed further back in School. I’m sure a fuller report will follow next week.
One of the highlights of this term is always the European Day of Languages event, which was held in the Moss Hall this morning. Mrs Williams and Mrs Ramsumair provide further details in the attached article but, as with Tony Walsh on Wednesday, yours truly was out of School and missed all the fun (the joys of further exclusion training at the Town Hall). I say ‘european’ day of languages, as that is the official title, but at Wellington we go ‘global’ to reflect the diversity and talent of our school community. Anyway, a huge thank you and well done to all those who delivered sessions this morning; we are extremely proud of you all.
As much as I would love to continue to wax lyrical about the week at Wellington, it is now 18.40 and if I don’t get home soon, particularly after my time away this week, I will find myself well and truly in the ‘dog house’ … again!
It’s been a great start to the term and there is so much more to look forward to in the coming weeks. Next week, of course, is our Awards Evening at the Bridgewater Hall, a veritable gem in the Wellington crown. I say this each year; I would genuinely love to have the whole school in attendance but unfortunately there just isn’t the capacity. At least all students benefit from the school being closed to students on Wednesday!
Anyway, have a fabulous weekend whatever you have planned.