Headteacher Weekly Bulletin 20.07.18
Well, we made it!
In fact, to be quite honest, it doesn’t really feel like the end of term; it’s crept up on me somewhat and, of course, I’m tired but not quite as tired as I might be and there’s even still a little left in the tank. I can assure you that this isn’t because I’ve had my feet up, taking it easy and winding down for the last few weeks, quite the contrary, but I genuinely believe the reason for this is because it has been such a fabulous half term and the ‘adrenaline’ has kept us all going. So many events, most of which have previously been described in some detail in my blog, have made it a truly memorable 7 weeks. All that said, I’m sure staff and students are very much looking forward to the well-earned break.
Yesterday’s Wellyfest, both the activities during the day and the evening’s concert, epitomised what a wonderful year it has been; a year of celebration for our 80th anniversary. Unfortunately, in many ways, I was unable to attend (I’ll explain shortly) but it sounds like everybody had a great time. I can see this becoming a fixture in the School calendar. Thanks must go to Mrs Copeland particularly, who was instrumental in organising yesterday’s fun (as well as the other 80th events) but also to Mrs Moorhouse (the celebrations would be lost without her musical input) and to all the other staff who supervised, ran stalls or who quite willingly made fools of themselves yesterday. The success of this year wouldn’t have been possible without the buy-in of colleagues, so I thank you all sincerely.
The attempt to raise £80,000 was rather ambitious but we currently have just over £76,000 in the coffers and with the absolute deadline not being until the moment we hand over the cheque to our three charities at Awards Evening on 18th September, we are still hoping to hit our target. Any suggestions (within the law) or donations gratefully received.
I was absent from the festivities yesterday as I was representing the School at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, for the funeral of ex pupil, Bill Speakman VC. Although I was disappointed to be missing Wellyfest, it was an honour to attend Bill’s funeral. I won’t describe Bill’s heroics that led to his VC in Korea in 1951 as you will doubtless be aware of the story already. It is the first time I have attended a military funeral and to be sat amongst rows of Chelsea pensioners, resplendent in their red coats, members (past and present) of Bill’s regiment, the Kings’ Own Scottish Borderers, and his family (Bill has 7 children) was quite a surreal experience. In the beautiful chapel, I was fortunate enough to be seated right next to the choir, and I have to say when the congregation blasted out ‘I vow to thee my country’, the hairs were up on the back of my neck. Following the service (see photo) the cortège was led away by a piper – again, a very special moment. All in all, it was a very fitting send-off for a remarkable man after a life well-lived, I think it’s fair to say.
There are plans to do something to commemorate Bill’s life in Altrincham and talking with family members and local ‘dignitaries’ yesterday, we will certainly play an integral role in that.
Anyway, I want to get out and about and savour the final morning so please forgive me for signing off at this point.
I would just finish by thanking you all once again for your support this year; for so many reasons it has been a very special one which will live long in the memory, and we couldn’t have done the things we have done without the whole Wellington community pulling together. I have every confidence that this summer’s results will be excellent once again, but we’re about far more than that. As somebody said this morning, had Ofsted visited us yesterday during Wellyfest and watched the students and staff in action, particularly the very orderly 2-mile queue for the ice cream van, then they couldn’t fail to judge us outstanding!
‘This is the place’ is the title of the now famous poem by Tony Walsh about Manchester, but after the year we’ve enjoyed, I think we can justifiably claim it ourselves; Wellington School … this is the place!
Have a great summer, stay safe and I very much look forward to seeing you in September (or on results day perhaps).