Headteachers Letter – 11th February 2022
Dear parents and carers,
Thank you for your support during the first half term of 2022, it has been a hugely positive six weeks of learning and we are already looking forward to the rest of the year! But first, a well deserved half term break for staff and students, and I hope that families manage some quality time together before we return.
RAG WEEK 2022
It has been a joy to return to the traditional Wollaston Rag Week, raising money for the following charities:
The Albert Kennedy Trust- A national charity supporting youth homelessness. They work to provide emergency accommodation and support with assigned caseworkers allowing teenagers to get formal types of photo identification so they can apply for jobs and university.
The Northamptonshire Association for the Blind- provide support locally to many visually impaired children and adults providing family support, leisure sessions and inclusive activities with expert advice and representation available.
The Little Princess Trust – provides real hair wigs for children and young people who have lost their hair due to cancer. Not only this they fund research projects focused on finding kinder and more effective treatments for childhood cancers.
As ever, the week is entirely student organised and the Sixth Form have ensured that the 2022 Rag week is one that will live long in the memory. From incredible acts in the talent show, to teachers in stocks having wet sponges thrown at them, from Wollaston’s Strictly Come Dancing to Kahoot quizzes, leg shaving and Would I Lie to You – the week really has had it all!
A full report from the Sixth Form Team and accompanying pictures can be found on the school website HERE
The final total of funds raised will be available after half term, but it has been a bumper event and thank you to every single student and member of staff who has contributed, attended an event, performed or dressed up – we think it probably includes every single member of the school community in one form or another!
Dance Live 2022
Many parents will be aware of the awe inspiring achievements of our performing Arts Faculty in both Rock Challenge and Dance Live national competitions. They have won awards and acclaim for the inspiring, dazzling, thought provoking and technically demanding pieces produced for each year’s competition. 2022 has been no different and our team of nearly 100 students travelled to Portsmouth ready to showcase the Wollaston magic!
Although the event took place last night – and it was a 1am arrival back in Wollaston, Mr Anderson takes up the story….
“I had the wonderful privilege of being asked to accompany the students to the this year’s heats. It is a competition that never fails to excite and inspire and this year was no exception.
All students excelled individually and as a team and were a great credit to Wollaston School. It was always going to be a day that tested the stamina of the students, leaving school at 9am on Thursday and returning in the early hours of Friday morning, but it was a day that was definitely worth it with the students achieving great success. Although pipped to first place, Wollaston secured a strong runner-up position that we hope will translate into a wild card for the national finals to be held in May. Significantly, they also achieved three other accolades: the ‘Fellowship Award’ voted for by the Dance Live crew members and other schools and is presented to the school who demonstrate fellowship through their support of other schools in the competition and their attitude towards competing; the concept award and also the technical award. All four achievements are testament to the fantastic work, dedication and commitment shown by our young performers and our performing arts staff team. Above all, from the moment they left Wollaston to the moment they returned, everyone had fun and made some fantastic memories!
For me, it was a privilege to see all of our young performers work with professionalism, support each other and demonstrate great courage to overcome nerves and deliver a sharp, powerful and inspiring final performance. I do hope they are proud of what they have accomplished – I certainly am!”
Cyber Security Achievements
As you may remember, one of our amazing Year 8 teams successfully reached the final of a national Cybersecurity competition, which was held last weekend at DeMontford University. Thank you to Miss Hester and Mr Foster for accompanying the students – and Mr Fosters full report can be found below!
Background on their journey to the final
There is a national shortage of cyber security experts in the UK. We were told there are about 10,000 vacancies at the moment. The competition was organised to try and encourage more students into this area. In November, this team of Y8 girls and 3 other teams from the same year group worked for about 10 days on cracking problems set by GCHQ through the competition portal. We worked through lunchbreaks and after school to crack as many as we could and the girls continued during evenings and weekends too.
The team which reached the final were:
Once we reached the final, unfortunately Isla’s sister, Imogen had to drop out during this week, so Annabel joined the team just this week!
The regional final
We were told that thousands of girls took part up and down the country so our students achieved amazingly well to make the regional final. There were 10 teams assembled to compete against each other for nearly four hours of problem-solving challenges set by the National Cyber Security Centre (a section of GCHQ). Pressure was on, as the live leader-board was on display for everyone to see. Miss Hester and I could only watch from the side-lines as the girls battled through the problems and gave an occasional cheer when they cracked a problem.
The girls got to meet Vice-Chancellor of the University, several cyber lecturers, post-grads and undergraduate cyber security personnel from the University. From the NCSC we met one of their directors and their outreach officer.
During the second half of the day, the leaderboard was removed, leaving everyone in suspense about their position in the competition. Despite a valiant effort by our girls, a team from Caistor Grammar School, Lincolnshire were announced as overall winners of the day.
Congratulations to all who participated at all stages of the competition and we hope this may have inspired some students to consider careers in cybersecurity!
Twisted Tales 100 Word Mini Saga – Young Writers Competition
6 students from Wollaston submitted entries to a ‘Young Writers’ competition: Twisted Tales 100 Word Mini Saga. We are delighted to report that of 19,000 entries, they have been successful in their entries and have been selected to have their stories published in a book! a huge congratulations to Emily, Tammie-Jo, Tazmin and Zitou in Year 7, Clarissa in Year 11 and Maddie in Year 12.
We are so incredibly proud of these students and absolutely delight in their accomplishments.
Congratulations to footballer Cyrus Flack in Year 7, who has been awarded a place in Aston Villa’s Under 12 Shadow Squad. They were impressed with Cyrus during his 2 week trial and he’s looking forward to getting excellent coaching from AVFC and enjoying a comprehensive programme of training and matches. We look forward to hearing of achievements to come.
A reminder also that if you have any student achievements to share, we are always delighted to publicise the wide range of skills and talents of our students. Please email FitzhughJ@wollaston-school.net
Year 7 Times Tables Challenge
Excellent and rapid numeracy is key to success in maths, and with the covid related disruption suffered by many students during Years 5 and 6, we want to ensure that proficiency in times tables is as strong as possible. Times Tables Rocks Stars is a website https://ttrockstars.com/where students in Year 7 can sign up and compete with other students/tutor groups/classes/teachers to see who is the best at their times tables.
Miss Hester is leading this programme and over the half term, she would like all students in Year 7 to sign up to the website and compete in the tutor group competition. There will be house points on offer and Miss Hester says: “Let’s see which house is the best! (GO DRAKE – yes I am biased!)”
If students or parents have any questions they can email Miss Hester directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you as always for your exceptional support of Wollaston School. if you do have anything which you would like to discuss, please get in touch FitzhughJ@wollaston-school.net and I would be happy to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and we look forward to welcoming staff and students back to Wollaston School on Monday 21st February 2022.