Headteachers Letter – 15th July 2022

Dear Parents and Carers,

As you are likely to be aware, Mr Anderson and I have shared letter writing responsibilities in recent months as we moved to the new leadership arrangements at Wollaston School.  From September, all Wollaston letters will be written by Mr Anderson, so this is my final flourish, and perhaps in keeping with my previous letters – it will hopefully be both a lengthy and interesting read!  Despite this finale,  I will of course remain in contact with parents and students at all schools in my new role as CEO of  the Nene Valley Partnership.

This is indeed a very exciting time for our local community of schools as we prepare to welcome Cogenhoe Primary School to our multi academy trust in September. We are already working closely together alongside Irchester and Bozeat, and are enjoying the opportunities which come from being part of a family of schools. In the last week or so, we have enjoyed a tremendous production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Year 6 pupils at Irchester, alongside Year 12 Wollaston School students, a variety of sports festivals for a range of age groups, and collaboration between primary and secondary schools students at primary sports days. Great things happen when we work together, and it is an honour to lead our schools in such a positive and collaborative community.

It also feels fitting to sign off my final Wollaston School newsletter, with so much to celebrate and  a return to the rich and varied enrichment programmes which were on hiatus due to the pandemic. We certainly seem to be returning  back to educational priorities, as strongly as ever – and remains an immense privilege to be part of such an incredible school community.


The Brilliant Club – Graduation at Jesus College, Cambridge

On Thursday 14th July, Mrs Lydon and Miss Kamen accompanied a group of Year 9 and 10 students to a graduation event at a prestigious and one of the oldest colleges at The University of Cambridge. Jesus College is home to the oldest serving building (The Chapel) in the whole of Cambridge.

The graduation event was a fitting celebration to mark the end of the intensive scholars programme, that the students have been part of this academic year. The students have worked with PhD students weekly, conducted research, had regular tutorials and produced a final dissertation. The programme led by The Brilliant Club has enabled students to gain transferable skills such as resilience, verbal communication, essay writing and critical thinking. The students thoroughly enjoyed their day learning about university life, a tour of the college, and going up to collect their graduation certificates.

Congratulations to all concerned and to Mrs Sharkey who has led so much of the programme at Wollaston.


Battlefields and Remembrance Trip

Today sees Mr Foster and a team of staff and students lead a highly valuable and intense tour of battlefields and former field hospitals  in the Somme and Flanders regions.  The aim is to learn more about this period of history,  the horrors of war, but also to remember the sacrifice and extraordinary stories of human courage which accompany such momentous events.  There is a particular focus on medical treatments and care, which complements the GCSE History specification.   The group enjoyed a 4am start this morning and will return late on Saturday evening, and we look forward to hearing about all that they have learned on their return. Thanks to Mr Foster for leading the trip.


Italy Trip 2022

Mr Hopkins will lead a group of students on a trip to Italy next week, which will see student benefits from a number of cultural and historical experiences.  The visit  overlaps into the start of the summer holiday period, wo we will not have a full report until September, but we look forward to hearing full details early in the new academic year.


House Competition

The annual House competition nears its finale – and winners will be announced next week – with sports day results contributing to the final totals. There will be a number of rewards for the winning house to enjoy and Mr Beeby will provide full details next week.


Staff Changes for September 2022

 As for students, the end of the academic year marks a time of transition for our staff team. We will be saying a fond farewell to a number of colleagues, one of whom, Alison Milner is enjoying a well deserved retirement after a mere 35 years at Wollaston School!

In addition to those leaving, we will also welcome some talented new staff to Wollaston, and many students will have been involved in recruitment processes throughout the year.

We will publish a full list of those who are leaving and our new staff, in Mr Anderson’s letter next week.


Hot Weather and Uniform Requirements

The forecast looks to be fairly extraordinary for the early part of next week, and we want to keep students and staff as comfortable as possible in the heat!

On Monday and Tuesday of next week only, students will be allowed to choose from the following 2 uniform options;

  1. Wollaston school PE kit – comprising of Wollaston logo PE T-shirt and Wollaston logo PE shorts/Skort, worn with white short socks and trainers. Leggings and jogging bottoms should not be worn on these two days.


  1. Wollaston school uniform – comprising of Black trousers/skirt and a white shirt worn with black formal shoes. School ties and jumpers may be worn but will not be required for these two days only.

Any students who arrive at school in a variation of the above will be asked to contact home to arrange for alternative uniform to be brought to school.

Please also ensure that your child has a refillable water bottle with them, and that they have sunscreen with them. The main hall and the sports hall will be open during break and lunch to allow students to escape the heat.


Children with Complex Medical Conditions Who May be at Risk in Extreme Heat

We are aware that some students have complex medical conditions  which can be exacerbated in extreme heat. If parents of such children feel that their son or daughter would be at unacceptable risk through being in school in such extreme weather, we would support parents in their decision making regarding whether or not it is safe to send their children to school. We are not able to offer medical advice on individual circumstances, and we are also aware that as a mature school site, we do not have widespread air conditioning or the ability to regulate what will be very high temperatures. If parents do decide for their child to remain at home under these circumstances, this will be treated as an authorised absence and the absence should be reported in the usual way.


Advice from North Northamptonshire Regarding Hot Weather

Please see below leaflets from the Local Authority, which includes general advice for how to stay safe in hot weather.

Staying safe and well in the heat – Advice for Parents and Carers

Heat Health Advice for Schools, Childminders and Early Education and Childcare Settings


End of term Arrangements

 A reminder that the school closes for the summer break at 3pm on Wednesday 20th July, the school office will then be closed until Friday 2nd September. If you have ordered uniform ready for September and have received confirmation that your order has been processed, please ensure it is collected before Wednesday to ensure your child has it for the first day back in September. Alternatively uniform can be collected from reception on the morning of Friday 2nd September.

We will endeavour to process any orders received over the summer break, to be ready to collect on Friday 2nd September.


Summer Holiday Activities

Please see below links to 2 flyers from North Northamptonshire Council, detailing summer activities in the local area.

Summer Holiday Activities 1

Summer Holiday Activities 2


And finally, I would just like to thank all parents and the wider community for the kindness and support which you have shown me during my five years as the Headteacher at Wollaston School. I am delighted to  now be leading the Nene Valley Partnership on a full time basis and look forward to supporting Wollaston’s continued success in this new role.

I hope that you  have a wonderful summer break and we look forward to another amazing year at Wollaston in September.


All best wishes,


James Birkett  

CEO of the Nene Valley Partnership