Headteachers Letter – 21st May 2021
Dear parents and carers,
Thank you for your continued support this week – and we are looking forward to the final week of the half term – with hopefully some more “summer-like” weather on the way!
All students and staff have returned from the remaining close contact isolations and we have again had no onwards transmission among this group, which is testament to our control measures and the diligence of staff and students in implementing these so carefully.
We have had some feedback that the easing of restrictions on face coverings does seem to facilitate improved teaching and learning, and thank you for your support of our stance to follow the national guidance, whilst allowing the optional wearing of face coverings if so desired. We are not monitoring usage in any way, as this is entirely optional, but I do note anecdotally that we have a mature and thoughtful student body, many of whom will wear face coverings in situations when distancing is difficult, but remove them for lessons or when outside.
A reminder that the only situation in which face coverings are mandatory is when travelling on school or public transport – and we will continue to support providers in ensuring that students have face coverings as they board.
We also appreciate the efforts of our staff and students to maintain social distancing when in school and of course in following all of the national restrictions outside of school. Although Coronavirus rates remain fairly low in Wellingborough, we do know that rates are incredibly high in neighbouring areas and some local schools are suffering from significant disruption. In this climate, we are urging students, staff and families to adhere to the rules both inside and outside of school and use the relaxations in restrictions carefully and cautiously. Thank you in advance for your support.
We are approaching the end of programmes of study for formal qualifications in Years 11 and 13. Despite the lack of a formal exams season, students and staff are working incredibly hard in compiling the broad range of evidence needed to reach grading decisions. As deadlines approach, I would like to formally recognise the positivity, adaptability and determination of our students and staff who have worked so hard and so effectively in such unprecedented circumstances. I would also like to thank our parents for the calm yet active support you provide to students and to the school during qualifications season. This has long been true at Wollaston School, but has been particularly required and appreciated this year!
Consultation: Qualifications 2022
You may be aware that there is now an active consultation regarding the status and format of some assessments, fieldwork and other practical components of qualifications as they relate to our current Year 10 and Year 12 cohorts. The details of the consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/arrangements-for-non-exam-assessment-for-qualifications-in-2022
The specific scope of the consultation covers:
- non-exam assessments in dance, design and technology, drama (and theatre), film studies, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, music, music technology, and physical education (PE)
- fieldwork activities in geography, geology and environmental science
- assessment of speaking skills in GCSE modern foreign languages (MFL)
- assessment of spoken language in GCSE English language
This is an open consultation and of course we will invite staff to contribute, but the consultation is also open for students/ parents to give their views.
The consultation closes at 11.45pm on 28th May 2021.
Equipment and Self Sufficiency
We are extremely grateful to students and parents for their efforts to ensure that students are well equipped and have everything that they need to succeed for the day ahead. Form tutors are continuing to check that students have basic stationary during form times and we will of course be in touch if there are any repeated concerns. As a bare minimum, please do ensure that all students have pens, pencils, a ruler and calculator easily to hand for lessons.
Behaviour – Good News
We appreciate your on-going support with ensuring that we achieve exemplary standards of behaviour at Wollaston School. This will continue to be a major focus in the second half of the summer term. However, it is also right that we recognise the excellent conduct of our students, which of course characterises the overwhelming majority of our cohort, for the overwhelming majority of the time. Year 9 had their HPV vaccinations at school this week and the lead practitioner wrote to me to praise our students for being mature, polite and friendly throughout the process – even when slightly nervous of the injections! They also commented on the support of the pastoral and Year team and the respectful and positive relationships between all members of the school community. It is always interesting to receive feedback from visitors who visit a wide range of other secondary schools, and it is pleasing to note that the excellent reputation that we have for positive and respectful behaviour continues to shine through, even as we work to improve this area still further.
Student Achievements – Good News
Congratulations to the Northampton Town U13 Women and Girls Team who have won their league this season. The team features Lauren in Year 8 and is also captained by Ruby from the same Year group. Congratulations to Ruby, Lauren and the team for this excellent achievement. As always – please do let us know if there are any other successes outside of school which deserve a wider audience – we are always happy to celebrate the achievements of our incredible students.
Remembering Mark Wade
Many of you will be aware that we are approaching the one year anniversary of Mark’s tragic passing. On Friday 11th June 2021, we will formally remember Mark, as an entire school community. In tribute of the way in which Mark lived his life, this will centre around demonstrating kindness and the ability to make others smile and feel grateful for life, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
I hope that you enjoy a restful weekend with your families and loved ones – and as always, please do get in touch if there is anything which you would like to discuss.
Mr James Birkett