Headteachers Letter – 22nd October 2021
Dear Parents and carers,
It has been an incredibly positive half term, which seems to have passed very quickly! I know that staff and students have all relished the experience of being back in faculty bases, enjoying the full freedom of the school and being able to mix as an entire school community. I hope that all staff and students manage a relaxing half term and return ready for another positive and successful period once we return after the break.
Although we are continuing to see new cases emerge, we are now experiencing a decreasing active caseload each day, and this has been the case since the start of the week. The number of cases is now around half of what it was at the peak. Whilst I know there is much talk nationally of increased cases, we are hopeful that our peak has occurred early and that disruption is less prominent throughout the rest of the winter. However, I have learnt throughout the pandemic that it is very unwise to make predictions, so we will of course be ready to rise again to whatever challenges are thrown at us.
We will keep all existing measures in place for the first week back after half term, and then will review with Public Health during the week of the 1st November. Their hope is that we will then be able to pause these measures again from the 8th November, but this of course will depend on case data.
Asymptomatic testing remains a key tenet of ensuring that positive cases are recognised and that affected individuals self-isolate. Students and staff should continue to test in half term, and we would be grateful if lateral flow tests could be taken on Sunday evening (31st October) before the return to school. However, those who have tested positive within the last 90 days should not take Covid-19 tests of any sort. This is because tests may still return positive results (even though individuals are not infectious) and all positive tests incur a mandatory self-isolation.
The Big Quiz! – report from Mr Beeby
Hooray…..we had a House event!!
With 5 new House leaders in post the teams were poised to take part in the Big Quiz.
Teams first completed a true or false round with topics including Science, Sport, Nature and the theme of doom! Nightingale won the deciding tiebreaker and were then able to select order and themes but it was Austen who won this round – maybe giving a team with a Science teacher the Science theme backfired!!
Other rounds included a numbers quiz, balloon popping and identification of obscured objects.
The scores are in and are as follows:
1st Place Churchill
2nd Place Austen
3rd Place Drake & Nightingale
Look out for updated results on the house boards after half term and also the return of ‘I’m a Wollaston Celebrity…..Get Me Out of Here’
There were laughs and cheers from the 100 strong crowd – the HOUSE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE BACK!!
Personal Development Days
Please see the end of this letter for a full reports from Ms Walker.
Whilst we know that students and parents use our communication channels effectively and for most issues, know who to approach about what. However, just a reminder that we have the Worried at Wollaston email address for any students and parents who have concerns or worries that they are not sure what to with, or where to go for help. This can be used for anything from worries about homework, to reporting concerns about behaviour, to asking for help on a specific issue. All responses to the inbox are monitored and acted upon. So – if there is a concern, or you would like help with something, but don’t know who or how to approach this – please use email@example.com and we will make sure you have all the information and help that you need!
Have a wonderful half term and we look forward to the return on Monday 1st November 2021!
Mr James Birkett
Personal Development Day – by Ms Walker
On Friday 15th October Wollaston School held the first personal development day of this academic year. The intention of these days is to further enforce the key PSHE themes with focus on Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. Additionally, we use these days as an opportunity to link learning to emerging needs within each of the year groups in order to educate and support our students with their development and decisions for how they manage their lives in a positive manner.
Year 7 focused on ‘Relationships and Communication’, with the aims of understanding what a healthy relationship looks like, to be able to build and maintain healthy relationships.
In order to achieve this the day was organised around 4 key sessions with a mixture of class-based and practical activities:
- Team Building
- Power of words
- Safe use of social media
- Positive relationships
Relationships play a key part in every child or young person’s wellbeing and healthy relationships can help a child feel secure and supported. As a result of the work undertaken, we hope our year 7 students will feel empowered to access and develop their own learning regarding how to speak, manage and understand each other, both when at school as well outside school.
(Mr Atherton, Head of Year 7)
Year 8 focused on prejudicial language and behaviours under the banner of ‘One World, One Voice’ with the aims of encouraging learners to think more deeply about prejudice and how it exists in our world, what prejudice looks like closer to home and how they might respond to incidents of prejudicial behaviour.
Their day included a range of creative, practical and discussion-based sessions, including:
- Understanding disability through blind-folded sport activities
- Positive Message Tree
- Case Studies
- Focus on Prejudice and Discrimination.
This day has real resonance further to much of the wider world focus on equality and high-profile instances of prejudicial behaviours and language reported in the media. It is important that our learners understand the importance of ensuring everyone feels valued and is not hurt either intentionally or through ignorance.
(Mr Logan, Head of Year 8)
Year 9 cohort completed their first development day with the focus for the year group as “Who do you think you are……Or who day they think you are”. The day was based around the idea of students understanding how to make good first impressions, the importance of making a good first impression and how this can link to later life and the career aspiration they have.
Students were able to complete a variety of activities throughout the day which were created by the fantastic year 9 tutor team. These were tailored specifically to the year group and focused on ensuring the sessions were engaging and reflective whilst allowing students to look forwards and identify areas which will become a focus for improvement.
All students participated brilliantly throughout the day and I hope they are able to apply what they have learnt during their daily lives.
(Mr Jackson, Head of Year 9)
Year 10 engaged in activities focused on the heading “Minimise stress – Maximise Success” – Actions for a positive future. The aims of the day being to:
- visualise different futures and develop a sense of direction and long-term purpose.
- develop tools to get there and take positive actions to influence the direction you are heading in.
- plan your time and personalise your own success schedule to minimise stress and maximise success.
This was delivered through a series of sessions:
- Guest Speaker Jack Fleckney. Overcoming your barriers. The power of ambition. Not being defined by your past. Taking positive action.
- Aspiration & Backcasting – exploring the action needed over time to reach long term goals by starting from an end point and casting backwards to uncover the skills, qualifications and steps needed to get there.
- Understand yourself – exploring metacognition to develop an understanding of how they work best and habits to avoid.
- Structuring your time – creating an ideal day plan to schedule how they spend their time identifying waste/negative time and positive time.
- Visualising future paths – exploring different career paths, examining the skills and considering the actions needed.
The day is not designed to decide the pupil’s future, but to provide them with inspiration, ideas, tools and structures to help them see a positive future. Ideally pupils will develop a clearer sense of purpose which can improve their focus in their every-day life. By being driven by a future goal or desire, actions and energy today can be put in the right areas to ensure that goals become a reality.
(Mr Rees, Head of Year 10)
Year 11 were really starting to look to their futures in their day, What’s next? … and getting there!
Year 11 has a number of huge milestones that our students have to meet and yet sometimes we forget that they do not necessarily have the skills to achieve these. The aim of this development day therefore, is to prepare each and every member of the year group with the skills that will enable them to prepare for their mocks, know how to complete an application form and make considered decisions about where they would like to be in a year’s time.
The sessions being delivered during the day were not just led by our experienced staff, but also an external company who helped to prepare the students for their upcoming mock exams. The sessions for the day were:
- What next and where to go?
- Decision making for careers
- Ace your exams – external provider
The work undertake on this day should ensure students have clearer ideas about what they need to do to manage this challenging year, but also take those positive steps and have those important conversations to help them get to where they want to be.
(Mrs Elmes, Head of Year 11)
The Sixth Form had a range of key aims for the day; developing study skills, helping to prepare students for their next steps and finally to develop teamwork and communication skills. As such they spent the morning engaged in a variety of activities including writing their Curriculum Vitae, practicing their interview techniques and planning out their study strategies for the coming months. Year 13s also had the opportunity to finalise their UCAS applications or receive some tailored careers advice and guidance from Mr Myers. All students really engaged in these activities, taking full advantage of the opportunities presented to them fully.
The afternoon had a different flavour with our annual assault course and gun run. These activities formed part of our tutor group challenge where points were awarded not just for being the fastest to complete the courses, but also for working as a team with as many students taking part as possible. A massive well done to all who took part, the fancy dress was amazing and the atmosphere and enthusiasm from both the competitors and spectators was wonderful.
(Mr Mills, Assistant Headteacher/Head of Sixth Form)
A huge thank you for the design and organisation for this day must go to the heads of year and to the teachers within each tutor team for their work on individual sessions and creativity. A big thank you also to our students who engaged with and contributed to the wide range of activities throughout the day.
We have already received positive feedback from a number of students and parents regarding their day and we look forward to the next opportunity in the spring.