Dear Parents and Carers,

I hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well. Thank you for another positive week of home learning in these most unusual of circumstances. Your support is more appreciated than I have the words for – and on behalf of all of us at Wollaston School, we greatly value the messages, positivity and feedback which we have received. It is a source of great pride to lead Wollaston in normal circumstances. In the current climate, it has been both humbling and inspiring to see the ways in which students, parents and staff are taking steps to turn a deeply worrying situation into a demonstration of hope, optimism and care for others. More of this later in the letter…

We are anticipating some significant Government announcements over the bank holiday weekend – and parents may be aware that the plans for easing lockdown, including educational arrangements have been heavily trailed to be announced on Sunday by Boris Johnson. There is much speculation about the likely nature of re-opening of schools, some of it contradictory and some of it seems to be simply guesswork!

In these circumstances, we are just going to need to be patient and wait to see what is said and what the next steps will be for us as a school in supporting our young people and our local community. So – as has been our approach throughout, we will step up to whatever is required of us, study the guidance carefully and devise a strategy which serves our students to the best of our abilities, whilst ensuring that we minimise as far as possible any risk to individual members of our school community – staff, students, parents and visitors alike.

There is likely to be a fair amount of work to be done around this, including some practical and policy changes and we will of course consider these carefully in advance of announcing the next steps for us as a school. What I can say, is that we look forward to welcoming students back as soon as it is safe to do so – and will relish the opportunity to support with both academic and personal care and development in whatever ways the “new normal” allows.  I will write with more detail by the end of next week.

BBC Make a Difference Campaign

Thank you in advance for your support of the BBC Northampton Make a difference campaign which is facilitating letters being sent out to elderly and vulnerable individuals resident in Care Homes in  Wellingborough. Heads of Year are co-ordinating the process and the letter outlining the project and how to help can be found here:  https://www.wollastonschool.com/bbc-radio-northampton-letters/

Dance Live 2020

I know that for many, engagement in the Arts have been a source of great comfort and inspiration during the period of lockdown. Because of the virus, the Portsmouth final of the 2020 Dance Live competition had to be cancelled. However, the organisers arranged for a virtual final to take place, with schools voting for their favourite performance.  I am delighted to announce that Wollaston School’s Dance Live team achieving a wonderful 3rd place finish. Congratulations to all involved – an amazing and very well deserved result!

National Theatre Connections 2020

Another victim of the virus was Wollaston’s performance of “Witches Can’t be Burned” which was due to be performed at the Derngate Theatre Northampton.

Fortunately, the Royal & Derngate have made a video version available on Youtube. This was filmed in the Drama Studio at Wollaston in preparation for the final performance and demonstrates the incredible individual and ensemble performances of the cast. The play is a new piece of work specifically written for the National Theatre and documents a fictional school preparing to put on a production of “The Crucible”, making parallels with modern values and social conditions. Although the play has serious themes, it is comic and dynamic in tone and is incredibly well executed by the directorial team, technical crew and cast. The link can be found below. Please note that the play is aimed at a teenage audience and parents of children in Years 7 – 9 may wish to check the content before viewing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MuTbFjmEkU

Northamptonshire Education Awards

We are happy to pass on details from the organisers of the above annual event regarding how parents can be involved in the nomination process for this year’s awards.

“With many parents across the globe taking on the challenging role of educating their children from home there is no doubt that they will have gained a new found admiration for just how hard working school staff are and what an amazing job they do.

With this in mind The Northamptonshire Education Awards welcomes nominations from parents and we believe now more than ever parents would like the opportunity to show their appreciation, what better way than by nominating their child’s school for an award.

Please visit our website below to view all the information and make a nomination.”

https://www.northamptonshireeducationawards.co.uk

Lacrosse at Wollaston School

Eliot Pugh is not only our Deputy Head of Science, but also an England International Lacrosse player and since arriving at Wollaston he has been promoting the sport with our students in partnership with the PE department.  We are pleased to say that this has been a great success so far and we look forward to even more engagement once normal sport can safely resume. In the meantime, we are pleased that our promotion of the sport has come to the attention of England Lacrosse and an article on Wollaston School can be found on their website HERE

Careers Development Work

We recognise that this can be an anxious time, particularly for students in Years 11 and 13 who are considering their destinations for September. Mr Myers continues to provide advice and support with a number of students joining remote webinars and getting guidance on their options post Wollaston. If you need careers advice, please contact Mr Myers who will be more than happy to assist.  MyersB@wollaston-school.net

Charity Fundraising

Congratulations to Felix in Year 7 who has  completed a 12 hour Dance Marathon to raise an incredible £3400 for NHS charities! Congratulations to Felix and what a great way to illustrate that in a time of so much worry and concern, we are capable of challenging ourselves, helping others and making a positive contribution to society. I trust that Felix is set to enjoy a restful weekend!

Caroline Barton

We say farewell to Caroline (Assistant Headteacher and SENCO)  this week, who will shortly take up a new role with the Local Authority, working as part of the school effectiveness team – which should ensure that we are able to stay in touch!  I know that the entire school community will join me in thanking Caroline for all of her hard work at Wollaston – and wish her well for her new role. We are currently in the process of appointing to the new Assistant Headteacher post, in the interim all SEN enquiries can be forwarded to Kieron Beeby beebyk@wollaston-school.net

Thank you as ever for your incredible support of our school. A reminder that all Government information regarding Covid-19 can be found HERE  Northamptonshire County Coucil have also provided us with a booklet of resources for families which can be found HERE, along with a list of services available for families during Covid-19 which can be found HERE.

As all of the above illustrates – in the darkest of times we are able to find reasons to be optimistic, positive and feel comforted that there is a brighter future ahead. I look forward to us working together on a successful implementation of whatever the “new normal” looks like, in schools and in society.  I hope that all is well with you and your families and that you are preparing to have as good a bank holiday weekend as is possible.

Mr J Birkett

Headteacher