Dear Parents and Carers,

Most of you will have seen my note on Monday about Westfield. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them and learning more about primary, but I’m also very pleased to be back spending much more time at Samuel Ward. It is also going to make these newsletters easier to write and to read.

World Challenge

A group of our students are going to Croatia on a working holiday through World Challenge next spring. Part of the challenge is that they are encouraged to raise the money for the trip themselves.  I was very pleased when some of the students approached me some weeks ago to say they were planning a quiz night and would I be the quizmaster? I heard very little more about it until last Friday, when nearly a hundred people gathered in the studio for a quiz and raised almost £1000 between them. It was a great night organised by a great group of young people (with, I suspect, substantial help from their great parents). It made me think we need a lot more of those community events. I’ll be inviting parents to discuss the possibility of forming a PTA in the new year. In the meantime, well done to all involved in that.

Teenage anger and anxiety workshop

I sent a note out recently to say that we work closely with Sue and Annie, who many of you will remember as school nurses and who now run a consultancy called OM Health and Wellbeing. As well as offering support to students and staff, they run some very good sessions for parents. I have invited them to put on a sessions for SWA parents called ‘Meerkat or Grizzly which have you got? Top tips for taming both’. It is a session for parents about helping young people to manage their emotions. This session offers practical tips and ideas about helping with anger and anxiety. All parents are welcome.

We will meet in school on Thursday 14th December at 4.00pm with coffee and biscuits. The session will last no longer than an hour. If you would like to reserve a place, please contact Karen Sheargold at

Christmas donations

In schools, we get to hear a lot about the struggles families face. There are people in our community who we know won’t get much in the way of food or gifts this year. We are asking you, our school community, to help in three different ways.

Haverhill Heroes, the Matilda Rose Action Squad, are collecting donations of new gifts to give to under-resourced families in Haverhill and the surrounding area. Donations need to be new and still in their packaging and suitable for boys or girls from birth to 18 years old. They are especially short of gifts for teenage boys. You can drop donations off at the Matilda Rose Salon or at the Works.

If you have high quality used items that you think someone, adult or child, would be pleased to receive as a gift, please take them to the St Nicolas Hospice Shop in Haverhill. That way, we are providing a good stock of nice gifts at very reasonable prices and supporting an important local charity at the same time.

We will be also be collecting donations for the food bank run for Haverhill by Reach. They do not need pasta or fresh foods and cannot accept donations which contain alcohol, but they would be very grateful for any tins, dried goods and sweet treats that we can offer. We will be accepting donations in reception from Monday next week. Once the Christmas tree is up, we’ll put them under there.

Finally, if you feel your family would benefit from gifts for children, a Christmas hamper or other food support please contact us in confidence at and we will try our best to support you.

SWA and HC6 Awards Evening

A reminder that the Awards Evening this year will be held on 19th December. Invites for students and parents will be going out over the two weeks. If you are invited, I urge you to attend. Seeing our young people being rewarded for their hard work and achievement is a lovely way to end the term.

Winter Twilight Session

At 6pm on Wednesday 20th December, the Samuel Ward Academy Music Department warmly invite you to join them for a celebration of student musical excellence in the Drama Studio. The performance will begin at 6pm and refreshments will be provided by the World Challenge team during the interval. We anticipate that the concert should last no longer than two hours, including the interval. Tickets can be purchase via ParentPay for £3 each.

Student Drama Performance

We are putting on a play called DNA by Dennis Kelly. It is performed and directed by SWA students. The performance is in the studio on December 14th at 6.00pm. Tickets are free and can be booked through Miss Cracknell –

Term dates

Our term dates are slightly different to the general Suffolk ones at the end of this term. We finish on Thursday 21st December at 3.20. Students return on Thursday January 4th.

Have a good weekend, and a happy Advent,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher

Samuel Ward Academy