Dear Parents and Carers,
This is the last bulletin of what has been an extraordinarily mixed year. We started in September hoping that covid was in retreat, and by February were experiencing the worst staff and student absences we have ever seen, entirely due to covid infections and isolation. Although that was only a term ago, it feels much longer. We’re finishing the year in good shape and looking forward to a great year next year.
This is the end of our first year of timetabled enrichment. We introduced that for two main reasons. Firstly, it seemed to me that, following the periods of remote learning, we had lost some of the strong sense of community that we used to have. Many students were feeling a bit isolated so I wanted them to have opportunities to talk to other students they might not normally have spent time with – students outside of their normal class or year group. Secondly, I want all students to have opportunities to discover their talents and passions and I believe strongly that access to enrichment is a right not a privilege. In a survey that students are participating in this week, 85% of them agree that it’s a good idea. I’m really pleased that it has been such a popular decision.
It was extremely good to have sports day back after a two-year break. The entire school participated in a full day of activities led with enthusiasm by the PE department supported by the rest of the school staff. I don’t know of other schools who do it like that – it’s extremely ambitious to have the whole school off timetable for the day, but it works really well. Thanks to everyone involved in making that such a success.
It was good to see so many Year 10 students and their families at the Sixth Form open evening this week. We are looking forward to welcoming all of next year’s Year 7 students for their transition days next week and more than 140 of them for summer school.
It is going to be really hot at the start of next week. To try to make that as comfortable as possible for the students, we have added the following actions to our arrangements:
- Students can wear either PE kit or, if it is more comfortable, non-uniform on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is already a non-uniform day. A brimmed hat would be a good idea.
- Students should put sun cream on before coming to school. Staff on duty at lunchtimes will have sun cream with them for students to use of they need it.
- Students should bring a filled water bottle with them, which they can re-fill at break and lunchtime. There will be water in every classroom should anyone need a further drink during lesson time.
- If PE lessons are outdoors, they will include frequent breaks in the shade. The PE department will also be using the canteen as an additional indoor space.
After a few years of very stable staffing, when covid meant that movement between schools almost ground to a halt, the education job market has opened up again this year. People who have been considering a move for a while are now in a position to pursue that. Consequently, we are saying goodbye to a number of colleagues this year.
Mr Sumner, Deputy Headteacher, is leaving after three very busy years. He will be missed by staff and students alike.
Miss Braverman is retiring after many, many years of service first at the Chalkstone Middle School and more recently at Samuel Ward.
Mrs Lewis-Burling, Head of English, is leaving us to pursue new challenges. Also, in English, we’re saying goodbye to Miss Lawson, who is taking up a post in another school, and Mrs Spiers, who is exploring a new career.
Miss Fisher is moving across town to take on the role of second in charge of science at Castle Manor. Also in science, we say goodbye to Miss Cowlin who is leaving to take up a promoted post elsewhere and to Mr Bath who will be working in Bury St Edmunds.
Miss Priory is leaving the history department to move to York and be closer to family.
Mrs Sankey is leaving the languages department to work in a specialist education unit in Cambridge.
Ms Burns is leaving the visual arts department to pursue other career avenues.
Miss Bush is leaving to take on a different sort of role at Anglia Ruskin University. I know that her students and team will be sorry to see her go.
Mr Field is leaving technology to travel across campus to Churchill School, where he will continue his established work with those students. Mrs Lynch, LSA, is also moving across to Churchill.
Mr Bennett, who has been responsible for the design of our prospectus, posters, planners and website, amongst much else, is taking a slightly early retirement at the end of this term.
Mrs Archer is leaving the Food Department to pursue other avenues with her family.
Mrs Grice, although not employed directly by Samuel Ward Academy is a very popular member of the catering team and will be missed in particular by all of those at HC6
I am very grateful for all the hard work that all of those people have put in over the years to teach and support many hundreds of students. I wish them all the very best for the future.
We have filled all our vacancies apart from one in science that I’m still working on and an inclusion officer post that we are interviewing for currently. On Thursday of this week we welcomed new colleagues into school for an induction day. I’ll introduce those people to you at the start of next year. In the meantime, there have been some internal appointments that I’d like to share with you.
Mr Butterworth has been appointed to the role of deputy headteacher, and Miss Ireland to assistant headteacher. Miss Irelands role as head of year is being filled by Miss Kirby Smith, and Miss Kirby Smith’s role as head of Brunel house is being filled by Miss Phillips. Miss Cripps is moving across to take on the head of year responsibilities for the current year 7 as they move into year 8. Mrs Menhinick has decided to step down as head of history to work part time, so Miss George will be head of history from September.
It is a real strength of our school that we have a pool of talented people ready and able to take on new responsibilities. Congratulations to all of those colleagues on their well-deserved promotions.
End of term
The last day of school this term is Wednesday 20th July. That is a non-uniform day on which students are invited to wear red, white and blue to mark the jubilee. We finish at the normal time. School starts again for students on Tuesday 6th September.
Thank you for your ongoing support for Samuel Ward Academy. Have a great summer.