Dear Parents and Carers,

I wanted to close my first term as Executive Headteacher of Westfield and Samuel Ward Academies by writing a note to both school communities. It has been a fascinating term for me and good one for both schools. Following the inspections in May and November, both schools have now, quite rightly been recognised by Ofsted as Good schools. Dr Geall and Ms Moody are both well established in their Head of School roles and have been working very well with the senior teams at both schools to ensure a smooth transition to this new way of working together. I’ve been splitting my time between the two schools, trying my best to be in both schools for at least part of every day. I always enjoy my work with the older children and young people at SWA and HC6, and now I am really enjoying spending time in primary classrooms and seeing the great work that teachers and LSAs at Westfield do with those younger children every day.  Both schools have shown their compassion and care for others this week with the collection of gifts for distribution into the community at Westfield and the foodbank collections in every tutor group at Samuel ward. There is a lot to be proud of in both schools.

It is a great pity that the weather has made this last week of term so difficult. Thank you all for your patience as we have struggled with icy roads and broken boiler pumps. Luckily, the reception nativity was last week and was able to go ahead. Both shows were very well attended, and both were brilliant. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend the other nativity performances at WPA on Thursday due to prior commitments, but I very much enjoyed the Perform+ musical showcase at SWA on Thursday night. Once the Samuel Ward studio renovations are complete in the early spring, we’re keen to start thinking about how we could put on a joint performance for an audience of parents and carers from both schools.

I have been talking to the governing bodies of both schools this term about how we can work as a team to make both schools stronger together. I’ll tell you more about those plans in the new year. For now I’ll just say that, by the end of this school year, I am confident that we will be beginning to see the benefits that each school can bring to the other.

I would like to say some ‘goodbye’s and ‘thank you’s. Students in Year 7 will be sad to say goodbye to Miss Stevens and Mr Ford, as are all the colleagues who have worked with them. We are going to miss them enormously and wish them both the very, very best.

Mrs Sykes is leaving the maths department. We’re very grateful for the work she has done since joining the team a year ago.

Mrs Marshall, who many of you will know as Miss Barnard, is retiring after a very long career working in schools in Haverhill. She left Wells Hall Primary in Sudbury to join the Chalkstone Middle School in 2007, and then Samuel Ward in 2011. She has supported countless young people in that time so on behalf of all of them, and all of us working with her now, I’d like to wish her a long and happy retirement.

Finally, Mrs Hunte has been working as a cover supervisor at SWA since 2008 and has taught lessons in every subject to literally thousands of children. It isn’t easy doing cover because you don’t know from one day to the next what you will be teaching or who you will be teaching it to, but Mrs Hunte has shown remarkable patience and fortitude. Thank you very much Mrs Hunte, and good luck for the future.

Thank you as well to all the staff of both schools for their endless hard work caring for 1,600 children and young people. Thank you to all of those children and young people for their own hard work and good humour as they move through their school careers. And thank you to all of you for your ongoing support for both schools. We definitely couldn’t do what we do without you.

Before I end, I’ll just mention the extremely sad news about the children in who died in Solihull this week after falling through ice into freezing cold water. Please talk to your children about staying away from ice so we don’t have to experience that kind of tragedy in our community.

I hope that you all stay safe and well over a very, very happy Christmas.

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher

Westfield Primary and Samuel Ward Academies