Dear Parents and Carers,
It has been a very good start back this term, despite being slowed down by the need to test. A visitor to the school this week told me how very impressed he was with both the school and the students. He went as far as to say that one of the schools’ greatest assets is the students. I couldn’t agree more. They are a credit to you
We performed over two thousand tests during the first week of this term. From them, we had five positives. It was remarkable that the positive cases of the new variant that show up on a lateral flow test show up very clearly. Previously, a positive could be very vague. The positive tests we saw last week were anything but vague – they showed up quickly as a very bold line. Now that the guidance for schools has changed, we don’t have to ask anyone to isolate if they have been sat close to someone who tests positive, so this term should be a lot less disrupted. It is important, however, that all members of the school community continue to test regularly so we limit the risk of people bringing the virus into school. We have distributed tests to all students this week. I would be grateful if you would encourage your children to use them regularly.
We’re waiting to see what the outcome of all the discussion about vaccines for children is. In the meantime, we are expecting a mobile vaccination centre to come to us to enable any sixth formers who want to be vaccinated to get a jab without leaving the site. We’ll share more details about that as we know them.
Some Year 7 parents have shared their disappointment that the photographs taken this week were in PE kit because those students had PE that day. I completely understand. We have arranged for the photographers to return in November to take photographs of the students in their full uniform.
We’re looking forward to Awards Evening next week. Students who are receiving awards ought to know by now – invites have gone by email to the parents of the award winners. We’re sorry we can’t invite more people to attend, but we’re trying to limit numbers at events for the time being.
Samuel Ward Academy open evening this year is on 7th October, and Haverhill Community Sixth Form open evening on 14th October. The details of the proposed new buildings will be available to view at both open evenings. There will be more details on both of those nearer the time, including the precautions we will put in place to maintain some social distancing.
On Friday 24th Sept we will be hosting our Careers Fair. We have invited representatives from further and higher education, as well as local and national businesses and industry.
Career fairs are designed to give students the chance to explore career opportunities, meet prospective employers, mentors and peers and practice professional behaviour by holding conversation with adults in the wider community. Ideally, they should be willing to ask questions about organisations to discover more about industry and job roles. Students need to be prepared to talk about themselves, their talents, skills, experience and intended education pathways. Previously, some of our more determined students have been able to organise work experience placements through the careers fair. Our students are the next generation work force and should be aiming to impress the employers present.
This year one of the organisations attending the event is Reach (Haverhill Foodbank). We would like to encourage students and staff to bring something in to donate: dried, tinned or pack foods are suggested. The collection point will be at the Reach Stand during the event.
Students attended their first personal development enrichment lesson this week. I was very pleased with the way that students worked together across year groups in a supportive, friendly, respectful atmosphere. Not every student will have got their first choice, but I’m sure they will all gain something from the experience. Lots and lots of students, for instance, wanted to choose five a side football and we could only accommodate a certain number. However, most of those students play football regularly anyway and the point of this initiative is to try something new, meet some new people and expand out horizons.
Our approach to dealing with bullying
There has been some discussion of bullying on social media recently which made me think it would be helpful to describe our approach to you. Firstly, it is important to say that bullying is rare here but, as any of you with more than one child will know, children fall out from time to time and can be cruel to each other. That happens here like it does in any school.
We define bullying as deliberate, persistent attempts to make someone else unhappy. Bullying is rarely a single incident, though of course we take single incidents seriously in their own right and do our best to nip things in the bud at that stage. Every case of bullying we deal with is different, depending on the people involved and the context in which it happens. I have yet to come across a situation we can’t resolve.
Where a student is being bullied, they tend to worry that if they tell someone about it, there will be repercussions. For that reason, we require students who have been accused of bullying to sign a contract promising to stay away from the other person, both around school and on social media. We require them to not approach the other person’s friends to talk about the situation. It’s a thorough approach and it works.
If you think that your child is being bullied, please tell us straightaway so that we can deal with it. To protect the privacy and dignity of all the children involved, we won’t discuss the situation with anyone who doesn’t need to know. For the same reason, it is never helpful to share these things on social media.
Have a good weekend,