19th June 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

It has been very good indeed this week to see more students and staff in school. We have sixty children attending the mini-school for the children of key workers and one hundred and sixty five students have attended the Year 10 provision. We’ve got most of Year 12 in today. It has been a long time since I walked past a classroom and heard a lesson going on and it’s a welcome sound - schools without children are empty, joyless places. I’d like to thank parents and carers for supporting us in our efforts to welcome back those students. And teachers and other staff for their hard work and willingness to step up as we have prepared for this week.

We were told on Monday by the DfE that we can invite children from other year groups into school should we want to, though not for lessons. Year teams are working to offer some face to face support to those who we think need it most between now and the end of term. We’ve got a good sense of the children we want to support but there will inevitably be children who are finding this period very difficult and who are not necessarily on our radar. If you think that your child would benefit from some face to face support please let their Head of Year or Inclusion Officer know and we will do what we can.

We still have no clear idea of what September will look like. Various government ministers have said that it is their intention that all children will be back in school in September, but we have had no firm instruction or guidance to that effect. Consequently, we are planning for a number of eventualities. I will share with you what we expect school to be like in September as soon as we know.

One thing we can be sure of is that we will have a brand-new cohort of Year 7 students joining us next year and we’re busy getting out into their schools to meet them and talk to them about their transition to SWA. We’re also going to have two new heads of year. Mrs Coote is leaving to take up a Head of Art post (congratulations to her) and will replaced as Head of Year 9 next year by Miss Letts. Mrs Bevan has decided to step down as head of year to concentrate on her work in the classroom and will be replaced as Head of Year 10 next year by Miss Stevens. Mrs Coote and Mrs Bevan have both worked tirelessly and been very effective heads of year so I’m very grateful to them. I think that Miss Letts and Miss Stevens are great appointments and I’m looking forward to working closely with them on the pastoral team next year.

Back in school, Sports Month is still going well. I was also very pleased to have a conversation with Mr Russell this week about an end of year concert. We won’t be able to hold it in school as we normally would, but we are planning a socially distanced, covid-compliant concert which we will stream live on YouTube for everyone who wants to watch it. The concerts are always over-subscribed, so maybe this is a good way to reach a wider audience. If you haven’t seen one of the concerts before, I think you’ll be impressed. For a taste of the talent we have, have a look at this clip of the cast of Little Shop of Horrors performing Downtown during lockdown.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter