Dear Parents and Carers,
I’ll start with a request for feedback from parents. We are a few weeks away from the end of the first year of partnership between WPA and SWA. I have worked very closely with the leadership teams of both schools over the course of this year. We have invited WPA students to attend science lessons at SWA as part of Science Week. Year 6 are attending a cinema afternoon to celebrate their amazing work preparing for SATS this afternoon. Year 5 are coming to the Year 7 and year 8 Summer Fair. SWA sports leaders have supported sports events at WPA as well as at other primary schools.
I am keen to hear your views on the early years to A-level partnership between Westfield, Samuel Ward and Haverhill Community Sixth Form. There is a survey which I would be grateful if you would complete. It will be open from today until next Wednesday evening.
We said goodbye to Year 11 this week. They have been a special year group to me because they were in year 7 when I joined the school in 2018, so are the first year group that I have seen go all the way through the school. It seems scarcely believable that those coy, cheerful, cheeky 11-year-olds have grown up and are ready for the next stage of their lives. I’m sure you wonder where the time has gone too. They are a wonderful group of young people. We are all very proud of them and can’t wait to hear what they do to make us even more proud. I’m every pleased that, despite clashing with the short notice announcement of another strike day, the Prom will go ahead as planned.
Meanwhile, at WPA, we welcome our new EYFS intake on Tuesday night when parents met their child's class teacher. The turnout was fantastic. Thank you to our lovely kitchen staff for providing samples of food. Reception is full for September for the first time in recent memory.
Pupils at WPA are making great progress. Year 1 completed their phonics screening last week which we hope will show they are working really well. Year 4 did their Multiplication Times-Tables Check which they seemed very confident with. We need to wait for the outcomes to know for certain how those things went, but we do know that Year 6 have done amazingly well in their writing this year. We completed moderation of their work this week with colleagues who come in from other schools to help us, and they agreed with all our marks, even moving a few pupils up to the next level.
Year 2 had a “History off the page” day, about the Great Fire of London. They had a chance to try out some of the jobs people did back then, including weaving, leather working, baking, metal working, candle making, preparing ink and writing with a quill. It was an engaging day and the pupils’ involvement was wonderful to see.
I’m delighted to say that Westfield families raised a brilliant £269.04 for the Cystic Fibrosis Charity. Thank you very much for your kindness and generosity.
SWA Parents’ Forum
Back at SWA, Dr Geall and I held a parents’ forum on Monday evening this week, in response to our recent parents’ survey. Fewer parents attended than I had hoped, but that did not stop it from being a very productive meeting. The first thing we did was to discuss and clarify some issue that parents were uncertain about. We then discussed the things that frustrate parents and the things that parents feel are going well. We were able to confirm that black leather trainers are acceptable school shoes as long as any branding is also black – white ticks or stripes would not be allowed. Those trainers are hard-wearing and good value, so it makes sense to allow them. We also confirmed that phones should be turned off and out of sight during the school day unless a member of staff expressly asks students to use them for part of a lesson. Another issue which came up was setting and streaming. In Years 7 and 8, all classes are broadly similar. In Year 9 we set in English and maths. From Year 10 onwards, we set in English, maths and science because of the different tiers of entry. Options subjects are mixed ability.
The main frustrations parents raised were around inconsistency. Some staff were praised for responding to emails and messages quickly, while others don’t respond rapidly enough. Some teachers use the C and R points system very effectively, some less so. We are aware of those issue and working hard to put them right. Getting over 100 adults all using the same systems the same way is difficult, but we are determined to do that more effectively.
Parents were very positive about the support that the pastoral team offer for students and their endless determination to work with every individual who needs help to make school accessible and enjoyable for them. Parents spoke very highly of the trips their children had attended. One parent was grateful for a bullying issue being resolved quickly and effectively. Parents said their children were generally happy and satisfied with their school experience.
As an outcome from the meeting, we will do the following things:
- We will publish a list of all planned school trips at the start of each academic year to help parents and students plan their involvement
- We will publish a list of all clubs and extra-curricular activities at the start of each term
- We will share a list of alternative uniform suppliers for those parents who don’t want to use the official supplier at the start of each academic year
- We will continue to work with all staff to ensure greater consistency in the use of behaviour systems
Some parents queried the length of time it might take to get a response from the pastoral team. They are very busy but will always try to get back to you within 48 hours and often much sooner. Subject specific queries should go straight to department teams.
Haverhill Community Sixth Form Open Evening
The Sixth Form Open Evening is on 13th July from 5.30 – 7.30. There will be a chance to talk to the Sixth Form leadership team about the application process and to get a sense of what the life of a sixth former at HC6 is like. Miss Pawley will be there to talk about pastoral care and support. There will be Sixth Form teachers available to discuss the various courses on offer, and our partners from the New Croft will be there talking about the Football Academy. This event is specifically for Year 10 students who are starting to think about their plans post-16.
Both WPA and SWA are closed to all pupils and students on Friday 30th June because all staff will be attending the Unity Schools Partnership personal development day.
Two new strike days have been announced by the NEU on the 5th and 7th July. We will share with you arrangements for those days as soon as we know what they will be.
New attendance email
If you need to report your child absent or let us know they will not be in school at a date in the future please email firstname.lastname@example.org
SWA and WPA School day timings from September 2023
A few parents have asked for a reminder about school day timings.
From September, students at Samuel Ward will start at 8.40, as they do now, and finish at 3.20.
The timings for Westfield will stay as they are now, with an 8.40 start and a 3.30 finish.
Have a great weekend,
Samuel ward and Westfield Primary Academies