Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you are all well. I’ve got a number of things to tell you about today. I’m conscious that you’ve already had two substantial communications this week – one on the strike day next week and one about our Keep safe week. I won’t repeat any of that information, but if you have missed those, it would be very helpful to check your inboxes for them as they contain important information.
I’ll start with a thank you to our kitchen staff. The extraction unit broke this morning unexpectedly meaning that we can only use half of the main kitchen. The team have been running back and forth between the kitchen and one of the food tech rooms to make sure that they could provide food for everyone. It means that we can’t provide a plated meal today, but we will make sure that everyone who wants something hot will get it. I’m expecting that everything will be back to normal by Monday.
Yesterday I was given the keys to out newly renovated studio theatre. Renovated doesn’t really describe what has happened – it was completely stripped back to brick and metal, then rebuilt back up into a completely new space. I’m absolutely delighted with it and looking forward to showing it to the students in assemblies next week. I hope many of you will get to see it before the end of the school year. An added bonus is that a store room under the seating is going to become the storage are for our Happy Shed, an initiative to help support our local community.
Year 11 Team
Miss Letts has now left school to go on maternity leave. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her back after the summer. I’m very pleased that Mrs Nichols has stepped up to be Head of Year 11 until they leave and then to oversee the transition for Year 6 into Year 7.
The Happy Shed is a place for people to come for support with the cost of living crisis. We will be developing a hub in school where families can come for practical help with day-to-day living. Our Happy Shed will include: good quality second-hand uniform (including coats), toiletries, cleaning products, toilet roll, non-perishable foods. The kind of things that make life hard when we are waiting for payday to arrive. We may also be able to help with bigger items too – just let us know and we will do our best.
If you want support, you just need to reach out to us using our dedicated email: email@example.com Your request will be confidential and only noted by the Happy Shed team. There is no need to bring any evidence of need. The shed will be open for collections Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between 2-3pm. We will email to confirm that we have received your request. We understand that asking for help may be hard, so we want to make it easy and discrete for you.
We would like to build on our brilliant local community – supporting one another when we can and receiving support when we need it with a give and take approach. You may need the support this month, but be able to contribute next month. We would also like to reach out to members of our community who are able to help – by organising donations, stocking the cupboard, using your van to collect larger items and so on. Some people have volunteered already – thank you very much!
We are planning to formally launch Happy Shed from Monday 27th February and hope to see the initiative grow from there. If you have any questions or are able to help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health Awareness Week
We participated in the national Mental Health Awareness Week in the last week before half term. It was good to see students engaging to thoughtfully with the activities we planned for that week. It is widely documented that mental health support services for young people are stretched very, very thin at the moment, and that is definitely our experience. While we work hard to support young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties, we also work hard to support them to manage their own mental health, which was what that week was all about. We also raised over £400 for Place2Be, a charity that works with schools and families to support young people with mental health problems. You can find out more about their excellent work here: https://www.place2be.org.uk/
Quentin Blake Exhibition
One way to promote good mental health is to get out and do something new or different. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, you might like to visit an interesting exhibition at the Arts Centre in town of book covers by Quentin Blake. Many of you will know Quentin Blake from his illustrations for Roald Dahl, and even if you don’t know him by name, you and your children will certainly recognise his work. As well as his long association with Roald Dahl, he also worked with many, many other authors, designing hundreds of book-covers in his long career. This exhibition features sixty of his book-covers and is free to view in the Arts Centre between 10.00 and 4.00, except Sundays, until March 11th. You can find more information here: https://haverhillartscentre.co.uk/performance/quentin-blake-book-covers/
I’ll end with a reminder of our twitter account - @SamWardAcad. It’s a good place to get a sense of what’s going on in the school. I realise we are a little bit behind the times – my daughter tells me we need an Instagram account as well. While I’m thinking about how to increase our social media communication, I’d be grateful to hear any views any of you have, especially about the social media platforms that would be most useful for you to see us on. If you’re looking at twitter, I’d also encourage you see what @Westfield_PA are up to. It’s a good read.
Have a good weekend,
Samuel Ward and Westfield Academies