Dear Parents and Carers,

It is a real pleasure to be able to write to you with a list of all the things we’re looking forward to over the next few weeks. It has been uncertain all year whether these events would be able to go ahead, but it looks like, with some adaptions, we’ll be able to enjoy a relatively normal end to the school year

Year 9 Options

I apologise that this process has taken so long this year. There has been a considerable amount of extra work caused by the cancellation of exams which has unfortunately delayed other things we would normally be doing. The vast majority of students have been allocated all four of their first choices. Where we thought that students might have chosen courses that didn’t entirely suit them, we’ve met with them and guided them to courses they might prefer. We’re now at the stage of putting together a timetable to make sure that every option block works with the staffing we know we will have for next September. We could make the process quicker and simpler, but that would mean that more students would have less choice, so we think it’s worth the hard work. Confirmation of the options allocations will be going out very soon.

Year 11

Today we welcomed Year 11 back for an official leavers event. They looked very smart indeed – as if they have grown up in the few short weeks since we saw them last. They are an enormously impressive group of young people. We look forward to seeing them again on 15th July for the Prom. It won’t be a normal prom, but it will be the best we can lay on in the circumstances.


We also today celebrated pride month with a non-uniform day. This was entirely student led. It came about because over three hundred and fifty students signed a petition asking for it. It makes me very proud that not only do so many of our students want to show how supportive, inclusive and welcoming our community is, but also that they are also engaged enough with democracy to organise and participate in that petition.  It was interesting to watch the reaction in Germany when one stadium was told by UEFA that it couldn’t display rainbow lights during this week’s match between Germany and Hungary. Other stadiums, town halls, bars, players and fans joined together to display the rainbow. That’s a huge change from the football culture I remember from my childhood, and a very positive one. The message here, like in Germany this week, is very simple; some people are gay and that’s OK.


On Friday 9th July we will facilitate 'Futures Day', when all students will be involved in a range of activities that will focus on their future aspirations and employability skills. This will be delivered in tutor groups and supported by year teams and the PE department. There will be physical team building tasks, so we ask that students wear their PE kits and, being optimistic, bring sun cream.

Sports day

Sports day will be on Tuesday 6th July this year. It won’t be quite the same as it normally is as we’ve had to make some covid related adjustments, but it is still very much a whole school event and everyone needs to be in PE kit on that day.


We are looking forward to welcoming Year 6 students to join us for the last three days of term as they prepare to become Samuel Ward students in September. Many schools are not going ahead with transition visits because of the risk of mixing two different school communities. Fortunately, our Year 6 students won’t return to their primary schools after they have been with us, so they can simply form a new bubble here. We will make sure that they are not in close contact with students in other year groups while they are here.

We are putting on summer schools this year. We have to focus on Year 6 to ensure they get the support they need after a disrupted year, but we also want to offer something to year 5 as we normally do. We have invited Year 5 to come on Thursday and Friday 22nd and 23rd July, then Year 6 for the whole of the next week. There are still places on the Year 5 summer school days. If you know a child in Year 5 who might like to attend, they just need to let us know. The summer schools are fully funded this year, so there is no charge.


I’m very pleased to say that we have no vacancies for next year and are fully staffed.


We have historically run late buses on Tuesdays and Thursdays to allow enrichment to take place. As enrichment moves into the school day, those buses will be less and less useful. Currently, a lot of students who need to get those buses find themselves hanging around waiting for no very convincing purpose. We are therefore consulting with the bus providers to move the buses to the same times every day. If students need to attend school late on some evenings and cannot get home without help, we will look at using the minibuses. For revision sessions and the like, we hope to use what we’ve learnt about remote teaching and learning to make them accessible to all.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter