Dear Parents and Carers,

If you would prefer to listen to this bulletin, and audio version of it is available here. Forgive the production quality – it’s very much a first attempt. I’d be interested to know if it is something parents and carers think is helpful.


Since the pandemic, we have seen a drop in attendance at schools across the country. In England, the number of children that are persistently absent has doubled. Children who miss school miss learning and that has serious consequences when they come to look for college places and jobs. Research in 2021 showed that children who achieved one GCSE grade better than their targets in one subject could increase their pay by more than £20,000 over a working life as a result. Children who achieve a grade better in all their subjects could increase their lifetime earnings by more than £200,000. Every year of education counts, from laying the foundations in Early Years to revising for A-levels in Year 13.

Children who miss one day a month of education will have attendance of 95%. That sounds pretty good, but actually it means they miss two weeks a year of school. That’s twelve weeks between years 1 and 6 and 10 weeks between years 7 and 11; more or less a full term. Imagine the impact an extra term could have on a child’s learning. Children who take off a day a fortnight miss two terms of school over either primary or secondary. Between the ages of 5 and 16, that’s a whole year of lessons missed. Across the whole country, the children who do the best will be the ones who come to school the most.

Coffee Mornings

 It has been good to see parents attending the coffee mornings in both schools this week. We are always pleased to show parents around. There will be more coffee mornings this term:

Westfield – 16th October and 27th November

Email to reserve a space.

Samuel Ward – 18th October and 29th November

Email to reserve a space.


On Thursday next week we are holding a Positivity Lunch, hosted by DJ Groovy Gooch (or Mr Gooch, Assistant Headteacher – did you guess?). Everyone who has a school meal that day gets a free visit to the ice cream factory run by Ms Moody. We make it fun because we want the children to attend, and the reason it is important is that we get funding based on the numbers of children up to Year 2 who eat lunch that day. The more of your children have a school lunch that day, the more money we will have to spend on resources and experiences for them. That might be books and art materials; a roman day or a drama workshop. It would be great of we could get every child in the school to participate – please join in and choose a school meal next Thursday.

It is open evening at SWA next Thursday, 5th October. It is an important opportunity for children so see what the school is like as they are starting to think about moving up to secondary.  It would be wonderful to see all of Year 6 there. The evening runs from 5.00 to 7.30.


We are excited to be holding the student president elections today. The candidates have each made a short video explaining what they stand for and what they hope to achieve. Every tutor group will watch those videos before they vote.  Year 7 will vote in person so they can experience casting a vote in a ballot box. Everyone else will vote on-line. Good luck to all the candidates.

Thank you to all the companies and organisations who participated in the careers fair last week, and to Mrs Singleton for organising it. It was a fantastic event. Also on careers, we are very pleased that Dr Stephen McMorn from Astra Zeneca is coming next Friday to talk to students about degree apprenticeships.

Several of our students are performing in the production of Joseph and the Technicoloured Dreamcoat at Haverhill Arts Centre between 18th and 21st October. It would be great to see our community out in force to support them. Tickets are available from the arts centre or online here:

Finally, I’ll mention that many of us are going to be reminded of the tragic events of last spring when the trial begins next month. I will be contacting those students and staff who are likely to be most affected by that, whether they are still attending SWA or not, to offer them some specific support.  If you would like to talk about some support for your child during that time, please feel free to contact me or their year team to discuss it. In the meantime, I will again extend my deep and ongoing sympathies to everyone who has been touched by that terrible event. I had a long conversation with Harley’s father last week to talk about the Haverhill schools coming together to support the visit of the Knife Angel sculpture next year when we will take the opportunity to say together once more: never again in our community.

Have a good weekend everybody,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher

Westfield Primary and Samuel Ward Academies