Dear Parents and Carers,

I’ll start by congratulating year 7 again on their excellent start to the year. They have settled remarkably well. They are working hard in lessons and are moving round the school cheerfully and confidently. It is also good so see so many of them signed up for the Norfolk Lakes trip in November. Well done Year 7 on a great first month.

We’re looking forward to welcoming year 6 pupils and their parents to our open evening on October 6th from 5.00 - 7.30. I know that will include a number of you. If you aren’t coming to the open evening, either because you don’t have a child in year 6 or because you just can’t make it that night, we are always happy to show parents around during the day – just get in touch and ask. There will be some tours specifically for parents of prospective year 7s later this half term. Dates will be announced soon.

We were pleased to welcome a visitor to the school this week who, as well as being a friend of SWA, has many years’ experience of working with schools and inspecting schools. He was very complimentary about what he saw in the school, noting the sensible and calm conduct of the students both in and out of lessons which he felt showed high levels of maturity and self-management. He was also very impressed by the way that the students he spoke to could talk about what they were learning and what teachers did to help them. That reinforced what students told us when I surveyed them in the summer. They said that teachers help them to do their best (78% agree or strongly agree), that they have work which challenges them (80% agree or strongly agree) and that the school encourages them to be independent (82% agree or strongly agree).

It was good to have so many conversations between Year 11 students, their parents and their teachers on Thursday of this week. If you couldn’t get to speak to your child’s teachers for any reason, please feel free to email them directly for an update on progress and recommendations for next steps in the crucial months before GCSEs.

Several HC6 students have gone to the Royal Hospital School in Ipswich today to join the first of what will hopefully be an annual Suffolk Young Leaders Conference. Eight sixth form centres across Suffolk are coming together to spend a day looking at developing leadership with support from established business leaders. The key-note speaker this year is Justine Roberts, founder and CEO of Mumsnet. I’ve been working with the headteacher at RHS to organise the event which I hope will prove useful to the leaders of tomorrow.

The turn out to the careers fair this year was back at pre-pandemic levels. There were representatives from a huge range of public and private sector companies there, as well as post sixteen education providers (including HC6, of course). The enormous snails and free pens were a big hit with younger students. Thanks to everyone who worked to make that happen, in particular Mrs Singleton, and to everyone who came to support your students as they consider what they might like to do when they leave education. On the topic of careers, the next “Advice and a Slice” careers and pizza workshop will be in October and will be on the subject of Town Planning, generously supported by Persimmon Homes

Finally, a request. Staff have told me recently that when they arrive to work there are sometimes no parking spaces because a small number of parents are using the staff car park to drop off students. Please don’t do that. The main car park is for staff only. You can drop off in the turning circle, but please don’t park or wait there – it very quickly gets congested and becomes not only difficult for cars to move around but also dangerous for children crossing the roads.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher