Dear Parents and Carers,

Keep Safe Week

I wrote to you recently about Keep Safe Week, an event running across all 32 schools in the Unity Schools Partnership. I spoke to all students in assemblies last week about the importance of making good choices and about how we can be influenced in our making of choices by groups of people or by one strong character in a group. During that assembly I talked about the love a parent feels for their child and how a parent can only be as happy as their least happy child. The point I was making was that making bad decisions and putting yourself at risk affects not just you but everyone around you. I hope the students found it useful. They certainly listened very attentively.

That was followed up by a PD lesson today. Years 7 and 8 have been looking at ways to keep themselves safe, while Years 9 and 10 have been considering the impact of violent crime, including knife crime, on the victims and their families.  Year 11 had a short discussion based on a video by the excellent Sue and Annie from OM Health and Wellbeing and used the second part of the lesson for revision.

Clearly, these are sensitive issues but I feel strongly that we need to be bold and face them because we are determined that there will be no more young lives pointlessly lost in our community. I wrote a message to the students for the start of the lessons for Years 9 and 10:

This lesson will ask you to consider the impact of knife crime on those who are injured and those who lose loved ones. This is a very difficult topic to talk about so soon after a tragic and pointless death in our own community. However, we need to talk about difficult things if we are to make sure that you are all able to keep yourselves safe. If you find the lesson too challenging, please let your teacher know and they will arrange for you to spend some time away from the classroom.

A very small number of students asked to be excused from those lessons. They were supported by the year teams. Feedback from teachers tells me that students approached those lessons with great maturity.

Year 9 Options

All parents should have received an email from with details about how to submit options choices. The deadline is Wednesday 15th March. The options process is complex and time consuming, so please don’t expect to hear the outcomes until the second half of the summer term. If there are any problems please contact the Year 9 team or Mr Butterworth.

Staffing update

We were very sorry last week to say goodbye to Miss Pawley, Inclusion Officer in Year 11. She has worked enormously hard to support that year group through some difficult times and I know I speak for all of us, staff and students, when I say that we will miss her. We wish her all the best in her new role. We are pleased to welcome Miss Yau as the new inclusion officer in Year 11.

Spring Concert

We are looking forward to the Spring Twilight Session on Friday 31st March in the new Studio Theatre. There will be refreshments from 5:30pm and the concert will start at 6pm. Tickets are £3 and are available on parent pay. The Christmas concert was fantastic – I’m sure this will be just as good if not better.

Happy Shed

The Happy Shed is now up and running. If there is anything we can help with – clothes, food, toiletries, cleaning products – please just let us know by emailing

I would like to reassure you all that the happy shed is here to help. You don’t have to prove that you need help, you just have to ask for it. You can also rely on our complete discretion; we will not share the names of the people who use the happy shed with any other organisation or within the school.

Careers and Aspirations

There is a lot going on to support our young people in making aspirational choices about their careers. On March 22nd, we look forward to welcoming some generous local volunteers to support the Y10 Mock Interviews process. The feedback from that event is always interesting – I’ll make sure to share some of it after the event.  Thank you to all Year 9 parents who have arranged a Shadow Day placement for their child. We can’t wait to hear about their experience.

The next Advice and a Slice event is about opportunities in Creative Careers. It will be a workshop run by a University of Suffolk Professor in design and marketing. That event is on the 30th March - see email invitation from for more information

I would like to invite you all to the Annual SWA ASPIRE event on Wednesday 26th April in the newly completed SWA studio theatre. We will host a range of businesses, professionals, and higher education providers to advise and guide parents/guardians and their students on future career choices. This event will run from 4.30 and 6.00, with light refreshments, a prize draw, and a keynote speaker. Further details will follow soon.

Year 11 revision

We are hosting a group called Positively You on Friday 17th March who will lead a workshop with Year 11 on revision strategies.  Students will attend that either during lessons one and two or three and four, depending on their timetable. I hope they will find it helpful as they look to make the best possible use of the remaining weeks between now and the GCSE exams.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher