Dear Parents and Carers,

This bulletin is also available in Sway, which will be much easier to read on a phone. I’d appreciate some feedback on whether you find that helpful. You can find the Sway here:

Rewards points

When students do well in school, they earn reward points. Last summer we introduced the Rewards  Festival as a celebration for the students with the most rewards points. This term we have opened the rewards shop for the first time, which allows students to buy certain privileges or small items with their points. Equipment packs were the most popular choice. Other students spent their points on a queue-jump pass for the canteen, lasting either a day or a week, or on a non-uniform day. Eleven students chose to spend their points on having breakfast with Dr Geall, who was surprised by just how many croissants teenagers can eat, and how quickly.

Parental feedback

Thanks to this parent for her feedback. There will be more coffee mornings in the new year.

“I am so pleased we took Dr Geall up on this opportunity to come into the school and see the daily running. It’s not something I have ever known a secondary school to offer parents the chance to do, unless you are applying for a placement, and what a brilliant opportunity it was. 

All pupils we encountered during our visit, (which wasn’t staged and classes were picked at random as we walked the corridors), were all engaged, pleasant and welcoming. The teaching I saw within each class visited was enthusiastic and encouraging. The classrooms felt they were safe learning environments with clear expectations. 

I would highly recommend parents/carers attend the coffee morning. It was a great opportunity for me to get the answers to my questions first hand.”

Teenage anger and anxiety workshop

It was great to see more families than we had originally expected come along to the “Meerkat or Grizzly” session for parents about helping young people to manage their emotions. I’ll be working with Sue and Annie to see what else we can offer. I’ll let you know more in the new year.

Christmas Hampers

Tutor groups are well on their way making hampers for the food bank run for our community by Reach. As well as bringing in donations to help ensure that all families share in Christmas, they are working hard to make their hampers as beautiful and festive as possible. I’m looking forward to judging those hampers next week and awarding a prize to the winning tutor group.

If you feel your family or a family you know would benefit from gifts for children, a Christmas hamper or other food support, please contact us in confidence at and we will try our best to support you.

SWA and HC6 Awards Evening

A reminder that the Awards Evening this year will be held on 19th December. Invites for students and parents have been sent out and places are filling up fast. If you have been invited but haven’t yet responded, I encourage you to do that quickly while there are still some seats available.

Winter Twilight Session

A reminder that the Samuel Ward Academy Music Department warmly invite you to join them for a celebration of student musical excellence in the Drama Studio on Wednesday 20th December. The performance will begin at 6pm and refreshments will be provided by the World Challenge team during the interval.  We anticipate that the concert should last no longer than two hours, including the interval. Tickets can be purchase via ParentPay for £3 each.

Christmas Jumpers

On the last day of term, students can wear a Christmas jumper with their uniform if they would like to. We still expect school trousers, shirts and ties to be worn. On the last day, every year group will attend Perform, our annual Christmas concert put on by students for students. They will also have an hour with their tutor relaxing with a Christmas quiz. Other lessons will be with their normal timetabled teachers, though those lessons might be a bit more relaxed than normal.

Term dates and last day

I will remind you again that our term dates are slightly different to the general Suffolk ones at the end of this term. We finish on Thursday 21st December at 3.20. Students return on Thursday January 4th.

Have a great Christmas and a happy new year,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher

Samuel Ward Academy