Certificate of Merit
I was delighted this week to receive a very nice letter from Clare, Countess of Euston, HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, and a Certificate of Merit in recognition of our outstanding service to the community in Suffolk during the pandemic. I’m sure we aren’t the only school to receive this award, but it’s very encouraging and gratifying to have all of our hard work recognised. You can see the certificate on our twitter feed.
There has been a renewed focus nationally on thinking about the curriculum we choose to teach and really getting to grips with how we choose the knowledge and skills we want to deliver and why we deliver it in the way we do. It is no longer good enough to say, for example, that in English we teach Frankenstein in Year 8. Instead, we need to consider why we teach that at all, and why in the place we do. In this instance, it is because it is a high-quality piece of writing that students enjoy, but also that it sits in the middle of a course of study of 19th Century texts that begins with A Christmas Carol in Year 7 and prepares students to study Jekyll and Hyde in year 10. It also introduces the themes of discrimination and moral complexity which are repeated later in Year 8 when we study The Tempest.
I’ve reproduced this statement about our curriculum from the curriculum page on the website. You can access the various subject pages from there.
We have designed an inclusive curriculum which we believe will develop successful, confident, well rounded young people, able to stand shoulder to shoulder with their most successful peers. We believe in breadth but not at the expense of quality. We believe in choice but not without guidance. In line with our school motto that the best way to predict the future is to create it, our curriculum includes reference in every subject to the people who created the future that we now live in. Those people are typified not by privilege or status but by determination and imagination. We want our curriculum to serve as an inspiration to our students and encourage them to take their place in creating the future with hope, integrity and courage.
The majority of our curriculum plans are now represented graphically. They will be printed and displayed around the school so that students can see very easily what they will be learning and when. Updating them all and getting them on the website is a long job and there are still a couple to be added, but they’ll all be there soon. I encourage you to have a look – I think you’ll find them interesting.
We appointed our Student President and two Vice Presidents last week. In the past we’ve had a head boy and head girl, but it felt increasingly old fashioned to do that. We wanted to make sure we could recognise the strongest candidates regardless of gender, and this year the strongest candidates happened to be all girls. They wrote impressive applications and gave exceptional interviews. Congratulations to Keziah Nicholas, Student President, and Sorrel Mason and Emily Rigg, Student Vice Presidents. They will oversee the Student Council and the ambassador programme, as well as acting as representatives of the school at our official functions. If all presidents had their good sense, integrity and humility, the world would be a better and safer place.
Following on from the success of last summer’s Sports Month, the PE department are preparing for Move-ember, a month-long focus on physical and mental wellbeing. Students will be challenged to run, walk or cycle 60km over the course of the month, with a prize going to the first house to pass 1400km. That is the number of combined staff and students at SWA, to reinforce the idea that we exercise to look after ourselves, but when it comes to mental health we also need to look out for each other.
In addition, we will be running a Gro a Mo, Save a Bro competition amongst staff and any students who wish to join in. Thanks to Mr Thompson for the effort he’s putting in to organising all of that.
As you know, covid continues to affect our day to day lives here, but I’m very pleased with the way we’ve been able to deal with cases to isolate students quickly and limit the impact on the education we are providing. I continue to be extremely impressed by the way that the students have adapted to the precautions we’ve put in place. We are giving out far fewer masks now that we were, but I would be grateful if you could continue to make sure your children have masks with them when they come to school every day. If it is possible to continue to supply wipes, that would be helpful too. We will continue to provide spray cleaner and paper towels in every room as well.
Have a good weekend,