Dear Parents and Carers,

I’d like to start by thanking you for your support of the non-uniform day we held last week to raise funds for the family of Evelina, a student at Laureate Community Academy in Newmarket. We were able to send over £1100 to help fund some of the very expensive adaptations they will have to go through following Evelina’s life changing injuries. I spoke to the Headteacher at Laureate last week and he is both touched by and grateful for the response of our community to this awful accident.

Christmas Food Bank Collection

We have put up the tree this week, very generously donated by Sturmer Nurseries. It looks wonderful. As we approach Christmas, I want to encourage students to reflect on the fact that for many people it is a time of financial difficulty. There will certainly be families in our community who will find it difficult to buy seasonal treats and gifts, or even food. We have invited students to donate items of food to a collection for the Haverhill Food Bank. Tinned food, dry goods and other non-perishables would be greatly appreciated. It would also be nice if we could include some of the festive treats that many of us maybe take for granted, though please no alcohol. Donations can be left under the Christmas tree in B Block.

School Colours

We’ve been talking more about the idea of school colours that I mentioned in the last bulletin. It is a popular idea with students and parents, but it is made difficult because our female students don’t wear ties. We came up with a compromise where girls would be given a woven badge with the colours on to sew onto their blazer pocket, but we were still a little uncomfortable that girls and boys would be recognised differently. It seems that the fair solution is to give both girls and boys the blazer badge, so that is what we intend to do.

Sixth Form

You may have seen the article on the front of the Echo this week about our plans to expand the Sixth Form. I want to build on our excellence in the arts as well as develop our links with local businesses and industry to offer a wider range of courses in technology, engineering and the arts in new, purpose built, state of the art accommodation. The project will be expensive, but I’m hopeful that we will be able to secure the funding we need. I’ll keep you up to date.

Globe Trip

More than seventy Year 10 students attended a study day at the Globe Theatre in London this week. Their day began with a tour of the renowned Globe Theatre. Students were given a history of the theatre and a clear sense of the environment during the time Shakespeare was writing and performing. They were even lucky enough to enjoy an unexpected performance of an old Christmas carol performed by the choir of a nearby primary school. The students then participated in two workshop sessions lead by Royal Shakespeare Company actors. They explored key scenes in detail, discussed and analysed language, and used physical techniques and drama activities to identify power within key scenes.

The students were a true credit to themselves and our school. Throughout a long day they focussed, engaged in discussions, challenged themselves and represented Samuel Ward Academy brilliantly.

I’m delighted to work in a school where staff come to find me the day after a trip to say that the students they took behaved so well, they would like to send a message of thanks to the parents. I would therefore like to say a huge thank you to all of the students for making it such a lovely day for the staff to be a part of. Well done Year 10.

Green School

Our Eco Council have almost finished their audit of the school and will be making some recommendations to me soon. In the meantime, we have done a little bit to offset our carbon cost by planting nearly two hundred trees around the site. Mrs Cowlin led the initiative that saw most of Year 7 involved in the planting. The students took real ownership of the trees (very sweetly, many of the students gave their trees names!) and older students have been asking if they can plant trees too. We will continue to work with the Woodland Trust to develop a greening strategy for the site. Once the Eco Council have fed back to me, I’ll share their thoughts with you.

Christmas Jumper Day

Students are invited to participate in Christmas Jumper Day, raising money for Save the Children, on Friday 13th December. If students want to take part, they should wear a Christmas jumper with their normal uniform, though they may leave blazers at home so that everyone can see their festive finery more clearly. Students who don’t want to take part should wear normal uniform.  We ask for a contribution of £1 from those taking part. The last day of term will be a non-uniform day with no contributions to any charity.


As the weather gets colder I think it bears repeating that students are allowed to wear coats anywhere on site apart from in classrooms, in the library or in assembly. They may wear coats in the canteen and breakout spaces.

Signing in

Our new signing in system, InVentry, is now functioning. As of now, visitors will sign in at reception and receive a sticker with their name and photograph on. Also, any student who arrives late or leaves early needs to sign in or out at the main reception rather than at the student window.

Parent Governor

We have had a number of enquiries about the opening for a parent governor. If you think you might be interested, I suggest you contact Sue Kehr, Chair of Governors by Wednesday 11th December as a first step. She will be able to talk to you about the role and answer any questions you might have.

Upcoming dates

  • Year 10 and 11 progress checks will be published on Friday 13 December.
  • There is a parents’ evening for Year 9 on Tuesday 10 December.  Booking is open.
  • School will close on the last day of term, Friday 20 December, at 2.50pm.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter