End of Academic Year Letter
I am writing to end the academic year by sharing some important information with you and to update you on some exciting developments that will be in place at Welling School in September. As you are aware we have spent a lot of time recently looking at the systems and processes that complement our teaching to ensure that we provide students with an excellent environment in which to learn, supportive pastoral care to ensure they feel well supported and safe when in the academy and above all to ensure our offer to students and families remains at the highest standards. The following details will outline how we will be developing some key areas for the next academic year.
Progress since our OfSTED Inspection:
As well as short notice monitoring visits from OfSTED our Trust (TKAT) also conduct termly reviews of our progress to becoming a securely good school. The first of these visits took place recently and focused on the standards of behaviour in lessons and around the school, the quality of teaching and learning in a variety of lessons and across year groups and the impact that leaders are having on improving standards. The monitoring team was made up of Education Directors from TKAT as well as our Senior Regional Director. They met with groups of students, staff and leaders as well as spending time observing lessons and being around the school at lesson changes, break and lunchtimes. I am very pleased that they were able to acknowledge a significant improvement in the general standards of behaviour both around the school and in classrooms. Feedback from the visit also noted the engagement of students in lessons which were quiet and calm. Even more pleasingly, students also reported an improvement in their school experience. We will continue to work on developing our key focus areas around behaviour and attitudes and the way students are supported in lessons to achieve their best. We will have a further monitoring visit next term and can also expect a monitoring visit from OfSTED in the next few months. We spent time in assemblies last week sharing information with students about how we are monitoring improving standards and congratulating them for their part in what is being achieved.
Timetabling and Curriculum changes:
Our new timetable for next year is nearing completion and students can expect to receive this during tutor time on their first day in September. There will be some key changes to note from their previous experience. We have significantly reduced the number of split classes i.e classes in subjects taught by more than one teacher. In Science and in English, students will generally have one teacher rather than different teachers for each specialist area (with the exception of GCSE Triple Science students who will continue to have specialist staff for each discipline). This crucial change will mean that teachers can get to know students and their needs in even greater depth and can adapt their teaching in more meaningful ways. Students will have fewer teachers to get to know and will also be able to organise themselves more efficiently when managing their books and equipment and when ensuring they arrive at the correct classrooms on time. We hope that reducing the number of teachers teaching classes will also afford everyone the opportunity to create better relationships through knowing each other well and supporting each other to achieve their very best.
Year 9 students will now receive a Food Technology lesson as part of their core curriculum. This will not only mean they gain the skills needed as part of their preparation for adulthood but will also mean this subject will not be entirely new for them should they opt to study it at GCSE. We are planning to ensure all students in Years 7 and 8 have the same opportunity as part of their technology curriculum by January - this will depend on the recruitment of quality staff in the autumn term. Until then that curriculum time will be used for students to receive a new personal finance module, aimed at helping them to learn how to manage their money, considering the best ways to save, budget and plan.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education:
Next academic year we will be introducing discrete PSHE lessons into the curriculum for students in Years 7- 11. There will be two lessons a fortnight which will focus on developing careers education, life skills, including drug and alcohol awareness, as well as relationship and sex education. We will also be using this time to develop students’ ability in decision making, social skills and topics such as staying safe online and their understanding of how to be a responsible citizen. Students studying in Years 12 and 13 will receive this part of their curriculum as scheduled enrichment days across the year in order to maintain maximum hours given to their courses. Owing to the additional lesson time needed this model will also apply to students studying GCSE Triple Science.
As a PFI school our buildings and services, including cleaning and catering, are run by Kier, the management company appointed by the DfE at the start of the lease. They in turn contract to outside agencies to provide key school services. The catering contract between Kier and Chartwells is currently up for renewal and in line with protocol this contract has been put out to a tender and selection process. The process will include choosing from a number of companies who apply to be considered and will be based on the quality of products and variety of menus, value for money and their ability to fulfil the school’s requirements for our students. Although the contract is not directly with the school we will obviously have a part in the decision making and it is my intention that we will involve students in that. The selection will take place when we return in September and I will keep you updated. In the meantime Chartwells will continue to provide our catering service and there will be no change to the provision
Sixth Form Life:
We are looking forward to welcoming our current Year 11 students as our new Year 12 entrants in September. From next academic year, lessons in the Sixth Form will be timetabled across the whole school day and will no longer finish at lunchtime. This will provide greater flexibility to achieving an effective learning experience for students and will also mean they can play a key role in the life of the school. We will be introducing student leadership and mentoring roles where Sixth Form students can help shape the future of our school and work with younger students, alongside their studies, as mentors and prefects. We will also be electing our Head Students through a whole school voting process early in the new term. As part of a curriculum enrichment programme for students in Years 12 and 13 we will be introducing a fortnightly visiting speaker programme where, throughout the year, key figures from business, the community and other areas of life such as politics and a variety of careers will be invited to talk to students and share their experiences and successes in order to broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and inspire them to set goals for their own futures.
Learning Information Evenings and Family Forums:
Our calendar for the next academic year will be published shortly. As well as the usual events such as parents’ evenings we will be adding additional events for us to ensure we have excellent communication between families and school and also to ensure you are knowledgeable about your child’s experience at school. The Family Forum events will be regular, informal opportunities for you to come to school and spend time talking with senior staff and other families about the things that matter to you most. We will also publish key topics that we would like your views on, prior to the forums so that you can decide if you would like to attend. Our new Learning Information Evenings will be specific to each year group and will be a chance for us to explain what to expect during the year in relation to what your child will be learning, when and how they will be assessed and will also feature key events in that year for example the options process, preparing for public exams
We are so pleased to have reintroduced a number of trips and visits for students this term. We will continue to extend this next term and we have set ourselves an ambitious target that by the end of the year all subject areas will have offered at least one off-site trip, all students will have had the chance to go on at least one trip and that all subject areas will have offered students an enrichment activity in school. We are also planning some international trips to further extend students' cultural awareness and experience. Last Monday we had an extended tutor period instead of period 1 and we asked students to spend time thinking about what trips, visits and extra curricular clubs and activities they would like to see offered at school. We also asked them to tell us what sort of rewards they would like in recognition of their efforts and achievements. We will plan how best to use their feedback as part of our progress in these areas next year.
August Examination Results - Arrangements for collection:
Examination results for Year 13 students will be published on Thursday 18 August 2022.
Examination results for Year 11 students will be published on Thursday 25 August 2022.
Mr Sanghera, Assistant Headteacher, will be writing to you separately, with specific details. Results can only be collected by the student themselves or their parent/carers. Any Year 11 students who have not applied to our Sixth Form and would like to discuss joining us in September should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or come and talk to us on results day.
Preparing for September:
Thank you for your support this term while we established important core standards around uniform, attendance and punctuality and conduct in school. This important focus will continue next year. Some students will understandably take advantage of the long holiday to dress and present themselves in ways they can't while at school. Please remind your child that our uniform expectations will be the same in September. Full uniform will be required and students are reminded that only discreet makeup is permitted which includes no false eyelashes.
A reminder that the first day of term for Years 7 and 12 is Friday 2 September at the usual time. All other students return on Monday 5 September.
As you can see there is much to look forward to and we are very much looking forward to embedding our new plans. I will be back in touch with you at the start of the academic year to update you and give you more information. In the meantime thank you for your support this year. We all wish you and your family an enjoyable summer and look forward to returning after the break and continuing to work together to achieve the very best for our students.