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Christmas Half Term

Dear Families,
As we reach the end of term I have pleasure in writing to update you on some school news and also to give you important information regarding next term.

Celebration Assemblies:
It was a pleasure to see the successes and efforts of so many students being recognised at the year group celebration assemblies over the past week. These are really important events not just so that our students can see how much they are appreciated but also to mark their considerable achievements as well as their impressive commitment and effort. Even more pleasing was the high number of students being recognised for excellent attendance.

Whole School Reading Strategy:
We continue to develop students’ reading ages through our whole school strategy which we launched in September. We know that good skills in reading sit at the heart of achievement across the curriculum and so it is very much worth the time and effort that staff and students are putting into it. You will know that all students read together as tutor groups three times a week. This is in addition to the personal reading time we have added to the English curriculum. As well as developing students’ active vocabulary and confidence with demanding texts, this initiative is an important part of building a culture of reading for pleasure. We firmly believe that reading = knowledge = confidence = success. We have re-tested all students over the past two weeks in order to assess the impact so far. The analysis of that data will be available in early January and we will share it with you then.

Staff changes:
We say goodbye and good luck to Mrs Saggu, our ACE Tutor in Year 10, Mr Prekazi in our Science
department and Miss Kirwan from the English department. On behalf of all of us at Welling School we thank them for the contribution they have made to the school and wish them well for the future. I am pleased that we have been able to make some excellent appointments to replace colleagues leaving us and I will introduce them to you in the new year.

Year 11 and Year 13 Progress to Examinations
When we return after the break we will be returning to the final term of teaching of course content. As the term progresses teachers will have covered the exam syllabus and will move on to revision and re-teaching of previously studied topics. Students have now finished their first round of Pre Public Examinations / mocks (PPEs) and undertook it very well. They showed a high level of maturity and good commitment to the pressures of the examination series. Results have been published to students this week and our re-teach activities will detail areas that they need to work on in order to ensure they continue to achieve their very best. Needless to say we rely on their great attendance and brilliant attitude to learning in order to help them make the progress they deserve.

Last summer our Year 11 students achieved the best GCSE results for several years and early signs from this round of mocks suggest a second year of record results are on the way! If after receiving your son or daughter’s results, you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the relevant Head of Department, in the first instance.

There are a wide variety of additional study sessions and evening classes available to students across the varying subjects they study. Next term’s schedule will be shared with you shortly. We will review the offer to ensure it continues to address our students’ needs after department areas have had time to fully analyse the PPE results. If there is something more we can do to support you or your child in preparing for their summer examinations then please let us know, we will always want to hear from you.

Excellent progress and achievement cannot happen without excellent attendance. Our students work hard and good attendance is testament that students take learning seriously and feel the value of being present every day. We have high expectations but always want to be supportive to our young people and so absence is looked at very individually. As you know we do not routinely authorise holiday in term time and expect a minimum of 96% attendance. If you have any questions please get in touch with your child’s Head of Year.  
Catering Facilities: 
In the summer I wrote to you and explained that the catering contract between Kier and Chartwells was up for renewal and in line  with protocol this contract was put out to a tender and selection process. The selection process is almost complete and I will have more news for you in January. We remain concerned about the value for money and range of options available to students in the current offer and have made our view very clear about how we expect to see this improve when the new contract is agreed. Year 11 students have been helping us gather student views as part of the developments. In the meantime Chartwells will continue to provide our  catering service and there will be no change to the provision. 

Parent Forum:
Thank you to those parents and carers that were able to attend our recent forum. The topic this time was effective communication. We know that good communication between school and home is so important. We are keen to improve this and get it right. During the evening we got an excellent insight into the areas we need to improve, including email communication; the school’s website; the point of contact for parents/carers; the school’s use of different digital platforms; students’ progress report; homework; the Welling Buzz; and extracurricular clubs. We have started work on addressing the issues raised by parents/carers, and will publish details of the changes we have made in the New Year.

Our next forum event will be on 19 January between 5-6pm - looking at community safety. We will be sharing with families the ways we are educating students in how to look after themselves outside of school and making sensible choices around the activities they get involved in. We will be welcoming colleagues from the London Borough of Bexley who will be talking specifically about protecting our young people from local risks. This is an increasingly important topic and we really hope you will save the date. 

Requirements for next term:
We have high expectations of students and the way they wear the school uniform. Our students make us very proud. They by vast majority wear their uniform well and in full. 

In advance of the new year, I would like to remind students and their families about the school's uniform expectations, so that all students are suitably prepared for their return in January. 

In the cold weather in particular, it can be tempting for students to supplement their uniform with additional items, such as sportswear, hoodies and faux fur coats. In order to avoid unnecessary conversations over banned items of uniform, it would be helpful if students did not arrive at school in hoodies or sports tops. Students are allowed to wear black jumpers under their blazers, and we would encourage them all to wear a suitable winter coat.

Finally, please be mindful of the school's rules around false eyelashes and false nails. If students choose to wear these items over the Christmas holidays, they should do so with the expectation that they must be removed by 4th January. Again, we are keen to avoid conflict over issues such as this which distract from the core purpose of school, and therefore ask you to play your part in ensuring your child is ready to return in the correct uniform, without prohibited items.
Our uniform policy is very clear and available here. If students arrive without their full uniform we will contact you and ask you to bring in missing items in order for them to remain with us. Failing this, students may be asked to go home and collect them. Students should not rely on being able to borrow items when they arrive. If you are experiencing any difficulty in buying the correct uniform please get in touch and if we can help we absolutely will.
It is our real pleasure to spend everyday working with our students, enjoying their successes and supporting them in working towards their aspirations. Thank you for your support in helping us set out to do the very best for all our students.

On behalf of the whole school community we wish you and your families a happy Christmas break and very much look forward to welcoming students back on Wednesday 4 January 2023 at the usual time.
Yours faithfully,


Daniel Hatley