I came back to school in September with the absolute intention of posting a fortnightly blog/ACA update on the Website to keep students, parents, staff, friends and followers of the school bang up to date with all that is happening in our busy, bustling school community. I am not sure what’s happened but it’s now November, just past bonfire night, and I have finally found a few minutes of peace and quiet to put pen to paper. A bit of self-reflection required here – could do better! Still better starting late than never!
As Headteacher, I very much appreciate that I am paid to lead our school community and make decisions, however, right at the end of the summer term I had one situation where I actually changed the rules, rather than make an impossible decision. From our group of approximately 80 Year 10, fabulous student leaders, 12 were nominated to become Senior Student Leaders. All 12 then had the opportunity to apply to become Head Boy and Head Girl for the 2018/19 academic year. In previous years perhaps 4/5 students have applied and we have selected accordingly. This year, 11 of the 12 Senior Student Leaders applied to become Head Boy and Head Girl (we must be doing a good job in raising students’ aspirations!) After completing excellent letters of application, and experiencing a gruelling interview process that puts “the interview” episode of The Apprentice to shame, we were still left with 4 outstanding candidates. So, call it a cop out if you wish, I changed the rules for the year and appointed all 4 candidates as our Head Students for 2018/19. Needless to say, all our Year 11 Student Leader Team and our 4 Head Students have made a fabulous start to the year. I publish their names and youthful photos below (GDPR compliant of course!) to provide balance to the grey haired, ageing profile above.
If my phone rings and the office informs me that it is a local neighbour on the phone, you can imagine my heart sinks as I get ready to field a very rare complaint. Personally, I don’t think I would choose to buy a house right next to a 1,000+ secondary school! However, I do want to let you know about one neighbour who has been a great supporter of the school, who sadly passed away in October and I felt privileged to be able to represent the school at her funeral.
Joan Reston was in her mid-90s and lived in The White House, just three doors down from the school on Green Lane, in the direction of Hale. For all the years I have been Headteacher here, at the end of every single term, Joan has sent chocolates in for the staff and donated £100 to spend on facilities for all the students. With every cheque there was always a hand-written letter that gave me news of her family but also commented on how she loved to see all the children passing her house on their way to and from school every day. Joan’s generosity has provided the funding for virtually all the benches and picnic tables that students sit on every day in school. I am sure you will agree that Joan has been the perfect neighbour and will be sadly missed.
On Tuesday evening in school, we staged a musical celebration with over 80 students performing solos, duets, ensembles, band and group pieces for their parents and a wider audience. The fabulous music ranged from ska to rock to classical Debussy. Many of the pieces played were rehearsed and performed during the summer music department trip to Belgium and this was an opportunity to perform for the school community. All proceeds from the evening will, of course, be invested in providing additional instruments and facilities for our budding musicians.
Speaking of creative talents, rehearsals are well under way for our major production of the year 'Legally Blonde' which will be staged over two evenings on the 5th and 6th February 2019. More details to follow.
As many parents will know, we have nine dedicated school bus routes that serve the school every day providing a great service for the majority of our students who need to travel by bus, particularly given the fact that the public bus service to this part of Altrincham is somewhat sparse (non-existent might be more fitting!)
For the 190 school days in the academic year, multiplied by 9 buses twice a day gives 3,420 bus journeys per year (Maths students I did use my calculator here!). The vast majority of services run perfectly to time but just occasionally we do get issues and I appreciate that our first major hitch of the year just happened to be on the first two days returning from half term when the temperature had dropped below 5˚c for the first time in many, many months. Apologies to all students who were trying to keep warm while waiting at the bus stop, to those that decided to walk swiftly to school and to those who managed to persuade parents to do what parents do – provide the taxi service. I just want to re-assure parents that we do enjoy very good relationships with the various bus companies that are contracted to school runs and will always work swiftly with them to do our best to alleviate any problems as they occur. For students, it's worth a reminder, we will always ban you from using a school bus, if you were to behave in a manner that compromises safety or the wellbeing of fellow students. I am pleased to say that, while we do occasionally have to issue a ban, it is a rare occasion.
Finally, next week, the 12-16th November is national Anti-Bullying week and this will be a key focus in school where we celebrate diversity, we celebrate individuality and we say NO in the strongest possible terms to any form of bullying or discrimination. Monday will be “Odd Socks” day to celebrate diversity so please make sure your son\daughter arrives in school with perfect school uniform matched by ridiculous, contrasting, garish odd socks.
I promise you will not have to wait long for the next instalment.