Welcome to all Year 7 students, parents and families! I can’t believe it’s almost been a month since the new academic year started and our Year 7 students joined the William Howard family.
The last two years have not been easy for anyone in education but, despite the upheaval and the lack of our usual induction activities in the summer term, our new cohort have taken the new challenges in their stride.
Uniform has been perfect and behaviour around school has been very good. After a week of scratching heads over planners and working out routes between Drama and Maths, our Year 7s have settled beautifully.
We have some exciting events ahead. Earlier this week all Year 7s were welcomed into their house: Baobab, Acacia, Ndizi or Mpingo. The Sixth Form house leadership team dropped into forms and distributed house badges.
Next week, our residentials to Eskdale begin. Most of our students have signed up and can look forward to two days of outdoor activities headed by indomitable Everest explorer, Mr Mothersdale. I can’t wait to join them and to see the pictures and videos of this exciting adventure.
We are still using temporary planners – I’m pleased to report that the majority of Year 7 are organising their time well. Homework is recorded on SIMS and parents can keep track of homework tasks on the SIMS app.
A quick reminder that mobile phones must be switched off and in bags at all times – including between lessons 1 & 2 and 4 & 5 – apart from break and lunchtime. If parents need to contact a child during the school day, this should be done via Student Services.
A special thanks must go to Mrs Myler and her team for providing such a wonderful experience for newcomers at the summer school; thanks too to all the students who participated and began their William Howard adventure early. They made a wonderful impression on all the staff who met them and created a positive buzz at the start of term.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Jones (Student Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ms Ledger (Director of Learning) at email@example.com. We are here to help and make learning at William Howard a smooth and enjoyable experience.
It was lovely to see Year 8 return. Looking around at them on their return gave me an immense feeling of pride to be their Director of Learning. They looked so smart and raring to go on their return to school. It’s great to see them now moving around the school able to use all the classrooms with their specialist facilities. At breaks they now have a lot more freedom to choose where they want to spend their time. There are now two canteens and the serving hatch in their Common Room to choose from if they want to buy food. The food available has greatly improved with some very nice hot meals now available. Many students are now using the astro-turf and the Learning Resource Centre. Clubs during and after school are on the increase, and I would encourage all students to give at least one of these clubs a go. They are a great place to socialise and make new friends with shared interests. There will be lots more information for students over the coming weeks about the different clubs that they can get involved in. I would also encourage students to talk to staff if they have an idea for a club that doesn’t exist yet. There is usually a member of staff who will help them run a club, or students could take responsibility for developing the club themselves.
It has been really nice seeing our Year 8 students support the new Year 7 students and act as role models to them. Their positive influence and care for the younger students can make all the difference. They have been an absolute credit to both you and themselves in this regard. This is something I would really like our students to continue to focus on. If they can remember how daunting it was when they started William Howard School, they can make such a difference to a younger student’s day by a caring act, something as simple as holding the door, or just checking they know where they are going.
I’m looking forward to a great year. One where our Year 8 students really shine academically, but also in the many other areas that make up school life.
Let’s have a really special year, Year 8.
Year 9 have made an excellent start to the year, returning with the same focus and application that has ensured they have made such good progress through Years 7 & 8. It is a pleasure to drop into their lessons around school as they are engaged and enthusiastic about their learning, making the most of their time in lessons. In particular it has been great to see them begin their creative curriculum choices and apply themselves in an area of school they have a real passion for; dancing, caring for animals, learning new languages, studying business to name a few. It is also fantastic to see so many students taking up extracurricular opportunities. The boys’ football team won their first match of the year with goals from Owen Wilkinson, Jay Mackay & Ethan Russell. There are girls’ football and netball matches coming up soon and they have been training hard on Thursday and Friday nights. Students have also been showing courage in completing the We Will Rock You rehearsals – good luck to all! The latest opportunity available to the students is to be part of the School Council team and make a difference to all students’ time at William Howard School – I look forward to seeing who puts themselves forward. If Year 9 can continue to take up the opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom they are going to have a great year.
Miss Elliot and I will be here to support them throughout the year and you can contact us through email, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or by phone, 016977 45700.
I am impressed by your mature return and approach to the beginning of your GCSE courses. By now you should be settled into your new classes with your new teachers and have experienced some new option subjects. This is an exciting time to build new relationships and develop new skills that will provide a range of opportunities for your future.
Year 10 has seen the return of tutor time. Your tutor will offer stability and support throughout your GCSE years as well as working with you on topics such as mental health and student participation. Tutors have enjoyed getting to know you all and are keen to support you throughout your GCSE years.
We were fortunate to welcome Lauren Smith, Olympic athlete and ex WHS student, who inspired us with her success story. Lauren aspired to play badminton from a young age; getting to the Olympics took a lot or hard work, determination and sacrifice. Lauren has had to use the core values of WHS in many ways to achieve her dreams:
- Respect – Lauren faced criticism but used that feedback to practice in different ways to better herself.
- Responsibility – Lauren sacrificed social gatherings and events in her teenage years in order to travel to compete.
- Resilience – Lauren’s sponsor dropped her when she was 15 telling her she would not make it – she did not let this stop her achieving her dream.
WHS is offering more extra-curricular opportunities than ever before this year – there is a wealth of opportunity and I would love to see you all getting involved. Year 10 running club has commenced and the aim is to get as many of you involved as possible over the course of the year. Hopefully we can run many miles over the year and raise some money for charity. This is our opportunity to work as a team to give something back. I have certainly enjoyed the first two outings and look forward to running with many more of you.
As always, your school experience is what you make it: “some people want it to happen; some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” (Michael Jordan). Make it happen Year 10!
Writing this newsletter reflecting on the first two weeks I feel exceptionally proud of the start that Year 11 have made. It has been lovely to see Year 11’s once again experiencing school for everything it has to offer. There has been a real buzz about departments, during lessons, break 1, break 2 and after school. The extra-curricular provision offered across all departments is extensive. I continue to reiterate to Year 11 in assembly the importance of balancing hard work and ‘down time’.
I have had the opportunity to witness first hand some of the magnificent work happening in lessons and outside of the classroom. There have been some fabulous auditions for the play ‘We Will Rock You’ – the talent of students in our year group is amazing. Many students have been back into the fitness suite on a Thursday night with Mr Buttress, whilst other Year 11’s enjoyed the first run of the year to Gelt Woods and back as part of the new Mountain Running Club. The vast majority of students are engaged and working hard. They have returned from summer with a mature, focussed approach.
This week students have had the opportunity to take part in a Careers Morning. We were fortunate to have a vast range of representatives delivering sessions to students about their next steps and future career options/pathways. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and take away leaflets and supporting information. Other careers advice and intervention will take place throughout the year, if you have any specific questions about future options for your child please contact Mrs Hill, Careers Lead – firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will receive a letter this week regarding the mock assessments for Year 11. This is the first of three assessment points over the year. The assessments will take place week commencing Monday, 11 October. The assessments will take place under strict exam conditions to compensate for the lack of experience and disruption to date. Students will complete one exam paper per subject. Subject staff are already having discussions with students in lessons about the key topics to focus their revision on. Your child’s tutor will also be supporting them during pastoral time, ensuring that they have the information that they need. Further detail will be in the letter.
A huge thank you has to be said for all of your support with uniform. Year 11 are setting a good example to younger students in school, both in respect of behaviour and their presentation. Thank you again for your ongoing support, it is greatly appreciated. Again, if you have any questions or queries please contact me email@example.com.
A Level results day went really well with lots of happy students. Seeing students move on to their planned destinations is one of the most satisfying parts of my job. We were lucky to be able to celebrate this year at The Halston at the start of September and both staff and students agreed it was a lovely relaxed evening with results known and plans made.
The journey continues with Year 13 and, with hopefully a more settled year ahead of us, we can focus on the processes and systems to achieve their goals which we have started doing during tutor time. The execution of good study habits is paramount to achieving the end result and this does generally extend beyond the school day once students get into their Sixth Form studies. With a parents evening next week, it is a prime time to reflect on last year and make plans for this year with subject teachers and pastoral staff. I hope to see lots of you either in person or on screen. For those attending in person a representative from the University of Cumbria will be present to answer any questions about the university application process, and in particular student finance.
University and apprenticeship applications are in full swing and I am delighted at how students are pushing this forward, having read at least a dozen statements this week. To support this process specific lessons led by Mrs Meakin and myself have been scheduled, and I am confident this will ensure students complete their application in a timely manner. To support Year 13, I will be meeting students individually to discuss time management and other strategies, such as attending Year 12 classes throughout the coming weeks, which may or may not include home study. Should this be the case parental permission will be requested.
It has been lovely to welcome the new Year 12 students, who are already getting stuck into their subjects and adapting to the increased independence and responsibility. Hosting the evening for parents two weeks ago was a great way to share information that you can use to ask questions about what is happening in school as, having had two children through school myself, I know how often they are reluctant to communicate. For anyone that was unable to attend I have recorded the presentation and this will be available on Monday on the website.
I am already impressed by the enthusiasm to get involved with extra-curricular activities, and the students who helped tour our prospective Year 6 families this week received high commendation.
Most of what I have written about has been about the processes and systems we will use to achieve our goals. One of those processes not mentioned, but which I believe is very important, is self-care and how we manage our wellbeing, which is so important and as such will be a constant focus in assemblies and tutor time.