End of school year blog 21 July

Posted on: 21/07/2021

Screen shot 2020 07 17 at 085005As we reach the end of another unusual year, we do so with a sense of pride at how our students have navigated all of the changing advice and guidance, along with the uncertainty that this has brought.  Our students have continued to thrive and develop into the wonderful, compassionate and supportive students they are.  It was a pleasure to present so many students with certificates and awards during our Celebration Assemblies this week in recognition of their continued endeavour and achievements.  Congratulations to you all.

As we begin to look to our return in September there are a few things that I would like to draw your attention to.  We have planned for next year to ensure that should we need to revert to year group bubbles and restrictions we can do so without disruption or change to the timetable, as such, we will continue to operate with split breaks and lunchtimes on site, and have been able to extend the lunchbreak for the students whilst not losing any teaching time.  The school day will finish for all students at 3.30pm. We have removed the afternoon break for KS3 and introduced a brief comfort break instead.  Please note that periods 4 and 5 are the lunch breaks for the different Key stages, hence the timetable shows seven periods - the timetable remains six lesson periods per day.  By adding the lunch breaks as additional periods means that the timetable will show on the SIMS app next year.

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We are in the process of creating a new dining and study space in the old gym, this is an interim measure whilst we look to re-develop this area, however it will mean that we can also re-introduce canteen service for all year groups at both break and lunchtime from September and will maintain this service even if the protocols change. 

On our return to school in September we will have to conduct student lateral flow testing for all students, this will involve two tests done over the first week in school.  As a result, we will be emailing you to ask you to complete a new consent form for this ahead of the start of term and my thanks for your support with this.  We will also be contacting all of our wonderful volunteers to see if they will come and support us again, so if that is you please look out for the email! This does mean that we will have to operate with a staggered start to the school year as students have to have received a negative test before they return to lessons.  All students should return wearing a face mask until after they have had their test.

As an additional level of protection, we are supplying each student with a testing kit and asking that they ensure that they do two tests in the five days prior to return to school and that this is reported to school on the link that will be shared shortly.

Please see the programme of return below:

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The carpark building works will be completed by September creating a secure site.  Students will need to have their ID card with them each day to allow them access into school.  We are also continuing our work on improving the learning resources in school and will be installing further interactive projectors and screens in our classrooms with the with the aim of having this capability in all teaching rooms, these allow much greater versatility in teaching and learning and aid student progress.

Our new Sports Hall will be improved further over the summer with new acoustic panels to improve the sound quality.  This is alongside being able to fit out the new Fitness Studio on the first floor of the Holmes Building so that it is ready for student use in September.

I would like to remind all students, carers and parents that from September students must only be wearing the pleated school skirt, as available from the school shop, as already explained this was due to have come into operation across the school in September 2020 and we delayed this as a result of COVID.  I would ask parents and carers not to send students into school with the wrong school skirt, as this will result in students being sent home to change.  Thank you for your support in this matter, click here to view our school uniform expectations 

Students will be able to make better use of their lockers in the next academic year, although access at lunchtime will be restricted if other classes are in the rooms, however, students will have easier access before and after school.  As such we will continue to allow students to carry their bags in school and students should ensure that they have all of the necessary equipment for their lessons (can also be viewed on our Uniform and Equipment webpage)

At the end of term we are saying farewell to a few staff, Mr Roles leaves us to enjoy his retirement and we wish him well after all his hard work in the Geography department, Mrs Mattheus leaves us to take up a post at another school and we also thank her for her work in MFL and wish her every success in her new role.  We also say farewell to Mrs Patla as she moves into a new role.  Mrs Byham moves on to take up a new and exciting role in training new teachers and we wish her well. Mr Wilkinson is re-locating to another part of the country and we wish him well for the future and thank him for his work in Music this year, Mr Carter our Senior IT Technician is moving to Stone Lodge School to take the lead in the IT Team there and finally Mr Couchman our Site Manager is moving to a new role in a school closer to his home.

I am delighted to say that we are fully staffed for September. We will be joined by, Mrs Ahmad as full time Science teacher, Miss Slade as full time RS teacher, Mrs Triboix-Kamga as full time MFL teacher, Mrs Handley full time English teacher, Mrs O’Driscoll full time Geography teacher, Mrs Jennings part time technology teacher, and Mr Alexander full time Sociology and Law teacher. We will also be joined by Mrs Fiander as support manager to Years 9 and 10, (Miss Little will work with Years 7 and 8 and Mrs Pike will oversee the support of Year 11 and our Pupil Premium students).  Miss Purohit also joins us as support manager to WG6.  We look forward to welcoming all of our new staff to the school and I am sure they will soon feel established in our community.

As we end the year I would like to express our huge gratitude to you as parents and carers for your continued support of your children’s education, your communication with the school and your positive messages and kind thoughts that have been sent to staff across this year. It is when you face the toughest of times that the community you are part of makes all the difference.  Whilst this year has been hard for all, the end result is that we have students who have made good progress, who understand what they need to do next to continue their development and above all are models of our values, constantly striving for the excellence that is at the heart of what we do.  I could not be prouder of our staff for all that they have done this year, going far above and beyond what is expected and always with the students’ best interests at heart.  I am sure that you will join me in thanking them for their work and commitment to your children and wish them a really lovely summer break and a good rest.

I wish you all a safe and restful Summer and look forward to seeing you all return for the start of term in September.

Our Year 10s have been working on a special enterprise initiative ‘Wilmo’s Dragon’s Den’.  In teams, our students came up with new and potentially financially viable digital business opportunities which they then pitched to staff in order to secure investment in a Dragon’s Den format.  Each staff Dragon was allocated 10,000 Wilmos (our official WGSG currency!) to invest in the ideas students presented to them.

All students were challenged to create an App that they felt catered for a specific audience and identified a gap in the market.  There was a grand prize to the team that secured the highest level of investment together with smaller prizes for special categories.

The ideas were as clever, unique and relatable as the teams themselves!  We saw App concepts that simplified recycling, supported mental health and wellbeing, digital stylists and personal safety gizmos .. all worthy of a mention (and potentially real development!)  However, the winning team ‘Cheesecake’, came up with an original idea and created a compelling sell to attract the highest level of Wilmo investment (21928 Wilmos!) .. the App ‘Forget-me-not’ tracks everyday items that we either lose or forget.  The App cleverly alerts you to forgotten items and their location using Bluetooth to reunite and remind you with your lost key, wallet, laptop .. or small child!!

Congratulations to Esme H, Violet U and Daisy W pictured below pitching their idea.

Other prizes were for the best concept which went to Better than Gold, best pitch went to the Problem Solvers, best design to Tegma, best social causes app to the Leftovers, and the best financial model to ASP.  

Well done to all of the students. The staff were blown away by the level of commitment, complexity, and thinking that went into the ideas. The hardest part was deciding which group not to invest in! We hope to see some of you up in front of Deborah Meadan and Peter Jones very soon!

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And a final item from the classrooms!  Our Year 7s have using their science investigation skills to make the colours of the Olympic rings using acids, alkalis and universal indicator. 

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Best wishes,

Michelle Lawson

Head Teacher

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