Head Teachers Christmas Letter - December 2016
Thursday 15th December 2016
Dear Parents, Carers and Families,
Our school Christmas tree has been decorated in the foyer and the holidays approach rapidly, a time for staff and students to seek rest and replenishment in the love of their families.
For the Christian community, this is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and remember that His message to us was to "love your neighbour". This has been very important at William Perkin this term, as we have explored in assemblies what love is - patient, kind, rejoices in truth, hopes and endures all things; and what love isn't – irritable, envious, insisting on your own way. These are values that we can all aspire to, regardless of our background and together we have all benefited from having time to reflect on these qualities of love.
Our work on respecting and understanding each other was acknowledged in our outstanding SIAMs inspection report which commented very positively on the relationships within the school:
“Students and adults are incredibly proud of belonging to their school where relationships are strong ...as together they live out the school's 10:10 ethic, ...encouraging all to be the best they can be, to flourish as 'children of God'. Parents are appreciative of how the school successfully works with children and their families to encourage 'a rounded and full life'.”
We thank you all for your continued confidence in us and for working with us as we seek to continually improve.
This search for improvement has been reflected in the training sessions held for staff this term at all stages of their career, from those seeking leadership roles to trainee teachers entering the profession. Underpinning every session is the desire to improve the teaching and learning experience for all our students. Parents have also been encouraged to join us in the paired reading sessions so that children see that we are all working together. My sincere thanks go to all who have researched, prepared and delivered this training.
Last Christmas, I told you of our appointment of outstanding leading teachers in the elective subjects. You can imagine my pride in hearing the report of the PE department to our governors recently which described what William Perkin students have achieved in their 26 fixtures this term: undefeated in boys football leagues in Years 7, 8 and 9; undefeated in girls netball in Years 9 and 10; 2nd place in Borough badminton tournaments with 80 of our pupils competing in the festival; one of our students coming 2nd in the Borough cross country competition and 30 Year 9 and 10 students gaining their FA junior football young leaders award enabling them to lead local primary schools in their Festivals on our magnificent grounds. More than this, our investment in this department is allowing us to run more than one team in the various sports so that it is not just the best in their sport who can take part, but anyone who loves playing. We do hope that this is the start of a lifelong interest in keeping fit and staying healthy.
Other subjects are also encouraging the development of a full and rounded life. Art, thanks to our wonderful PTFA, have been able to buy a pottery wheel so that students, parents and staff may learn about ceramics; textiles is part of GCSE teaching and costume design has begun for the next school production of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', as well as Art work being featured in a selection of school Christmas cards. Another creative subject, Music, saw talented students attend a composers' workshop at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The house music competition was another triumph for the music department.
Our students have now reached Year 10. As always, our very first group of students lead the way, this time in the development of GCSE courses and preparation for the future. Geography have undertaken their first field trips to the River Chess and Amersham Field Studies Centre as part of their exam requirements; there has been a joint History and RE trip to Westminster Abbey; Year 10 are showing their leadership qualities as prefects; preparation for work experience is well under way and speakers and trips to other institutions are helping students to think about future careers.
To return to our theme of love and relationships, we have as usual, reached out to others with Pascal and Rutherford enterprise days raising money for Macmillan and Crisis respectively, as well as the Macmillan coffee morning organised by the SEN department. Our Citizens group have focused on the lives of refugees with a visit to the Kindertransport Memorial and Year 8 delivered Harvest donations to Acton Homeless Concern.
In this our final week of term, students and staff can begin to look forward to the Christmas season. Years 7 and 8 excelled themselves with their singing in the carol service to which we invited local primary schools and older friends from the Meadows Nursing Home in Greenford, The Greenford branch of the Trefoil Guild and the REAL Club from St Nicholas’ Perivale. Angels were noticeably a theme of the service and as we heard the words “Hear the angels sing their joyful song” during the Angel Carol, many of us felt that the singing was so moving that it could truly be described as angelic! A particular highlight was when all of our visitors were taught the actions to “Go tell it to the Mountain” and the whole hall resounded in song.
The school end of term concert last night, where the talent of so many of our students was showcased, was another opportunity to reflect on the musical progress our students have made since we opened. My thanks, as always, go to the whole staff for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm for giving all students so many opportunities to live their lives to the full!
May I, on behalf of all the staff here, wish you and your families a happy and safe Christmas season, one in which perhaps we might have the opportunity to reach out in friendship to those who are alone or homeless at this time.
Please remember that all students should return to school at 11.00am on Tuesday, 3rd January 2017.
Mr Keir Smith
William Perkin CofE High School