Headteacher's End of Term Letter - Summer 2018
Wednesday 18th July 2018
Dear William Perkin Parent/Carer,
As I walk around the school looking at the scorched grass, I can’t help noticing the unusually large number of bees busy gathering nectar from flowers around the school.
A quick click of a button and the search engine came up with a poem by Isaac Watts, who, I learned, was an 18th century non-conformist hymn writer and logician who wrote a poem about ‘Busy Bees’ which begins:
How doth the little busy bee
Improve the shining hour...
‘Busy bees’ is certainly a metaphor for the lives of students and staff this term with all the big events that have taken place – Founders day, Sponsored Walk, Sports Day, Activities week, our first GCSE exams, Q4 assessment week and the induction of new staff and students. A busy and challenging term but exhilarating at the same time!
Arguably our biggest event was Founder’s Day in May which saw the return of Lord Robert Winston as we dedicated the day to all things medical. His enthusiasm showed through, as always, when he spoke to our younger students who showed their listening skills as they questioned him very intelligently at the end. Our other keynote speaker was Professor Sara Rankin who engaged Years 10 and 11 as she described her research work to them. Her own experience of not doing well in her A-levels but ending up as a professor at Imperial College was an unexpected lesson in resilience, perseverance and hard work! Her experience mirrors that of Isaac Watts who, as a nonconformist, was not allowed to attend Oxford or Cambridge universities but later, his works on theology and logic were studied at both those institutions as well as Harvard and Yale.
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
Students relished the opportunity to interact and learn from experts in their field. Researchers from Imperial, University and Kings’ Colleges as well as Nottingham University and the Crick Institute were amongst those who led workshops for our students. They enjoyed discovering more about the workings of the human body and finding out about careers in Pharmacy and Medicine. They had talks on child and adolescent mental health, parasites and much more. Year 9 were taught and practised first aid skills, a useful life skill. My very grateful thanks go all involved in making this such a special event.
Sponsored Walk was particularly memorable this year as we said goodbye to Mr Bedford who left to begin his new role as Associate Headteacher of Ealing Fields. Remembering that that day was his birthday, which he shares with Henry VIII, led the staff to hire a costume for him to walk around the course, meeting his wives on the way! Mr Bedford has always played a key role here in setting up the school and making it what it is today – a prime example of a ‘busy bee’ who has led improvements in the school. He leaves with our heartfelt thanks and best wishes.
£4500 was raised in total in memory of Karan Cheema and for our link school in Macienne. Thank you for supporting your children in raising this money on that day, and also on our two Enterprise days held by Newton and Rutherford this term.
In works of labour or of skill
I would be busy too...
You might think that after Year 11 leaving (more about that later) and assessment week, life at William Perkin would be much more leisurely but no, we have all been busy learning and excelling in different ways. Sports Day was bigger than ever with 3 Trust schools competing. Staff worked hard in its organisation and students put every effort into competing for their houses. Beautiful weather, excellent sportsmanship together with sporting skill, resulted in an event to be proud of.
Activities Week where our students have had the opportunity to take part in residential trips to Condover Hall, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, Normandy and Madrid as well as day trips to Brighton, British, Science and Natural History Museums, Globe Theatre, Greenwich, Kew, London Zoo, Ruislip Lido, Warwick Castle, Stamford Bridge, Future Medics, Future Engineers, Drama in the Park and of course, Thorpe Park. My thanks go to all staff leading and accompanying these trips but especially to Mr Martin who has organised this week with his skills of logic and attention to detail which are second to none. Sadly, Mr Martin and Ms Neelands leave us this term after being two of our founding members of staff. Happily though, they are getting married (yes, to each other) before travelling and then emigrating to Australia. We wish them well in all that the future holds for them and thank them for the immense contributions they have made to the school.
How skillfully she builds her cell
How neat she spreads her wax
And labours hard to store it well...
Each year group has been busy in its own way this term making the most of the widespread opportunities on offer. Year 7 have had workshops on ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Thinking about their Future’ as well as a nature walk to Northala Fields and a rugby tournament. With Year 8, they took part in an inclusive cricket competition and the Junior UKMT, a nationwide Maths competition. We were pleased to receive 4 gold, 3 silver, and 8 bronze awards. Two students have also qualified for the next round. Congratulations to all! Students from both year groups also entered a national contest held by the Carnegie Shadow Book Club and were runners up.
Year 8 considered what being a global citizen means and how to achieve a positive self-image, while Year 9 looked at the dangers of drugs and alcohol. They had the opportunity to see ‘Misty’ at the Bush theatre as well as Macbeth with Year 10. This was also very an important term for Year 9 as they considered their choices of GCSE subjects. I do hope you found the process helpful in supporting your child.
Year 10 had a trip to the Natural History Museum as well as the Painted Ceiling experiences the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich – a collaboration between the Art and Chemistry departments.
I am so thankful that students constantly rise to the variety of challenges we offer them and grateful for the enthusiasm of the staff who work hard to prepare and support them.
Year 11 of course had their GCSE exams and I have to say how proud I am of the way they have worked and conducted themselves. Their Celebration of Achievement evening, Leavers’ day service and Summer ball were delightful. They seemed calm and reasonably happy as they left each of their exams and I would like to thank staff for organising final study sessions for them before every paper. We hope all that hard work will result in good results on 23rd August!
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed;
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
Besides staff and students, our PTFA are also ‘busy bees’ on our behalf. All of them have a great deal to do working and looking after their families, but they still find the time and energy to raise money to provide extra facilities and opportunities for our students. Their present goal is to support both the new Duke of Edinburgh initiative and the PE department, but they support the school in so many other ways. Their hard work has now been recognised with Registered Charity status providing peace of mind as well as new future sponsorship and corporate support opportunities. If you can support them in any way from raffle prizes to an hour of your time, I would encourage you to get in touch with them.
So now we look forward to next year. Evenings and meetings to welcome and integrate Year 6 students into our new Year 7 had to be planned meticulously as they included Ada Lovelace students as well as our own. Every year, I say the singing of the school song to parents is the best it has ever been, but to hear 320 voices raised in perfect harmony after only 20 minutes of teaching this year was a joy.
New staff also joined us for their induction into the school and we look forward to welcoming them to the William Perkin and Ada Lovelace families in September.
Our first ever Sixth Form Induction day also went well. Seeing Year 11 and other external candidates in their own clothes, and looking forward to the future, made me proud of the young adults they have become. The occasion was tinged with sadness as the funeral cortège of Abbas Sowaiden passed by the school that day.It was a very moving experience to see our Year 10 and 11 students line up in what I can only describe as a guard of honour as he passed by. Abbas fought his illness with great courage and we will miss him. Please pray for his family and friends at this very difficult time.
Finally I would like to thank staff who are, to follow my bees analogy, flying off to fresh fields with different flowers.Mr Martin, Ms Neelands, Mr Salter, Ms Syed, Ms Abdi, Mr Beard, Mr Ford, Ms Lewis, Mrs Pan-Latimer and Mr Ratcliff have all made a tremendous contribution to the life and work of the school and we wish them well in the future.
I would also like to thank Mrs Elizabeth Walton, who is retiring from Horsenden primary school after many years’ service. She gave unstinting support to the setting up of this school and served as a governor from the beginning. We wish her a long and happy retirement.
I do hope the holiday period will be provide rest and recuperation for you and your families and pray that all our students will return to us safely in September.
Students should return as follows:
Year 7 at 9.30am on Tuesday 4th September
Year 12 at 10.30am on Tuesday 4th September
Years 8, 9, 10 & 11 at 8.00am on Wednesday 5th September
With very best wishes,
Mr Keir Smith
William Perkin CofE High School