Head Teachers Letter - Easter 2017

Dear William Perkin Parents and Carers,

Here we are at the end of another term and I cannot help but reflect that the clocks ‘springing' forward last weekend seems to have given both students and staff renewed smiles and energy, despite their tiredness, at the end of another busy term. Travelling to and from school in the light does, if you will pardon the pun, seem to put a spring in everyone's step!

The change from the dark cold days of January to the warmer and lighter days we have now, have meant that students are happy to escape the confines of the classroom and are making full use of our outdoor facilities. It is with great pleasure that I can report the completion of our new sports pavilion and the start of its use by the PE department and the local community.Standing on the balcony overlooking our extensive playing fields makes me very grateful for both our site and the investment that has made the new pavilion possible.The ‘Centre for Youth Sport Development’ comprises of a full size, 3G ATP and a Pavilion, with 4 changing rooms and a Conference Venue.The total investment in the facility is in excess of £2million, and the Centre will be officially opened by the FA and the Mayor on the 25th April.

I am also delighted to tell you that the investment we have made in our in-house training courses for staff, particularly those for teachers at the start of their career, has resulted in an ‘outstanding’ judgement by the local authority. My sincere thanks go to the many members of staff who deliver this training.

This term saw the Senior Leadership travelling early one Saturday morning to St Martin in the Fields for our planning day. Excitingly we are now at the stage where we are focusing not just on Year 11, but on the detail of setting up and delivering A-level courses for Years 12 and 13. I look forward to speaking to Year 10 parents about what we will have to offer on Thursday 4th May. With our usual enthusiastic drive for giving our students the best educational experience, we hope you will continue to want to be part of our William Perkin family and all that we value.

How to be part of a community with all our similarities and differences, valuing and using each of our gifts so that all may flourish, has been our assembly theme this term, and there is plenty of evidence for the understanding and compassion, which comes with that over the course of this term! Year 8 students gained a wider understanding of other religions when they visited our local Mandir, in temporary accommodation in Perivale while the original is rebuilt. German exchange students staying with some of our families has given our pupils an insight into the lives of children growing up in another European country. Following on from their work on the lack of affordable housing, our Citizen’s group have been researching the lives of refugees. This culminated in us hosting the Refugee Welcome Evening on behalf of West London, which opened all our eyes to the plight of those seeking to find a peaceful and safe place to live. Once again money raised by Einstein, Watson and Newton houses in aid of Down's Syndrome Association, The British Heart Foundation and Refugee Action supports those in need.

Investing in the future of our young people, is something, as you know, that our staff take very seriously. As we look forward to the Sixth Form and life beyond, staff continue to extend pupil experiences so that students are fully informed about the options available to them and the key skills they will need to succeed in both higher education and future employment. These have included a Medical taster day at Northwick Park Hospital, a careers fair at John Lyon School, the National Apprentice Show at Sandown Racecourse, a visit to Uxbridge College to understand how colleges operate and the courses they offer, and two events at London Metropolitan University – the first a higher education event with a stockbroking simulation and the second, a talk and workshop about careers in the creative arts.

Personal growth is always important to us, both for the wider development of all our young people but also, practically so they can show themselves to be well-rounded individuals when applying for further education places and future employment. Opportunities have been, as usual, plentiful this term with each department giving students every opportunity to experience new things, to perform in their areas and to showcase their gifts.

The English department have undertaken public speaking training as part of their Leadership and Diversity programme, taken Year 10 to the theatre to see Macbeth, participated in the BBC ‘Live News Day’,celebrated World Book Day with staff dressing up as their favourite characters, as well as the usual ‘I Love Literacy’ week and Youth Speaks Out competition. The latter has prompted the Maths department to introduce Maths Speaks Out, as well as to celebrate Pi Day, run a cinema trip to see ‘Hidden Figures’, enter the annual Intermediate Maths challenge and run a codebreaking session.

Science continue to excel in giving our students the opportunity to meet and listen to leaders in their field.Dr Zita Martins, an astrobiologist and a Royal Society research fellow at Imperial College came to talk to Year 8, Dr Stephanie Schorge, a neurologist and another Royal Society research fellow, but at University College London, visited to speak about ‘brain hacking using viruses’, Dr Ashley King is, of course, a regular visitor working with our meteor project. The best, however, is yet to come: we are extremely privileged to have Dame Jocelyn Bell, famous for discovering the first radio pulsars, speaking at our Founder’s Day in May. Who can fail to be inspired by these opportunities?

There are always too many events to mention in this letter if I want to prevent it from becoming a list, but I will just mention a few. In MFL, Year 7 are writing their own version of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ whilst Year 10 have entered the National UK Linguistics Olympiad. The Star Academy solo music competition was exceptional, and we were very fortunate to have a significant amount of prize money awarded by our local Rotary Club for the benefit of the overall winner and music within the school. In PE, Year 8 girls won their netball matches against Whitmore High School and Cardinal Wiseman, while Year 7 came 3rd in the borough competition. Year 8 boys were runners up in the borough indoor cricket finals and Year 9 boys won their football match against Dormers Wells High School. Watching so many of our students flourishing in so many areas is proof, if needed, that we are accomplishing what we set out to do when we opened William Perkin High School.

Although I am proud of what each individual achieves within our William Perkin community, I also value our relationship with others. Once again, we celebrated Education Sunday at Holy Cross Church, with members of our school choir displaying their singing talents. We also travelled up to St Paul’s Cathedral with students and staff from Twyford to give thanks for education in church schools throughout the diocese of London. It was one of the last services of Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, who has been a good friend to both schools and we thank him for all he has done for us and wish him well in his retirement.

I began this letter, looking to the future, with plans for our Sixth Form. Those plans are only possible with continued enthusiasm, hard work and support from all the staff, our students and you, our parents. We reward and celebrate the progress that results from that enthusiastic effort in our final assemblies today. I just wish we had the room to invite you all to see those many smiles of achievement in so many different areas and for so many different gifts.

I am so proud, and thankful, that we continue to flourish and look forward to every individual in our community ‘springing forward’ to a happy and fulfilling future.

With every best wish for a restful, relaxing and safe Easter break.

Please remember that all students should return to school at 11.00am on Tuesday, 18th April 2017.

Kindest Regards,

Mr Keir Smith
Associate Headteacher
William Perkin CofE High School


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