Head Teachers Summer Letter - July 2016

As I look out at the transformation to our school playing fields with the completion of our new full size AstroTurf football pitch and the framework of our new sports pavilion, I find myself reflecting once again on the changes to the school in just 3 years.

In September 2013, we opened with 1 corridor, 8 classrooms, a sports hall, 180 students and a committed set of parents prepared to trust this new school. Now, we are about to move fully onto our third floor, are finishing our GCSE schemes of work for Year 10 and 11 and we are beginning to plan for our Sixth Form for which we will hold an Open Evening in 2016-17.

As the school is changing, so is the world. We are going through difficult times with the recent vote on Europe and the economic and political turmoil which has followed, together with the turbulence experienced in many countries.

However, here at William Perkin where the differences between us in terms of faith and heritage add to the richness of our relationships with each other, one thing has not changed: our William Perkin 10:10 ethic, which teaches our students to respect, care for and learn about each other in our own community, our local area and the wider world.I hope that in the description of our busy summer term which follows you will see the importance we attach to this in all we do.

Regarding the wider world, we continue to raise money for charity through the Enterprise days of Newton and Einstein houses who raised a total of £1565.81 for Refugee Action and the Down’s Syndrome Association respectively. Our link school in Mozambique benefits from the money raised from our Sponsored Walk, £2433.54, and we look forward to seeing Father John when he returns from there soon and shows us how well the school and students, especially the scholarship students we help to fund, are doing. Raising a grand total of £4000 for charity in one term is exceptional and we thank you all for your generosity.

Students have taken part in Spanish and German exchange trips for the first time which not only helps them in the learning of these languages, but also helps them understand other European cultures. We thank parents for their support in volunteering to be host families.

Locally, our citizens group continues to get involved in local issues including debating housing proposals for Old Oak Common and a visit to the Copper Box Arena which helped both students and staff understand the viewpoints of various London politicians just before the London Mayoral Election.

Our friendship with our local primary schools, particularly Oldfield this term, grows stronger. We are delighted to add our congratulations to the Headteacher, Ms Day, on achieving her doctorate. Oldfield have taught us to value our site and given us ideas on how to improve the nature and wildlife that can be found there, and we have shared facilities and helped with their sports day. Joint Science projects have been enjoyed by both schools as they are between ourselves and Horsenden and Edward Betham. It was also a privilege to share in the 75th anniversary celebrations of Holy Cross Church with beautiful singing by our students.

Our new Sports facilities will help us fulfil our promise to be a local school for the local community as we make arrangements for groups and local teams to share them with us. The pitch and pavilion, together with increased staffing, will enable the PE department to coach even more students in various sports. This term they have had matches against other schools in cricket, athletics and rounders and have been guests at Middlesex County Cricket Club.

Within our own community, visits to a synagogue by Year 7, a talk from the Holocaust Educational Trust to Year 9, walks around Greenford looking at local History, debates with Twyford, the Summer Fair and end of exams discos organised by our hard working parents from the PTFA , rewards trips, a visit to Wellington College and Activities Week trips are all events which have involved students, staff and parents giving up their time to enhance the learning or enjoyment of others – once again the Twyford Trust ethos in action.

The welfare and safety of our own students continues to be a key concern and the pastoral team have again organised workshops on issues which will help students understand themselves and think about issues on which they may have to make decisions in the future. Year 9 have been considering ‘Drugs and Alcohol’; Year 8 ‘Positive Self-image’ and Year 7 ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Thinking about their Future’.

Academically, as you all know, this has been a big term. The end of year exams are important as a measure of progress and a signpost for future choices. This year, we put great emphasis on teaching strategies for dealing with stress which students seemed to respond well to. I am certainly highly delighted with the results which reflect all their hard work and I hope that, when you met your child's tutor, you were equally pleased.

Staff are always looking to expand the experience of our students and have done so this term through entering competitions such as the Salter’s Chemistry Festival where we achieved 2nd place, the Ealing Schools Spelling Bee where we also achieved 2nd place and the Junior Maths Challenge where students in Years 7 and 8 achieved 37 awards including 3 gold and one “Pink Kangaroo” award which is given to the top 5% of pupils in the country. The Art department won the Ealing recycling competition and you can see the entry is now on the side of recycling vehicles in the borough and came in the top 50 in the Radio Times competition to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Our Elite Scientists continued their work with meteors by visiting the Open University, Imperial College and the Royal Society Summer Exhibition where they were able to describe the results of their research this year. Outstanding achievements I’m sure you will agree!

I have left our two main events until last in order to highlight their importance to us. These are our Founders’ Day and our first school production. Both these events achieved the standard of excellence and the commitment of staff that I know you expect of us, but even I was overwhelmed by what was achieved.

Founders’ Day involved all students and staff in Science workshops which were interesting and unusual. External visitors, our own staff and lead students facilitated each one. From the planetarium to the egg drop challenge; from making comets and water rockets to writing poetry about planets; from experimenting to find the best protection against UV light to learning about careers in space, our students were engaged and motivated. Finally, we were exceptionally lucky to have Professor Monica Grady give a lecture on space to round it all off.

The ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, our first school production, was a collaboration between the Drama, Music and Art departments and was the culmination of many rehearsals and much hard work. Tickets, after a slow start, were then sold out (take note and get your tickets early next year!) and rightly so because the standard of performance by our students was outstanding. My heartfelt thanks goes to the departments involved in both of these prestigious events.

The end of the school year always brings sadness that some of our staff are leaving us – Miss da Silva, Mrs Bamping, Miss Matthews, Miss Reid, Miss Redmond-Hewett, Mrs Easton (for 1 year) and Mr Robinson. I would like to thank them for their hard work and contribution to William Perkin and wish them well in the future.

We look forward to new staff and students joining us in September, but first we have six weeks of holiday. I do hope this will be a period of relaxation and refreshment for you all and that your families both here and abroad will be safe.

Students should return to school as follows:

  • Year 7 on Tuesday 6th September 2016 at 9.00pm
  • Years 8, 9 & 10 on Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 8.00pm

With very best wishes,

Mr Keir Smith

Associate Headteacher

William Perkin CofE High School

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