A Final Word in September
It seems incredible that September is about to end and that we have only been back at work for four and a half weeks. The school has, as ever, managed to cram an awful lot into a short amount of time. I know that you received a letter this week outlining the plans we have in place for extra-curricular trips and visits this year and as we move through the year we will add more opportunities in for the students. I hope the communication has reassured you that we are committed to ensuring our students have the opportunity to learn both within and beyond the classroom. Covid-19 negatively impacted the usual raft of opportunities we would have wanted to offer and we are focused on restoring our offer to its usual breadth. It feels as we reach the end of the first full month of this academic year that we have had a more normal start to a year than in several years.
We received some lovely news this week about a number of our students that I would very much like to share with you all. Two students in 9E earlier this year were runners up in a Spanish Creative writing competition run by the University of Oxford. The students were encouraged to enter the competition by their Spanish teacher, Ms Camporro-Fernandez. Many congratulations must go to Lilia and Julia from 9E and to Ms Camporro-Fernandez for inspiring the students in her lessons. We also received some great feedback from a supply teacher who did some work at our Tonbridge campus earlier this week. Mr Green said that the students were amazing - showing a willingness to listen and learn and take part in the lesson. The classes he covered were 7A, 7E and 8A Science. Well done to all of the students in those classes for modelling such positive learning behaviours. Miss Morris, Head of Year 8 and one of our PE teachers wanted me to share how brilliant some of our Year 11 GCSE students were when they went on their rock-climbing trip this week. Miss Morris said of them, “All students demonstrated excellent perseverance, resilience and challenged themselves to achieve beyond what they thought they could do”. Again, well done to all the students involved and to Miss Morris and the PE team for organising and accompanying them on this trip. We also had a Spanish Film Screening visit to London for our A Level linguists, thank you to the staff who organised this.
Monday this week saw the first meeting across both campuses of our Student Council led by our new Student Leadership Team. The Student Leadership Team have got a lot of really exciting ideas for how they wish to enhance student voice and engagement at Weald and I am really looking forward to working closely with them this year. We will have students from Year 7, Year 11 and Year 13 speaking at our Open Evenings at both campuses next week and their speeches are truly inspiring. I would like to thank in advance the students who have agreed to speak about their experiences at Weald in and also thank Miss Sales, Mrs Sherlock and Miss Harvey for their support with the speeches.
Tuesday evening saw the first meeting of our newly established PTA for the Weald of Kent. I want to thank all those parents who attended the meeting and volunteered either to be a helper, or a committee member. We do now have a committee formed and very shortly you will receive further information on their plans. The PTA are hoping to start their work this year with a Christmas Fair. They would like to organise a Year 11 Prom for the students which will be a first for Weald, but a very welcome addition to our annual cycle of events. The PTA also agreed to support two areas of the school in developing over the coming year which are the Sixth Form facilities at our Sevenoaks Campus and Drama. I am very much looking towards working with them on their plans.
On Wednesday this week we had an exciting CPD opportunity for our teaching staff when a consultant who works with the Schools Students and Teachers Network came into school for the day on Wednesday to train a core group of teachers and senior leaders on the delivery of the Embedding Formative Assessment project. This is a teaching development programme which we have signed up to for the next two years and all members of the school’s teaching staff will benefit from the evidence-based materials that SSAT will be providing to the school. I would like to thank Mrs Beasley for her work on organising this, and to also thank Miss Sales, Miss Proctor, Dr Xu, Mr Smyth, Mr O’Sullivan, Ms Locker, Mrs Corbishley, Ms Butler, Mrs Wehrle, Mr Harriss and Miss Firestone who have volunteered to lead groups during the programme.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the recent survey on Parents and Carers’ Consultation Evenings and reporting, we had a fabulous response rate. We will be sharing the outcome of the survey before the end of Term 1 with you all.
If any parents or carers wish to contact the Trustees, we have a new clerk to the Trustees, so please use the email address clerk@WEALDGS.ORG
Next week, we will be welcoming back to Weald Mrs Murphy, who left us in the summer. Mrs Murphy is a former Weald student, in fact, I was her Form Tutor when she was in Year 8. She will be coming back to work in the English Department at the Sevenoaks Campus. Those of you who know her will be as delighted as I am that she is returning to us. We have missed her and it will be lovely to have her back with us.
I wish you a lovely restful weekend and a perfect start to the month of October.
Mrs SA Clark