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Head's Blog #8: Jan 2017

Dear all

Firstly, Happy New Year to you and all your families.

Well that was the most eventful end of term I’ve ever had. After lots of false starts we finally moved into our new building in the last week of the term. The move was chaotic, but brilliant. From now on we have no “New Building,” simply Westfield Academy. As with all house moves, it has been and will continue to be beset by snags, but what I can say is that it was wonderful to see the students in the building. It really is the environment our students deserve. One Year 7 student sent me a Christmas card saying “Thank you Mr Body for building us an amazing new school.” I can assure you I had nothing to do with the building or the funding, so I cannot take the credit. Over the next few weeks we should start to get settled into it. I am conscious that this cannot be a distraction from school itself.

I was pleased to see the “Winter Wonderland” trips were a success at the end of term. These were rewards trips for the most successful students during the term. This was an idea that came from the student council, so I was really pleased to see it go ahead. It is always something that concerns the students that the focus is on the poorly behaved students and not those who consistently do well, so I hope this is the start of a change to this perception.

The end of term assessments have created some issues for parents, I know. Please be assured that at no point will any student just be moved set on the basis of one or two tests. We have in the past been accused (rightly) of putting too much focus on the achievement of Year 11. Our intention is to focus more heavily on what all students achieve each half-term. Some parents were concerned that they did not know what was being tested. In simple terms, it is the work the students have done over the previous 6 weeks. However we will ensure that we get an overview of what students are studying, out to parents in the near future. Where we identify students who over time appear to be struggling with in terms of their achievement, our starting point will be to support them. Heads of Year will contact parents and arrange to meet to discuss how to support the students who are not performing at the level of the set they are in. I hope that makes sense, I am sure as the year goes on, it will. Any issues however, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your child’s Head of Year.

Anyway, back to our new building. One of the areas the students were concerned about was lockers. As we go through January, they will be made available to students who want them. (We will start with Year 7.) Can I also advise that one of my big pushes in the new building is “coats.” In our old building, students went inside then outside, then back in. In this one, they are inside all the time (except break/lunchtime.) As we are all inside I do not expect to see students wearing coats inside at any times.

I have to also say, so far our “Morrison’s entrance” has been a success. (Once the landscaping has been done there will be an entrance on Croxley View again.) I would really recommend that parents who pick students up after school in cars, try to use the Morrison’s entrance as it is more accessible than our Sports Centre entrance.

Best wishes, for the New Year.

Tim Body