Headteacher's Blog

In the cycle of school life, there is always pride and some sadness at seeing year groups leave us, but that is soon swamped by the excitement of greeting the youngest cohort into the school, right at the start of their journey. On Monday and Tuesday we welcomed our Year 6 students into our school, for their first experience in the tutor groups they will join in September. Mr Herbert and Mrs Gerrard had prepared a wide range of activities for the students, including the opportunity to send a message to their future selves, messages that will be replayed to them when they finish in Year 11!

On Tuesday evening we held a new version of the Parent Evening for Year 6, this time without the scrum for uniform – the result was a lovely evening in which the parents heard from some of our finest students,   Jake Langford, Kristian Bell, Amy Carlile from the Sixth Form, and Olly Lucas and Maddie Chenery from Year 7 who all spoke with such confidence and pride. The new parents then heard from me and Mr Herbert, but then spent half an hour or so with their child’s tutor. Finally, they were able to have a cake and a drink from the first public event held by Friends of Stowmarket High – my thanks to this dedicated band of parents for their support. It was an excellent evening, and fills us with much confidence about the positive impact this year group is going to have on our school.

During the week, Year 10 students undertook their work experience. The vast majority of students had sourced their own placement, in itself an excellent experience of employment seeking. Some stayed and worked in roles for us, and were excellent. Some travelled long distances, others worked in local firms. A small minority failed to make the most of this opportunity, and let themselves and our school down in the process, however the vast majority were superb ambassadors for us, and gained a great deal from the process. Today we are holding a celebratory breakfast and assembly, to which numbers of our supportive industries will be represented, and at which Year 10 students who excelled will be awarded prizes.

I had the great honour to interview candidates from the Sixth Form for the position of Head Girl and Head Boy last week. Joined by Mr Blewitt, we listened to the eloquent and passionate words of Kristian Bell, Amy Carlile, Meghan Hayden, Niamh Hedges-Quinn, Daisy Rapley and Elliot Jacobs. This week we willhear from Jake Langford and John Billingham, and then an extremely difficult decision will need to be made. The humbling aspect of this process is just how impressive these young people are – how ambitious, articulate, caring and strong they are. I wish every one of them best of luck, and Mr Blewitt and I are not looking forward to having to make this decision.

On Thursday I met with my Parent Voice group. First, I served cakes and a tipple to say thank you to this group of critical friends, who have made an important difference to us this year. The evening was, as ever, extremely productive as we looked at various issues, including this newsletter. The point was made to me, that I miss opportunities to celebrate other subjects than PE, and that many students achieve very positive things but don’t get mentioned here. It was one of those Homer Simpson moments. The truth and blindingly obvious logic of it hit me full on. The next morning I spoke to all my middle leaders and said that next year we will be developing this newsletter further by introducing much more of student focused approach.

My thanks to Nicola Elmer, Natalie Miller, Susan Randall, Sarah Kisby, Jayne Cage, Charmaine Greenan, Hayley Levett, Alison Butler, Penny Braybrook, Kerry Underwood, Saran Redhead, Tracy Chaplin, Sarah France, Bev Buckle, Jane Davis, Justin Newton, Paula Elwood, Allison High, Ruth Larke, Mary Christian, Lorraine Baker, Alison Butler and Jenny Hill, who have attended this year – I look forward to continuing this very helpful forum.

Another question that was raised by the group was about the staffing situation for next year. I am sad to see a number of staff leave us, but it is also important to refresh the team and keep bringing in new talent and energy. I am delighted to say that we are fully staffed for next year (due to the teacher recruitment crisis, this is not an easy task to achieve, however our reputation as a strong school and a good employer is growing, and that has attracted some great appointments.) I would like to wish the staff leaving all the very best in their future roles, and I would like to thank them for their contribution to our school in their time here.

Leavers:

We are saying goodbye Mr Enrico Pevere, Dr Christopher Clarkson, Ms Melanie Read and Mrs Jane Dickinson who have new job opportunities.   Mrs Jenny Benjamin, who is leaving to enjoy married life and Mrs Vicky Wade, who is going on maternity leave.  We also wish Mrs Vicky Barnes every success as she is leaving to concentrate on her own business and Mrs Felicity Barton who is relocating to Brussels.

We look forward to welcoming our new staff:

Mr Ryan Furlong                               Subject Coordinator of Physics

Mrs Catherine Ogilivie                     Teacher of Maths

Mrs Nicola Goddard                        Teacher of Science (Physics)

Mr Michael Gilbert                           SCITT Trainee – English

Mr Mark Craven                               Subject Co-ordinator of Biology

Miss Robyn Booth                           Teacher of Biology

Mr George Walter                           Teacher of English

Ms Jane Woolley                            Director of Curriculum (Science)

Ms Bethany Vink                             Teacher of Textiles (Maternity Cover)

Ms Louise Cowen                            SCITT Trainee – Drama

Mr Matthew Staples                         SCITT Trainee – Geography 

This week we will host the second Sports Award Ceremony. I have seen the practice run, and I have to say the PE team have exceled this year. The event will celebrate every team that has represented the school this year, key achievements and attitudes that have impressed the PE staff. Our special guest speaker is Duncan Slater, a double amputee who has raised thousands of pounds to support wounded military personnel. I can’t wait to meet him again and play my very small role in this wonderful event. 

We will be holding celebratory assemblies during the week for each year group, rather than the traditional full school assembly on the final day, as the predictions for the temperature means that the hall will simply be too unpleasantly warm. 

On Wednesday morning we will be holding our end of year Celebratory Breakfast, to acknowledge the students singled out by staff as demonstrating the very best learner qualities. This is always a charming event, and I look forward to spending some time with the parents and the students, having a coffee and a pastry, to salute the young people and the support they have received. 

As we come to the end of another long and successful year for Stowmarket High, I would like to thank the school community for the support they have offered to the young people, staff and governors of this school. I wish you all a very safe, enjoyable, relaxing and battery charging summer.

 Mr Lee-Allan