As this term draws to a close, I am writing to thank you for the support you continue to give to us at St. Mary’s.
The autumn term tends to be a busy one and this year is no exception!
It was lovely to see our former Year 11’s return to St. Mary’s last month for their ‘Presentation Evening’. As I am sure many of you will know, this is where the pupils come back to get their GCSE certificates are where various prizes are awarded for significant achievements both subject related and for services to the school. It was a fitting way to mark and acknowledge the efforts and successes of these young men and women and a nice opportunity to hear how they are getting on with their new courses. Guest speaker Mrs Wendy Tarplee-Morris presented the certificates and prizes and also gave us an inspirational talk about the work of the ‘Little Princess Trust’ in providing real hair wigs for children who have lost their own hair through medical treatment.
I have been here at St. Mary’s for nearly two terms now and during that time, I have made taking a close look at the quality of teaching and learning a key priority. Together with colleagues on the leadership team we have undertaken week long reviews in 5 subject departments, a process which has involved watching lessons, scrutinising pupils’ work and talking to your sons and daughters about the ‘diet’ of provision they typically receive. This monitoring and evaluation work is so important as it helps to highlight what we are doing well, but more significantly, where, we need to improve. We’ve temporarily paused for the Year 11 mocks, but the schedule of review will continue immediately after Christmas when we will look closely at the 7 remaining departments. Such extensive review work is aimed at ensuring the very best education for your children.
By the time you read this letter, the current Y 11 pupils will be finishing their mock exams. They have worked hard for these and I am hopeful that the marks and grades they receive will reflect this. As I have said before, the mocks and GCSE’s represent a very pressurised time for our young people but we are committed not only to preparing them for the rigours of the exams but to supporting them through the process too. Next term will be a big term for Y 11 but from what I’ve seen of them so far, I think they will be absolutely fine.
I have also been using my initial months at St. Mary’s to introduce myself to fellow Headteachers and leadership colleagues in Herefordshire and to begin working closely with our governors on medium and longer term planning for the school. I believe that there are exciting times ahead at St. Mary’s and I look forward to updating you on our progress in due course.
We have enjoyed considerable success outside of the classroom this term with many of our sports teams getting through to semi-finals, finals and winning plates and tournaments and it is great to see this side of school life thriving at St. Mary’s. This term alone there has been trips to The Black Country Museum, The Good Food Show, Malvern Festival of Innovation and then further afield to the French Battlefields and German Christmas Markets. Thanks to all of you who supported our recent PTFA Advent Fayre, it was my first one as Headteacher and I thought it was a further example of what a special school community this is. I believe we raised in excess of £3,000 which is fantastic and money which will simply go into developing the school for the benefit of our children.
Amongst all the positive activity we have also had a number of challenges to overcome together as a school this term. I would ask that as Christmas approaches, you keep those we have lost from our community in your thoughts and prayers.
I would like to wish you a happy and holy Christmas and I look forward to working with you and your children in the new year.