Ofsted "one year on": It is a year since, following a decade as a "Good" school, we were declared to require improvement. If you have read any of the information that we have put out about our response to the report and our plans for school improvement you will be well aware that we have taken the criticisms extremely seriously. We know that we are valued by parents, carers and students for the quality of our pastoral care and our distinctive inclusive, supportive ethos. As far as we can tell, the Ofsted report has had no impact on our recruitment - we are full for next year. We believe that strong relationships are at the heart of a successful school and we have worked hard to make sure changes that we make do not damage the strengths of the school. That being said, being declared to require improvement has been a bitter pill to swallow for all of us and has precipitated several reviews of our practice, both internally and by external agencies. We have reflected carefully on what we need to do and have acted swiftly to address the issues raised by Ofsted. We have looked at best practice elsewhere, both locally and nationally, and we have sharpened up our work across every aspect of the school. In essence, as the school improvement page on the website says "Our current absolute top priorities are, firstly, to further improve teaching and learning across the school, thereby improving the academic results for all students and, secondly, to be consistent across everything that we do so that every student gets a great education." This has been the story of the last 12 months. Over the coming 12 months we need to move beyond ensuring that we are "good"; this is going to need us to focus on two particular aspects - professional development of all staff so that we are continually seeking to get better and better, and improving the work ethic of some of our students so that every single individual recognises the need for steady, consistent hard work even when tackling topics that they may find difficult at first. It is vital that we do this without losing the ethos of our very special school, building on the relationships that exists between us rather than turning life in school into a battle! Working with this tension requires a very special team of staff, which is why I am endlessly grateful that I work at WLD as there isn't a better team of staff anywhere.
Your priority is obviously the education of your individual son or daughter so please do not hesitate to come and talk to me if we are not living up to the high standards that we set for ourselves.
Primary Day: Thanks to the students who volunteered to come and help on Friday - primary day was, as usual, a huge success - the photos can be found here...
Upcoming events - please keep an eye on the calendar. Transition day for our new Year 7s are this week and the Year 11 prom is on Thursday. Work experience week for Year 10 begins on the 1st July - photos from last year are here.
School Gateway: If you haven't registered for the School Gateway to get all your information about school in one place, please go to https://login.schoolgateway.com/0/auth/register
Have a good week ...