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    Message from the Headteacher

    Mr J Taylor, Headteacher
    Mr J Taylor

    Dear Parent / Carer,

    As the end of the school year is almost upon us, it is an appropriate time to reflect on our achievements this year. We are, of course, proud of all of our students’ successes and, throughout the year, the concerts, Movement Evening, dance shows, drama productions, sports successes, Sports Awards Evening and DoE expeditions have given us the opportunity to celebrate the wealth of talent of our students, as evidenced in the recent end of year assemblies.

    The last few weeks of term have been very busy and the recent Year 11 Prom and Year 13 Summer Ball were certainly among the highlights of the year. Both were a huge success, enjoyed by students and the many staff who attended. Of course, none of the extra activities that do occur in the school could occur without a very committed group of staff.

    As always, the end of year brings some sadness as we say goodbye to staff who are leaving to take up new posts elsewhere, for promotion and also to pursue other avenues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for the positive contributions they have made to Wath Academy and wish them every success in the future. In particular, Mrs Hardwick is retiring from the Drama Department, Mrs Schofield from Maths and Mr & Mrs Harrison from English and MFL respectively, after many years’ service to the school. In addition, I would like to wish the Deputy Head Teacher, Mr McIntosh, well as he moves to King James’s School in Knaresborough to take up a deputy headship there. From our Associate Professional staff, both Mrs Orr and Mrs Hirst are retiring after many years of service to the Finance team. We very much appreciate all they have done for the school and wish them well for the future.

    The school has made a number of new appointments for September and I am delighted to report that we are fully staffed in preparation for the new year, with subject specialists in every area, which is an advantageous position to be in, in comparison to many schools across the country.

    As we fast approach the summer holiday, I would like to mention some slight changes to the school day from the start of next year and further details to enhance our ‘Standards for Success’. We formally joined the Maltby Learning Trust on 1 April 2019 and, together with the new appointment of Mr Jackson as Executive Principal at Wath from 1 September, we are looking forward to the next academic year and to continuing the exciting journey of further school improvement, committing to many new ways of working both inside and outside the classroom.

    School Day from September 2019Next year, we will continue with two lessons between tutor time and mid-morning break, but then will have two further lessons between break and lunch, and one lesson in the afternoon. This will provide kitchen staff with time to adequately prepare for lunch servings after their very popular break time menu. The afternoon session will start at 1.40pm, which will mean it will end at 2.40pm. We will have a variety of serveries at lunchtime for students to purchase a lunch. In addition, we will continue to have a variety of other options for students to eat their own lunch, such as that brought from home. We are continuing to look at a variety of further updates to our facilities for sixth form students which will include further options for having lunch in their own areas rather than the need to use the main dining room.

    The additional time at the end of the school day will provide the school with further opportunities for the richly varied extra-curricular menu we already offer for students, especially in winter with the shortened amount of light. We are also conscious as a school that we are now attracting more students, from a much wider catchment area than ever before, and we need to ensure that students have the opportunity to get home safely.

    I am delighted to report that the number of instances of disruptive behaviour in lessons has halved this academic year. However, all of our detentions will continue to be after school and these will continue to be up to an hour in length. It is very pleasing that the greater immediacy of our detention system is having a very positive impact in following up issues rapidly. Attendance has shown a three year trend of improvement and we now exceed the national average. The punctuality of students to sessions and lessons have also both significantly improved this year. This has been positively reinforced by our same day detentions for lates at the start of the day. This will continue to remain a focus – it is vital that we get students into the habit of arriving on time in preparation for their life beyond school.

    As we have now become part of Maltby Learning Trust, this is an appropriate time for the school to look again at its uniform policy. I am sure parents will agree that it is very important to students that we are consistent in our application of the uniform policy. To that end, we have improved the clarity of the detail in the policy. I would appreciate your full support in ensuring your child is dressed appropriately for their return in September. To help ensure this consistency, there will be a single point of entry for all students on their return to school, via the main reception. Staff will be on duty to direct students to this single point of entry so that we can check uniform on arrival. Any student who does not meet the requirements of the updated uniform policy will be required to go home and change, or change into one of the spare items of uniform that the school will provide for the day. If this is fully addressed in advance, it will avoid issues arising on the first day of the new year.

    Over the final week of the year, your child will attend an assembly to support them to understand the changes that will be made to our continued work towards our standards for success. We have spent a significant amount of time reviewing other schools locally and nationally, and how they have addressed uniform, behaviour and standards. We believe that, by making small changes to our existing systems for September, we are best placed to further support our students to be successful learners.

    Outlined below are some key elements of our ‘Standards for Success’ from September:

    1. We are committed to recognising students who go ‘above and beyond’ in terms of their learning, through a process of positive recognition. Students will be awarded E-praise points for going ‘above and beyond’ in lessons and around the school. In addition, we will communicate with parents on a regular basis when we believe students deserve recognition.
    2. We are committed to further reviewing our existing rewards programme with students from September, to ensure it is fit for purpose and acts as a continued motivator for effective learning. As such, student voice panels will expand when we return in September to explore potential further developments in this area.
    3. It is our expectation that all students will come to school each day fully prepared for learning: this will include having all the correct equipment, including the school planner.
    4. We have reviewed our uniform policy and we have been very specific in our descriptions to ensure parents are supported to make the correct purchases over the summer period. We appreciate how stressful this can be and want to ensure that students begin the yearwith the correct uniform and footwear. I would particularly draw your attention to the sections on skirts, trousers and overall appearance, including such as make-up, nails and hair.
    5. All students in September will be provided with a lanyard and ID badge that they will be required to wear at all times in school. This will increase still further the safety of all our students.

    Thank you in anticipation for your support in relation to these continued improvements. We believe that by making these changes we can support teachers and students to engage in conversations that focus upon learning and progress, and not compliance with standards, that in most schools and workplaces are basic expectations.

    End of Term Arrangements (Friday 19 July 2019)

    The school will close for students on Friday 19 July at the usual time of 2.45pm.

    First Day Arrangements (Tuesday 3 September 2019)

    The school will open for the new Year 7 and Year 12 students on Tuesday 3 September at 8.20am.

    Students in Years 8-11 & Year 13 should arrive at 9.50am and go to their tutor bases at the beginning of period 2. We would ask you ensure that your son/daughter does not arrive on site before 9.45am.

    Please note that from September, the Rotherham LA catering team are increasing slightly the price of a two course freshly prepared school meal to £2.35, to cover the cost of increased food and transport costs.

    Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the school as we work together to ensure the best education for all of our students, both now and in the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mr J Taylor