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14.09.21

Welcome to the first edition of WeLink this academic year and a special welcome to parents, carers and students new to the school. WeLink is the schools fortnightly review of goings on at Willink and complements the weekly Parent Digest that is the one stop information shop on what is happening. Please do contact the school office if you are not in receipt of either. 

I usually take the opportunity of writing my fortnightly blog for WeLink on my musings on the world of education. As it stands (and the last couple of years has proved things can change quickly) we have had a calm start to the term.

Annual Prize -Giving

Talking about calm and serene – our annual Prize-giving on Wednesday was anything but, as the rain started just as the speeches got underway. The event is lovely when outside, but we all scurried under cover. However, what we have learnt from the pandemic is to improvise, we were soon back on our feet and on our way, this time with welled up tears rather than swelled up wet feet! It was important not only to congratulate students (a bit like the year 11 prom, we were determined not to cancel again) and thank parents for their support but also to praise staff for what was the most challenging of years. Here is an excerpt from my speech about the commitment of staff this last year:  

“This last 18 months staff have had to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances on many occasions. They 

  • they have overseen the acquisition, deployment and “customer” support of laptops and devices ensuring students and staff are not left unconnected 
  • they have quickly become experts in delivering remote learning – live lessons, virtual “rise and shine” tutor time, assemblies, recorded lessons, remote assessment e.g. we modelled our remote access Y13 mocks on the Swedish exam system.  
  • they have become adaptable and flexible in curriculum design, dissecting the curriculum to ensure coherence and ensuring students can progress as much as possible 
  • they squeezed in foreign language trips (well to Wokingham!), Y11 Prom, sports day, activities week – when other schools may have been unable to.  
  • led largely remote professional development opportunities for staff in school, our teaching school alliance and through the Maths Hub.  
  • they have run on-site provision for the children of key workers and vulnerable children during lockdowns;  
  • they have delivered food supplies to our more vulnerable families 
  • provided ongoing pastoral support for our more anxious and vulnerable students 
  • managed complex Covid safety measures; handled the odd positive case  
  • set up testing stations to enable students to return to classrooms; currently we have our team of exam invigilators/come medics undertaking student Covid testing 
  • managed the improvement of premises -  with shortage of staff and supplies 
  • they have taken responsibility for assessing students following the cancellation of public exams…… that is the setting of assessments, marking, standardising against grade descriptors set by the exam board, moderating standards and setting the grade - in effect undertaking the work of exam boards 

Staff have done all this while being concerned and anxious about their own and their family’s welfare and well-being. They have done all this in a calm, professional and unflappable manner, providing our students with a sense of continuity amidst the turbulence caused by the pandemic, and against a backdrop of constantly shifting guidance from the government which, I would say, has not supported schools adequately during this period and left us shouldering far too many responsibilities which are public health rather than education tasks”. 

Exam Results

In other news, my letter of last week provided information on our summer’s exam results and student destinations; please refer to our newly styled website for the details. 

Covid Testing

And finally, our in-school Covid testing programme worked like clockwork – thank you to parents and our team of volunteer medics (our re-trained and re-deployed Exam Invigilation Team). Students are now in receipt of home testing and we urge parents to ensure their child(ren) regularly take the test on a Sunday and Wednesday evening. Although we have an enhanced cleaning programme, ensure good ventilation, ask students to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before each lesson, and encourage the wearing of face coverings when in confined places, bubbles have gone and students mix across the years. Testing is the main form of mitigation against the spread of the virus. Of course we await the detailed advice from Public Health England to parents following yesterday’s announcement from the JCVI regarding the offer of vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds. It is likely that schools will be asked to be the venues for a vaccination programme and we shall keep you informed once we have information.  

15.07.21

Welcome to the last WeLink edition of the year - hopefully a tonic, as I write this on Monday morning, following the disappointment of last night’s football! However, with guidance appearing from the Department of Education regarding September, do please expect further communication before the end of term. 

I am pleased to report that last week’s Activities Week and Sixth Form Futures were a big success, albeit the weather was not great at times. They certainly were as billed an “antidote to lockdown”. The whole school participated in Sports Day; there was overnight camping (we are following up concerns with the venue), outdoor trials, water park challenges, interhouse sports, problem solving tasks set by the army, the Holocaust Education Trust presentation and careers focused activities. Sixth Form Futures also included sessions on future living, an interactive session with our partner school in Moldova and sessions run by the National Careers Service. Our aim was to break the restrictions of the last year and focus on students working in groups developing their leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication skills – finding out more about themselves and working with others, including staff, in a wholly different environment. The week culminated in our Fundraising Walk. Unfortunately, there were a handful who were self-isolating and a few more who were fatigued and missed the walk, but for the vast majority it was a great experience.  

The walk was the main fundraising event of the year, and we are grateful for all donations whatever the size! Under the slogan “Benches, bins and banners”, this year the funds will be going towards creating a new outside area for students between the new teaching “B” block, the admin block and astro pitch. We are planning a semi-hardstanding area with benches, trees, bins, covers and banners (signs). The Willink School Charitable Trust has a donation page which allows the school to claim Gift Aid from any donations made provided you are a UK tax payer. If you can (and haven’t already) please click the link or go to the following webpage to add your donation https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/17287 Donating through Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is our preferred option however payments can also be made via ScoPay. As you can imagine, our budget for such school improvements is tight. 

Whilst I am on the theme of trips, whilst I know the vast majority of parents are understanding and supportive, we have received a handful of complaints from parents that their child has not been able to get a place on a school trip – specifically the year 8/9 Barcelona trip. There are a few factors at play: cancellation of trips last year has increased the demand for places; families missing holidays abroad likewise; more students studying Spanish in the specific years; and covid restrictions in hotels, airlines and other venues restricting numbers. Staff taking such trips do so to enrich our students’ experiences – they neither are paid for their work nor have time off in lieu. Whilst we shall look at creating additional opportunities to learn beyond the classroom, it is a balance as the more staff out of school on trips the more classes have to be covered by substitute teachers in school.  

You may be thinking I’m not going to mention Covid – sadly I did at the beginning of the year and shall at the end. As you will be aware infection rates are rapidly rising – particularly among the young and unvaccinated. Only today we have been made aware of two confirmed student cases with the result that about 20 students will need to self-isolate until next Monday. Although most restrictions will ease on the 19th July, we shall, however, make no adjustments and our covid-secure measures and practice will remain in place for at least the remainder of this academic year. We do not want our students and staff to have to self-isolate and potentially miss out on much anticipated holidays. It is also important that we continue in the autumn term with minimal disruption. To this end we shall be following public health advice and test all students twice on-site (Asymptomatic Test Site), with a 3 or 4 day gap between tests, on return to school. Students will have potentially been mixing with lots of people over the summer holidays and we know from the national test programme in March that testing participation rates amongst students via ATS are much higher than when testing at home, so it is essential that we prevent significant transmission at the start of the new term. This is a good time also to remind parents to ensure our students continue twice-weekly testing at home for the rest of this term - and in the autumn, following the two initial on-site tests. Our attendance level is increasingly affected by the quick transmission of the delta variant so your support with this is much appreciated. I shall write to you before the end of term about how the school will be organising the covid testing which may involve a staggered start to term for some groups. 

Finally, from me, as is usual this time of year, an update on staffing. This year we are saying farewell to some very long serving administrative and support staff. Mrs Evans is retiring as part of our cleaning team – she joined us in 1987 when the school was half its present size. With deep cleans and holidays that is over 15,000 cleans! Mrs Morris is retiring after 20 years; she has been curriculum support and receptionist but more latterly our Careers Leader and Education Visits Co-ordinator. Mrs Davies, our Pastoral Mentor is leaving us after 13 years to take on a new role as an adult counsellor. Finally, Mrs McNally is retiring to Buxton having been with us 9 years as Learning Support Assistant and more latterly Exams Assistant. As for teaching staff Mrs Halloran is leaving our English Department to take on a new role at Prospect School. Mrs Bentham is leaving Maths having covered for maternity leave; Mr May (science) and Miss Runcie (textiles) are leaving us after one year. After two years, including a break for maternity leave, Mrs Town is moving to teach geology at Blue Coat School. Mr Shelley, having helped establish economics as a highly successful A Level subject, is retiring at the end of term. Mr Ellison (Cover Supervisor) and Ms Shafi (Learning Support) are both leaving to begin teacher training, whilst our ex- Sixth Former and currently Learning Support Assistant, Miss Davison is off to university. We shall also be saying goodbye to our Sixth Form cleaning team (Evan, Leo, Charlotte, Charlotte, Issy, Thomas and Dan) as they hang up their mops and go on to pastures new. We thank all our leavers and wish them all the very best for the future. Fortunately, we do have a full complement of teaching staff for September. I shall introduce them to you in September’s edition of WeLink. 

May I wish you all a great summer. Please remember, if you are purchasing new uniform to refer to the uniform reminder letter being sent out this week. We have given some latitude this year with regard to uniform – but with restrictions lifted we can now return to the set standards for all. We welcome the years 7 and year 12 on Friday 3rd and the rest of the school on Monday 6th September. 

29.06.21

Welcome to the penultimate WeLink of the year. This last week felt more like a normal week. On Monday and Tuesday we held our induction days into the Sixth From. A hundred year 11 students, plus 15 students from other schools joined us for taster lessons, team building activities and preparatory work for their courses starting in September. Towards the end of the week, we hosted our transition days for year 6 students, with similar sorts of activities. Both events were well attended and complied with Covid protocols – sadly this meant a curtailed transition programme as students were required to remain in their primary school bubbles, they could not meet their new tutor group. However, getting a taste of the school, experiencing some lessons, touring the school, meeting the Year 7 pastoral team is a valuable experience and sets the scene for September.  

Year 11s were required to present a negative LFT result before they began their Sixth Form Induction and had to again later in the week before attending the Year 11 Prom. With restrictions on parent attendance on site, travelling to the event and the absence of a disco, we had a dozen parents contacting us concerned that the Prom would not be the pomp of yesteryear. It was a judgement call – we felt delaying to September would not be quite the same “right of passage”, with some students moving on, new friendships created and, anyway, the Covid restrictions could change again. Besides, in September there is the new Sixth Form icebreaker social events to look forward to!  Except for a scuffle between two boys at the end of the event, The Prom was utterly wonderful. Our students were superbly dressed and superbly behaved. With the warm weather they were able to spend much of the evening outdoors, so very Covid secure. They were a great credit to the school – and also their families, so thank you for making this a lovely end to a tumultuous 15 months for them. 

The week after this is Activities Week – a week of enrichment activities for years 7 to 10, whilst year 12 have their “futures fortnight”. We are offering a range of activities and trips, sports day, House activities and the annual sponsored walk. Again, the aim is to return to some semblance of normality with students working collaboratively in groups.  

In other news, well not really news, but to report that we are still not sure what the start of the autumn term will look like: business as usual? Bubbles, testing and face-coverings? Vaccination for older teens? Staggered breaks, lunch and end of school? We are working on the basis of a return to normal – but with a plan B. Further, we don’t know what exams in 2022 may look like – there is a desire that exams at GCSE and A level will take place, that some form of modification of those exams will be needed (which may include reduced content/priority topics/reduction in papers) and a desire to support students with materials issued ahead of examinations – data sheets, case studies, and so on. What we do know is that a growing number of students nationally (197,000 students absent w/b 13.6.21: 9,000 positive cases and the rest self-isolating) are getting an increasingly disrupted education. Hopefully, I shall be able to provide an update before the end of term. The issue is whether this level of disruption is acceptable in September, when every adult will have been offered the vaccine and the rest of society is likely to be returning to normal. Children have endured much of the impact of the pandemic, largely in order to protect the adult population – all they need in September is a return to normal. 

16.06.21

I do hope you were able to enjoy the wonderful summer warmth this weekend. I have three themes in this week’s in-box in which to share: Covid-19, the 2021 summer exams and sexual harassment. 

You will have received two letters from the school this last week concerning Covid. We have had a couple of positive cases and, as I write this piece on Monday, a couple more possible. We have been notified by Public Health England that it is the more transmissible Delta variant at work. Thank you for ensuring your child takes a LFT twice a week, and for recording the result. These tests are for identifying asymptomatic cases, not to be used to confirm or otherwise the presence of the virus where symptoms of Covid exist – if your child has symptoms, it is still isolation until the results of a PCR test are known. According to the Zoe Covid Symptom Study  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-57467051

The Delta variant can feel “more like a bad cold” for younger people and a headache, sore throat and runny nose are now the most commonly reported symptoms linked to Covid infection. So please, if in doubt, keep your child at home until a confirmatory PCR is taken and a result is known. Hopefully we can keep this variant at bay. 

The last day of last half term was wonderful – both year 11 and year 13 had great send-offs. The weather was kind and the students, all of them (well there was one absence) were brilliant. We have a relatively small year 11. That is 165 students, all but a few taking 10 GCSEs and most of these subjects with 8 assessments providing a balanced view of each individual’s capabilities. That is 13,200 pieces of evidence. Add in 90 A level students and you get an idea of the weight of work undertaken by staff - let alone the students. Then there is the checking, moderation and deciding the centre determined grade. I just wanted to publicly acknowledge the workload for staff, the commitment and professionalism shown and the angst in getting it right.  

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to comment on last week’s report from Ofsted on what it is like for many of our girls and young women to be in our schools. The report https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-sexual-abuse-in-schools-and-colleges/review-of-sexual-abuse-in-schools-and-colleges reveals how prevalent sexual harassment and online sexual abuse is for our children and young people. What began with online testimonies about specific institutions posted to the Everyone’s Invited website has now transformed into something much more widespread. Nearly 90 per cent of girls and nearly 50 per cent of boys said that being sent explicit pictures or videos of things they did not want to see happens a lot or sometimes to them or their peers. Children and young people said that sexual harassment occurs so frequently that it has become “commonplace”. Like other schools The Willink is not immune to this – we have to accept that here we have an issue that embarrasses us all in a so-called tolerant society. The main missive of the Ofsted report is that we should start from the assumption that this is a feature of every school, however proud we might be of our culture, our values, our behaviour code. This is an issue that affects us all. I think we are all aware that the obscurity of being online changes our inhibitions, making individuals become bolder, transforming their judgements about how they would speak and behave in the real world. And for some self-esteem depends on how many people like, comment or retweet. This is not a problem just for The Willink or the wider community of schools. It has implications for the responsibilities of being a parent – how you bring up your child, the boundaries you impose, the freedom you give and refuse to give to your children. Then there’s the easy access to pornography and the accountability of the tech companies – areas for comment wider than this blog.  However, we do need to do better. 

  • We shall look to how we can address the issue further in our teaching of relationships, sex and health education – and how content is taught that has a lasting impact on students. 
  • We need to ensure our school culture is strong, builds relationships and there are robust sanctions there to respond to any incidents of sexual harassment or abuse. It is essential that reporting an issue is something that students believe has positive outcomes.  
  • We also need to revisit our support for parents and carers to enable them to understand their responsibilities for regulating the online conduct of their child – there will be an Parent Information Evening on this theme in the new term. 
  •  

Put simply, as the local school and as a community we need to redouble our efforts in protecting and educating our young people.  

25.05.21

Four months on from the Government’s decision to cancel this summer’s public exam series we come, this week, to the home stretch, the final sets of assessments that will contribute to the Centre Determined Grades which are to be submitted to exam boards by mid-June. Our year 11s and year 13s have been brilliant and shown great forbearance and resilience. They deserve great credit for the way they have simply got on with it. It is difficult to gauge whether it is more or less stressful that a normal exam season. It has certainly been different and certainly been full on since March 8th. For staff it has been an anxious time too – not just anxious for their students ensuring that they are fully prepared for assessments and are able to perform to the best of their abilities, but also the setting and marking of appropriate assessments. And whilst we intend to give our year 11s and year 13s a good send off this Friday at the end of their assessment period, the work of their teachers then take on a new role as they essentially undertake the heavy lifting work of standardisation and moderation usually done by exam boards (incidentally without recognition for the additional time required, and schools are even expected to pay the full exam fees for the work schools are doing themselves!).

This is a good time to remind you of the remote learning day on June 9th – when subject staff will be in school checking and compiling the evidence for each student’s exam portfolio.  It doesn’t quite finish there. Following half term year 11s and year 13s will be able to access online resources and induction programmes to prepare them for the next stage of their learning. Parents/carers may wish to view some useful material here from the Careers & Enterprise Company. For those students staying on into our Sixth Form, induction will take place on 21st and 22nd of June.  Finally, and hopefully, we shall be able to hold the Year 11 Prom and Year 13 Ball.

In other news, in our review of practices and policies ready for September, we have held shuttle consultations on the future of the school’s House System with students, staff and governors. In essence we need to have another House as we shall have an additional seventh tutor group in each year in September. The House names also required a revamp to make them more global and reflect greater diversity – “global outlook”. However, the student voice was quite conservative – they liked the current Paris, Milan, London, Sydney, Barcelona, New York. But students and staff also agreed, linking the present cities to other cities e.g. Sydney-Sucre did not work and has reinforced the dominance of the western city. Linked with diversity was the suggestion of the seven House colours being those of the rainbow – but some have said these colours are too “primary school” and others found it difficult to distinguish between blue, indigo and violet. Other global phenomenon e.g. mountains, rivers, world leaders, even random villages from each continent were considered – but cities remained the favourite. Major cities from each continent were liked by staff – but some e.g. Yaounde, (the first letter of the name needed to match the name of the colour) were deemed less popular with students. In the end having seven cosmopolitan “global cities” as House names showed greater diversity in cultures than a city selected from each continent. Choosing cities with large populations speaking the four foreign languages taught at The Willink was also added to the criteria. Matching the first letter of the name of the city to the tutor group code makes sense for ease of identification, and whilst the colours don’t necessarily need to match the first letter of the city, having a colour that has something to do with the city/country also makes sense for quick identification. So here it is ………drum roll …… the new House names for September:

House Name / Tutor Group letter

Foreign Language

taught

Standard colour

Why the colour? How does it relate to the House name?

Why the city?

Paris

French

 

French flag

Largest French speaking city

Mexico City

Spanish

 

Mexican flag

Largest Spanish speaking city

London

 

 

Union Jack

Popular choice with students

Shanghai

Mandarin

 

Chinese flag

Most cosmopolitan Chinese city

Berlin

German

 

Yellow /gold German flag

Largest German speaking city

New York City

 

 

NYC flag

Most cosmopolitan city in USA

Tokyo

 

 

Tokyo city flag

World’s largest city

 

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our students for following our Covid-19 precautions so assiduously and regularly taking the LFT; this is helping to keep our community safe and our school open. Our covid measures (hand sanitising, ventilation, keeping separate bubbles, staggered breaks, lunches and end of school) will remain after half term, although, of course we shall await with interest whether the Government will press ahead with its plan for the removal of restrictions by 21st June. 

11.05.21

I do hope you had a good Bank Holiday weekend – at least we didn’t have snow as some did!  

Regarding Covid-19, we are in a lull.  HM Government reaffirmed last week that while “Step 3” is in sight and some restrictions are slowly being eased, this does not necessarily mean that each stage of the roadmap will be reflected exactly in schools. Existing systems of control are essential, something we in West Berks were reminded of last week when two primary and one secondary school had significant outbreaks – though it would seem car-sharing and sleepovers led to the spread. The DfE have repeated that, while there is a broad sense of direction which aligns with the overall roadmap, this may need some diversion to ensure absence from schools is minimised - we have been averaging about 95% attendance since Easter which is excellent and only slightly less than normal. There is also talk about vaccinating secondary students from September, but nothing as yet has been decided.  

As for face masks, it is evidently better for communication and learning if we don’t need to have students wearing face masks in classrooms. But we know there will be concerns among some staff and parents about the risk of infection, and it is important to remember that not everyone has received the Covid vaccine and very few the second dose. Any easing of face-mask rules must be guided by clear scientific advice and there must not be grey areas for schools to negotiate. It’s important that it is clear what schools are required to do, and where they have discretion to make decisions based on their own contexts and risk assessments. May 17th is the next crucial date – so we should know by the next edition of WeLink.  

Reassuringly (as decisions have been made so late in the past) there is already talk about next year’s exams, given the amount of lost learning time experienced to widely differing degrees by so many young people. At present there are three possibilities i)to assume that exams will run as in a normal next year, supported by additional tutoring ii)to accept that exams will need to have less content, or iii) a combination of centre assessment and external exams. We shall keep you informed as discussions unfold. 

In other news last week The Internet Watch Foundation launched a campaign on ‘self-generated child sexual abuse’, linked to data showing an increasing risk of grooming and coercion of girls aged 11 to 13 years. In 2020 there was an identified 77% increase from the previous year in self-generated imagery. The campaign, which is backed by the Home Office and Microsoft, aims to make girls more aware, empowering them and warning their parents. The campaign’s strapline is TALK: Talk to your child. Agree ground rules. Learn about platforms. Know how to use tools. The campaign advocates 3 simple steps to block out abuse.   

Finally, thank you for your comments on our School Vision & Motto following the last edition of WeLink, since when we have continued the review of our school aims and House System. Please see the attached document of the school’s Philosophy & Ethos. Once again, we would appreciate feedback on this document, as we reassess our school values, policies, procedures and practices, post covid.  

27.04.21

Welcome to the the summer term.  

May I thank parents and carers on two accounts: firstly, for helping us meet our expectations with regard to uniform – students have come back from the Easter break by and large wearing the correct attire, and, secondly, for continuing the covid testing regime every Sunday and Wednesday which is helping keep the school open. It is important to remember that if your son/daughter displays any covid related symptoms, you do not send them to school and ensure that they get a PCR test completed and a negative result returned before they come back to school. Oh, and thank you for ensuring students come to school with a mask – I believe we shall hear on 17th May, whether students will be expected to wear masks onwards from then. 

The big issue for secondary schools at the moment is, of course, year 11 and year 13 exams – or the lack of them. Students have been busy, are busy and will be busy preparing for and completing work that will go towards their centre assessed grades. As a parent of a year 13, I see first-hand how intense this period is! In the latest communication from the exams regulator Ofqual schools will "at least" need to submit evidence of students' grades from one A-level subject for at least five students, as well as evidence from two GCSE subjects, looking at the work of at least five students each. Exam boards will tell us what work was needed from which students on 21 June, after results had been submitted three days' beforehand.  We would then have 48 hours to submit the quality-assurance evidence requested. This is a big ask for schools – we have 1800 exam entries! To this end, given the workload for teachers of exam classes at this time we have agreed with Governors that there will be an exceptional school closure on Wednesday 9th June for staff moderation of Centre Determined Grades (CDGs) for GCSE and A Level students as required by the government. The school will therefore be closed to all students on this day. Work will be set for years 7-10 and year12 to be undertaken at home. 

As summer unfurls and we look forward to our metamorphosis from lockdown to our natural selves – due in no small part to the unprecedented pace of development and rollout of the vaccines against SARS-Cov-2, we at Willink are looking to the future – what are the lessons learnt from the last 14 months, what should remain, what should change. In the next few editions of WeLink I shall share some of our thinking – and please do email your thoughts to the school office for my attention. We shall add them to the consultation. We start with, the school motto and vision statement. 

The Willink School motto “Village School, Global Outlook” was first suggested by Clare Downey, the International School Co-ordinator, when the school’s vision statement was reviewed in 2012. At the time the school was a DfE designated Language Specialist School with International School Status. The term “Village School” connects with the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” and implies a small, local, rural, caring and inclusive community school where children can experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. The school is no longer quite so small! The term “Global Outlook” puts learning in an international context and promotes critical, creative and collaborative thinking. It fosters self-awareness, respect and an open-mindedness towards difference culminating in an understanding of global issues and an optimism and action (e.g. think global, act locally) for a better world. In 2019 our partnership school in Moldova embraced the motto “Village School, Global Outlook”. Staff, students and governors still feel this motto encapsulates our values. 

As for the vision statement, we think the following supports our motto: “The Willink School is committed to provide a caring, engaging, respectful and high achieving learning environment for both our students and staff. In partnership with our wider community, we aim to give every student a high quality, well-balanced education, enabling them to flourish and achieve their full academic and personal potential. With our international school ethos, we are further committed to achieving excellence in language learning, giving students the opportunity to develop into confident global citizens. We aim to ensure that all of our students are equipped with the resilience, adaptability and communication skills needed to grasp the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century”. 

We use the terms Engage, Respect & Achieve in assemblies, policies and in our prospectus. The inclusion of ‘staff’ highlights the importance of staff well-being and professional development in the school’s DNA. The ‘wider community’ replaces ‘parents’, used in the previous version. It also alludes to the wider education community and our system leadership work as the lead school for the Mobius Maths Hub and strategic partner with the Teaching School Hub Berkshire. International School ethos replaces the term ‘specialism’. Although the study of a foreign language is a key element of the curriculum – and with Mandarin we now teach four foreign languages -  the importance of literacy is recognised. We have also replaced ‘global understanding’, which is alluded to in the last sentence, with ‘resilience’. Resilience is one of our key skills (leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative, communication) as highlighted in “Willink Ways” – it is emphasised here because of our focus on mental well-being. 

As I have said, we welcome any feedback on the above. In the next edition of WeLink, I shall share with you our thinking on the school aims, ethos and the House System.