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Headteacher's update 65

Published on 28/05/21

Good afternoon,

I hope you and your families are well. Thank you for your support over the last half-term. In many ways this half-term has been different and more difficult than usual. However, the vast majority of our students, with the support of their parents/carers, have continued to show an excellent attitude to learning. Indeed, our most recent Attitude to Learning data reveals improvements in the average Attitudes to Learning scores for students in every year group! More on this shortly.


Goodbye, Year 11

Today is the final full day in school for most of our Year 11 cohort. We have planned a special assembly this afternoon to celebrate the five years this year group has spent at Westfield, which will be followed by an opportunity to enjoy the time-honoured tradition of shirt signing! We could not be prouder of our Year 11s. They have shown a real determination to succeed this year, despite the confusion and complications thrown up by the pandemic. What is more, they have shown themselves to be a caring, empathetic and united group, never more so than in the way they showed respect for Reece Winterbottom last Friday morning, when they lined the road outside school to applaud Reece. This was a very moving experience to be part of, and I know that Reece’s family really appreciated the gesture.

The door remains open to our Year 11s after half-term. We may invite some students into school to complete missing assessments, and our careers team will remain available to support any student with their plans to continue their education and training post-16.


Attitude to Learning reports

Your child’s latest Attitude to Learning report (ATL 5) should soon be available in the Parents section of Weduc (in your child's profile under 'documents'). The grades given by teachers reflect the attitude to learning shown by your child since they returned to school in Half Term 5. The reports focus around 5 criteria that we strongly believe are key to being successful learners in school and in future life. These are being:

  • Ready
  • Resilient
  • Resourceful
  • Respectful
  • Reflective

The criteria and grade descriptors can be seen on Page 11 of the Student Planners or on our website at:

Please spend 10-15 minutes with your child over the weekend to complete the 'Parent/Carer ATL Analysis' on Page 13 of the Student Planner. Please note that it is only the latest report (ATL 5) that needs to be analysed.

Click on the link below to view a short, recorded presentation to inform you more about the reason behind the focus on ATL and how it works at Westfield:


Year 10 Mock Exams preparation

Our Year 10 students are currently working with their teachers to prepare for their first set of mock exams which will begin in the final week of June. As we know, mocks have now assumed a greater level of importance given that in the last two years mock results have contributed to students’ final outcomes. Our Year 10 webpage contains further details regarding mock exams, and this document contains guidance for planning revision and contains a copy of the mock exam timetable.


Raising Expectations – Half Term 6

While most of our students have maintained the high standards, we expect over the course of this half term, for a number of students standards have slipped. We recognise that during the period of lockdown some families found it difficult to replace items of uniform that had been lost, damaged or got too small. Moreover, a number of students took advantage of the reopening of salons to indulge in false nails. Others still have found the transition from the relative freedom of lockdown to the routines of school more difficult, and this has resulted in us seeing mobile phones/ear phones re-emerging as a distraction to learning in school, and a small minority of students not having their student planners.

After half-term we will be revisiting our expectations with all students and staff to ensure we return to our consistently high expectations. There are a number of areas where parents/carers can support us with this:

  • Student Planners
    It is vital that every student has their Student Planner. It is used throughout the day in lessons and helps keep students ready for learning, as well as being a visual aid for students for reward stamps and behaviour comments. Please have a conversation with your child to ensure they have their student planner for the first day back in HT6. We have replacement Student Planners available for purchase from School Reception for £3.00.
  • Equipment
    All students, in every class, in every lesson must have the right equipment to learn. Students must all have a black pen, purple pen, pencil, ruler, whiteboard marker, scientific calculator, eraser. Again, students can purchase these items from the Ready Room if they are missing a particular item of equipment. Please have a conversation with your child to ensure they have their equipment for the first day back in HT6.
  • Mobile Phones/Smartwatches/Earphones/Airpods
    The vast majority of students keep phones and airpods/earphones away when on school site – this includes before school and lunchtime. We will confiscate these items if seen or heard during the school day and require parents/carers to collect from school reception when the day finishes. If you need to contact your child in an emergency, please contact school reception and we will pass the message on. If your child needs to contact you in an emergency they should speak to a member of staff.
  • Uniform 
    A reminder to all students that the only jumper to be worn on school site is the Westfield Black V Neck Jumper. Any other jumpers/hoodies will be confiscated and require parents/carers to collect from school reception when the day finishes.
  • Coats 
    Due to the colder weather, we have been allowing students to wear coats when moving between lessons. After half term, this will stop – coats are not to be worn in the building. Students will need to remove coats when they come inside the building. They can be worn during lunch outside or in the Dining Hall. They will be allowed to put them on at the end of P5, when instructed by the teacher.
  • False Nails / Facial Piercings 
    For health and safety reasons, these are not allowed. Any student who comes to school with false nails will be placed in Behavioural Support for the day, or until the matter is resolved. Facial piercings must be taken out for the school day or covered with a plaster.
  • Punctuality 
    The school gate will shut at 8.45 a.m. each morning. If students are late to school, they will receive a 20 minute detention the following day. Punctuality to school and lessons is vital if students are to make the most of their learning. We will also now be tracking late marks to lessons at the end of each school week and will put in appropriate support/sanctions if needed to improve the punctuality of the identified students. Students are expected to be sat down and engaging with the learning by the time the second bell rings for each lesson.

Dangerous E-Cigarette Warning

We have been informed by the neighbourhood policing team that some young people in the community have been found in possession of e-cigarette liquids which contain class A drugs. Clearly this could be very dangerous for anyone who used it, but particularly for a child. We would encourage all parents/carers to speak to their child about the dangers associated with e-cigarette liquids, and would remind all parents/carers that e-cigarettes are prohibited on school site.


With many thanks for your continued excellent support.

Joe Birkbeck
Head of Westfield School