Skip to content ↓

Newsletter, 17th December 2021

Published on 17/12/21

Good afternoon,

I hope that you and your family are well. As we reach the end of the longest term of the academic year, I would like to express thanks on behalf of myself and our wider team to all parents and carers for the brilliant support you have continued provide to your children and to our school, not only this term, but over the calendar year as a whole. 2021 has been another very challenging year – we began the year in lockdown and could only open our doors to around 10% of children, with the other 90% being educated from home. The efforts of many families to support their children with remote learning in the early months of 2021 were incredible.

Since March, when we began welcoming children back to school, our teachers have worked incredibly hard to assess our students’ progress and to identify gaps in learning. And while there has been further pandemic-related disruption owing to positive COVID cases and isolation of both staff and students, I think we should all be proud of how our collective efforts have kept school as normal as possible in extraordinary circumstances. We end the year reflecting on a very difficult year past, but confident that we can meet the challenges that 2022 will bring.

No-one in the Westfield School community could forget that 2021 has also been the year when we sadly lost two of our students – Alfie Hague who was in Year 9 and Reece Winterbottom who was in Year 11. The tragic loss of such young and promising lives left us all deeply saddened, and our thoughts continue to be with Alfie and Reece’s families. The students at Westfield remember Alfie and Reece fondly and have been taking part in fundraising activities this week in their memory.


Our Year 11 student leaders have done an excellent job of planning fundraising activities every day of this week to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. Students have taken part in form-time quizzes every day of this week, and yesterday many took the opportunity to enjoy a ‘Santa Run’. Today, students have donated £1 to come to school in non-uniform with a Christmas jumper theme! We hope to have raised almost £2000 to donate to these two important charities in memory of Alfie and Reece.


This week you will have received, via Weduc, your child’s attitude to learning (ATL) report for this half term. These grades were inputted last week and our analysis shows that on average students’ ATL has improved since half-term one. We introduced ATL in September 2020, knowing that being successful in school is not just about compliance with rules and expectations, but also about showing an exceptional attitude in and out of the classroom. We are proud of how the huge majority of our students continue to show a great ATL, and hope that as parents and carers you will join us in celebrating improvements in attitudes to learning, and discussing with your child what they could do to improve in subjects where grades are below a 2. Further information on ATL can be found here.


Parents/carers of Year 11 will have received their child’s most recent grades from mock exams this week via Weduc. Our Year 11 students face a significant challenge, having had such a disrupted Year 10 owing to the pandemic. Nonetheless, their hard work and resilience continues to pay-off as the grades from their recent mocks demonstrate that significant progress has been made since these students last sat assessments at the end of Year 10. We look forward to Year 11 parents’ evening in January, at which discussions can be had with class teachers about what specifically each student can do to improve their grades still further as we approach the final set of mock exams in February, and look forward to final exams in May and June. Well done, Year 11 – keep it up!


Last week’s newsletter shared details of a slightly staggered start to the new term in January 2022 to allow for COVID testing to take place on-site in line with government guidance. Full details can be found on our website, here.

We will contact parents/carers prior to the start of the new term if we need to share any further COVID-related operational guidance should this be updated between now and January.


Thank you, and well done to our Year 8 students who this week joined the trip to the Showroom Cinema to watch the film Harriet, which links to this year group’s study of the Slave Trade. I had the pleasure of supporting the trip on Monday. Our students conducted themselves brilliantly and learned a lot from the film about the experiences of slaves in the 19th century. We will share plans for a third and final trip to watch Harriet in the new year for those students who were able to go this week.


Students in Year 9 who study photography enjoyed a trip into Sheffield city centre this week in order to photograph some key landmarks for use in their photography projects. Ms Blackburn and Ms Rimmington reported that the students had engaged brilliantly and taken some stunning and creative photographs. Well done to our Year 9 photographers!

With many thanks for your continued excellent support – wishing you and your family a happy Christmas!

Joe Birkbeck

Head of Westfield School