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Newsletter, 28th January 2024

Published on 28/01/24

Good afternoon,

I hope that you and your family are well. It feels somewhat unbelievable that we are close to the end of January already and beginning to look forward to the second phase of the spring term! As ever, there has been a lot going on in and out of school, and lots of developments to keep you informed of.

Arbor Parent Portal and App

As you may know, we have moved to a new management information system, Arbor. Amongst other advantages offered by this new system, it will ultimately help us to communicate more effectively with parents and carers. 

We will be launching the Arbor Parent Portal before the half term break. You will be able to access Arbor online (via the Parent Portal) or on your phone (via the Parent App). Arbor will replace Reach More Parents (Weduc) and supplement our email communications. Initially, there will be a temporary reduction in the amount of data available to you through Reach More Parents (Weduc) as we prepare for the change of system.

You will receive a welcome email when the new Arbor Parent Portal and App are launched. Please look out for this information and register when prompted. If you have any queries, please contact

Arbor & Lunch Payments

As part of our move to Arbor, we need to rescan all students for the biometrics/finger scanner that we use for our cashless catering system. The finger scan / PIN code allows students to purchase food and drinks from our canteen at breakfast and lunch time, subject to funds available on their account.  Students who do not use the scanner will continue to use a PIN code. 

There is no action for you to take as all current permissions will continue, but we wanted to let you know that we are planning on updating the system on Tuesday 6 February so that the 2 systems involved can be merged over the half term break.   If you would like further information, please contact reception.

Year 10 Mock Exams

We are incredibly proud of our wonderful Year 10 students who have shown such a positive attitude to their mock exams over the course of last week. It has been a tough week for these students, with many of them sitting two papers every day, yet they have remained positive and their conduct has been exemplary. Exams will continue on Monday and Tuesday of next week, and our Year 10 students will no doubt be keen to receive feedback from their teachers on how they have done. And families of our Year 10 students will be able to receive feedback on the mocks at the Year 10 Parents’ Evening which will take place on Thursday 22nd February.

Better Learners, Better Workers

Well done to our group of 12 year 9 students involved in the Better Learners Better Workers programme who have continued their work with Culters' Hall and others, investigating the concept of preventative medicine, how to react to strokes and some of the ways we can use new technologies and engineering to improve health care.

The students worked well in groups, with some really creative ideas as to how to present their findings and discussed how we could use social media to reach the widest audience possible. They now move onto the presentation phase, where they'll have the opportunity to build their confidence and public speaking skills.

Future Bound 

This week 13 of our year 9 students embarked on a three-year programme with The Billington Group and Endeavour which offers a fantastic range of opportunities to develop key skills and characteristics to help them succeed in the future. Session 1 was intended to take place in the Peak District, but the inclement weather required a change of location, and the students took to the climbing wall instead. 

Both staff and instructors were incredibly impressed by the resilience, kindness and teamwork displayed by those involved, and the students returned enthused and excited about the up-coming sessions which will offer a range of practical and work-based opportunities for them.

Year 9 Parents’ Evening

We look forward to welcoming Year 9 students and their families into school on Thursday for our parents’ evening. The evening is designed to support students to reach decisions about the subjects they will select to study in Years 10 and 11, and we are pleased that lots of our current Key Stage 4 students will be on-hand to support teachers in sharing information about the wide range of subjects we offer. Apologies for the confusion caused by last week’s newsletter regarding booking appointments for the evening. Unfortunately, our transition to a new management information system delayed the opening of the booking app. I hope that all families have now been able to book appointments – we look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

Year 11 Mock Exams

A reminder to Year 11 students and their parents that our final set of mock exams for this year group begin on Monday 26th February. We know that our students will take the mocks seriously, and many are now attending before school and after school revision sessions to boost their knowledge. Ms Halliday will run a revision information session on the evening of Thursday 8th February that is designed to support students and their families to learn how best to revise. Ms Halliday will communicate with Year 11 students and their families about this event.

Safe Cycling

Please could families of students who cycle to school ensure their children are equipped to make a safe journey to and from school. A near-miss involving one of our students was reported this week – the student was not wearing a cycling helmet or any reflective clothing. We absolutely want our students to be able to cycle to and from school given the clear health and environmental benefits, but is important that they do so safely, wearing the correct equipment.


With many thanks for your excellent ongoing support,

Joe Birkbeck

Head of Westfield School