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    Message from the Headteacher

    Mr J Taylor, Headteacher
    Mr J Taylor

    Dear Parent / Carer,

    When I last wrote an article for The Torch, we were applying the finishing touches to the Christmas Hampers that each tutor group prepares for local elderly residents. I am delighted to advise you that the ‘Best in School’ was from Tutor Group 13SCU. However the standard was very high, once again, across all tutor groups and it is certainly very moving to receive the heartfelt thanks of recipients. I know our students are genuinely pleased to be helping to make a difference at a time of year when not everyone finds it easy to enjoy themselves without some outside support.

    In the final week of last half term, we enjoyed our annual Christmas Concert – a very entertaining mixture of popular and seasonal music, from students across all year groups. The standard of musicianship was very high and a large number of individual, ensemble and orchestral performances enjoyed well deserved praise from the appreciative audience.

    On the last day of last term we had our Year 13 Presentation Evening, where we were delighted to welcome back the largest number of former students, and their parents, that any of us could remember. It was a real delight to hear how our former students were adapting to university, apprenticeships or the world of work, and how many were getting used to more independence through such as their own cooking and ironing.

    We have now had published the national performance tables for last year’s external examination results. At Key Stage 4, our Year 11 results placed us 7th out of the 16 Rotherham secondary schools, both for attainment and progress: a very creditable performance. Wath was placed 29th across all South Yorkshire schools, well into the top half of all providers across the county. Pleasingly, we were placed 2nd in Rotherham Local Authority for the percentage attaining a grade 5 or above in both English and Mathematics – of course grade 5 is the government’s new ‘strong’ pass grade. At Key Stage 5, last summer’s Year 13 external examination results placed us 2nd across all Rotherham providers for progress. Our new vocational qualifications performed particularly strongly, placing us 4th in the whole of South Yorkshire. Once again, well done to all of our students who produced these very commendable results. We continue to work closely with senior leaders from Maltby Learning Trust to help secure even further school improvement. We are currently working towards a planned date for academisation of 1 March 2019, when we will become ‘Wath Academy’, a sponsored academy within Maltby Learning Trust. However, just to reassure parents, there will be no change to the Wath uniform and the only changes that will occur will be designed to help secure an even more effective learning environment for students.

    The attention has very much turned to our current Year 11 and sixth form students. The sixth form have their trial exams early next half term and Year 11 are now preparing intensively for their second set of trial exams, scheduled for March. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that regular exam practice makes students much better prepared, and more confident, for their final external exams. The Year 13 students have completed their applications for further study next academic year and, where relevant, have already started to receive offers from prospective universities. Students will spend the next few weeks at Visit Days or Interviews before deciding on their final two Higher Education choices.

    In the final week of this half term, the sixth form and Year 11 pastoral support teams will complete two evenings of interviewing potential Year 12 students for next academic year. A large number of students are already booked in to be interviewed and have expressed a serious desire to join us in September. A third of these are from local secondary schools other than Wath. Our external students add a real richness to the sixth form community. All applicants have been asked to bring their most recent Report with them, as we assess motivation, attendance and punctuality as well as academic progress. Certainly attendance at lessons is essential for success and we are currently on a drive in school towards our 96% attendance target. Please do help support us in your child attending school when at all possible.

    An extensive programme of support and revision has begun for Year 11 and will run every evening, and many lunchtimes, until the end of the examination period. Parents will receive a timetable and a letter informing them which evenings students should attend. Parents of Year 11 students will also be notified of the study programme that will run through the Easter and May holidays. We have been pleased so far with some of our students’ responses to these extra sessions but urge all Year 11 parents to ensure that their child takes full advantage of what is on offer. I am very appreciative that staff in all subject areas are giving of their time so willingly to support students, not only beyond the school day but also in the holidays.

    As I write, we have just finished three days of our annual Gym, Dance and Movement Evening performances. This year the theme was ‘Wath on the West End’ – I hope you had the opportunity to come to one of the evenings. Our own students, together with pupils from our feeder primary schools, once again provided high quality, creative performances to three very appreciative audiences. All three evenings were sold out. It is particularly pleasing to note that well over 200 Wath students participated: an excellent, inclusive event for the whole school community.

    Year 10 students have been involved in ‘Enterprise’ activities over the latter part of this half term, hosted at Wentworth Woodhouse, while Year 9 students will be visiting the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre next half term. Both of these activities help to enrich our curriculum and provide our students with a broad range of experiences, beyond those that are experienced directly in school.

    There is a very important evening coming up for our Year 8 students and their parents, when they will be invited to our ‘Next Three Years Evening’, on Thursday 7 March. This is the evening where students are advised of our Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11) pathways and courses. These students are already receiving

    further information about the different subjects available in Year 9 in assemblies, in preparation for that evening. In addition, the Year 8 Students’ & Parents’ Consultation Evening with Subject Teachers will provide both students and parents with a clarity of the current state of progress in each academic subject. This will also help advise preparation for the ‘Next Three Years Evening’.

    Following improvements to the car park and the widening of the main school entrance, we have now completed the new fencing around the car park to create a clear differentiation between pedestrian and vehicular use at the front of school and to create an extra security precaution for all those within the school during the working day. At the end of the pedestrian crossings through the car park, there are gates with buzzer and speaker access through to Reception. In addition, there have been additional CCTV cameras placed to cover these access points.

    Your continued support of the school is very much appreciated.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mr J Taylor