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Head’s Corner Summer 2008

July 22nd, 2008

This is my twelfth Head’s Corner and marks the end of my fourth year as Headteacher at Harrow Way Community School. It has, as usual, been an incredibly busy year and as we embrace our Specialist Mathematics and Computing Status from September, next year promises to be just as busy.

New students
We are already looking forward to welcoming our new Year 7 students in September. As many parents are aware, we have a sophisticated and rigorous transition programme so student members of our Year 7 intake already know us here at Harrow Way very well. As we take in another large Year Group, the School is expanding further and this, of course, is a reflection of the school’s increasing success and popularity with our families in Andover. The school year begins for all students on Friday 5th September at 8.45 am.

Staff
Readers will know from previous editions of Head’s Corner that we are both losing and gaining several members of staff in time for the beginning of the next academic year. The following members of staff will be leaving us this term: Mrs Lisa Henley, Learning Support Assistant. Mrs Henley has now secured a post at Portway Junior School and we wish her every success; Miss Carol Woodrow, Head of Dance. Miss Woodrow is taking up a post as Head of PE at a school in Wincanton. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the very high level of skill and commitment that Miss Woodrow has brought to her role as Dance teacher during the past eight years. Under her leadership the subject of dance has grown enormously. High points have included the Dance Inclusion Project in which we formed a partnership during 2005/6 with the Royal Ballet School. Miss Woodrow’s dancers were also invited to perform at The Anvil in Basingstoke as part of a major concert event organised by the Hampshire Music Service; Mr Steve Pocock, Head of Design & Technology. Mr Pocock, who has been with us for two years, is returning to industry and we wish him every success in this venture; Mrs Pam Purver, Catering Unit Manager. Mrs Purver has been with us for 28 years, nearly twenty of those as Catering Unit Manager. She has seen huge changes in Harrow Way in those years and she has made a superb contribution to our school community. I know that Pam cares passionately about her work and she will certainly be a difficult act to follow. We wish Pam and her husband Pete every success and happiness as they move on to the next phase of their lives together; Anthony LeCam, French Teacher. M Le Cam has been with us for just twelve months and is moving on now and has secured a post at a Salisbury school. We are also saying goodbye, at least for the time being, to Mr John Taylor, PSHE teacher. Readers of previous valedictory wishes for Mr Taylor will know that he has covered a number of roles over the years and may yet return in the future as a supply teacher.

I am delighted to report that we have recently appointed Mrs Janice Buckley to the post of Family Support Worker. Janice is very well known to many of our families in Andover and I know that she will make a huge contribution as a key member of our student support services here at Harrow Way. In September we are also welcoming Mlle Alexia Machu, teacher of French; Miss Fay Fisher, Food teacher; Mrs Isabella Campbell, Maths teacher; Mr Adison Bridet, Science teacher; Mrs Lesley Townley, 2nd in English Department; Miss Claire Dudman, 2nd in PE and we have also appointed Mrs Julia Tidmarsh to the post of Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Special Educational Needs and all aspects of school inclusion. This is a key senior role in our organisation and we look forward very much to working with Mrs Tidmarsh. Her start date has yet to be confirmed but will probably be around Christmas. In the meantime, that area of school will be in the very capable hands of Mr Richard Peters who therefore joins us as Temporary Assistant Headteacher. Mr Peters is himself taking over this role from Mr Patrick Goatley, who has widened his Deputy Head role to include responsibility for this area of the school for the last five terms. I would like to acknowledge and thank Mr Goatley for his success and commitment to taking on this role. Finally, we are pleased to welcome Mrs Wendy Shaw who is taking over from Mrs Pam Purver as Catering Unit Manager from September. Mrs Shaw has plenty of experience in this role and I know that she will be a huge success.

Governors
This term we are saying goodbye to three members of our Governing Body. They are Mrs Jo Ray, Mrs Leigh Binks and Mrs Linda Moore-Rossindel. Serving as a School Governor is an important and interesting role, and on behalf of Mrs Becky Burbidge, Chair of Governors, and me, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the huge contribution that these departing Governing Body members have made over the years. We wish them all every success for the future.

As a result of these changes we now have three vacancies for Parent Governors from September. I have already written to parents, including parents of our September Year 7 intake, inviting expressions of interest in one of these positions. It is still not too late, and if, as a parent, you are interested in the possibility of serving on our Governing Body in these interesting and quickly developing times for our school, please do get in touch with Mrs Burbidge by leaving a message for her here at the school.

Student News
I recently attended the annual Test Valley Borough Council Civic Church Service at the Bridge Street Methodist Church and was accompanied on that occasion by our newly appointed Head Boy and Head Girl, Joshua Lind and Rebecca Parker. Joshua and Rebecca have made a great start following their appointment last month and we are looking forward to working with them in their ambassadorial roles during the coming year.

I would like to congratulate our entire team of Prefects and Senior Prefects. They have already made a huge impact and have given up their time freely, not just in relation to their responsibilities regarding break and lunchtime duties, but in a number of other high profile events and activities. These have included supporting staff and primary school pupils in our recent Year 5 Activities Days, lending valuable support in our Year 6 Induction Day and Evening and helping out in several evening activities.

One of the ways in which we encourage older students to take increasing social responsibility for the welfare of others is through our Peer Mentoring system. Peer mentors comprise of a group of Year 10 students who are trained to help and support younger students in school who may be having difficulties. Members of the team make themselves available during lunchtimes for students who need additional support. The Peer Mentor teams have been trained and supervised for several years by Mrs Jan Cunningham and this year Mrs Cunningham is handing over the reins to our newly appointed Family Support Worker, Mrs Janice Buckley. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Cunningham for her huge commitment to the Peer Mentoring system. Equally, I know that the skill and experience of Mrs Buckley will enable her to continue the very high quality of service.

Gifted and Talented Students
We have significant numbers of students who have been identified as either gifted or talented in one or more areas. Our provision for these most able members of our student community is expanding all the time under the capable leadership of Mr Zayne Essop in his role as Gifted & Talented Student Manager. A number of events have taken place this year designed to challenge and support both gifted and talented students from Harrow Way but also, increasingly, similarly identified pupils from our family of primary schools. Events this year have included a Science, Mathematics and Mind-mapping day in February, which was run by Mrs Cunningham, Mr Mountain and Mrs Castell. At the beginning of June we held a day for primary pupils who are Gifted & Talented in Sports, and this was run by Ms Sturges, School Sports Co-ordinator and Miss Escritt. Earlier this month we held a Performing Arts Day for Gifted & Talented Year 5 pupils. The day was run by Mr Baxter, Mr Sedgwick and Mrs Essop who were joined by pupils from Portway and Kimpton Junior Schools. Also during the course of the year Mr Essop arranged three Mathematics Master-classes designed to target able mathematicians in Years 7 and 8.

Premises
As usual, the majority of any maintenance and refurbishment work on our school premises takes place during the summer holiday. The programme of work for the next six weeks is ambitious with some very tight deadlines for our contractors and site management staff to meet. Our sports hall will be receiving a new roof. This is obviously a major project and the schedule of works is forecast to take us well into October. As a result of this, the PE Department will be relocating some lessons for the first half of the Autumn Term.

Now that we are a Specialist Mathematics and Computing School we are currently receiving additional funding to enable us to put in place our plans for expansion of these areas of the school. As a result, the entire Maths Department will be relocating to what is currently the Modern Languages block and several subjects are being rehoused as a result. This will group together our Specialist subjects and enable us to expand our ICT facilities in school.

Our newly refurbished Food Technology Room is now complete and we are looking forward to commissioning it ready for use from September. I am delighted that we are able to re-introduce this important subject for our students.

In addition to these major works the remaining premises programme includes general refurbishing and decorating, and the supply of new furniture. For example, as the school continues to grow, we have had to buy additional tables and chairs and, in particular, additional examination desks.

As always, I would like to encourage readers to log onto our website for up to date news of school related events and activities at www.harrowway.hants.sch.uk .

It just remains for me to wish all members of our school community a restful and refreshing summer break. We are already looking forward to continuing our developments and improvements throughout the next academic year and beyond.

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