Headteacher's Newsletter

April 2023

Welcome back

Dear Families,

I hope you all enjoyed the Easter break; what a shame the weather didn't improve until we returned to school.

This is always an important term for schools with the final push for examinations for Year 11 and 13. I know our staff will work tirelessly to support these students in their final weeks and I hope the students put the time and effort in required to achieve their potential. We have seen an improvement between the PPE examinations in November and February which suggests they have done so to date. I would like to wish all of our students sitting exams this year the very best of luck as the exam series kicks off in earnest over the coming weeks.

Last term I sent a letter to parents regarding the behaviour of some of our Year 8's and I want to clarify a couple of things. Behaviour at West Hatch is very good. The vast majority of our students work hard and behave well inside and outside of lessons. We recently had a visit from four Senior Leaders from two different secondary schools for a day. Their feedback was fantastic and one Deputy said he could feel 'the soul' of the school throughout the day; that is the essence of West Hatch.

However, as with all schools across the country, there are a small number of students who get it wrong too often inside and outside of the classroom; this has been exacerbated since the end of the pandemic with students at times struggling to manage conflict with each other appropriately. As an Ofsted Inspector I am seeing the same thing across all schools I visit.

It would be easy for me to quietly get on with dealing with this small number of students, however, as a parent myself I would prefer to know the school has the highest possible expectations and is putting in place suitable interventions to address any issues. Please be assured however that I walk around the school every day and I am proud to see the excellent attitudes our students show in their learning and the positive behaviour around the school; but where students do fall below my expectations, we will act swiftly and decisively.

There is a lot to celebrate in this newsletter and some important information including dates and upcoming events. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Daniel Leonard


Year 7 Graduation

We are looking forward to hosting our Year 7 Graduation Day on Saturday 8th July. This is a day where our Year 7 students and their families gather to celebrate their successful completion of the academic year with performances, awards and fun on our school fields.

We are seeking local business sponsorship to be able to hire bouncy castles, games and other activities for the event. If you, or a family member works for a business who offers community event sponsorship we would be delighted to hear from you! Please contact Victoria Schaefer, Deputy Headteacher, at vschaefer@westhatch.net to register. Please find below our Sponsorship Guide Price.

As a sponsor you would be included in our programme for the day, have a poster displayed next to the activity you sponsored and your logo/name will be included on our press release material over social media.

Thank you to Ivy & Stone who have already offered to sponsor the event. They are a local independent estate agency with a focus on supporting the local community whilst providing a personal service to their clients. To any parent of the school thinking of selling, they would like to offer a 10% discount on their standard fee as well as donating 10% of their total fee to the school. Their details are below.

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Reminder If Your Child Is Unwell Whilst In School

Please remind your son or daughter that if they feel unwell whilst at school they should report to the main office medical room to be assessed and then the office will call home if they feel it is necessary . Your child should not be ringing home to say they feel unwell before being assessed, otherwise this may lead to an unauthorised absence.

Physical Altercations In School

I wanted to inform you of a change to our systems in terms of physical altercations in school. From now on any students involved in physical altercations will not only be Suspended, but will also lose their break and lunchtimes for a four week period. This will also be the case for any student found to be inciting any altercations.

Should a student be involved in further incidents the punishment of losing their break and lunch time will increase to a whole half term, then a whole term. Please also not that students who involve themselves in this type of behaviour are putting themselves at significant risk of a Permanent Exclusion from the school.

Culture Week

I'm delighted to confirm to families that our second annual Culture Week will be taking place next week (Monday 24th April - Friday 28th April), and a letter has already been sent out with more details. We have lots of exciting plans, organised by our House and School's Diversity Teams.

The week will involve learning about other cultures, House Competitions, cultural food each day in the canteen (supported by parent volunteer cooks) and finally our cultural non-uniform day with inaugural fashion show/assembly for each year group.

Please encourage your children to wear clothing that celebrates their different cultures next Friday, I loved seeing our school's wonderful diversity being celebrated last year.

Leavers Days

As always we will be celebrating the end of Year 11 and 13 this term with a day packed with fun and opportunities to relive memories from the last 5 to 7 years.

Our Year 13 Leavers Day will take place on the Thursday 11th May with the Year 11 Leavers Day on the Friday 12th May. Students will be on study leave from this point onwards and only required in school for their examinations.

Auschwitz Trip

A group of Sixth Formers visited Auschwitz with Mr Baker, our History Teacher. Charley Sands was one of the students who attended the trip and her article about the visit can be found below, this is being published in the Local Essex Jewish News.

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The Dance Show

Before the Easter break our Dance Department put on a fabulous show and I hope many of you had the opportunity to come and watch. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into making these shows a success and a big thank you to Miss Judge, Mr Vincent, Miss Kay, Miss Bortalis and Miss Chipperfield for all their work, and to all the students that either performed or were part of the tech crew. Below are a few pictures from the event.

National Reading Champions Quiz – Regional Heats

Two West Hatch teams competed in the Thames Gateway and East London regional heats of the National Reading Champions quiz. The quiz consisted of eight different categories with ten questions each, all from the wonderful world of literature. It was a challenging but exciting event for our students, an opportunity to use their wider reading knowledge in competition against other schools.

18 teams battled it out for a place in the finals. West Hatch Team B came a respectable joint 5th place with West Hatch Team A not far behind in joint 8th place. The competition, which is in its third year, is led by the National Literacy Trust and funded by the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). It celebrates keen, young readers and champions the important role of teachers and school librarians in promoting reading for pleasure.

Mrs Sheikh, our school librarian said “As part of our World Book Day celebrations we entered this competition. The students were so excited to be taking part in a national competition and there was a real buzz around the library. It was great to see how both teams had prepared and worked together on this Quiz and they should all be extremely proud of their achievements.”

Team A: Sophia Wallman, Erin Sands, Sophie Burrell and Sophia Dobson

Team B: Lily Machon, Veer Rai, Ethan Van Schalkwyk and Isabella Sidloff

Reserve member: Chloe Sheers, who not only cheered her team on from the side-line but did a fantastic artists impression of both teams during the event which can be seen below.

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A Level PE Students Put Through Their Paces!

Last term our A Level PE students experienced a university workshop provided by the High Performance Unit (HPU) from Essex University. Students from Year 12 & 13, discussed what a life studying sport and exercise science at Essex University might be like, before undergoing a series of physical fitness tests in the sports hall. Performance tests included a 20m sprint test with the use of timing gates, a power test with a jump plate and an agility test, where the students became ultra-competitive. Students tested their level of hydration with a urine test and finally evaluated their test results and how these could be used to inform data for exercise sports science in the real world. Following the day’s events, Mr D’Silva , our Head of PE said, ‘It is important for students to gain these experiences that might lead them toward a career in sport. The pupils enjoyed the workshop, probably because they beat me in most of the evaluation tests! It was well worth it and we thank Essex University for the opportunity’.

Sporting Successes for the Spring Term

Year 7 Indoor Athletics Competition

Our Year 7’s travelled to Lee Valley Indoor Athletics Centre where they represented West Hatch in an indoor athletics competition. They all performed brilliantly with both teams winning their overall events. The boys finished with a total of 66 points and the girls with 70. The boys also won their 4 x 200m relay by over 11 seconds! A special well done to Sophia Parker, Marissa Higgs- Smith, Jaiden Parker, Tobias Taylor, Dylan Champion and David Ciolac who finished top three in their respective events.

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Yr.8 & 9 Football Tournament

A huge congratulations to eight of our Year 8/9 footballers who represented West Hatch at the Lyca Mobile Football Tournament run by the West Ham United Foundation. The girls were exceptional, winning the tournament with four wins and a draw, the girls didn’t concede a goal throughout. We now wish the squad a huge amount of luck for the next round in May.
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Year 10 Basketballers Win The Cup

Last term the u16 basketball team claimed the first District Trophy of the year for West Hatch after they beat Sir Frederick Gibberd School 63-33 in the West Essex and Harlow District Cup Final. The team, coached by, student teacher Mr Weekes trained extensively throughout the season to come away deserved champions. Sessions were run on Tuesday afternoons and Friday early mornings as the boys dedicated themselves to improving both skill and fitness levels. Mr Hoy, who refereed the final, claimed, ‘ The boys were outstanding on the night and Mr Weekes can be very proud of the development of the team,’. Standout players of the match were Year 10 Daniel Owalabi and Year 11 Byron Stevens, who both helped them to their victory.

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West Hatch High School Year 8 Rugby Team Playing On The BIG STAGE!

On Wednesday 22nd March, our Year 8 Rugby team entered into a tournament held at the prestigious StoneX Stadium, used by Premiership and European Champions Saracens. The Year 8 team came to the tournament as newcomers and finished third overall in the tournament.

There were significant performances that stood out on the day with Jacob Weingarth and Nathaniel Benjamin gliding through tackles and creating real attacking threats for the rest of the team, in particular with our finishers Zachary Hooper and Sammy Geist finding the try line on numerous occasions. The defensive performance from Oscar Champion and Lucas Ramsey helped us secure third place in the last game as they were relentless with the tackling, ensuring no opponent made it past their backline. Well done boys.

Visit To The Copper Box

Our Netballers visited the Copper Box Arena last term to watch a Super League Netball Match whereby London Pulse took on Strathclyde Sirens. Miss Huggins, said "the girls were a pleasure to take and the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our netballers for their hard work and success throughout the 2022/23 Netball season."
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Important Dates for the Diary

Parent Events

Thursday 4th May - Year 7 Parents Evening (online appointments)

Wednesday 10th -Friday 12th May - Shrek the Musical (tickets on parentpay)

School Closures

Monday 1st May - Bank Holiday

Monday 8th May - Bank Holiday for the Kings Coronation

Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June - May half term

Tuesday 6th June - CPD afternoon - Early finish for students (dismissed at 1.30pm)

Our Students' Achievemements

Sophia Parker and Marissa Higgs-Smith (Yr.7)

Sophia and Marissa have been running for Woodford Green Essex and Ladies Athletics Club and have been competing in a local Cross Country Competition with the Chingford League. Well done to Sophia who won the individual u13 girl’s league, and Marissa who came second. Their running club also won the u13 girls team league and their team of four won the relay competition at the final race.

They both also competed in the Inter Counties Cross Country Competition in the Essex Team after representing West Hatch in the two qualifying rounds where they were 1st (Sophia) and 2nd (Marissa) in the West Essex Schools competition. They both finished in the top 20 of the Essex schools race to qualify to run for their county, where they finished 57th (Sophia) and 73rd (Marissa).

Sophia also ran at the Essex and Eastern Counties Indoor Championships and won gold making her the 2023 u13 girls 800m Indoors Essex County Champion. Congratulations to both girls.

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Ex-Student Signs Professional Football Contract

Congratulations to Elyh Harrison, who left West Hatch last year and has put pen to paper on his first professional football contract at Manchester United FC. The 17 year old, goalkeeper only signed for the club from Stevenage Borough in July last year and has made an incredible impression for the Red Devils in just 9 months. Elyh has been playing regularly for the clubs u18s and has even been selected for the u21 squad this season. He has represented the club in the FA Youth Cup and also in matches abroad, including a friendly match vs Barcelona in the shadows of the Nou Camp. Elyh’s performances can be captured weekly on MUTV for those that are interested. The school wish him all the very best with his next steps and sporting future ahead.

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Thank you once again for taking the time to read this newsletter. Thank you also to all of the parents who sent in information about their child's successes outside of school, I always love reading about these achievements. The next few weeks will fly by with a number of bank holidays and events going on. I look forward to sending you my next newsletter at the beginning of June.