Headteachers' Newsletter

June 2022

Welcome Back

I hope everyone had a wonderful half term and enjoyed the extended Bank Holiday Jubilee Celebrations with your families and friends. We now enter the final straight for this academic year with GCSE and A Level Exams in full swing, work experience on its way for our Year 10 students as well as Graduation Day for Year 7. We also have planned a School Award Evening, Rewards Events and a number of shows to finish off the year, including the Summer Solstice and our Back to the 80's Show; there may only be a few weeks left but we are certainly packing in the calendar of events. I look forward to seeing many of you at some of these over the course of this half term.

We finished last half term with our Year 13 Leavers Day, having said goodbye to our Year 11's a couple of weeks before. These are always days of mixed emotions because we are saying goodbye to young people we have seen grow and mature over many years, while knowing that they are starting the next, exciting stages of their lives. I'd like to wish all of our students the best of luck in their exams once again, but also in their future, particularly our Year 13 who will move on to higher education or employment.

Much of the information below is important for you because it talks about any changes being put in place for the next academic year, so please take the time to read through it so you are prepared for September. Thank you also to those families who have sent us through student achievements, it's great to see what our students are achieving beyond the school gates.

Daniel Leonard


Year 11 Leavers

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Year 13 Leavers

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Thank you for those who contributed to the consultation regarding the new school day for September. Having completed our consultation and ratified the decision with our Governing Body, our school day for September 2022 will be as follows:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

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On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Year 9 and above will leave school at 3:15pm.


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Tuesday's will be our shorter school day. Students will receive the same lesson time but will have no Form Time/Period 1 on this day. Year 9 and above will finish school at 2:40pm on this day.

PE Kit Changes

We are always looking at ways we can make savings for parents while comparing our processes to other schools and trying to maintain the high standards and expectations we are known for. We have met our uniform suppliers to see where we can make changes to our PE kit, but unfortunately because of lead in times many of these changes cannot take place until September 2023.

However, from this September I want to make parents aware that we will not require students to have their names embroidered on their PE kit, which I know can be expensive. We do however ask that parents ensure all of their child's kit is labelled so that we can return it when it gets lost.

Our uniform suppliers will now be selling West Hatch leggings that both boys and girls will be able to wear for PE. Girls can wear these instead of skorts or shorts for PE and boys as thermals under shorts. Please note only the West Hatch ones are permitted for lessons.

The Keele Survey

Next week I will be sending out an email to all families asking them to complete the Keele Survey, which is an online survey aimed at helping the school know what we are doing well and the areas that we can improve. Please do take the time to complete the survey as it helps us make the changes necessary to keep your children safe, happy and receiving the best possible education.


I am delighted to introduce you to two new members of the Senior Team for September. Both are very experienced members of staff and will add huge value to our school. The roles and responsibilities for our Senior Team will be sent out in my final newsletter of the year but I've asked both members of staff to give a brief bio of themselves which you can find below.

Natalie Steadman

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Hello to everyone at West Hatch! I cannot tell you how excited I am to join your wonderful school in September. From as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a teacher. I remember being about 7 or 8 and writing lists of names and marking them off on a register. I have always wanted to help others, instil independence and values in others. My moral compass has always been to help our amazing young people to achieve the best they can to improve their life chances.

Having been a Head of Department for Business and Economics, Head of Year for 12 and 13 and most recently Head of Sixth Form: Pastoral Lead for Standards, I have a track record of success. With my experience I hope to complement the vision and clear direction at West Hatch High School to allow your young people to be the ‘best’ that they can be. I have had 17 years of experience across two secondary schools, Barking Abbey School and All Saints Catholic School in the diverse and inclusive borough of Barking and Dagenham.

I am passionate about the Mental Health and Wellbeing of the young people we teach, and colleagues who I work with. I have trained as a Mental Health First Aider, and as a Senior Leader in Children and Young Peoples Mental Health.

As a leader and teacher, I hold myself to the highest standards and expect the same from the students. I fully uphold and embody the motto at West Hatch High School of ‘be the best that I can be’. Visible consistency and Visible kindness are my mantra and one I always hold myself accountable to.

When I came to West Hatch for my interview, it felt like home. I was so impressed with all the young people and staff I met on that day and knew straight away if I were lucky enough to be successful in the interview, I would jump at the chance to join the school.

Darren Pearson

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I am incredibly excited to be joining West Hatch and to work with the students, parents and staff of this great school. My initial experience with the school and its community has been wonderful, I am particularly impressed with the high standards set across the school by staff and students alike. I cannot wait to get started and work with you all.

I am passionate about high quality teaching and learning in the classroom, developing students into responsible, respectful and resilient young adults and providing opportunities for all students to thrive. My driving purpose in this role will be to remove any barriers to students' progress and provide opportunities for them to thrive in whatever endeavour they wish to pursue.

A little about me; I am currently Head of Art, DT, Engineering, Photography and Hospitality and Catering at a school in North London and I teach DT, Engineering and Construction. I also have experience with improving teaching and learning across the school as lead teacher for teaching and learning. In my younger years, before I entered teaching I worked as a carpenter in Ireland, the UK and even travelled as far as Australia to work there.

A year ago, I moved to Chingford with my partner and our nine month old son Noah. When I am not spending time with my family I like to exercise and go to the gym. This usually happens after I’ve suffered watching my team Manchester United. I am looking forward to meeting you all and getting to know each of you. I wish you all the best for the rest of the school year.

Parents Evenings 2022/23

Thank you to all those families who contributed to our consultation regarding parents evenings. We received 414 responses and by complete fluke there was a completely even split of votes, 207 for online parents evenings and 207 for face to face. However, when reading the comments associated with the votes against online parents evenings, the vast majority of comments cited a desire for more than 5 minutes with each staff member.

It is important to note that even when parents evenings are face to face, parents are only provided with 5 minutes per member of staff. It is the desire to have more that leads to significant frustration for many, missing appointments and standing in long queues. It also leads to our staff staying significantly beyond their allotted times having already taught all day.

Having surveyed our staff, who were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping parents evenings online, having had an even split in parental votes and explained above that the 5 minute time slot for meetings is fixed whether we have online or face to face meetings, the Senior Team and I have decided that for next academic year we will continue to host parents evenings online. This means our staff can speak to as many parents as possible within the time available to them.

Please note that we encourage continued communication throughout the school year and hope that if you have any concerns or matters you wish to raise, this can be done outside of the parents evenings and means you are not restricted to a 5 minute allotted slot.

We are however looking closely at our school calendar and will be making some changes to when our parents evenings are placed in the year to ensure they are impactful for our families.

Yr.7 Graduation - Business Sponsorship

One final reminder that we are seeking local business sponsorship for our Year 7 Graduation event taking place on the 9th July. This will enable us 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 by the 24th June.

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.

Driving and Parking Safely

A reminder to all parents to drive and park safely outside the front of school and the side turnings during the school drop offs. Many parents are still doing 3 point turns or U turns in the middle of the road and between the Cedar Park and the school entrance. This is dangerous for other drivers and children too.

Parent Voice

The next Parent Voice meeting will take place on Thursday 23rd June at 7pm in the school library. This is an opportunity for you to discuss future events and have an input into school life. Please email parentvoice@westhatch.net if you would like to attend.

National Reading Champions Quiz Final

Well done to our team of readers, Jacob Fineman, Michaela Kalinova, Gabriela Kurapkaite and Hamza Mubashar who competed in the National Reading Champions Quiz Final. The event was held in London and featured Mr Dilly, the Quiz Master, as well as a Q&A session with award winning author Patrice Lawrence.

This was an opportunity for our students to become part of a team, represent West Hatch in a national competition and have the chance to use their wide reading knowledge against other schools. The competition was fierce as we went head to head with 21 schools from across the UK, including independent and grammar schools. Although we did not win on this occasion, it was an amazing experience for our students. However, they did not leave empty-handed. They were awarded with the regional trophy for the school, £20 book tokens each and free books for each student up to the value of £40.

Mrs Sheikh, school librarian said ‘It was great to see how engaged the students were with the quiz and how they supported each other. The event brought much excitement and drama to the wonderful world of reading and we can’t wait to do it all again next year!’

Yr.12s Language Trip to the Theatre

Last term our Year 12 Spanish Students visited the Cervantes Theatre in London to see the play “La Casa de Bernarda Alba”, which they are studying for their course. Mrs Marks, their teacher said "We had a lovely time and the experience was great for the students as they were immersed in the language and in the play, the theatre is tiny, so you really feel that you are part of the play!

Chigwell Rotary Fayre

The Chigwell Rotary Fayre took place on the 22nd May and our Year 9 band, Echo performed at the event. Ms Lord, our Head of Music, said "Nathan, Jack, Dhani and Chris are amazingly talented and are so committed that they literally rehearse every spare moment that they have."

A resident even commented on a local Facebook page after watching them perform.

"Went for a family stroll down to the Chigwell Jubilee May Fair today. Not long after arriving a band started up. These lads were probably around 15-16 years old and aside from being pretty good, were playing stuff that took me back to my teens!! It was great to see the musical talent and a love of playing cover songs from before they were born (great choice with The Offspring btw!) They reminded me of myself back at that age and suffice to say if they carry on they’ll make it further than my band did, but even if not, they’ll

be gracing the covers band circuit for years to come (just like the rest of us!) and we look forward to seeing them. Well done lads, and if anyone knows them, please pass on our thanks for the entertainment!"

We also had our Art Club run a stall at the Fayre. They had a drawing by our Year 8 student, Ryan Kebir, which the children were able to colour as they came round. The students were also selling cards designed by the Art Club. Thank you to all the students that attended the Fayre.

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Year 9 Band - Echo

Target Team Successes

The Target Team has yet again had great success in the last half term and thank you to Miss Pearce, our LSA who has worked hard with the Teams this year.

Firstly our Year 9's attended a Panathlon Xtend Challenge Event held at Debden Park High School. They were able to compete against other schools in Essex to take part in Boccia, Bowling and Air Hockey being a few of the activities. These sports were inclusive and able to encourage team work and learning fair play when competing, it also incorporated communication skills within the teams. Congratulations to the team because they brought home the first place trophy, a proud moment for them before they graduate the Target Team programme at the end of Year 9.

The final week of last half term saw some of our Year 8 Target Team members go back to compete in the Essex Boccia County Final Competition. This event had been delayed due to the COVID pandemic so they were all excited to finally be able to compete at Basildon Sporting Village. A massive congratulations to the team who after competing against 16 other teams made up of other schools from Essex, brought home the First Place Gold Award Standard for West Hatch. Miss Pearce said "they worked hard as a team and showed exemplary behaviour. We are also so proud of their achievements this year and look forward to seeing what they have got in store when they move into the Year 9 Target Team next year."

Finally a massive congratulations to our Year 7 Target Team for the way they have bonded and created friendships in the team this year. Miss Pearce says "they have shown resilience throughout the year with their commitment to learning new sports and they are looking forward to being able to compete in future competitions against other schools in Essex."

Important Dates for the Diary

Parent Events


Thursday 16th June - Summer Solstice (doors open at 6pm)

Thursday 23rd June - Parent Voice in the Library at 7pm

Monday 27th June - School Awards Evening (invite only)


Tuesday 5th July - KS3 Sports Awards Evening (invite only)

Thursday 7th July - Yr.12 Parents Evening - online appointments

Saturday 9th July - Yr.7 Graduation

Tuesday 12th -Thursday 14th July - Back to the 80s Production (doors open at 6pm)

Student Events


Friday 17th June - Yr.10 Sixth Form Taster Day

Wednesday 29th June -Yr.11 Prom (invite only)


Friday 1st July - Yr.10 Mock Interviews Day

Monday 4th July to 6th July - Yr.11 into 12 Induction Days

Monday 11th July to Thursday 21st July - Yr.10 Work Experience

Early closures

Tuesday 21st June - Early finish - students dismissed at 1.05pm (Yrs. 9-13) 1.15pm (Yr.7&8)

Friday 8th July - Early Finish - students dismissed at 12.05pm (preparation for Graduation)

Thursday 21st July - Early finish for the Summer Break 1.05pm (Yrs. 9-13) 1.15pm (Yr.7&8)

Our Students' Achievements

Football Successes

Year 7 Boys - Echo League Cup Final

Sammy, Oliver, Arun and Arjun play for the u12s Shield Academy Football Team and they were successful in reaching the Echo League Cup Final. Unfortunately, they came out runners up but enjoyed the experience of playing at a real stadium for the final match, using the dressing rooms and coming on to the pitch through the players tunnel in front of a big crowd. Well done boys.

And finally

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter, I hope you have found the information useful. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at our range of celebration events and shows over this Summer Term.

Yours sincerely

Daniel Leonard