Headteacher's Newsletter

April 2020


School 'Check In's'

On Monday parents and students will receive emails and texts from Form Tutors. As you would have read in Clare Kershaw's letter, the Director of Education for Essex CC, schools have been asked to keep in contact with all families. We have decided to do so by first of all asking parents and students to complete a very short questionnaire regarding their time in lockdown. Please make sure that you do get these completed, we will be following up with anyone who does not, as we must maintain contact with home. This will ensure that we can best support families with their well-being and or with school work most effectively. Thank you in advance for your support with this.

Work Being Set By Staff

As I'm sure you can imagine, setting work online that matches the individual needs of all 1300 students in school is an impossible task. As I have said in my welcome video, schools cannot continue to run as they normally would and this includes our ability to review how students are doing during lessons and adapt them as a result. We have also been advised very clearly by Teaching and Headteacher Unions that staff are not to undertake video lessons from home.

I have asked staff to set work that has the ability to both challenge and support all the students they teach and also to get back to students and parents as soon as they can whenever they need help. Please keep these lines of communication open with staff but do not expect teachers to set individual work for individual students. They may however provide additional resources so students can access work should they wish to do more than is being set.

Additional Resources For Students

Many of the resource banks that would normally be paid services have opened their books for free for parents and students during the lockdown.

Twinkl and myfavouriteteacher.com are such companies and the links below will help you to access them.

I have also placed below links to the Oak National Academy, an online lesson resource created by the DFE which launched this week and also BBC Bitesize who have created short video lessons for students on a range of topics. Both are excellent resources that I would urge you to access to help students progress and engage in learning.

A Few Key Notices.....

1) We would prefer to see parents face to face for Year 7 and Year 12 Parents Evening, so we are delaying in making any decisions on ways forward for as long as possible. Should social distancing still be in place after half term we will provide written reports to parents setting out how your children have done this year.

2) 216 Year 8 pupils have responded to the Options Forms within 24 hours, unfortunately those that did not still have not despite prompting. If students/parents do not provide us with their Option choices urgently, the school will select the students subjects and they will not be able to change them.

3) Reminder that the Year 11 Year Book has now been put on ParentPay.

4) There are a large number of events planned for the end of this term and the start of the next academic year. Some we have made decisions to cancel, ie work experience, however others are still in the balance. At the end of this three week lockdown we will have far more information, and will be able to make informed decisions, which we will share with parents as soon as we can.

Aliza Zarras (Year 9) Crowned Our Inaugural Renewi Recycling Competition Winner

Renewi generously sponsored our House Recycling Competition, which requires students to come up with ideas of how we can recycle old unwanted items (such as plastic, vinyl, paper, wood, etc) and turn them into new products.

The decision to focus on 'waste-to-product' recycling/upcycling was due to Renewi’s business. They are a multi-million pound, international, waste-to-product company, who have waste management contracts with the local authority. The competition was open to all students and judging was based on the following criteria:

1) Creativity

2) Originality - How unique it is?

3) Practicality - Can this easily be implemented?

It was agreed that Aliza’s entry effectively met all the criteria and she was announced as the winner. Well done Aliza.

The Renewi Recycling Competition will be an annual House Competition, sponsored by Renewi, so we look forward to seeing even more entries for the 2020 Competition.

What Have Staff Been Doing During Isolation?

Staff in isolation

Mrs Muscatt Cooking For Britain

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I wanted to share with you all the amazing job Mrs Muscatt, our Office Manager, has done this week by delivering 30 meals, all cooked by her, as well as a cake to the Intensive Care staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. Another amazing act of kindness by one of our community which would have been very much appreciated by the NHS staff.
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Musical Marvels...

A huge well done to Joshua Lord who was nominated by The Rotary Club of Chigwell, Loughton & Buckhurst Hill to represent them at the Rotary International Event at The Royal Festival Hall where he sang a solo on the prestigious stage on 3rd March.

The School's Unconventional Choir were accepted out of hundreds of entries to perform at Redbridge’s Got Talent! Unfortunately this was due to take place on April 26th, but we have been told that they hope to reschedule for later on in the year.

Skye Morley (Yr.9) & Chloe Playford (Yr.11) were both entered into the Stratford Music Festival and received positive feedback from the judges for all their performances with Chloe winning the James Allen Hatch Cup for her rendition of Over the Rainbow.

Well done to all of you and keep singing. Please see the video below with our Senior School Band and Beatles Tribute Band performing 'I wanna hold your hand' together.

Thank you to Ms Lord and Mr Vincent for all their hard work supporting our students with these events.

West Hatch High School Beatles Cover

Pupils Work During Isolation

Art Work

Tai the Builder

Well done to Tai Rowlands in Year 11, who wanted to complete a home project, so has built, with Mr Limon's guidance a workstation in his garage, complete with storage system and stall. Mr Limon said 'that it is good for the spirit to see students doing things completely in their element despite the chaos of everything' and I completely agree!

The PE Department Spin Challange - A MUST WATCH!


Virtual Poetry

Mrs Moynihan, our Literacy Coordinator, has been working hard with the students and has asked them to send us a video of them reading their favourite poem which we will then share with our local care homes to give them some cheer.

More examples to follow in our next newsletter, but just to wet your appetite, below you can see three lovely poems written by Stella Georgiou, Skye Morley and Aaron Gelkoff, all in Year 9. Well done all of you.

"You'll see me smiling"

Written by Stella Georgiou

You'll see me smiling

Whether the sky is blue or grey

No matter what the world has to say

We will not give in to dismay

You'll see me smiling

As I will not surrender to despair

When our communities are offering such care

We are resilient - this virus will never impair

You'll see me smiling

As I learn to do all sorts

Sewing, dancing, painting and sports

Time is a blessing; so make time for your thoughts

You'll see me smiling

Throughout the whole day

This is the only way

To keep everything else at bay.

"Clap for Carers".

Written by Skye Morley

We step out of the door

Into the dusky light

We stand, as a family,

A golden minute in the night.

I'm clapping and I'm smiling

Because all I can see

Is people clapping and smiling

All around me.

There's pots and pans and spatulas

Letting people know

That we adore the NHS

A symphony of 'Thank you so!'

Of course, because it's night-time

There's a gentle breeze,

The stars are lighting the living streets,

But the happiness warms the freeze.

"Nothing will break us"

Written by Aaron Gelkoff

The invader of society

The suspicious spreading superior

We don’t know what to do

We feel trapped behind a barrier

The ulterior suggestion

We don’t need to moan

Talk to your family

Just pick up the phone

The power of love

Stays strong and sturdy

Have a go at TikTok

Even if you’re over thirty

Nothing will break us

Good will always prevail

We can’t meet up

You can send a letter in the mail.

Covid, Oh Covid!

You can bring out the kind

I talk to my family everyday

And am focusing on my mind

Adults and seniors

Don’t be afraid

This won’t last forever

This isn’t your fate.

Some Students Have Been At School During The Lockdown.

Before we move onto our students' achievements, Mr Passey wanted to share with students a game they could play in their gardens that he invented with his children. Feel free to watch and have a go!

Students' Achievements Outside Of School

Aliza Zarras (Year 9)

Congratulations to Aliza who has been elected to join the Epping Forest Youth Council.

She has been an active member during the lockdown taking time to attend meetings via zoom. She has already started working on topics to improve the community has been praised by the Senior Coordinator, Diane Butler for her work. She's representing West Hatch and doing a great job.

Hatice Zaman (Year 9)

Hatice, who is one of the school's Anti Bullying Ambassadors recently wrote to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to invite them to the school to see what we were doing to challenge bullying at West Hatch. They were unfortunately unable to visit, but she received the following letter from The Royal Family. Well done Hatice and thank you on behalf of the school.

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Dhani Singh (Year 7)

Dhani and his younger brother have had a fantastic idea, due to the COVID-19 lockdown they have been unable to go to the barbers so their hair has grown quite. So they both decided to shave it for charity.

Dhani had done some charity work with his primary school last year and wanted to do more, so he chose Haven House. They have both raised over £900.00 so far and are still hoping to raise more.

Well done both of you, let's just hope it grows back a bit before we get back to school :)

Luke Drummond-Poynter (Year 13)

During lockdown Luke has taken the opportunity to increase his volunteering at University College Hospital to two full days a week. He now works in the inpatient pharmacy, and is trained as a pharmacy porter. He says “I feel privileged to be able to provide such a direct form of aid. COVID-19 has shone a bright light on the medical profession and the people in it, and what I've seen has given me the drive and the clarity to pursue medicine further". Amazing Luke, we are very proud of your contribution.

Betsie Graham (Year 7)

Well done to Betsie who received a Jack Petchey Award from her dance school (Nicola’s School of Dance) just before we all went into lockdown!

She’s been dancing for 5 years now and is doing extremely well in her tap, ballet and modern classes and has also just started jazz classes this year as well.

And finally...

I hope this newsletter has made you all feel a little bit closer to the school while we are forced apart. I would love to receive pictures or videos of things our students have been doing while in isolation for my next newsletter.

Clearly this is a very difficult time for many of our families and indeed staff. Could I please ask that everyone continues to let the school know if they need support and particularly if there is a bereavement in the family. It enables us to support our students to the best of our ability.

The last thing I want to share is below. It was sent to me by Mr Tester and I think gives some excellent advice in helping us stay mentally healthy during this time.

Keep well everyone.

Daniel Leonard


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