Headteacher's Newsletter

January 2023

Welcome back

Dear families,

I’d like to wish you all a very happy New Year and hope that 2023 brings you all much joy, happiness and prosperity. I know for a number in our community, this year will pose many challenges, particularly with the increases in the cost of living. We will continue to do our best to support our students to succeed no matter what challenges are being faced outside of school and I urge you to get in touch should you need any additional support. You will find below the key contact emails of the staff for each year group in case you do need additional support for your children.

The end of 2022 did not quite map out as I had hoped and I’d like to thank you all for your support during the snow; deciding on whether to open or close the school is one of the hardest decision I have to make as a Headteacher but your understanding and support made the decision far easier to manage. I hope that for our Key Stage 3 students the online lessons were of the high quality I expect and I want to say how proud I was of our KS4 and 5 students who attended school and behaved fantastically.

Our Year 11 and 13 students sat their Pre Public Exams before Christmas and received their results on the penultimate day. Some of our students performed remarkably well and clearly worked very hard in preparation for their exams. My impression was that those who did not work hard enough had the sudden realisation that their effort had a direct impact on their results and they now know how hard they will have to work to get the results they want and need for the next step in their educational journey. For Year 11 we will be holding our Year 11 Transition Day/Sixth Form Interviews on the 6th March. During these meetings we will be scrutinising their results and offering courses based on what they have achieved. Well done to all of our students for completing these exams and I hope they have prepared them for their second round of PPE’s during this Spring term.

There is a mixture of information for you and celebration of things that have happened inside and outside of school within this newsletter, as well as some important dates for your diary.

Take away your children’s phones at night!

I taught a lesson this week where every member of my class said they didn’t go to sleep until 2am at the very earliest every day of the week, with some saying they were going to sleep around 6am and then getting up for school at 8am. Without fail, all said it was because they were on their mobile phones.

It is important for children not to take their phones to bed with them for several reasons. Firstly, the blue light emitted by phone screens can disrupt the body's natural sleep patterns and make it harder for children to fall asleep. Secondly, phones can be a source of distractions, such as notifications or games, which can prevent children from getting a good night's rest. Finally, having phones in the bedroom can also lead to increased screen time, which is not recommended for children's mental and physical health.

By leaving their phones out of the bedroom, children can better prioritise their sleep and ensure a more restful night. This will in turn have a dramatic positive impact on their learning and ability to concentrate.

Please ensure your children do not take their phones to their bedrooms at night so that they get a good night’s sleep and can function at their best each day.

A few reminders:

Please support the school in ensuring your children have the right equipment and uniform in line with the school's uniform policy. It is often the very simple things that cause us the most conflict with students.

Coats - Can only be black, dark grey or navy blue.

Piercings - Only one per ear and no nose rings or other piercings are permitted.

Nail Varnish or Acrylics - Are not permitted for any KS3 or 4 student.

School shoes - trainers are not permitted at any time for any reason other than one accompanied by a medical note. Boots are not permitted. Anyone without the correct footwear will be required to put on the school's shoes.

Skirts - Must fit to the knee. Please ensure your child's skirt is long enough to comply with this length

I understand that uniform can be expensive but it is important that parents support the school in ensuring high standards of dress across all students. These are simple things to get right and are standards that would be expected across all schools. Thank you for your support in this matter.

Harry Potter Media Trip

West Hatch Media Studies students braved the cold and icy weather to visit Hogwarts in the Snow! Students were introduced to the sets and props that were featured in the films and received a lesson by Warner Bros to start their day. Many students even tried a few spells, from boarding the interactive broomsticks and wand battles. The day was magical and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day, whilst having a butterbeer.

Big picture

West Hatch Choir perform at Belmont Lodge

On Saturday 10th December 25 members of the West Hatch Choir entertained the residents at the Belmont Lodge Care Home Christmas Market.

The event raised £444 for the Care Home and Dawn Harrison the Activities Manager who organised the event sent the following message…. ‘Thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart…. you were all incredible and we are so truly grateful for making our Christmas magical you were truly amazing and I thank each and everyone of you.’

Ms Lord, Head of Music at West Hatch said ‘I am so proud of all the students, it was freezing but they sang for all the people and did not complain at all. Some of our new Year 7’s sang for the first time at an event and they could not stop smiling’


Bookbuzz is one of the highlights of our reading calendar for Year 7 and the students were very excited about it last term. They loved watching the authors in the film talk about the books before deciding on their free book.

Students were given the opportunity to choose from 17 fantastic titles so that every student could find something they loved, whatever their interest or ability. We hope that Bookbuzz will encourage students to read more frequently, which will help improve their wellbeing, spark interesting conversations and inspire creativity.

Big picture

Visit from the Guide Dogs

Last term we were lucky enough to have a very special visitor, Milo the Guide Dog, together with Penny Lovett the Puppy Raiser Volunteer and Fosterer. The Year 7 students really enjoyed the visit and all got to greet and feed Milo, who seemed to really enjoy the attention. Mrs Crathern, our Deputy SENDCo, who organised the event said "the students were a real credit to the school and were very respectful and gentle with Milo."

If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer, please check out the website, and type in your postcode to see what roles are currently available: https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/how-you-can-help/volunteering-for-guide-dogs/. Additionally, you can contact your local Guide Dogs Volunteering Coordinator Phoebe Coles at Phoebe.Coles@Guidedogs.org.uk for more information.

Giving to those less fortunate

As we all know the cost of living crisis has effected many people and at West Hatch we want to try and help those less fortunate. Before the Christmas break our Student Council organised a Christmas Food Bank Collection, where we asked students to bring in various items that could be donated to 3Food4U, which is our local food bank, that people can use without being assessed or referred.

This week we have also held a non-uniform day organised by our House Coordinator Mr Vanhoutteghem (pictured below), where we again asked for donations so parcels can be made up for 3Food4U to collect. Again the response has been amazing and we thank you all for donating and helping use to support this great cause.

Poppy Appeal

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Poppy Appeal and to Mrs Thomas and Mrs Muscatt for organising the appeal in school. The school raised £584.33 which has been sent to this great cause.

The Keele Survey

Many of you will remember that last summer we asked all stakeholders in the school to complete a questionnaire to better help us improve the school. There were some very positive responses from parents, particularly suggesting parents feel that the school is a safe environment, which has high expectations of learning and behaviour, recognises and rewards its students for doing well, provides good out of hours services and that parents feel their children are well cared for at the school.

However, as always there were some areas that scored lower than others and I wanted to provide you with an update below on how we are tackling some of the challenges parents and carers are facing.

Parents said - They did not have enough information about the school or know who to contact if they have a concern about their child.

Response - The school will raise this as an agenda item in the next Parents Voice meeting so that I can better understand the information parents wish to receive more regularly. Within this newsletter there is a detailed matrix outlining who to contact should parents have a concern.

Parents said - They do not always find school reports useful in providing them information about their child’s progress.

Response - The school has invested significantly in a new programme which will be launched in the new academic year, where parents will have continual access to their child’s progress in all subjects and guides them on towards work that will support their child in improving any aspect they find hard. We will be simplifying assessment criteria to support both parents and students understand what they need to do to improve.

Parents said -The school does not always deal firmly enough with bullying.

Response - There is no quick fix for bullying and nationally this is an area that always scores lower than others in any survey. However, it is something that I am passionate about and as a result, Mr Tester, our Assistant Head, is taking a lead and has this academic year to research and observe best practice across other schools, with the aim of launching a brand new Anti- Bullying Procedure and Policy for September. In the meantime we will continue to work hard to support students who face any form of harassment and deal with any perpetrators swiftly and effectively.

Parents said - The school rules are not always fair and reasonable.

Response - In September, we launched a new Behaviour Policy and System in school following on from parent and student feedback about the fairness of sanctions in school. This is an ongoing process but our Chance, Choice and Consequence System provides students with the necessary opportunities to get their behaviour right, without being sanctioned for every minor issue.

Big picture
We have recently found students using this caffeine chewing gum in school. Parents may not be aware but it has an age limit of 16 and I would urge parents to talk to their children about the dangers of using such things. Caffeine can interfere with sleep, which is important for physical and mental health as outlined earlier in my newsletter. It can also cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may be harmful for some individuals. Caffeine can also cause digestive issues, such as stomach aches and diarrhea, and it can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly.

Jack Petchey Winners

Well done to Jerome, Olivia and Zak who all won the Jack Petchey Award last Term.

Ellie Pickavance (Yr.13) - Media Work Placement

Ellie was lucky enough to gain work experience at Media 10 in their Media Marketing Department, an area that she would love to work in when she leaves West Hatch. During the placement she was given a couple of projects to work on and she loved it and was sad it was only for 3 days, however she made an amazing impression on them and they published two of the pieces she worked on. If you would like to read them the links are below. Well done Ellie.

Important Dates for the Diary

Parent Events

Thursday 12th January - Yr.13 Parents Evening (online appointments)

Thursday 19th January - Yr.11 Parents Evening (online appointments)

Thursday 9th February - Love Lounge Event - (ticket event more details to follow)

Thursday 23rd February - Yr.10 Parents Evening (online appointments)

Thursday 2nd March - Yr.9 Parents Evening (online appointments)

Thursday 9th March - Yr.8 Parents Evening (online appointments)

Thursday 29th and 30th March - Dance Show (ticket event more details to follow)

School Closures

Monday 16th January - Inset day

13th February-17th February - February half term

Friday 31st March - break up for Easter

Our Students' Achievements

Echo Band

Echo, a rock band made up of Year 10 West Hatch students; Nathan Geist, Jack Schaverien, Dhani Singh and Chris Pruteanu, all played at the Wickford Christmas Lights event. They performed a 25 minute set and had a great time helping to entertain the crowd. Keep up the great work boys!


Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and I hope the information has been of use to you, as well as celebrating with us our students' successes inside and outside of school.

This is a short half term, only 5 weeks!; I hope our students continue with the positive attitude they have shown in the first few days following the Christmas break and once again I wish you all a happy New Year.

Daniel Leonard