‘Culture does not make people. People make culture.’- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Culture is really important in any workplace and, for me, it’s the beating pulse of a school. When I was first appointed Headteacher (almost four years ago), I remember that people used to ask me what my vision was for the school. It was, and is, fairly simple:

  • Good behaviour across the school, with strong relationships at the heart of everything we do
  • A good teacher in every classroom so that children can achieve their best
  • Students achieving their best in and outside of lessons
  • The best possible facilities for students and staff
  • Opportunities outside of the classroom

I’ve written many times about the importance of extra-curricular activities. Even now, over 30 years since I finished school, I have very clear memories of going to museums and theatre visits, a ski trip to France when I was in Year 7, and representing the school in sport. Sport plays a big part in the culture of The Hamble School. We are particularly fortunate to have access to an incredible all-weather pitch, the most impressive gymnasium I’ve ever seen, and a state-of-the-art gym. Recent footballing successes have included the senior girls’ team (Years 9/10) beating Redbridge on penalties in the quarter final of the Southampton Schools’ Cup; the junior girls (Years 7/8) beating Upper Shirley 6-1; and Reggie B and Lewis O (both in Year 9) representing Hampshire in football. It’s not just sport- two weeks ago, the Music department ran a fantastic concert that showcased the talent and dedication of our students. The same week, I was overwhelmed by the students’ response to Red Nose Day. Bake sales raised over £500, with some incredible efforts from individual bakers. Below is one of my favourites.

This Friday, we are having a non-school uniform day. Students and staff are encouraged to wear blue and yellow in support of the Ukrainian people. The money raised will be sent to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) to support their efforts in helping the people of Ukraine.

We’ve also been looking at staff training this term. We have over one hundred members of staff- teaching and non-teaching- so consistency is really important. As we move out of covid, we have been able to restart training sessions face-to-face rather than online. This is definitely helping us to build a common understanding. Every Monday, we have 1 ½ hours of training time. This term, we have focused on developing behaviour management strategies, improving staff’s awareness of Special Educational Needs (SEN), teaching and learning strategies, and moderation of progress and attainment data.

The covid rules have changed again from Friday 1st April:

  • Adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.
  • Adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice is 3 days.

Covid levels among staff are very high at the moment, and we have had to buy in a lot of supply cover to get us through the last week of term. Unlike many local schools, we have not had to send any year groups home because of insufficient staffing and we will do our best to get to the end of the term without doing so. Hopefully, this latest wave will have run its course by Monday 25th April when we come back into school.

I hope that you are all able to have a good holiday.

Best wishes