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Back to school & lots of 'thank yous'

13 weeks. A quarter of a year. One two hundred & twenty fourth of my entire life! 2020 is certainly going to be a year that sticks in all our memories for a very long time (but at least we’re going to get a nice, big, shiny, red, white & blue aeroplane out of it…).


Staff at Woodlands are eagerly awaiting the return of more children back to school next week. From Monday, we will be welcoming pods of children from nursery, reception & Year 1. Adjustments to classrooms have been made & Mr Inskip has been busy ensuring that pathways & corridors are marked clearly to ensure social distancing is followed. It’ll be lovely to see more children back at Woodlands. I’m sure, with lots of positivity from home & school, they will come bouncing through the door &, in no time at all, feel like they’ve never been away.


As yet, the government has not released any plans, proposals or even vague outlines for how schools will look in September. All I can do is reassure you that whenever & however Woodlands does reopen to all of our children, we will look after them & ensure they get the support & encouragement they need both academically & emotionally.


During the week beginning 13 July, we will be sending out the children’s annual reports. They will obviously be based on the academic year up until 20 March, when lockdown began. Your child’s class teachers will include a judgement on whether your child was on track to be working at national expectations for their age when school was suspended. They will not be able to make a definitive judgement as to whether your child would have achieved ‘working at national expectations’, only a prediction based on how they had been working during the first half of the year. Details of children’s new classes & teachers for the next academic year will also be included along with the reports.


I would like to thank Mr Grant for keeping us all entertained over the past few months. However, much to the relief of Mrs Grant & his daughter, he has finally brought his historical re-enactments to a close: he has dismounted from his Адуу for the last time [as I type, the pony is being ridden back to its homeland by the Mongolian cultural attaché]; rolled his Iceni war chariot back into his garage [the bathroom door is now back in its rightful place &, more importantly, passersby are safe from verbal abuse]; packed away his Vostock 1 space helmet on to the top shelf of his wardrobe [next to his Tutankhamun death mask, £8.95 on Amazon]; closed his online account with Big Al’s Pachyderm Emporium; sent his highwayman’s cloak to Timpsons to be dry cleaned. Thank you Mr Grant – it’s been quite an adventure!


I must again, thank all the children in our key worker / priority children group. They have been wonderful throughout this whole event. Some of these children have been coming to school from the height of this crisis, knowing that their parents have been working under great pressure & in very unusual circumstances; their behaviour has been exemplary throughout. The way they have looked after each other has been heart-warming. They are a great credit to their families & Woodlands – we are very proud of each & every one of them.


Finally, I must say a huge thank you to all the staff at Woodlands. The dedication they have shown to the children in their care has been, as ever, outstanding, whether coming into school in the midst of the pandemic or working from home to support the children’s learning. I am so lucky to be headteacher of a school where every member of staff [our teachers & TAs, Mr Inskip, our site manager, our office staff, our cleaners, LWAs (dinner ladies in old money), our cooks] have shown such dedication to the children at Woodlands. There are times where I have literally had to fight people off with a big stick because they were so eager to return to school (I must apologise to Mrs Barnes for this; it was reckless of me to be wielding a stick of that size in such a small space – I’m just glad that A&E wasn’t too busy…).


Take care

Keith Williams



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