Poppy Appeal merchandiseIt has been a really good first week back in school after the half-term holiday and I would like to thank all members of the school community for their maturity and sense of collective social responsibility as we have reintroduced face coverings in communal areas of the school. We are doing it to support each other and that sense of togetherness has been impressive. As I wrote to parents and carers last week, we will review this measure and others such as virtual assemblies on a weekly basis. They will continue for next week and we will communicate in advance with families if and when they change.

With no assembly in the Hall this week, I have shared with students an excellent short presentation from BBC Bitesize. The animation focuses on young people in particular having someone who they can talk to about worries or concerns – it could be a teacher or other adult in school, a trusted adult outside of school or a professional. We are emphasizing the support which exists within the school and beyond to increase students’ awareness and understanding of the support which is available to them. In addition, Mr Keeling is writing to families today about our Get Help button on the school website which we hope will be another layer for students and families to access the support that enables us to best safeguard students. It also feels like a 21st century approach which will chime with how our young people think and operate – or so I have been told by students!

We are selling poppies at the moment as we prepare to mark Remembrance Day next week. Please do encourage students to bring some coins in to school - we are mindful that many of them do not carry much cash in this modern age! We are also having a focus on uniform standards over the next couple of weeks – nothing new or different but a letter with a reminder of our expectations is on its way home.

We had a meeting of the school’s Governing Body yesterday evening which was the first to be led by our new Chair of Governors, Lynda Atkins. I would formally like to welcome Lynda to the role and say how pleased I am that she is in post. I would also like to thank the outgoing Chair of the Governing Body, Jon Pebworth, for his significant contribution to Wallingford School as a Governor over a great many years. The school is proud to be part of the Merchant Taylors’ Oxfordshire Academy Trust and we have been delighted this week to welcome Buckinghamshire University Technical College into the Trust. The new Principal of the UTC is a familiar face in Mr Lamb and we look forward to working closely with the UTC moving forward.

Finally, many of you will have seen images of Max the Bio Detection Dog through our social media channels this week. If you haven’t please do read the story; it is a tribute to a much-missed young person and a family, friends and community who have coped with his loss with the most tremendous dignity while never forgetting his inimitable spirit.