Dear Parents and Carers,
This has to be one of the most emotional newsletters that I’ve ever written. The end of term is always very emotional; saying goodbye to Year 6 and any staff who are moving on to pastures new but I’ve never had to write a newsletter to say goodbye from myself too!
First of all, I’d like to thank Mrs Critchlow who has stepped in to cover my absence over the last few weeks. She had done a sterling job and has further proven that her new school are very lucky to have her at the helm. Mrs Critchlow has been a fantastic Deputy Headteacher and I have been very fortunate to have her at my side. The last few weeks of term are always incredibly busy anyway, but she has taken it all in her stride – including a heatwave which has disrupted the operations of the school. This newsletter is extra special as Mrs Critchlow will also be writing a section on all the amazing things that have happened at school in the last few weeks, as well as saying goodbye too.
On Thursday morning, we had the most beautiful assembly to say goodbye to the staff. It was incredibly emotional and something that we will all treasure. Working up through the school, we said goodbye to Mrs Bhatti, who is leaving Wooden Hill to work in a day nursery; Mrs Harris who going to work full time in another local school; Mrs Saunders who is going to lead a Nursery provision in a school closer to her home; Miss Bannister who is continuing her career in another Bracknell Forest School; Mrs Cereda who is going to work in a school closer to home: Miss Bolton was going to work within CAMHS however, she has now taken a teaching position within the private sector and then of course there is Mrs Critchlow, who is taking up her first headship from September. I am sure you all join me in thanking them for their hard work and commitment to Wooden Hill School but to also wish them all the very best in their new roles. Huge thanks to the team of staff who made the assembly so special this morning.
My final thanks goes to you, the parents and the community. It has been such a pleasure and a real honour to be the Headteacher of Wooden Hill School for the last 7 years. As the school returns to normal, following many months of disruption due to COVID it is an opportune time for Mr Garner to take the reins and take the school on the next stage of its journey.
Some of the key highlights, since being in post have been:
- November 2015 – getting a GOOD from OFSTED – the first good in 11 years!
- Re-decoration inside the school. Some of you may remember the ghastly dark orange pine wood ceilings, dark woodwork, peeling blue paint and red brick hall!
- May 2019 – getting GOOD again from OFSTED. Mrs Critchlow and I will never forget getting the call for this one – it was day 1 of the Y6 SATs and we were packing up the first set of papers when the office said there was a call that I might want to take…
- The wonderful staff team – each and every member of staff is truly fantastic and a credit to the school. Many of the experienced teachers were Newly Qualified Teachers at Wooden Hill School.
- The outcomes for pupils at the end of KS2 improving year on year. Despite months of disruption due to the pandemic, this year the KS2 results are well above national and Bracknell for Reading, Maths and GPS. A credit to all of the staff who have ensured that the children have the best teaching, the best curriculum and the best opportunities, even during school closures.
- The growth and development of our fabulous Nursery setting. We were ‘cutting edge’ by offering 30 hours and flexible sessions, long before the 30-hour funding came in!
- Of course there is also the developments and building work inside the school – starting with the repurposing of the music studio into a wonderful classroom, but then in the summer 2020, the remodelling of the KS1 classes, a KS2 class and library and intervention area into wonderful purpose build classrooms.
- I also remember fondly the fantastic fundraising day that we had a few years ago – where we raised enough money to purchase the much-loved climbing frame.
What I remember and treasure most, are watching your wonderful children grow and develop year after year. I remember some of the current Y6 on their first day in Reception, crying and clutching onto teddies and other comforters. Now they are mature, confident individuals, more than ready to move on to the next stage of their education. There are far too many wonderful memories to list them all here.
It's never without challenges though – we’ve had snow closures, burst water mains, storms and tree damage, heatwaves and red heat alerts and of course, not forgetting a global pandemic!
All of these challenges were tackled with ease and all of the amazing things have happened because of you; the school community. It is the dedication of the staff team and the support of you that Wooden Hill has grown from strength to strength, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so.
So once again, thank you. Thank you for your support, kind words and making Wooden Hill such a special place.