The weeks running up to Christmas are often the busiest times of the year in schools and, of course, Woodroffe is no different. The last few weeks of term have seen a whole host of seasonal activities including the Carol Concert, the Year 7 Pantomime trip, Christmas jumper day, Christmas dinner and the Christmas assemblies. The PTA Festive evening was a great success, raising over £5000 for the school. Staff and students are very grateful for the continuing support of the PTA as not only do they contribute a significant amount of money to what is, sadly, one of the most underfunded schools in the country, but they help out at all sorts of events and activities across the year. Very few secondary schools manage to sustain a PTA - everyone feels they have done their bit when their children were in primary school – so we are very fortunate to have their support. If any of you would like to join them to continue the excellent work they do, I am sure you would be welcomed with open arms.
As well as the Christmas fun, the music department showcased the musical talents of Woodroffe’s pupils (and staff) in a new addition to the calendar, Woodroffe at the West End, an evening of songs from the shows. We also welcomed back sixth formers who left us last year to go to universities all around the country. This is a splendid evening, now held at The Talbot Arms, when students get a chance to catch up with their friends and share their experiences of their first term away from home.
More seriously, we have also had Year 9 ‘Blitz Day’. This is an event which includes both a dramatic performance and a series of discussions aimed at teaching students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. It also covers a wide range of related social issues. In order to continue to raise awareness of these kinds of issues, which now bedevil schools and society in general, we have arranged a day for all students in February which will be delivered by the police, and will cover a wide range of social issues, including drugs, alcohol and e-safety. There will also be a parents’ session early in the evening (early because it is planned for Valentine’s day, and I am sure many of you will want to rush off to gaze hopelessly over candles in various romantic bistros around town).
Many of you will have noticed the new gates that have been installed at the bottom of the drive and the footpaths. These have now been commissioned and will be fully operative from the new year. The gates are essential to ensure that our students stay safe and they are designed to ensure that we know exactly who is on site and why they are here. They work on an automatic system and will be closed most of the day. They will open when staff and students arrive in the morning and leave in the evening. The rest of the time they will be closed. Staff will have access via an entrance code or an iphone app, all other visitors will need to use the intercom to gain access. Parents are advised, therefore, not to attempt to drive onto the school site at any time, unless it is for medical reasons, or for an evening event such as parents’ evenings when the gates will stay open.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year.