Rough Notes – June/July 2019

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New Beginnings and Happy Memories

This will be the last time that I write to you as I am leaving Woodroffe after 12 years. I am not going too far away as I will take up the position of Headteacher in The Sir John Colfox Academy in Bridport from September. I will still be keeping an eye out for the successes happening at Woodroffe.

I wanted to thank all of the parents and pupils present and past for being so fantastic. It is rare in schools for students to thank the teachers as they leave the lessons, but it is always appreciated by all staff including me.

I have lots of happy memories I will take with me from Woodroffe. It is sad to leave but as with all the students who leave Woodroffe I am looking forward to a new challenge, but will always look back to the happy times here.

To students, remember that Woodroffe will give you all the skills you need for the future so keep working hard and never give up, you can do anything you want if you try hard enough. Remember we don’t always get where we want to be the first time we try, you have to keep trying and eventually you will. Learning is hard and sometimes seems an impossible challenge, but each time you move forward in understanding you are getting closer to your goals. I always think about something Daniel Coyle wrote in his book “the Talent Code, Greatness isn’t born its grown”. He uses science to explain why practice makes perfect. He says that, “The truth is, practice makes myelin, and myelin makes perfect”. What he is saying is learning something once makes a connection in the brain. Every time you practise or try it again more Myelin is wrapped around the connection making it stronger, so eventually the connection is so strong you have learned it and can remember it. Myelin is the white matter of the brain and every time we practice a skill, a new layer of Myelin is added to our neurons, helping us to retain and improve new knowledge and skills, so keep trying!

To all the staff I would like to thank you for the support you have given me and for your brilliant and inspiring teaching you give to the students. They are truly lucky to have such committed teaching and support staff. I would like to wish all staff and students who are leaving this year success for the future, you will be great!

I would also like to thank Mr Rowe, who I have had the honour of leading the school with over the last six months. He is a truly wonderful person and is constantly innovating to move the school forward. He is at the cutting edge of educational research, he is the reason why teaching and learning is at the heart of the school and why the students get such a great experience here.

Take one thing from me and that is never give up, you will succeed just keep making Myelin!

Mr. Shelley
Acting Headteacher


“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have travelled from the point where they started.” Henry Ward Beecher

As quickly as ever another year has flown past, however before getting ready for the vacation it is always important to reflect upon the achievements of our young people this year and to consider how, next year, we can continue to improve as a school.

Since the last Rough Notes all of Year 10 have been out on Work Experience at, what seemed to me to be, an extraordinary range of employers and locations in the South West. From the Met Office to dog grooming, accountancy to carpentry and hairdressing to surf school. I did ask the student visiting the Met Office to request that they turn up the sun button and turn down the rain button on their weather supercomputer however I was then advised that I may need some further instruction on meteorology so perhaps I need a week there too! In spite of this the request does appear to have worked…

I remain particularly proud that unlike quite a number of other schools when facing cuts we chose to maintain this part of the curriculum because it provides such crucial opportunities to students before the rollercoaster of Year 11. And none of it would happen without the hard work of the Careers team, led by Mike Holding and ably supported by Jane Coles and Mark Truyens.

Journeys of another kind have concluded this July with the crew and cast of this year’s production of School of Rock taking place just a week or so ago. If you were one of the fortunate ones to secure a ticket you will have seen a level of professionalism that was quite breath-taking. To reach that point students working with staff spent almost a year rehearsing and getting ready, all an amazing testament to the dedication of Anne Cruwys-Finnigan, Jon Cullimore, Tanya Rees and Helen Webb, as well as many other colleagues and the 130 students who were involved on or backstage. (That means almost one in ten of our students played a part in the production).

Elsewhere, a range of other trips have been running, for all our year groups as well as a fantastic sports day event thanks to the work of the PE team and almost all of the staff recording times and running events. Again, I suspect few schools are as successful at getting everyone involved and active on their sports day.

Before I finish, it is important to say goodbye and thank you to those staff who are leaving us, not least Adam Shelley who alongside me has had the role of Acting Headteacher since mid-way through the year. There is no one in my professional life who I’ve worked with for longer than Adam and I will miss his optimism, kindness and the brilliant school improvement approaches he brought and helped develop at Woodroffe. The parents and students at Colfox will soon see what a gem they have as their new headteacher.

So, all change, but before then we have a few weeks of sun and summer to enjoy.

Wishing you all a happy and restful break.

Mr. Rowe
Acting Headteacher