Rough Notes – March 2021

Dear Parents, Carers, and Friends of The Woodroffe School,

Thank you for taking the time to read through our latest edition of ‘Rough Notes’. I can’t quite believe that we have made it through a quarter of the year already, where does the time go?

On Monday the 8th of March, Woodroffe students started returning to school following the latest national lockdown. Welcoming them back to school was a real privilege and it was great to hear just how happy they were with being back amongst friends and with their class teacher in front of them.

We recognised that the return to school created anxiety for some and that the idea of wearing face coverings in lessons was less than ideal. Our students have yet again demonstrated just how resilient they are and have complied superbly with the new measures, aimed at keeping our environment as safe as possible.

First day attendance across all year groups was incredibly strong. The data below shows just how positive the student return was:

  • Year 7 - 97%
  • Year 8 - 98%
  • Year 9 - 97%
  • Year 10 - 98%
  • Year 11 - 98%
  • Year 12 - 95%
  • Year 13 - 98%

Once the students returned, we began our onsite ‘lateral flow’ COVID testing programme which covered 86% of our student population. We have completed a staggering 3615 tests and are very pleased to announce that only two tests have been recorded as void and all other tests were returned negative. The home testing programme has now begun, and our onsite facility has since closed.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the team of school staff, volunteers and ex-students who did such a fantastic job during the testing programme. The team were incredibly efficient, completing a record 106 tests in an hour on two separate occasions. In addition, the testing team were extremely compassionate with students, helping to put them at ease and ensuring that they were able to complete the tests effectively. Thank you to you all, you are amazing!

It is important during these challenging times that we are able to celebrate some positives and recognise student effort and achievement.

The building of our new block continues with the excavation of the bank by the tennis courts which will provide the footprint for the new block. We intend to take regular photographs of the building work as it progresses, allowing for us to produce a visual record on its completion. We will keep you updated with the progress being made over the coming months.

I am very pleased to announce that Tilly Arscott has won a national writing competition with the 'Oxford Scientist'.

One of the judges at the University of Oxford emphasised how impressed they were with Tilly's writing. They described her article - 'Creativity: Essential to Science and the Human Race' - as stunning! All three Oxford professors on the judging panel highlighted her essay as one of their favourites. There were hundreds of entries from young people far and wide and she is the Winner of the Year 10-11 category.

Tilly’s essay will be placed online in the coming weeks at

We were incredibly touched by a most generous act of kindness by an anonymous parent. When I entered my office on Wednesday morning, I was surprised to see two large brown boxes. The identification marks gave no clue as to the contents and I therefore assumed it was yet another delivery of ‘lateral flow’ testing items from the DfE.

When I opened the first box, I was taken aback by what I found:

The two boxes contained enough individual bags of sweets for all staff in the school, how thoughtful. I would like to extend my thanks to ‘A. Parent’ for their thoughtfulness and kindness, it really did brighten the day for all the staff at Woodroffe, thank you!

I hope you enjoy our latest edition of ‘Rough Notes’. Should you wish to find out more about our school, news, or events, please visit the school website which I am sure you will find useful. In addition, for regular updates, why not look at our social media outlets:

Woodroffe can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

The Woodroffe School Headteacher can be found on Twitter - @HeadteacherTws
The Woodroffe School can be found on Twitter - @WoodroffeSchool
The Woodroffe School on Instagram – woodroffeschooldorset

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your continued support, your messages and kind words mean a lot to the staff at Woodroffe and help during these challenging times.

Take care and stay safe,

Dan Watts